News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Op-Ed: Countywide election for assessor-recorder-clerk includes incumbent Ernie Dronenburg

Op-Ed%3A+Countywide+election+for+assessor-recorder-clerk+includes+incumbent+Ernie+Dronenburg

A normally low-profile, countywide political race that often falls under the radar for many voters features Ernie Dronenburg, incumbent for the office of San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk. Dronenburg, a Fallbrook resident who lives on a flower farm, said he is expecting a re-election victory on June 5 for his third term.
With only two candidates in the nonpartisan race, whoever receives more than 50 percent of the vote in June will be declared the winner. Dronenburg was first elected to the office in 2010 and re-elected in June 2014, when he received 59 percent of the vote, resulting in no runoff election that year. Running against Dronenburg is San Diego downtown attorney Matt Strabone, who describes himself as an ethics attorney and former attorney to President Obama, according to his ballot statement.

Ernie Dronenburg, Jr., Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk

The office of the County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk typically draws little public attention, however nearly every county resident who owns property or rents is affected by what happens there. As county assessor, Dronenburg oversees assessing the value of real estate and personal property, which in San Diego includes planes and boats. Property taxes constitute the largest share of revenue for the county. His work also involves registering business names and issuing marriage licenses, birth and death certificates. The office has a $71 million budget with 405 employees and five offices in San Diego County. Dronenburg said his department has returned an average of $3.2 million of his annual budget to the County general fund. His office is forecasting a return of more than $5 million in 2018.
Dronenburg’s track record includes lowering property values, which provided tax relief to hundreds of thousands homeowners so they could remain in their homes. Soon after taking office in 2010, Dronenburg reduced property taxes on more than 310,000 properties in San Diego County. At the time, the housing market was still reeling from impact of the economic recession and many homeowners had lost value in their homes.
Dronenburg also is known for implementing technology innovations to his department to allow more online forms transactions. San Diego was the state’s first county to implement a document e-recordings system with secure electronic signatures. A document digitalization program saves the printing of more than 650,000 pieces of paper annually, Dronenburg said.
Also, the office under Dronenburg has improved customer service, receiving a 98.3 percent positive customer survey rating and a 4.5 stars out of 5 stars rating on YELP, he said.
“I feel that qualifications and experience matter and I’m the only candidate with the knowledge to understand the technical nature of property taxes to protect homeowners and the certification necessary to legally hold the office,” said Dronenburg. “I’ve been successful with implementing technology innovation and bringing the private sector revolution to the public office.”
Prior to serving as the county’s Assessor/Recorder/Clerk, Dronenburg spent 20 years with the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), including five years as chairman. At the BOE, he authored the California Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights and implemented the original Prop. 13 regulations that limit property taxes to 1 percent of a property’s assessed value.
Strabone is endorsed by labor unions and liberal political organizations. Dronenburg is endorsed by the San Diego County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, San Diego Police Officers Association, National Electrical Contractors Association, the Latino American Political Association and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
“Our staffs have worked together for years to the benefit of taxpayers and we want that working relationship to continue,” said Dan McAllister, San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector, who has endorsed Dronenburg.
Greg Smith, former Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, also has endorsed Dronenburg. “Ernie is far and away the superior choice for the office,” said Smith. “He embodies fiscal responsibility and is a true taxpayer advocate.”

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Op-Ed: Countywide election for assessor-recorder-clerk includes incumbent Ernie Dronenburg