The question has arisen in your Real Estate section: Should Proposition 13 be refurbished? The answer is an emphatic Yes.
Let’s go back a bit: Homeowners and landowners had, for generations, borne the burden of the public’s welfare--the schools, police and fire protection, streets and street lighting and, believe it or not, in Orange County, the cemeteries! All of this, giving a free ride to those who had not been thrifty enough, or imbued enough with hope of home ownership.
Proposition 13, a magnificent landmark in California history, set forth similar explosions across the country. It was not perfect. Few laws are when first adopted.
Almost immediately, the rats started gnawing on this good piece of cheese! Disregarding entirely the intent and purposes of this new law passed by vote of the people, the politicians, attorneys and courts brought out a lot of technicalities to contend that the law did not mean what it said and should be disregarded.
Now the time has come that Proposition 13 not only should be refurbished, but it will be. And, unless immediate action is taken by its creators and adherents, it will be done by its enemies.
The first step in refurbishing Proposition 13 should be to widen its scope to protect all homeowners. All assessments should be made retroactive to 1978, with the same 2% maximum allowable per annum increase; reimbursement of the excess taxes collected since then should be required, either in cash or in credit against future taxes.
The second step must be to so tighten the wording so that the Big Spenders can no longer use misinterpretations to accomplish alibis for their marauding tactics.
The purpose of Proposition 13, in addition to protecting homeowners from danger of confiscation, was to force some degree of restraint on the Big Spenders in Sacramento. Perhaps the only way to accomplish that would be to prohibit any and all travel (boondoggle) spending, as well as to require that no salary, pension or other benefits increases be allowable until they have straightened the muddle which now prevails, and proved that they are competent to manage the affairs of the state.
ELEANOR B. SAMUELS