Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association made the case that fake news is an old phenomenon—using Prop 13 as a victim of fake news.

He’s right.

Now, I don’t agree with the headline of the piece, which suggests that Prop 13 was the “original victim” of fake news. Jon doesn’t write the headlines (and his piece doesn’t make that claim), but for the record, the “original” victims of fake news were Adam and Eve, courtesy of that serpent, the Drudge of their age.

But Prop 13 gets blamed for a lot of strange things. Coupal mentions something about vaccines and the OJ Simpson verdict, but Joel Fox has catalogued an even longer list of phony stories about Prop 13.

The blame-game is an example of a bigger problem. People don’t understand California governance, and they don’t understand Prop 13. And that’s why it’s so darn hard to fix either.

Prop 13 did three big things. First, Iit limited property taxes, which is the one of the three things that most people understand. Second, it imposed supermajorities for raising taxes in the state legislature and at the local level.

It’s that second thing that produced Prop 13’s third and biggest impact. It built a foundation for California governance is deeply centralized in Sacramento.

That centralization is constantly with it. And both Coupal and Fox often complain about the effects of that centralization – without noting the centralization’s roots – when Sacramento does things they don’t like. Since Sacramento is controlled by liberal Democrats, that happens a lot.

Not all of that centralization belongs to Prop 13. Court decisions and many other measures have contributed to the phenomenon. Many of those decision and measures are built on the Prop 13 structure.

In short, Prop 13 deserves more blame in some ways, less blame in others – and a heck of a lot more understanding if we’re going to unplug the system, reduce centralization of power, and restore greater local governance and democracy in California.