By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone was elected to his position in 1994. He’s won re-election easily every four years since then.
But Stone may have his most serious challenger next year. That’s when he plans to run for re-election for a seventh time.
Santa Clara Valley Water District Vice-Chair Gary Kremen told San Jose Spotlight a few days ago that he’s “strongly considering” running against Stone.
Kremen said that he’ll make an issue of Stone insisting on employees coming to work during a pandemic.
Kremen has talked to numerous people about his plans, including some political consultants. They believe Stone is vulnerable to a “change” campaign. And Kremen has a successful business background. He founded Match.com.
According to multiple sources, the Kremen camp is also watching the 49ers’ assessment appeal decision. Stone could be vulnerable on the issue.
A few years ago, the 49ers asked for and got a huge tax break. They claim they only manage Levi’s Stadium half the year even though that’s factually inaccurate.
But the 49ers convinced the County’s Assessment Appeals Board of their case. According to our sources, it may be one of the biggest assessment appeal tax cuts in Santa Clara County history.
Some people estimated the total hit to be about $240 million, not just the approximately $30 million that Stone has told the public.
That financial hit will hurt all local governments, like the City and the County. But most of the funds will be taken from the Santa Clara Unified School District and the West Valley-Mission Community College District.
In 2019, Stone went to court to fight the appeals board decision. Some Kremen supporters say Stone was forced into the decision.
The court hearings on the issue started last month. The decision is expected this year. It could have a major impact on the County Assessor’s race.
We’ll be following the case and the campaign.