Lake County News, Calif. – Steele: Hannah Faith Lee for Assessor-Recorder – Featured


It’s always a good sign when young people get involved in important government operations.

From the moment I met Hannah Faith Lee, 34, I knew she was something special.

Speaking from personal experience, running for office is not for the faint of heart. And when you decide to show up against an incumbent for eight years, you better be sure you know what you’re getting into.

In short, it takes extraordinary commitment, intelligence, and hard work to change years of trouble. Hannah has all of this and more. She’s smart with a heart, cares about people, and she’s a star.

Hannah is running for Appraiser-Archivist because she is convinced that there is something wrong with this office and it is having a negative effect on seniors on fixed and low incomes and on businesses.

In a recent forum, Hannah explained some of the issues she discovered.

One involved an unexpected increase in the tax bill of about 1,000 Lake County residents, many of whom have fixed and low incomes. The invoice was due two weeks after receipt. There was no notice, no time to prepare, to ask for help – just a tax bill that the current appraiser-recorder says the owners should have known about. Apparently they signed something years ago and should have remembered that.

“Do any of us remember what we signed 12 years ago?” Hannah asked.

She also described a business owner who decided not to install a small inventory shed in his business because the shed that cost a few hundred dollars would result in a property assessment of several thousand dollars that would significantly increase his taxes. Instead of expanding his business, he decided not to pursue further expansion in Lake County.

Hannah stressed that Lake County shouldn’t run the businesses — but find ways to work with the businesses to help our struggling economy.

She went on to cite a long list of issues she discovered before deciding to run. From long waits to file and access legal documents that delay homeowners from moving into their newly purchased homes, to dodgy property assessments that drive businesses out of the county and stifle growth, to arrears that lead to lost revenue for the general fund County.

Hannah makes a very compelling case: The office, after eight years under Richard Ford, is in trouble. The problems he says he inherited persist even after two terms (eight years) as assessor-recorder.

Mr Ford basically said that he was not responsible for the mess he inherited, but that he had made progress and just needed another term (making it 12 years) to complete a 10-year fix he had planned.

He used percentages to explain the state of arrears – not real numbers – an old political trick designed to make something look better than it actually is. Hannah is too smart to fall for it – saying – “75% of what? »

His estimate of arrears, based on conversations with county officials and others familiar with the issue, sounded more like years of arrears in property assessments.

Ford has repeatedly stated that the jobs in the Office of the Appraiser-Archivist were too technical to explain and that the tests he had to pass to be certified for the jobs he had to learn were too difficult for the company to pass. average person (words to that effect).

Hannah’s response was to point out that he didn’t have the certificates when he was elected in 2014 and that school was “really easy” for her.

But the kicker was when Hannah said the people served by the office were, “for lack of a better term – her boss.” She pointed out that if you can’t explain the job to your boss, you’re not a good communicator. At one of the forums, a woman turned to Hannah and said, “Thank you for your presentation, your answers were so clear.”

Hannah summarized her presentations at the two forums I attended with a focus on the many people she had spoken with to better understand their issues – local elected officials, current and former employees, business owners, landlords and groups like town halls and business associations and ordinary people are struggling to understand why they have to make decisions between paying utility bills and paying their taxes.

Isn’t that refreshing? A candidate who understands who’s boss – us, the taxpayers, everyday people who deserve great customer service and a clear explanation of how the laws work when it comes to things like property assessments, tax bills and stuff basics, like why they can’t get a simple copy of a death certificate or a marriage license in one day.

From the forums, Hannah discovered another problem. Years after the Valley, Clayton and Dam fires, survivors are still paying full property taxes on their destroyed properties. It is simply unacceptable.

Hannah is a problem solver – she owns her own business and works for the county as an assistant public guardian handling the affairs of more than 80 curators, including budgets ranging from $1,000 to just over $1 million. dollars each. She also makes life or death decisions for them and is accountable in court.

She is well-educated, with degrees in business management and psychology; business administration and preparation of tax returns; and certificates in tax preparation, basic and advanced accounting.

From her first job with the county, Hannah also has experience analyzing problems for managers and finding solutions to improve efficiency.

Hannah Faith Lee offers a new approach. He is a star who has the intellectual capacity, the experience and the knowledge necessary to bring the function of assessor-archivist into the 21st century. She has the makings of what is known in some circles as a servant leader, someone who pays close attention to the well-being of people and the communities in which they live.

Smart with a heart — and she says she’s had enough of Lake County being last. “We need to modernize the office, put in place basic electronic systems that save time and provide information the same day requested, we need to be accountable and we need to communicate with our boss,” Hannah said.

I agree with Hannah when she says we shouldn’t lag behind most other counties who are years ahead of Lake County in solving the same type of issues recognized by the assessor- current recorder. Eight years of testing is surely long enough.

We have a choice to make by June 7, the last day to vote. I vote for Hannah with full confidence that she will do the job in a respectful, modest, efficient and caring manner.

Olga Martin Steele lives in Clearlake Oaks, California.


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