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Letter from LA County Assessor John Noguez

Editor’s Note: As noted in our front page article, the video Mr. Noguez refers to in the letter below was pulled off the internet two days after it was uploaded and one day after LCCN reported on the video on their website.

Dear Editor:On Monday, March 26, 2012, the Los Cerritos Community News incorrectly reported on a public service video in which I appeared.

I was asked to be interviewed by Don Andrues, a Pasadena realtor, to discuss free services available from the Office of the Assessor. The video warned property taxpayers about mailings that offer to lower property taxes for a fee. I am very concerned that taxpayers are being charged fees, sometimes exorbitant fees, for services that my office provides for free. These companies often gave the impression that they were a government agency. You may recall the heightened public concern over this issue a few years ago which led to state legislation, sponsored by the Assessor, mandating that private companies offering fee-based services disclose that they are not a government agency.

My role in the video was limited to discussion of the free Decline-in-Value service my office provides and how the public can access this service through the Assessor’s website.

This Los Cerritos Community News article gave the mistaken impression that I endorsed this business and touted a personal relationship with me. This is simply wrong. I did not endorse Mr. Andrues’ business nor did Mr. Andrues make any reference to a “special” relationship on the video or his website. Indeed, aside from a closing reference to his website, the entire video was non-commercial and served to provide important information to residents of Los Angeles County.

Like previous Assessors, my office works closely with the real estate community as a vehicle to inform the public about the services the Office of the Assessor provides. We ensure that professional realtors are as educated as possible in order to provide accurate and thorough information to the public. Also, I have a citizens advisory council of realtors that is a conduit of important public information about my office. I speak often at boards of realtors and take every advantage to inform the public about Assessor services.

Even a cursory view of the video will demonstrate that it was of a non-commercial nature and my role was limited to a discussion of our free public services.

Finally, at the time Mr. Andrues requested the interview I asked that he include a disclaimer stating that I neither endorsed nor recommended his professional services. Apparently, he neglected to place that disclaimer on the video.

Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight.

Very truly yours,

JOHN R. NOGUEZ

ASSESSOR

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