Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Electing the LA County Assessor

A public official in Los Angeles County assesses the value of county-wide properties, which in turn influences the amount of taxes which the property owner has to pay.

The Daily Breeze has concluded that the position should be appointed instead of elected.

Popular vote requires campaigning, a sure-fire entry for corruption from well-off donors, whose contributions can influence the assessor to skimp on the assessments and help the proprietor pocket their profits.

John Noguez was arrested on corruption charges, evaluating real estate at a lower value to give owners and break and offer the employee a kickback.

Democracy is hard to give up, the Daily Breeze editorial board opined. Once again, the importance of an enlightened citizenry cannot be diminished.

Whoever runs for the office in the future, the voters can esteem the skills and the character of the person who would run the agency. With 1,000 employees under the supervision of the County Assessor, the property tax process can invite untold levels of corruption.

I wonder if the editorial board could have offered another revenue stream, or at least another process for raising funds for the county. Allowing publikc officials to make these decisions inevittablye invites corruption.

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