Howard Jarvis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Howard Jarvis
Howard Jarvis (cropped).jpg
Jarvis in 1978
Born(1903-09-22)September 22, 1903
Magna, Utah, United States
DiedAugust 11, 1986(1986-08-11) (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Resting placeForest Lawn - Hollywood Hills
EducationUtah State University
Occupationbusinessman, lobbyist, politician
EmployerLos Angeles Apartment Owners Association
Known forProposition 13
Political partyRepublican Party
Spouse(s)Myrtle Corrine Fickes (1924–)
Carrie Louise Martin
Estelle Garcia (c. 1965)[1]
Parent(s)James Ransom Jarvis
Margaret Bolton McKellar

Howard Arnold Jarvis (September 22, 1903 – August 12, 1986) was an American businessman, lobbyist, and politician. He was a tax policy activist responsible for passage of California's Proposition 13 in 1978.

Early life and education[edit]

Jarvis was born in Magna, Utah, and died in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Utah State University. In Utah he had some political involvement working with his father's campaigns and his own. His father was a state Supreme Court judge and, unlike Jarvis, a member of the Democratic Party. Howard Jarvis was active in the Republican Party and also ran small town newspapers. Although raised Mormon, he smoked cigars and drank vodka as an adult. He moved to California in the 1930s due to a suggestion by Earl Warren.[2] Jarvis bought his home at 515 North Crescent Heights Boulevard in Los Angeles for $8,000 in 1941.[3] By 1976, it was assessed at $80,000.[2] He married his third wife, Estelle Garcia, around 1965.[1]

Political career[edit]

Jarvis was a Republican primary candidate for the U.S. Senate in California in 1962, but the nomination and the election went to the moderate Republican Thomas Kuchel. Subsequently, he ran several times for Mayor of Los Angeles on an anti-tax platform and gained a reputation as a harsh critic of government. He founded the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in 1978.[4]

The HJTA pushed for the passage of California Proposition 13 in 1978. The proposition adjusted the property tax rate, pegging it at 1% of the purchase price of the property. This proposal was popular, largely due to the high inflation and associated rises in property taxes through the 1970s. Jarvis and his wife collected tens of thousands of signatures to enable Prop. 13 to appear on a statewide ballot, for which he garnered national attention.[5] The ballot measure passed with nearly two-thirds of the vote.[5] Two years later, voters in Massachusetts enacted a similar measure.[5]

In the campaign, Jarvis argued that lowering property tax rates would cause landlords to pass savings onto renters, who were upset at their rapidly rising rents driven by the high inflation of the 1970's. Most landlords did not do this, which became a motivating factor for rent control.[6]: 2


In 1979, Jarvis received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[7]

Film appearance[edit]

In 1980, he had a cameo appearance in the film Airplane!, playing an incredibly patient taxicab passenger. This was an inside joke that people outside California were probably unaware of since Jarvis, a champion of fiscal responsibility, spends the entire movie sitting in an empty cab waiting for the driver Ted Striker (played by Robert Hays) to return, with the meter running all the while. Jarvis has the final line in the movie, which he says after the end credits. Still sitting in the cab with the fare having reached $113 by the middle of the movie, he looks at his watch and says "Well, I'll give him another twenty minutes, but that's it!"


  • Jarvis, Howard; Robert Pack (1979). I'm mad as hell : the exclusive story of the tax revolt and its leader. New York: Times Books. pp. 310 pp. ISBN 0-8129-0858-9. OCLC 5170210.

Additional sources[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Estelle Jarvis, 91; Aided Husband's Effort to Put Proposition 13 on Ballot". Los Angeles Times. May 2, 2006. pp. B–10. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  2. ^ a b "Maniac or Messiah?". Time. June 19, 1978. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  3. ^ Curwen, Thomas (April 30, 2006). "A history of paradise". Los Angeles Times. pp. S–16. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  4. ^ "The History of HJTA - Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association". Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
  5. ^ a b c Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 325. ISBN 0-465-04195-7.
  6. ^ Forbes, Jim; Sheridan, Matthew (1999-06-01). "The Birth of Rent Control in San Francisco". San Francisco Apartment Association. Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2013-08-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]