and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation


Friday, October 24, 2003

CLT's annual dinner a great success!

Last night CLT's staff of four and 132 members got together at Lombardo's Restaurant in Randolph for our annual buffet dinner. This year we honored WRKO radio talkshow host and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr. (On the right as Barbara presents him with the CLT's Warren T. Brookes Award.)

Warren Brookes was a Boston Herald economics columnist back in the late '70s and an outspoken advocate of property tax reform. That another Boston Herald columnist received our most prestigious award was coming full circle.

Howie began his radio career as one of "The Governors" on the late Jerry Williams' show. Along with Howie and Jerry, Barbara completed "the troika." This long-running (five years) and popular Tuesday program is still remembered by listeners and activists as the political highlight of the week that was not to be missed.

Howie congratulated CLT for its decades-long taxpayer advocacy and said, because of that sustained longevity, it is the only political organization of which he is a member.

He graciously entertained guests in his inimitable style during a question and answer period that followed his remarks. One of his funniest recollections was his appearance sitting behind Billy Bulger during the recent nationally televised U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearings. His seating, he told us, was purely coincidental, but when a Herald reporter during the hearing told him he was "cracking them up in Boston" with his animated facial expressions in the background, he said to himself "Oh boy!" and proceeded to really give them a show!

Jack Prindiville was awarded the annual Citizen for Limited Taxation Award for longtime activism above and beyond the call of duty by CLT associate director, Chip Faulkner (below). Jack has been a CLT member and activist for as long as there's been a CLT and recently organized the Framingham Taxpayers Association to battle local Proposition 2 overrides in a bastion of tax-and-spend liberalism.

In past petition drive campaigns, Jack has always been one of CLT's most prolific signature-gatherers and local volunteer organizers.

Jack's Framingham group filled an entire table of its own, and he introduced its slate of candidates from the MetroWest area who'll be taking on a number of legislators we'd most like to see retired.

The first recipient of CLT's new David P. Wilson Award for Uniting Taxpayers was Ted Tripp (below) of North Andover.

The recently deceased David Wilson also was a member of CLT from the beginning, almost 30 years ago, and served on its board of directors for many of those years. David organized the Plymouth County Republican Club, which became one of the most effective forces in the state for electing and reelecting Republicans to the Legislature, and worked ceaselessly throughout Plymouth County to help organize local taxpayer organizations. David's activist widow, Luci, joined us last night for the premier presentation of the award.

Ted Tripp has been a member of CLT and a taxpayer activist since the early-90s, first in Wilmington and now in North Andover since he relocated there some five years ago. In response to another in a long string of annual Proposition 2 overrides, Ted and a few other CLT members organized the North Andover Taxpayers Association and handily trounced the override at the polls. Ted has traveled around the state when asked for advice by other fledgling local taxpayer groups to pass along his experience.

Joel Fox (below) was a surprise guest speaker at last night's event. Joel, a Massachusetts native, worked for Howard Jarvis after the success of California's Proposition 13, its property tax reform that was the precursor of our Proposition 2 a couple years later. Joel ran the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association from 1986-98 and recently was a campaign consultant on tax issues for the successful California gubernatorial campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Joel related how Prop 13, like Prop 2, has been attacked for every fiscal ill in the state ever since voters adopted it, including O.J. Simpson's not-guilty verdict! When it was recently blamed for California's fiscal crisis, he shot back and asked why it wasn't credited for the boom years of the '90s.

Joel brought a Schwarzenegger campaign t-shirt to our event and presented it to Barbara with the suggestion that we auction it off to help raise money. It went for $75, thanks to the impressive auctioneer talent of former Republican state rep. and longtime CLT member Royall Switzler.

Joel has just had his book published, "Yes on 13; the Legend of Proposition 13, the Great California Tax Revolt," and we gave out 13 copies in our door prize raffle last night.

In 1999, Barbara was presented with the 5th Howard Jarvis Lifetime Taxfighter Award at the National Taxpayers Union dinner in Washington DC. This was a special thrill for her as her hero, Ronald Reagan, was its first recipient.

It's always great to get together with so many like-minded CLT activists once every year as we did last night. For most of the year you're a voice at the other end of the phone or an e-mail address, so meeting face to face helps us get to know you better. Needless to say, a great time was had by all.

We hope if you weren't able to attend last night's festivities, that next year you'll make it a point to join us and other taxpayer advocates and activists!

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