Avelino votes yes, Sharon votes no: ACA-13. WHAT IS THAT?

That was a surprise last week, to see the California Business Roundtable attacking our Assemblyman Avelino Valencia for “Voting to Weaken Prop 13” – Avelino, whom we’d thought of as the most business-friendly Democrat.

Did the big guy really vote to Weaken Prop 13? Could this be (we wondered) the long-sought “Split Roll” reform, in which we FIX the big problem with Prop 13 – 1978’s Prop 13 which famously protects homeowners from skyrocketing property taxes, but sneakily included commercial properties so that companies like DISNEY are still paying the same property taxes as they were when I was in high school? The Split Roll reform, which was defeated at the ballot box a couple years ago, would fix that. But spoiler alert, what Avelino voted yes on was NOT that, and had nothing to do with Prop 13.

And at the same time, the CBR put out a similar ad PRAISING our Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva for “PROTECTING Prop 13.” She will like that as she runs for her final re-election in a new district she’s worried about! But what DID Sharon (along with ONE other Democrat and all Republicans) vote NO on, while Avelino along with almost all Democrats voted yes on, and has nothing to do with Prop 13? It was a little Constitutional Amendment called ACA-13.

The California Business Roundtable is an insatiable lying cabal of the state’s biggest, greediest, and most polluting businesses (think the state version of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce or the OC Business Council.) It’s no shame to have them as your enemy. And whenever they don’t like something, they cry out “PROP 13 is in danger!” knowing that is guaranteed to scare the bejeezus out of aged, high-propensity-voting homeowners. They are like Johnny One-Note that way. HEY! Now there’s a song we haven’t heard since before Prop 13 passed!

But yes, what the legislature passed, needs voter approval, and WILL BE ON YOUR BALLOT with a LOT of other things November 2024, is ACA-13.


What *IS* that?

Ballotpedia explains it as clearly as I could:

ACA-13 would require initiatives that change vote thresholds to supermajority votes to pass by the same vote requirement as is being proposed. For example, if an initiative requires a two-thirds (66.67%) vote for new taxes, the initiative would also have to pass by a two-thirds vote. It would also authorize local government to place advisory questions on local ballots.

ACA 13 was introduced on July 13, 2023. Both legislative chambers approved ACA 13 on Sept. 14. In the Assembly, the vote was 55-19. In the Senate, the vote was 28-9. Like ACA 1, legislative Democrats, minus two, supported ACA 13, while Republicans, along with two Democrats, opposed the constitutional amendment.

{Oregon has a vote threshold requirement similar to ACA 13. In 1998, voters approved an initiated constitutional amendment to require that any ballot measure proposing a supermajority must pass by that same supermajority.)

Does that make sense? Maybe I CAN do better.

Right now, A BARE MAJORITY OF VOTERS can dictate that something else WILL NEED 2/3 OF VOTERS TO PASS.

If we pass ACA-13, that’s no longer the case.

If we pass ACA-13, then it will take 2/3 of voters to say that SOMETHING ELSE WILL NEED 2/3 OF VOTERS TO PASS. That makes sense to me – what business does 50% of voters (plus one) have, telling 66% of voters what they can’t decide?

And why do we (arguably) NEED this reform? Well, now you need to know about ANOTHER constitutional amendment that’ll be on your ballot, the SAME Nov. 2024 BALLOT:

The “Taxpayer Protection Act

THIS initiative, championed by the kleptos at the Business Roundtable and their allies, would make it MUCH harder for any new revenues to be raised, either by the voters themselves or the legislature. (And maybe you think that’s a good thing.) Basically, it amends the state constitution so that


So, basically, impossible. AND a bare majority of voters can make that the law.

Except, not if ACA-13 also passes at the same time. Because it specifies that a bare majority of voters can’t do that shit. And will it apply to this “Taxpayer Protection Act” which could very well pass at the same moment? Oh yes. They made sure to include the clause:

The measure would specify that this voter approval requirement would apply to statewide initiative measures that appear on the ballot on or after January 1, 2024.

as well as

The provisions of this measure are not intended to reverse or invalidate provisions of the Constitution in effect before January 1, 2024, including the provisions of Proposition 13 of 1978.

So there you have it. We’ll all be deciding on these things in a little over a year. Maybe you think Californians and Californian businesses pay too much taxes. Maybe you think the government doesn’t need any more revenue. Maybe you think it’s all just about right. Or maybe you think the wealthy and corporations could pay a little more, OR a situation may arise in which voters think the state or a county or municipality may need a temporary revenue boost for SOMETHING.

In any case, I hope you’re less confused about this than you were before you read this article, and less confused than I was yesterday.


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.