BRY for County Clerk and Assessor Stops by to Groove with the Music Legend.

I am running for Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk (ARCC) because my background in the technology and business world and service on the City Council has prepared me to lead this office which needs new leadership and new technology. 

The stakes are high since property taxes fund education and other community programs. The Assessor’s job is to make sure that all properties are appraised according to Proposition 13 and that corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

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Summer Howard with Barbara Bry candidate for County Assessor, Recorder, and County Clerk, and to the far right is her legendary father Dr. “Music For Lover’s” Howard at Bowlegged Bar-B-Que past Friday nite.

During the benefit for Tayari Howard, SDMNEWS got the chance to sit down with San Diego County Clerk and Assessor candidate Barbara Bry to talk about what is really at stake in the race. Barbara explains the “What” and the “How” of the Job.

SDMNEWS: How does one bring futurism and technology into play with the responsibility of Assessor ARCC?

BB:

I am running for Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk (ARCC) because my background in the technology and business world and service on the City Council has prepared me to lead this office which needs new leadership and new technology. 

The stakes are high since property taxes fund education and other community programs. The Assessor’s job is to make sure that all properties are appraised according to Proposition 13 and that corporations pay their fair share of taxes. 

This is also an office that needs new leadership – especially when it comes to issues regarding ethics and technology. The former head of technology has pleaded guilty to funneling contracts to his wife’s company.

The office has also struggled for several years to implement what is called an integrated property tax management system to streamline the appraisal to collection process and ensure that valuable revenue isn’t slipping through the cracks.

Residents are sent to a third-party website to conduct property searches, and they pay a fee after a certain number of searches. In Los Angeles, this is all done in-house for free.

The County has a disjointed process for collecting information on new building permits and the completion of new construction. This makes it difficult to update the property tax rolls on a timely basis.  For example, a piece of vacant land is worth $1.  Someone builds a new hotel or office building.  The Assessor needs to send out an appraiser on a timely basis to determine the new value for property taxes.  This way, the property owner pays the correct amount of taxes, and education and other public services get the revenue that they deserve.

My background as an executive and high-tech entrepreneur for over 30 years has prepared me to address these issues and lead this office which has an annual budget of $76 million and 400 employees. I pledge to examine how we can streamline access to birth, marriage, and death certificates. I will also perform a top to bottom audit of the office to ensure that the highest ethics are upheld and that there are no more contracts without a vetted government process.

SDMNEWS: With this type of position, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, what is the first thing you would like to change or enhance?

BB:  This office has over 400 public servants and an annual budget of $80 million.

My priorities are restoring public trust and bringing equity, transparency, and modernization; ensuring all customers receive excellent service online, in person, or over the phone. Accomplishing this will mean addressing human resource issues — identifying gaps in the organization, providing professional development so that the office can promote from within, compensating employees equitably, implementing an effective and fair teleworking option, and having a workforce that represents the diversity of our region.  I will spend the first 90 days meeting with the 400-plus employees who work out of five offices all over the county.  I look forward to their many good suggestions for improvement.

SDMNEWS: We know it’s expensive to live in San Diego, but how would you educate San Diegans on the rules and regulations to help or improve on benefits San Diegans may not know to exist?

BB: 

This office administers many state programs that can help San Diego property owners save money on their taxes.  These programs include the basic homeowner’s exemption, the disabled veterans’ exemption, senior/disabled exclusion, institutional property tax exemptions for religious, scientific or charitable purposes, intergeneration exclusions, and property tax relief from a calamity.  As Assessor, I would expand the outreach efforts to include:

–An increased presence on social media

–A regular newsletter

–Focused efforts to reach communities that have often been overlooked through organizations, media companies, churches, and other religious institutions that are trusted resources.

SDMNEWS: What made you want to get in the thick of our city’s property leadership? We think it’s a natural fit though.

BB:

Public service has always been an important part of my life.  I’ve served on several nonprofit boards including as President of The Children’s Museum, and I’ve started three organizations that empower women:

–Athena San Diego for women in tech and biotech

–Run Women Run to elect more San Diego women to office.

–The Workplace Equity & Civility Initiative to address sexual harassment and pay equity issues—this is now run by the Lawyers Club of San Diego.

The ARCC is an office that needs new leadership – especially when it comes to issues regarding ethics and technology as I discussed before.                             

I will always stand up for San Diegans to ensure their voices are heard. As the first elected official to call for an independent investigation of both the 101 Ash Street scandal and the Public Utilities Department’s water bill overcharging fiasco, I have a proven record of asking the tough questions to identify government waste and to ensure taxpayer dollars are well spent.

SDMNEWS: You have so much experience in the tech industry here in the San Diego area, how would you like San Diego to preserve some of our most historic landmarks in the African American community and others for instance street naming, why may this be important?

BB:

It’s very important that our children and grandchildren understand the history of our region.   That’s why preserving historic landmarks in the African American community is so important. One way to do this is to have landmarks acquired by nonprofit organizations that receive tax-exempt status. Street naming is an important part because it’s a visual constant reminder of our history.

SDMNEWS: Will your leadership encourage the state to partner with local news media print to allow print media to move into a more futuristic digital model as it is, especially when it comes to sustainability and climate change?

BB:

Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change.  I believe that all levels of government should partner with the media as it transitions to a digital model.  The media will be an important part of educating the community about the role of the Assessor and the programs that are available to them.

SDMNEWS: What’s your mantra, what do you want our readers to know when they go to the polls?

BB:

Relentless pursuit will get you further than good grades.

Early in my career, I was a journalist for The Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times.  I learned to do my research, ask questions, listen, and then be relentless in getting the story.  These attributes have been important in the diverse chapters of my career which has included starting technology companies, serving on nonprofit boards, and starting not-for-profit organizations.  Every day, I continue to ask questions, gather new information, and figure out better ways of doing things.  I want to bring this relentless spirit to leading the Office of Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk.

Remember to VOTE BRY for County Clerk and Assessor

barbarabry.com

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