Prop. 15 protects homeowners, supports schools
Concerning the Calmatters Commentary of Sept. 22, I would like to share an insight from my personal experience. When I was working in the state Legislature briefly in the 70s one of the hot issues was the growing property tax burden for residential homes caused by a rapid rise in housing values which were then assessed at “market value.” People on fixed incomes were losing their homes as the tax bill jumped each year.
Among some members of the Legislature there was discussion of a proposal to ease the burden on homeowners by enacting a “split roll” tax policy that would maintain the “market value” assessment for commercial or income property and place a cap on the yearly assessment of residential property. This seemed to me at the time to be a fair and reasonable solution; property that produces income should be treated differently from one’s home.
Roaming the halls of the Legislature was a lobbyist for the California Rental Owners Association, Howard Jarvis, who sought to forestall such a solution with a campaign for an initiative that became Proposition 13. Proposition 15 on the November ballot does not destroy Prop. 13; it preserves the protections for homeowners that law provides while offering much needed financial support for schools and colleges. Vote YES on PROP. 15.
Harris' rigorous questioning defended
A recent letter writer expressed shock at Kamala Harris’ rigorous questioning during hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh was applying for a lifelong appointment to the highest court in the land when Congress became aware of allegations of sexual assault.
Should Harris have treated this issue with less seriousness than we would expect if our own wife or daughter reported this rape? Would we feel sorry for the rapist's family? Would we want less then the most rigorous examination of the facts? My guess is most of us would want someone as smart and determined as Senator Harris to consider our loved one’s case.
Rape is one of the hardest crimes to prosecute because there are rarely any witnesses who are not complicit. False claims of rape are extremely rare (about 5%) and most rapes go unreported because they are so hard to prove. If a woman does report a rape she risks being dragged through the mud and made to feel that she is somehow complicit in the crime -- she had one drink too many and now has morning-after regret or she is lying for revenge, or personal gain.
None of these ridiculous tropes have any validity or any legal standing but they continue to hold an unspoken legitimacy in our culture. There is usually no upside for a woman to report rape; it is an act of courage. I’m sure Cristine Blasey Ford knew this. As a wife, mother, respected professor and Stanford University researcher she had nothing to gain by telling her story. On the contrary, she was willing to put herself at considerable risk because she understood the importance of honesty and integrity in this high position.
As a very young woman I was a victim of rape and I lacked the courage to report it. I was convinced that I would end up on the losing side of this witness-less crime and ultimately feel humiliated all over again. I wish now that I had had Dr. Ford's strength and Kamala Harris' advocacy 50 years ago. They make women everywhere stronger and safer.
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