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
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 2½ 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
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
The first recipient of CLT's new David P. Wilson
Award for Uniting Taxpayers was Ted Tripp (below) of North
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 2½ 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 2½ 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 2½, 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!