David Bohnett Speeches

Acceptance Speech for City of Angels Award

Thank you, Mayor, for those kind words of introduction.

Antonio's leadership as Mayor of Los Angeles has been an inspiration to me and many others to roll up our sleeves and help tackle the tough challenges we face in our beloved city. As he has told me on numerous occasions, the Mayor thinks he has the best job in the world, and he brings the experience, energy, leadership and enthusiasm required to get the job done. Antonio is the embodiment of the true meaning of public service.

When Antonio asked if I would accept this honor from the Getty House Foundation, I accepted with enthusiasm. It is an honor and a privilege to serve my community in any capacity that helps to improve the lives of our diverse community of Angelinos. It is our shared responsibility to nurture and strengthen a culture of community service and philanthropy for our city and global community. The civics education programs at The Getty House help in that effort, by providing young children with an understanding of city government and the importance of being active in their neighborhoods.

Since its founding in 1781, our city has benefited greatly from the generosity of its citizens. The philanthropic and business communities in Los Angeles play a major role in improving our daily lives through the support of arts and culture, education, health care and social service institutions. Public and private partnerships are a cornerstone of serving the myriad needs of our burgeoning over-population. But these partnerships can go only so far, and it is the responsibility of our local and state governments to build the foundation to address our future needs.

And here's the big rub: Proposition 13 has choked funding for local and state governments to the point of starvation and beyond. Proposition 13 has been an unmitigated disaster. The decline in the quality of life in Los Angeles can be traced to the so-called “People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation,”, or Prop 13, which passed on June 6, 1978. The proposition's passage resulted in a cap on property tax rates in the state, reducing them by an average of 57%. In addition to lowering property taxes, the initiative also contained language requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases in all state tax rates or amounts of revenue collected, including income tax rates.

The sentiment that older Californians should not be priced out of their homes through high taxes was a large contributor to the passage of Proposition 13. In fact, the unintended consequences of Prop 13 have introduced major problems of equity and efficiency into the state's tax structure. Prop 13 led to an inefficient and inequitable housing market, that has put home ownership out of reach for many more than would have otherwise been able to afford a home prior to its passage. Those who defend Proposition 13 need only look at the state of our schools, roads, infrastructure, and health care system to realize that its passage has caused irreparable harm to California and our nation.

I would encourage us all to support a dialog for the eventual repeal, or at minimum an adjustment, of Prop 13, and to elect legislators who are willing to take on the difficult task.

Thank you again to Mayor Villaraigosa and the Getty House Foundation for this honor, I am very grateful and will work hard to live up to its promise.