Kings County assessor opening attracts 4 candidates

The Fresno BeeMay 21, 2014 

The campaign for Kings County assessor has become a battle about who is most qualified, as the four candidates tout their education and experience.

The $126,000-a-year job has no incumbent candidate because former Assessor Ken Baird retired.

The county assessor is responsible for determining the value of properties so tax bills can be prepared. In Kings County, the assessor also serves as clerk-recorder and registrar of voters.

The candidates are:

  • Dan Chin, 56, former Hanford City Council member and mayor.
  • A. Renee Faber, 50, an appraiser in the Kings County Assessor's Office.
  • Kristine Lee, 48, chief auditor-appraiser in the Tulare County Assessor's Office.
  • Ed Lopez, 51, self-employed appraiser and general contractor.

Dan Chin

Chin said his experience both as an elected official and manager of Buddies Trophies, a family business, fits the needs of the job.

"I'm the most qualified based on the entire position," he said, noting that about 30% of the job is devoted to county assessor duties, 15% to clerk-recorder and 55% to registrar of voters.

"It's a management job," Chin said. "I was a manager for 20 years and an elected official for 14. I've worked at the top end managing budgets for government and I'm familiar with living within budgets and how it all works. No other candidate has the experience I have, not only as a manager but as a policy person."

Chin said he hopes to buck a trend: He said county employees have advanced to the Kings County assessor's seat for the past 40 years.

He has raised about $16,000, more than any other candidate.

He said he expects no candidate will get more than 50% of the vote in the June primary.

A. Renee Faber

Faber is a lifelong resident of Kings County who started as a clerk at the assessor's office 25 years ago making $7 an hour. Today, she's an Appraiser III.

"I want to take the leadership role and lead the office," she said. "I want to continue my service to the people of Kings County and to make a positive outcome for the public and employees."

She said she knows every aspect of the assessor's office, and if elected would protect the integrity of the registrar of voter's office.

"I would definitely improve public service," she said.

Faber is self-funding her campaign. She has held raffles but is not seeking campaign contributions.

"I'm not a politician," she said.

Kristine Lee

Lee has lived in Kings County for 20 years.

For five years, she was a certified public accountant in the private sector before being hired 10 years ago at the Tulare County Assessor's Office as an auditor-appraiser. For the past two years she has served as chief auditor-appraiser.

"I'm the most qualified candidate," Lee said. "I have more education and relevant experience than the other candidates."

She has a master's degree in public administration.

She said the other candidates vow to improve customer service but "they don't have a track record of how they're going to do it. I've increased production, improved customer service and streamlined processes."

Lee said she isn't fundraising but has received some contributions.

She said she's getting her name in front of voters through precinct walking, door hangers, advertising and candidate forums.

Ed Lopez

Lopez worked as an appraiser for the Kings County Assessor's Office for five years before starting his own property appraisal and general contracting businesses.

"I'm a real estate professional" who buys and sells homes, and also builds homes, he said.

Lopez has appraised unusual properties, including a movie theater, cemetery and a church, plus farms and subdivided land.

"With my experience and my education, it qualifies me to assess 50,000-plus properties in the county," he said. "I've worked in the office and I know the principles. I have the skills and education to serve the public and have the best qualifications to serve the public."

If elected, he said he'd improve customer service.

As part of his real estate activities, Lopez said he writes his own grant deeds and files them with the clerk-recorder, so he knows what it's like to be a member of the public dealing with the office.

His campaign slogan is "I Value Values." The slogan refers both to the assessed value of the property and people's personal values, he said.


Candidates

Dan Chin

Occupation: Retired business manager

Hometown: Hanford

Age: 56

Education: B.S., Accounting, Fresno State

Family: Single

A. Renee Faber

Occupation: Appraiser III, Kings County Assessor's Office

Hometown: Lemoore

Age: 50

Education: A.A. Business Administration, College of the Sequoias

Family: Married, granddaughter

Kristine Lee

Occupation: Chief Auditor-Appraiser, Tulare County Assessor's Office

Hometown: Hanford

Age: 48

Education: Master of Public Administration and B.A., Business with accounting emphasis, Fresno State

Family: Two sons, three grandchildren

Ed Lopez

Occupation: Appraiser, general contractor

Hometown: Hanford

Age: 51

Education: B.S., Business Administration with management emphasis, minor in economics, San Jose State University

Family: Single, two teenage children

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com or @fb_LewGriswold on Twitter.

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