Spring 2010 pg7

Political Elections 2010

Humboldt County Assessor Candidates

 

A ) JOHANNA RODONI


1. Do you believe the County should uphold the people’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel?
– Yes. When people buy legal parcels with the promise they will rightfully be able to build with a ministerial permit, the county must conscientiously uphold that right. Requiring Conditional Use Permits to build on legal parcels has a negative impact on landowners because of the cumbersome and expensive process they would be required to endure with no guarantee of approval. I consider changing the rules after the fact unethical.


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– No. Unilaterally merging existing legally created parcels is a property right issue in my opinion. Any time the government changes the conditions of a deed the owner is impacted. In the case of parcel merging, the owner loses his/her right to the value of having separate parcels. Because merging parcels will likely significantly depreciate the overall property value, it will have a negative financial impact on the owners’ ability to use their property as collateral. It may also negatively affect their ability to build additional homes for family members.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– The current Framework Plan requires that when decisions are being made affecting policies, the government must maximize the opportunity for individuals and groups to have meaningful participation in the planning process. More effort must be put into informing individual property owners and communities as to how any and all changes to the General Plan will affect them. Public meetings should be held throughout the county. The County should notify every landowner of proposed zoning changes to their parcels. Detailed maps with proposed changes to the current Framework Plan should be physically and conveniently located in every community.

Because the General Plan is the constitution for all future developments within our county, keeping citizens well informed is key to developing a well thought out General Plan. Good planning depends on community involvement.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– In some cases no. The General Plan Update has become an unwieldy process affecting decisions that should be rightfully based on our current Framework Plan. As County Supervisor, I observed decisions and processes being postponed and weighed in anticipation of what may happen under the future Plan.

State law requires that the General Plan be periodically reviewed and revised as necessary. The update offers an opportunity to improve the County’s information base and plan for future needs. I contend the current Framework Plan, with some modification, is a good document. It should be the basis of the update. Instead, the Update Process has become a lengthy and expensive exercise.

 

B ) JON BROOKS


1. Do you believe the County should uphold the people’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel?
– The Assessor is a nonpartisan office and should not be politicized.
As Assessor, I will assess property according to the law, so that the owners pay their fair share of property taxes to support government services, from schools and police right down to fixing potholes.
I understand the confusion over what constitutes a “legal parcel” versus an “assessor parcel”, and that there may be different causes of ‘legal transfer’ issues. I believe good government requires that processes which affect the lives of our citizens be clear. People need to know what the rules are, so they can understand what is happening and what their options are. I’ll work to achieve good government at all levels, especially at the Assessors office.


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– What the county “should” have the right to do is a legislative issue, beyond the purview of the Assessor’s Office. The County does have authority to exercise the police power (zoning) but it must do so for the public good and in accordance with the requirements of the law.
As Assessor, I will assess all property, merged parcels or not, as specified by law for tax purposes.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– The Assessor is not directly involved in the General Plan update process, and I would maintain the independence of the Assessors office.

Nevertheless, the General Plan Update process could be improved with data and analysis. The Assessor can contribute by collecting and analyzing certain data relevant to the planning process. I would integrate this function into Assessor operations so decision makers can better understand the magnitude of the “illegal subdivision” issue and the fiscal effects of various policy options.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– Problems have developed over decades with respect to what’s characterized as illegal subdivision of rural lands. Regardless of how good or bad past administration has been, we must find better ways to conduct business from now on. I am running for Assessor because “business as usual” won’t move us closer toward solutions.

Subdivision and zoning are not an Assessor responsibility. However, since they may impact Assessor functions, it is important for the Assessor to actively coordinate with other departments, in finding ways to provide tax bills to record owners, assuring timely reassessments, and assuring that innocent purchasers can have prior notice of of questionable parcels that have been ignored for years.

My approach is to address issues directly, in a fair and open manner. And I am committed to move forward on these issues.

 

C ) MARI WILSON


1. Do you believe the County should uphold the people’s principally permitted right to build a home with a ministerial permit on their existing legal parcel?
– The constitutional responsibility of the Assessor is to locate, identify, and equitably value all of the real and personal property in the county. The existence of a permit or legal parcel is not in the scope of the Assessor or Assessor’s Office responsibility in fulfilling their duty.


2. Should the County have the right to unilaterally merge existing parcels that were legally created just because a single owner now owns them?
– Assessor parcels are only combined at the written request of the owner of record or by the recording of a document or map combining Assessor parcels.


3. Do you believe that the public has been adequately informed and given sufficient opportunities for meaningful input in the General Plan Update process?
– The Assessor’s Office is not involved in the General Plan or the update process. This is under the domain of the Community Development Department. Issues with the General Plan are best addressed by personnel involved with the process and this does not include the Assessor.


4. Do you believe that the County is effectively administering the current General Plan?
– Again, the Assessor’s Office is not involved in the General Plan or its administration. The effective administration of the General Plan is the responsibility of the Community Development Department under the direction of the Board of Supervisors.

 

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