Rafu Staff Report
Appraiser Tracy Okida has entered the crowded race for Los Angeles County assessor in the June 3 election.
Nine of the 12 candidates come from the County Assessor’s Office. The current assessor, John Noguez, is facing corruption charges, has been on leave since 2013, and is not seeking re-election.
“I’ve been with the Assessor’s Office as a real estate appraiser for the past 16 years,” Okida told The Rafu Shimpo. “All of the controversy about the assessor in the recent years is very unfortunate because it has been my experience that the people on the staff of the L.A. County Assessor’s Office are highly competent, trustworthy, diligent, helpful, and dedicated to the goals of our office to honestly and fairly appraise the properties in the county for property tax assessment.
“It is because of the staff and management at the Assessor’s Office, and all of the great work that they do, and have been doing all along, that I feel so very confident that I will be able to successfully carry out the duties of assessor. They got my back, and the work will get done … accurately and on time as always.”
If elected, Okida said, “What I would like to do as assessor is somehow get the information out to everyone in the county that we are here to help them with any and all questions about property taxes, and to inform them of all the various ways that exist for them to possibly have their property taxes reduced.
“But we won’t know if we can help them unless they call or write to us. Before they buy or sell, before they add on, build new, or demolish, call us, and maybe we can inform them of exemptions, exclusions and laws that may affect their decisions, and guide them through the forms they may need to fill out and submit.
“It’s been my experience that most, if not all, of the people I’ve spoken to over the years have been so grateful for the information I was able to share with them, and to just answer and clarify their questions. They may not always have received the answers they were hoping for, but they were glad to have received the correct information.
“Many found that their property tax problems weren’t as large, or as complicated, as it seemed at first, and they were happy. I want that for all the people.”
Also running are Yvonne Austin, property assessment specialist; Jeffrey Prang, special assistant assessor and West Hollywood councilmember; Frank Diaz Jr., Omar Haroon, Krish Kumar, John “Lower Taxes” Loew, Brilliant Edward Manyere and Sandy Sun, deputy assessors; John Y. Wong, past chairman of the Assessment Appeals Board; Nestor “Rick” Valencia, mayor of Bell; and John Morris, head deputy district attorney.