In the News: April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018: San Diego Union-TribuneCounty assessor invested in companies that own and manage properties under his jurisdiction.

Many assessors in California have policies on how to value an official’s personal property such as a house — for instance, handing the job off to counterparts in other counties to avoid a conflict of interest. But investments like those Dronenburg has in companies with real estate holdings are a gray area.

Matthew Strabone, the San Diego lawyer challenging Dronenburg on the June 5 ballot, said it is not appropriate for an elected assessor to buy and sell shares in companies that own property subject to their assessment“My opponent can have a directly beneficial impact on these companies and he stands to benefit himself from that potentially beneficial impact,” he said. “This is the very definition of a conflict of interest.”

Strabone said assessors should be prohibited from investing in companies that own property within their jurisdiction“Sometimes holding public office requires sacrifice, and this is a reasonable and necessary sacrifice for the County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk to make,” he said.


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In the News: June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018: San Diego Free Press: Documents Suggest Favoritism on San Diego County Property Tax Appeals by Assessor’s Office. It pays to have friends in high places, especially when it comes time to appeal property tax assessments in San Diego County, according to documents released via the California Public Records Act and provided to the San Diego Free Press. These documents, along with a careful analysis of campaign finance records and personal financial disclosures, suggest favoritism has been a factor in reducing the tax burdens of those with connections to County Assessor Ernest Dronenburg. A major local corporation, along with a longtime campaign contributor’s family, were among the beneficiaries, thanks to a seeming lack of interest in challenging appeals by the agency responsible for such matters. Because there was no push-back by the County, the assessment appeals process was effectively manipulated, paving the way for significant reductions in property values for Qualcomm, the largest property taxpayer in San Diego County.
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In the News: May 23, 2018

May 23, 2018: San Diego CityBeat: CityBeat's Election Endorsements. In case you missed it, we wrote a feature on ethics attorney Matt Strabone, who’s running to unseat longtime incumbent Assessor Ernest Dronenburg. The latter is banking on voter indifference to his multiple controversies (anti-gay marriage, campaign finance violations, reckless spending, etc.). Don’t be indifferent, as this race will be decided in this election. Matt Strabone is ready for the job and will be a valuable public servant in this important office that’s in charge of property taxes, property value assessments and more.
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