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I'm still reeling over the constant jibes of Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin regarding Barack Obama's community organizing and all community organizers in general at last night's Republican National Convention.

Then I realized the Republican Party started in 1854 with quite a few community organizerss themselves. Remember a thing called slavery? There have been other GOP community organizers, but one comes to mind that practically changed the face of the Republican Party.

His name is Howard Jarvis.

Who is Howard Jarvis? He's the father of Proposition 13 which catapulted the anti-tax frenzy that took over the Republican Party and brought Ronald Reagan to the 1980 Republican nomination and his eventual election that November.

It's been 30 years so let's rehash what Howard Jarvis did:

Subsequently he ran several times for Mayor of Los Angeles on an anti-tax platform and gained a reputation as a harsh critic of government. He went on to lead the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and spearheaded Proposition 13, the California property tax-cutting initiative passed in 1978 which slashed property taxes by fifty-seven percent and initiated a national tax revolt.

Regarding the motives of Jarvis in promoting Proposition 13 and the role its passage had in rent control subsequently being enacted in most large cities in California, Greg Katz has written: "There was little doubt from his rhetoric that Howard Jarvis, who penned Prop. 13 with his on-again-off-again political ally Paul Gann, hated taxes of all kinds. But his intentions were, at best, turbid; Jarvis was at the time employed by the Los Angeles Apartment Owners Association as a lobbyist. In a fundraising letter to the landlords that employed him, he claimed, "We are the biggest losers" if Prop. 13 fails. (Not to mention: The Yes on 13 headquarters were located in a Los Angeles Apartment Owners Association office.) He tried to persuade renters to vote for Prop. 13 by saying it would drive down rents, by decreasing the property taxes that landlords paid. Post-13 news reports found rents weren’t going down, despite Jarvis’s promises – apparently landlords were just pocketing their property tax savings. That revelation prompted many of the rent controls still in effect around California."[2] San Francisco comminity activist Calvin Welch has stated "Jarvis was the father of rent control."[3]

So here's to the ULTIMATE Republican "community organizer" Howard Jarvis. Apparently Rudy and Sarah forgot all about him in their speeches. What a pity!

Originally posted to Nedsdag on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 12:53 PM PDT.

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