By The Signal Editorial Board
As elections go, the race for county assessor may not generate as much “heat” as, say, a partisan race for a congressional seat. But the office of the assessor is an important one, and that’s especially so in the nation’s largest county, L.A. County.
And while you may not think of it often, here in L.A. County we are fortunate to have an assessor who is forward-thinking and effective in managing an office with more than 1,200 employees responsible for property tax assessments on 2.6 million properties with a total value of almost $1.8 trillion.
Further, while it may seem counter-intuitive for the assessor to be a taxpayer advocate, Assessor Jeffrey Prang is just that: While property taxes are his responsibility, he emphasizes a fair-minded approach that ensures property owners aren’t hit with a bigger tax bill than they should be.
For all of these reasons, we are endorsing Jeff Prang as he seeks a third term in the June 7 primary election.
Prang, who served 18 years on the West Hollywood City Council before being elected assessor, has earned recognition as an innovator who ushered in more modern methods to an assessor’s office that had stagnated under archaic methods.
“Obsolete technology from 40 years ago, including a mainframe computer and flickering green screens, have been replaced,” Prang says on his campaign website. “The old system was paper-based, inflexible, and operated on technology platforms that were inefficient for staff and challenging for property owners.
“I successfully implemented a program, completed in December 2016, to digitize all 2.6 million property files that were still being associated with paper files housed in one of six separate locations throughout the county. Digitizing over 100 million documents has made it easier for employees to access documents on their computers rather than spending long periods of time locating these paper files.”
The result is an assessor’s office that is more efficient, not only in serving the public but also in using the office’s budget effectively.
Prang also was recently honored with the prestigious 2022 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for the assessor’s cutting-edge Appraiser Training and Workforce Development programs.
This award was given as a result of the partnership with the Los Angeles Community College District, Rio Hondo Community College, Workforce Development Aging & Community Services, Department of Human Resources, and the Chief Executive Office, for the programs in real estate appraisal that provide the framework for lifelong pathways to success in government sectors.
“I am grateful and honored that our innovative programs have been recognized nationally and once again provide another example of how partnerships with private and public entities can and do work,” Prang said in a prepared statement. “Also, and perhaps more germane, the two programs create a pathway to positions we need filled.”
It’s refreshing to have a county assessor in office who emphasizes taxpayer fairness, efficiency and modernization. Prang has elevated the L.A. County Assessor’s office in tangible, significant ways — and is more than deserving of a third term serving L.A. County’s taxpayers.