By Brian Hews
California State Assemblyman Cam Smyth said it is time for Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez to hang it up.
One of California’s most influential lawmakers has demanded the resignation of Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez.
Santa Clarita area Assemblyman Cameron Smyth told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper on Wednesday that Noguez needs to step down immediately “for the good of all taxpayers in Los Angeles County.”
Smyth, the chair of the powerful Assembly Local Government Committee, has known Noguez for more than a decade on a “personal and professional” basis said that he is “beyond disappointed.”
“Calling for John to resign is not something I take lightly. Let’s face it, he can’t do the job anymore. The public trust is gone,” Smyth said.
The lawmaker said that the scandal has been a focal point of both private and open conversations between elected members of the Assembly and Senate. “Everyone is talking about this in Sacramento, and each and every new revelation is more and more jarring,” Smyth said.
He called the arrest of Noguez political alley Scott Schenter, a former county property appraisal specialist “stunning.”
“It is scary to think just how deep this investigation is going to go,” Smyth said.
“Even if Mr. Noguez did nothing wrong, as he claims, he has clearly lost control of his office,” he said.
“For something of this magnitude to be happening under his nose, without drawing any suspicion, raises serious questions about his performance and the ethical standards he set for his office,” he said.
Smyth recently introduced Assembly Bill 2210, which would require the assessor to notify the governing body if the assessed valuation of property decreases by more than three percent within 30 days of the request for the estimate.
AB 2210 further requires that within 15 days of notifying the governing body of this decrease, the assessor notify the Department of Finance, the board of supervisors, the governing boards of the cities within the county, and all affected school districts.
“This isn’t just a matter of a handful of wealthy campaign contributors getting special treatment,” said Smyth. “We’re talking about slashing the values of hundreds of homes, and eliminating tens of millions of dollars from county tax rolls. That has a ripple effect that decimates budgets for school districts, district hospitals, and anyone who relies on property tax revenue.”
Smyth said he is going to take a “wait and see” stance on how the LA County Board of Supervisors handle the situation. “There is only so much that the Board can do, but sooner or later they are going to have to step in and take control,” Smyth said.
He did say that a “care taker” can be appointed to fill the position on a temporary basis, but admitted the entire situation “is beyond staggering.”
“It is scary the depth of this matter. I am afraid goes beyond just the Assessor’s office,” Smyth concluded. “This is just another black eye for elected officials.”
Smyth said he voted for Noguez in 2010, but said “my position has changed since then.”