Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Payton Perspective: Remembering JFK 60 years later – it’s time for the public to have all the facts

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023
(Left) President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Love Field, Dallas, Texas. (Right) Witnesses lay down in the grass immediately following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Bill and Gayle Newman cover their children, Clayton and Billy (hidden) at left. Photographers, including White House Motion Picture Photographer, Lieutenant Thomas M. Atkins (right), film in center. Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Credit: Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

By Allen D. Payton, Publisher

While I usually focus on matters in Antioch and Contra Costa County, on this 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I’m compelled to share my thoughts and views.

That’s because, for all of my life, the government has been lying to us about his assassination on November 22, 1963, and it angers me to this day that we, the American people, still don’t know everything about it, the facts and truth. I was born just five-and-a-half months before and I’ve always felt a connection to him, even though as a baby I knew nothing about JFK, his presidency, policies or life, I’ve taken it upon myself to read and learn about him and that fateful day in American history.

I’m angered by JFK’s assassination, which was clearly a conspiracy, as well as the ensuing coverup and whitewash of the Warren Commission Report. They’ve tried to tell us there was a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone, and a single, pristine bullet tore through both Kennedy and Governor John Connally’s bodies. But the testimony of so many eyewitnesses, many of whom were ignored by the commission and excluded from its report, has told us otherwise.

Views of the grassy knoll, the rail line and triple underpass to the west in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza from the seventh floor of the Texas School Book Depository building on Dec. 11, 2020. Photos by Allen D. Payton

A few years ago, my mother and I flew to Dallas to attend my youngest niece’s wedding, and the day before I made it a point, for the first time, to visit Dealey Plaza, the site of the horrible event, as well as the Sixth Floor Museum inside the Texas School Book Depository building. I toured, saw the displays, watched and listened to the videos and found it most interesting that the southwest corner windows were covered with black shades preventing people from looking down upon the infamous grassy knoll. It’s as if they don’t want folks to question the official narrative. So, my mom and I went upstairs to the seventh floor where events are held, walk to the corner and lift the shades to look down upon the place where it’s clear the kill shot was taken.

Views of the Texas Book Depository building from and of the second X on Elm Street, and the grassy knoll and fence on Dec. 11, 2020. Photos by Allen D. Payton

While there, I also stood in the middle of Elm Street on the second X on the ground marking the location where Kennedy was riding in the presidential limousine when he was struck in the head by gunfire. I looked up at both the corner of the Sixth Floor perch of at least one gunman, and over to the grassy knoll and fence above it that still stands to this day.

I walked to the back of the fence that so many people, including a few police officers, ran towards, after at least four shots were fired – including one that struck the front window of the limousine. That fence is the location where people said they saw a puff of smoke rise under the trees and at least one witness said he saw a man take apart a rifle and hand it off to another man in a suit who quickly walked away. As I stood there, as one of my sisters and my eldest niece, who had arrived and joined me in Dealey Plaza, stood nearby, I was moved by emotion realizing that was the place where our president’s life was taken with the fatal headshot. That emotion turned to anger.

Views from behind the fence atop the grassy knoll in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza and the second X on Elm Street on Dec. 11, 2020. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Whose president do the powers that be think he was? Whose government do they think this is? We the people, that’s who! For too long, too many have sat idly by and allowed them to lie to us, cover up their evil deeds and hope we’ll all just go on with our lives – which is what has happened – and maybe even forget. But I won’t. Many people won’t. While I applaud former President Trump for releasing most of the remaining JFK Assassination records, he failed to fulfill his promise to release them all.

As a November 21, 2018 report on reads, “…despite the 25-year deadline established by the 1992 JFK Records Collection Act, not everything came out. Citing national security concerns, President Trump then elected to halt the release of some of the remaining classified files for an additional six months. Now that deadline has passed, and it’s still unclear how many records (or portions of the records) still remain under wraps, whether they will be ever released in full, and what—if any—new information they may contain.”

At that time, sources estimated “some 21,980 documents, totaling more than 368,000 pages, are still being withheld in full or in part” and “through a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the (National) Archives itself put the total number at 22,933 documents (or 442,606 pages).

Since then, President Biden released over 1,000 records in 2021 and earlier this year he “declared that he has made his ‘final certification’ of files to be released, even though 4,684 documents remain withheld in whole or in part. Going forward, agencies will decide any future disclosures that may be warranted by the passage of time. Of roughly 320,000 documents reviewed since the law passed, 99 percent have been disclosed, according to the National Archives and Records Administration. But 2,140 documents remain fully or partially withheld as a result of Mr. Biden’s action…” (See JFK Assassination Records)

But the fact is many of the records “were partially or mostly redacted”. So, we the people still don’t know what’s in them.

Members of the Kennedy family, officials and dignitaries attend graveside services in the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy as honor guard pallbearers lift the casket flag. Credit: Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Who after 60 years could they possibly be trying to protect? Some of our federal government institutions? We’ve already learned we can’t completely trust them. Powerful individuals or their reputations? I say too bad. We have a right to know all the facts and see all the documents related to the events and individuals leading up to, involved in Kennedy’s assassination, and who participated in the cover up after the fact. No more soft-pedaling, no more waiting. The next president must issue an Executive Order and release the remaining documents and we the people need to make it an issue in next year’s campaign.

It’s long past time for the lies and coverup to end. It’s time we the people get to know all the facts and truth, and if some of the people are still alive, bring them to justice because there are no statutes of limitation for capital murder – and should never be for the murder of our president.

Letter writer questions suspension of teacher for Halloween costume

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Dear Editor:

What lesson has the Antioch California School District taught by suspending, investigating and ultimately shaming a teacher for free speech that was (probably by children, at least) regarded, innocently? (See related article)

I believe you have brought the attention of our children to the limits of healthy dialog.  In a dangerous period in our country, when history lessons are being taken out of schools, violence is allowed to be perpetrated by groups, you could have taught love, understanding, sensitivity and had discussion about intentions, misinterpretations, and perspective.

You could have first met with parents, staff and professionals to discuss and learn why blackening one’s face in a costume could be offensive for Black people. Then you could have had lessons within the schools that attempt to teach sensitivity, respect and regard for all cultural backgrounds. You could have had discussion, about listening to and hearing each other.  Without discussion, a lesson is lost.

Karen Motenko-Neal

Valley Springs, CA

Writer asks Senators to support National Alzheimer’s Project Reauthorization Act

Friday, October 27th, 2023

Shares story of caring for her mother for National Family Caregivers Month in November

I’d like to begin by reminding all of you that November is National Family Caregivers Month. It’s a time to recognize the incredible dedication and sacrifices of those who care for their loved ones, particularly those grappling with dementia, in any of its forms. I come to you not just as a speaker but as someone who has experienced the profound impact of dementia firsthand, a journey that started when my mother asked for my help back in 2014.

My mom’s story is one that many of you might find familiar. She was a vibrant woman who, as she approached her 68th birthday, began exhibiting signs of something amiss. Her social withdrawal, erratic medication intake, and a fainting episode that led her to the hospital in Walnut Creek were all red flags. It wasn’t until 2019 that a diagnosis was finally confirmed – vascular dementia. A young, dismissive doctor delivered the news, but our suspicions had been growing for years. The truth was that my mom had been prescribed what I’ve come to call “the dementia cocktail” in 2012, when she was just 61. It consisted of Aricept and Memantine, but her decline was slow, leading to moments of despair. By 2019, she had reached a point where she couldn’t care for herself, yet medical professionals seemed hesitant to make the diagnosis, leaving me feeling isolated in my role as her advocate.

However, my journey took an unexpected turn on my 40th birthday. That day, my mom embarked on a 36-hour odyssey across the Bay Area, signifying her fading independence. She drove across the Bay Bridge twice and even crossed the Golden Gate Bridge once. She was found disoriented and alone, wandering along Alemany Boulevard in Daly City at 3 am, having left her car in front of someone’s house, a silent testament to her deteriorating condition.

My 40th birthday celebration was anything but joyful; it marked the beginning of a deeply personal battle to protect and care for the woman who had once cared for me. My mom’s story is a vivid reminder of the complex and urgent challenge that dementia presents. It’s a disease that not only affects individuals but also places tremendous emotional and physical strain on their caregivers.

In addition to November being National Caregiver Month, let us also acknowledge the importance of the National Alzheimer’s Plan. This initiative has played a vital role in advancing research and support for individuals and families dealing with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. However, we cannot afford to let this plan expire. We must ensure its continued existence and strength.

I call upon our new Senator Laphonza Butler and Senator Alex Padilla to take a stand in this critical moment. I urge them to cosponsor the bipartisan NAPA (National Alzheimer’s Project Act) Reauthorization Act (S. 133) to renew and bolster the National Alzheimer’s Plan, ensuring that the needs of those affected by dementia are met, and research into this disease continues to progress.

In closing, if you or someone you know needs information or assistance in caring for a loved one with dementia, please reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900. Together, we can provide the support and resources needed for those battling this heart-wrenching disease. Thank you for your attention and let us work collectively to make a difference.

Latrice Phillips Brown

Pittsburg, CA

Op-Ed: CCTA working to keep pedestrians safe

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

By Tim Haile, Executive Director, Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Tim Haile. Photo: CCTA

October marks Pedestrian Safety Month, an ideal time to shed light on pedestrians’ safety challenges while navigating our roads. With California’s diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and outdoor lifestyle, the state naturally encourages walking and biking, while also facing some alarming statistics regarding pedestrian safety. 

According to preliminary data from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, California’s pedestrian fatality rate is significantly higher than the national rate coming in at 1.29 per 1000,000. 504 pedestrians were killed in crashes involving vehicles in California in 2022, a nearly 10% increase over 2019.

As Executive Director of Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), I find these numbers to be unacceptable. During Pedestrian Safety Month, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of safeguarding our most vulnerable road users: pedestrians. Every day, hundreds of Contra Costa residents walk to work, school, and leisure activities, contributing to our county’s sustainability and quality of life. The first step to making the streets safer for all is through smart transportation systems and plans.

CCTA, in partnership with Contra Costa County, is actively addressing these concerns through the Vision Zero Safety Policy and Implementation Guide. Vision Zero is a comprehensive strategy aimed at eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while promoting safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. Vision Zero has become a guiding principle in our efforts to enhance pedestrian safety. The key to Vision Zero’s success lies in its data-driven approach, which identifies high-risk areas and factors contributing to pedestrian collisions. By analyzing these insights, we can implement targeted interventions that prioritize the safety of our residents.

In our ongoing commitment to pedestrian safety, CCTA is also in the process of developing a Countywide Transportation Safety Action Plan. The plan will identify strategies to eliminate severe injuries and fatalities. It will consider how to improve safety for all people in the County, including people biking, driving, walking, and taking the train or bus, as well as freight transportation. This plan considers the insights and feedback received from our residents, ensuring that it reflects the real-world experiences and concerns of those who use our streets daily. Residents can use the CCTA’s map-based tool to show where safety is a concern for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists or people with disabilities. 

Pedestrian safety also starts with you. Drivers play a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of those on foot. Drivers can prevent death and injury by adhering to speed limits and slowing down at intersections, always being prepared to stop at marked and unmarked crosswalks, refraining from blocking crosswalks while waiting to turn, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By following these guidelines, drivers can actively contribute to a safer environment for pedestrians and all road users, reducing the risk of collisions and promoting a culture of responsible and attentive driving.

When walking, it’s vital to prioritize safety by remaining alert and attentive, avoiding distractions. Whenever possible, make use of designated signalized crosswalks, as these are locations where drivers are more likely to anticipate pedestrian activity. Keep a vigilant eye out for approaching vehicles and always exercise caution when crossing streets. 

As we celebrate Pedestrian Safety Month, let us not only acknowledge the importance of pedestrian safety but also recognize the role of efficient transportation planning and community input in achieving this critical goal. By prioritizing safety, investing in infrastructure, and fostering a culture of responsible transportation, we can ensure that pedestrians can move about our beautiful county with confidence, knowing that their safety is a top priority.

Social media experts warn parents of horrifying content from Hamas following terrorist attacks in Israel

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

CEO of the Organization for Social Media Safety says Hamas has put your kids at great risk online, parents should lock down or take away kids’ devices  

By Bridget Sharkey, Prime Media Management via

Social media has long been used as a weapon by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. Now Hamas is using the power of the Internet to terrify, confuse, and demean its victims.  

“Hamas is planting videos on sites like X that show gory and horrific acts of violence, including mass murders and defiled corpses,” said social media safety expert Marc Berkman, CEO of theOrganization for Social Media Safety (OFSMS).   

According to their website, the organization “is a nonprofit, consumer protection organization focused exclusively on social media. We protect against all social media-related dangers through a comprehensive approach that includes education, advocacy, and technology development. We are available to provide expertise for your story on social media-related dangers.”

Berkman says that these videos have millions of views, despite only being recently uploaded.  

“Terrorist groups often use social media platforms to disseminate hate and extreme violence,” he continued. “Parents around the country are receiving alerts from schools and elected officials over concerns that terrorists plan to disseminate distressing videos, including of hostages, through social media. These officials urge parents to delete TikTok and Instagram from their children’s devices as a protective measure.”

Berkman and the OFSMS concur, saying now is a good time to make your kids log off. He also agrees that major social media platforms, including X, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and Discord, may be used as weapons of war, spreading graphic violence and hateful messaging.  

“This is not a concern limited to TikTok and Instagram,” said the social media expert. “Many platforms already contain graphic, violent videos produced by terrorists. In the past, we have also seen videos of extreme violence shared through social media messaging-based platforms like Snapchat.”  

The Organization for Social Media Safety urges all social media platforms to block or immediately remove any content disseminated directly by a terrorist organization. Berkman and the OFSMS share the following tips for parents:  

  • Consider pausing children’s social media access to protect their mental health and well-being. 
  • Talk with your children about what to do if they come across violent content (We strongly recommend teaching your child about blocking and reporting.) 
  • Consider third-party safety software, like our endorsed choice, Bark, that can alert you if dangerous content, like extreme violence, is shared on your child’s social media account. 

“We all have a responsibility to protect our community from the dangers of social media,” Berkman concludes. “Report and block! Don’t keep scrolling.”

Coalition calls CA AG’s ballot initiative title, summary false, misleading

Saturday, September 30th, 2023
Source: Our Neighborhood Voices

Effort “to bring back a local voice in community planning” co-sponsored by Brentwood Councilwoman

By Daniel Payne, Our Neighborhood Voices

This past week the Our Neighborhood Voices initiative received a title and summary from the office of Attorney General Rob Bonta that is false, misleading and likely to create prejudice against the initiative.

The title and summary provided by Bonta’s office falsely claims that the measure “automatically” overrides the state’s affordable housing laws. It does no such thing. It gives communities the power to shape local growth in a way that better meets affordable housing requirements – and it restores the ability of local communities to negotiate even higher affordable housing rates, which one-size-fits-all laws passed in Sacramento have taken away.

Brentwood District 1 Councilmember Jovita Mendoza is one of the three co-sponsors of the initiative which has been endorsed by the Contra Costa County city councils of Brentwood and Clayton, as well as Oakley Vice Mayor Randy Pope.

In 2021, Bonta’s own office issued a title and summary for the first draft of this initiative that did not include this misleading language. It correctly stated that the Our Neighborhood Voices initiative would return land-use and zoning decisions back to local communities – instead of forcing top-down mandates on cities that damage neighborhoods and only benefit for-profit developers.

In fact, the Our Neighborhood Voices initiative will increase the chances of more affordable housing being built according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. In their report, the LAO states that the initiative “May enable additional flexibility for affordable housing development.” This is exactly the intent of the initiative – to help local cities choose which state housing laws work best for them and modify them in ways that will make them more successful.

The only substantial changes in the new version of the initiative submitted to Bonta’s office this year was the addition of a provision that exempts 100% affordable housing projects at 80% of AMI, and a repeal of Article 34 of the California Constitution that makes it more difficult to create affordable housing.

Yet Bonta’s office still added the argumentative and prejudicial language that the initiative would “automatically override” affordable housing laws.

“Bonta’s claim that our initiative would ‘automatically override’ affordable housing laws is clearly and provably false,” Brentwood City Councilmember and initiative proponent Jovita Mendoza said. “Our initiative would allow cities to choose where and how new housing projects get built, instead of forcing them to comply with blanket mandates from Sacramento that give for-profit developers a blank check to gentrify and destroy our communities.”

The laws that the Attorney General’s office is apparently referring to are not even correctly called “affordable housing” laws. Sacramento politicians have given developers the ability to override local communities and governments to build luxury housing with affordable requirements so low that these new projects contribute to displacement and gentrification.

A law like SB9, which eliminated single family zoning in California, is being challenged in court because it was passed on the premise that it WILL create affordable housing, but clearly will not. “There is nothing in laws like SB9 that would get us anywhere close to the number of new affordable units that the state says we need,” said Kalimah Priforce, an Emeryville City Councilmember and advocate for BIPOC homeownership. “Instead, we will continue to see projects that are largely unaffordable to most working families, communities of color, or other Californians who need housing most. ‘Trickle down housing’ doesn’t work – and we certainly shouldn’t be relying on debunked theories to guide important housing decisions in our state.”

“Without a fair and accurate title and summary, our initiative cannot go forward on the 2024 ballot,” explained Susan Candell, Lafayette City Councilmember and proponent of the Our Neighborhood Voices initiative. “We are weighing our options to sue, although such a delay will run out the clock for an initiative like ours – which relies on volunteer efforts to qualify. But our fight for local democracy will go forward – and we won’t stop until we restore our right to have a say in the future of our own communities.”

“In fact this politicized attack against our initiative is just further evidence that Sacramento will continue to put developer profits over the needs of our communities – unless we stand up and fight back. And while we focus our efforts on seeing that this misleading language is changed, we will continue to grow our grassroots coalition and fight back for our neighborhood voice,” said Redondo Beach City Councilmember and supporter of the initiative Nils Nehrenheim.

Learn more about the Our Neighborhood Voices coalition and how you can get involved at

Op-Ed: Unlocking the boundless potential of aging through transit

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

CCTA partners with Choice in Aging, Mobility Matters provides free, door-through-door services for senior residents.

By Federal Glover, Chair, Board of Directors, Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Last week, on National Senior Citizens Day, we were reminded of the barriers that exist for our older community members. While we celebrated our elder citizens’ incredible contributions to society, we reflected on our responsibility to bolster resources that support independence as people age. One resource in particular, transportation, is a crucial component to enhancing our senior citizens’ quality of life and local governments have a responsibility to address the challenges to utilizing essential services.

Throughout California, there are public health and human resources that stay true to the theme of boundless potential in aging, but an element that often gets overlooked is transportation. Transportation, which has a uniquely human element in carrying people through life, has not been designed with senior citizens in mind. Instead, seniors often face countless institutional barriers that prevent them from taking trips to medical appointments or the grocery store – simple trips that are important for people’s independence.

At CCTA, we believe in equitable access for transportation and our “Mobility for All” model doesn’t just address cars, bikes, buses, or trains–but also the mobility needs of our veterans, people with disabilities, and seniors.

There is a gap in accessible transportation for seniors and it is critical to design transportation systems to meet the unique needs that come with aging.

CCTA’s job is to create transportation that all residents can access. Most importantly, we have a responsibility to understand the human element of transportation – to understand how people use our services beyond moving from “Point A” to “Point B”. Whether your destination is a doctor’s appointment, a family dinner, or a book club, transportation is necessary to bring you to and from the places that matter to you. 

CCTA has engaged with community members to understand how residents are using our service and what changes or needs they have. Since 2021, we have used the Accessible Transportation Strategic Plan (ATSP), which has given us direct insights into these community needs. The ATSP was born from the 2017 Countywide Transportation Plan (CTP). One of our goals of this strategic plan is to become a one-stop-shop for residents, to consolidate our resources so that residents can easily navigate services, and to understand the gaps in those services so that we can best serve our community.

CCTA partners with Choice in Aging, as well as Mobility Matters, which provides free, door-through-door services for senior residents. This system is fueled by over 160 volunteer drivers in the County. We are proud that this program has helped deliver 69,015 rides since 2005. We also support our transit partners’ para transit One Seat One Ride program. Our goal is for seniors and disabled individuals to have “one seat” journeys–so that a trip across the County does not have to involve multiple transfers between trains and buses.

CCTA is constantly looking at ways to use innovation to improve and expand services to older adults. To improve mobility in the Rossmoor Senior Community, early next year CCTA will launch an autonomous shuttle service. These shuttles will keep senior residents connected by bringing them to essential services and goods within their community.

CCTA is committed to continuing our efforts to improve transportation for our senior population. We encourage community feedback to best understand how to fulfill your needs. 

We’ve made remarkable strides but recognize that there is always more we can do to implement the vision of “Mobility for All”. We will continue to knock down barriers so that aging is not seen as a limitation– but rather boundless potential.

State taxpayers association warns of two tax impacting bills in CA legislature

Monday, August 21st, 2023

Urges voters, taxpayers to call the Capitol to protect Prop 13, see committee members phone numbers below

ACA 1 would make it easier to raise local special taxes by removing the Prop. 13 taxpayer protection of the two-thirds vote of the electorate required to pass

ACA 13 was just introduced last week as a devious attempt to stop the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act from passing when it’s on the ballot in Nov. 2024.

By Jon Coupal

Prior to the successful passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, Howard Jarvis tried several times to bring property tax relief to beleaguered California homeowners. While coming close, it wasn’t until 1978 when voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13 over the opposition of virtually every political institution and newspaper in California.

As they say, timing is everything. What changed the political dynamic so abruptly in 1978 was the fact that thousands of California homeowners were being taxed out of their homes. That also explains why, to this day, Proposition 13 retains its popularity even as the state has become more “progressive.”

Last week there were two competing press events over Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 (ACA 1), a proposal that would erase part of Proposition 13. As the head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, I was joined at a news conference on the Capitol’s west steps on Wednesday by several legislators who have unequivocally expressed their continued support for Proposition 13 and opposition to ACA 1. Also present were several representatives of other taxpayer groups as well as business organizations suffering under California’s excessive tax burdens.

ACA 1 is a direct attack on Proposition 13 because it would cut the vote threshold needed to pass local special taxes, dropping it from the current two-thirds vote required by Proposition 13 to only 55%. That change would make it easier for local governments to raise taxes.

Since Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978, voters have continued to support the important two-thirds vote protection. That support was reaffirmed with the passage of pro-taxpayer initiatives in 1986, 1996 and 2010.

Many people may not know that the two-thirds vote requirement did not originate in 1978. It has been in the California Constitution since 1879! For more than a century, local property owners have been protected against excessive bond debt by the requirement that local bonds – repaid only by property owners – need a two-thirds vote of the local electorate.

ACA 1 repeals the two-thirds vote protection for tax increases to support “infrastructure,” a term so expansive that local governments would be able to raise taxes for almost any purpose with a vote of just 55% of the electorate. This is a hatchet that chops away at the taxpayer protections in Proposition 13.

ACA 1 proponents are aware of Prop. 13’s enduring popularity, so not once in their over one-hour press event did they mention Proposition 13 by name. Instead, they talked about “protecting democracy,” “local control,” and taking on “right-wing interests.” (Are Californians “right wing” for wanting to keep their home instead of being taxed out of it?) Nor did the supporters of ACA 1 provide any specific example of exactly what lowering the two-thirds vote would purchase, other than to claim that it was essential to address California’s dual crises of housing and homelessness.

Opponents of ACA 1 have noted that making it easier to raise taxes makes no sense in one of the highest taxed states in America. No other state comes close to California’s 13.3% top marginal income tax rate, and we also have the highest state sales tax in America as well as the highest gas tax, not to mention gas prices. And even with Prop. 13, we rank 14th out of 50 states in per capita property tax collections. Californians pay enough.

This is a critical time. As of this writing, ACA 1 has cleared one legislative committee and may be heard by the full Assembly as early as this week. However, its main proponent, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, admitted at her press conference that she didn’t quite have the votes yet. For that reason, the time is now for all defenders of Proposition 13 and advocates for limited taxation to contact their Assembly representatives and let them know that a vote for ACA 1 is a vote against Proposition 13.

This issue is so important to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that we will withhold our endorsement from any current legislator who fails to vote no on ACA 1.

Committee Hearings this Week, Taxpayers Urged to Call the Capitol

Your immediate help is needed to fight against two proposed constitutional amendments moving fast through the state Assembly. Both of these measures are attacks on PROPOSITION 13. We’re asking all HJTA members and supporters to please call the members of two committees that will be hearing these bills on Wednesday. Please call as soon as possible! Here’s all the information:

NO on ACA 1 – Hearing date: Wednesday, 8/23, Assembly Appropriations Committee

ACA 1 is a direct attack on Proposition 13 that would remove the taxpayer protection of the two-thirds vote of the electorate required to pass local special taxes. If this measure is enacted, local taxes and bonds for “infrastructure” (nearly everything) and public housing projects would pass with just 55% of the vote instead of 66.67%. This makes it easier to raise taxes, and your taxes could go up after every election.
Please call the members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and urge a NO vote on ACA 1:

Chris Holden (Chair) – (916) 319-2041
Megan Dahle (Vice Chair) – (916) 319-2001
Isaac Bryan – (916) 319-2055
Lisa Calderon – (916) 319-2056
Wendy Carrillo – (916) 319-2052
Diane Dixon – (916) 319-2072 (Please thank Assemblywoman Dixon for opposing ACA 1)
Mike Fong – (916) 319-2049
Gregg Hart – (916) 319-2037
Josh Lowenthal – (916) 319-2069
Devon Mathis – (916) 319-2033 (Please thank Assemblyman Mathis for opposing ACA 1)
Diane Papan – (916) 319-2021
Gail Pellerin – (916) 319-2028
Kate A. Sanchez – (916) 319-2071
Esmeralda Soria – (916) 319-2027
Akilah Weber, M.D. – (916) 319-2079
Lori Wilson – (916) 319-2011 – Represents portions of Eastern Contra Costa County

NO on ACA13 – Hearing date: Wednesday, 8/23, Assembly Elections Committee

ACA 13 was just introduced last week as a devious attempt to stop the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act from passing when it’s on the ballot in November 2024. The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act is our initiative constitutional amendment that will restore the Proposition 13 protections that have been eroded by the courts. 

Some of the measure’s key provisions include:

  • Require all new taxes passed by the Legislature to be approved by voters
  • Restore two-thirds voter approval for all new local special tax increases
  • Clearly define what is a tax or fee
  • Require truthful descriptions of new tax proposals
  • Hold politicians accountable by requiring them to clearly identify how revenue will be spent before any tax or fee is enacted

But ACA 13 would create special rules that make it harder to pass citizen initiatives like this one. If ACA 13 is enacted, the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act would require a two-thirds vote to pass, instead of the simple majority vote that has been required for all other constitutional amendments since 1849!

Please call the members of the Assembly Elections Committee and urge a NO vote on ACA 13:

Gail Pellerin (Chair) – (916) 319-2028
Tom Lackey (Vice Chair) – (916) 319-2034
Steve Bennett – (916) 319-2038
Bill Essayli – (916) 319-2063
Alex Lee – (916) 319-2024
Evan Low – (916) 319-2026
Blanca Rubio – (916) 319-2048

Please also call your own state representatives and urge them to vote NO on ACA 1 and NO on ACA 13. You can look up their names and contact information at

Thank you for your help in this critical fight to protect Proposition 13. We greatly appreciate you!
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.