By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone was elected to his position in 1994. He’s running for his seventh term.
But this time he’ll have two challengers.
Santa Clara Valley Water District Vice-Chair Gary Kremen announced earlier this year his interest in taking on Stone. We wrote about the possibility in March.
Since then, accountant Andrew Crockett has thrown his hat into the ring as well. Crockett used to be an assessor but is currently not active.
Stone is touting his years of experience and that he’s saved the County over $21 million.
Kremen is promising greater innovation and transparency. He’s been critical of Stone’s office management.
Crockett wants to use the Assessor’s office to make living in Santa Clara County more affordable and sustainable.
Most County political watchers believe this contest will be decided in a November runoff between Stone and Kremen.
Then, it will be a debate about experience (Stone) versus change (Kremen).
Our sources were evenly split about whether Stone would be re-elected. He has better name identification than Kremen. But he’s also prone to political mistakes.
In May, Stone was censured by the Silicon Valley Democratic Club for saying that “Gary Kremen is sucking the tit of the union.”
Stone also has mishandled the 49ers assessment appeal. He lost a big case to the 49ers and may have had a conflict of interest.
The County on behalf of Stone is suing to reverse the decision. But if the 49ers win the case, this will be a major blow to Stone — and to taxpayers. The money lost in taxes will be ten times more than Stone has saved the County as Assessor.
This will be an interesting race (and court case) to watch.
Here are the Assessor candidates’ photos and websites: