Primary Elections 06/02/98 County Assessor/clerk Recorder
Vote for 1
Thursday, May 28, 1998
1. Name, occupation and number of years in Monterey County?
2. How much money do you plan to raise & spend to become assessor? Are there any contributions you would not accept?
3. What are your qualifications for this job?
4. What does the assessor's office need in the way of equipment & staff & how would you, as assessor, secure these additions?
5. Should assessment/clerk recorder records be accessible online? Why or why not?
6. Do you support the recent merger of the assessor & clerk/recorder's offices?
7. Is Monterey County property accurately assessed? If not, what would you do to improve the process?
8. Why do you want this post?
1. Escrow officer
20 years in Monterey County
2. $40-50,000, yes
3. I am a 20-year resident of Monterey County, a senior escrow officer with 26 years of experience in the title industry, past Area Representative of Rotary International & past president of Salinas Steinbeck Rotary.
4. I seek to reform the assessor's office by assuring property owners of prompt notification if property values fall so assessments can be reduced & taxes cut. And I will introduce modern business technologies into the assessor's office to improve efficiency & reduce operating costs.
5. Yes, for any documents/records that are currently available of record to the public.
6. Yes, due to the cost factor.
7. Property tax assessments fall under the guidelines of Prop. 13
8. I am running for assessor because taxpayers & homeowners deserve a friend & advocate in the assessor's office. In 1978, Prop. 13 represented the first salvo in California's revolt against ever-increasing taxes as taxpayers & homeowners said enough with soaring property taxes.
1. Hartnell College Trustee, Insurance Agent & Analyst, Employee Benefit Specialist
Over 26 years in Monterey County
2. Will spend all money collected/have never accepted money in exchange for preferential treatment.
3. I have 5 years of experience as an elected public officeholder (Hartnell College Trustee) & have learned budgeting, public employment law, & have hired & evaluated employees with the board of trustees. I've also earned a certificate in special district management during my tenure.
4. The assessor's office isn't the only office that needs help, the county clerk & recorder offices also need to be given priority for new equipment & staff. Solutions to this problem include combining the offices to share resources & use student interns.
5. Yes. Internet access to records will help businesses & the physically challenged. An individual's right to privacy must be taken into consideration when providing any information.
6. Yes & the assessor's office needs to be merged with the others too, so the public can have "one step" service for less money.
7. There were about 600 appeals to unfair assessments last year, but there were many more unfair assessments that went unchallenged because the people didn't know their rights. I will educate the public about their rights using workshops & the media.
8. I'm the only candidate who has experience in public office, doesn't have a conflict of interest & represents positive change. As your representative to this office, you can expect better service for less money & students will be given internship opportunities.
C.E. Chuck Leonard
1. President, Steinbeck Country Mortgage
Lived in Monterey County most of my life
2. Plan on raising & spending $30,000 for the primary. I would not accept any contributions from outside our tri-county area.
3. The assessor earns $96,500 & supervises 61 individuals in 3 departments. I am the only candidate who supervised 61 people in 3 departments & the only candidate who has made $96,500. My 30 years in banking/mortgage offer me a wide variety of experience.
4. The assessor's office needs to upgrade its information system & integrate computers better. As assessor, I would urge the board of supervisors to bring the assessors office into the next century, able to properly accomplish its mission.
5. Parts of the records could be available online but every effort should be made to ensure that private information does not accidentally become public knowledge. I believe immediate access to all public information would help the assessor/recorder to better serve the public.
6. Why not? Consolidation of offices under 1 department supervisor makes sense & saves money. It does, however, require that the department head be experienced in managing 60-80 people. This makes the assessor less of a technician & more of a people/problem manager.
7. I believe Assessor Bruce Reeves, has done an excellent job assessing property values. His office has not been in the news for anything improper or controversial. I hope that I can bring my management skills to this job & possibly respond quickly, accurately & fairly.
8. Since I ran for MoCo Treasurer in 1981, I have waited for a position in financial management to open up. These jobs are generally for life & you must wait for the officeholder to retire. This opening is the first since 1981.
1. Assistant Assessor
Monterey County resident 55 years, including 3 years Navy
2. Will raise $15,000 and spend $35-40,000. I will not accept contribution from any person or group that I suspect is given in hope of influencing my future decisions.
3. My qualifications are 29 years in the assessor's office, progressing from trainee to assistant assessor. I have extensive knowledge of property tax law & procedures necessary to be of assistance to taxpayers who have questions about their assessments.
4. The assessor's office is adequately staffed at present. State-of-the-art hardware & software has been installed or included in the 1998/99 budget. While every department has wish lists, the administration has provided adequate resources to improve efficiency & service.
5. I support certain public information being accessible online; however, there is a balance to be maintained between accessible public information & the rights of citizens to privacy. I will institute a Website so that legitimate business needs can be met, while protecting our citizens' privacy.
6. Yes, the offices were merged as a cost cutting measure in 1994 & we accomplished the merger while maintaining the same level of service. Our current modernization project will enable us to provide an even higher level of service while reducing costs.
7. Yes. A recent state review shows assessments to be at 98.2% of the required level. We constantly monitor sales activity so that we can adjust assessments up or down within limits of the law. This unbiased report indicated we're doing very well.
8. For me, this is a natural progression. Our team has built an efficient & friendly department. My colleagues & Bruce Reeves, our current assessor, asked me to step forward to take the helm so that an experienced person, not a politician, will lead our office.