Silicon Valley’s high housing costs are personal for certified public accountant Andrew Crockett. He’s running for county assessor to help fix it.
“One of my Masonic brothers lives in a two-car garage and he considers himself lucky to have a non-insulated, two-car garage to call his home,” Crockett, a member of San Jose Masonic Lodge No. 10, told San José Spotlight. “It’s him, it’s his wife, it’s his newborn kid as of a month ago living in a garage… This is a valley of genius. This is a problem we’re capable of solving.”
Crockett, a 35-year-old who grew up in Monterey County, is the latest challenger to seven-term incumbent Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, who’s up for reelection next year. He is also an appraiser, though his certification is currently inactive.
If elected, the local accountant said he hopes to solve some of the housing crisis by using the Assessor’s Office.
“Of the positions that are available, the Assessor’s Office is the terminus point for every single transfer of property that takes place in this county,” Crockett said. “The overlap of all these jurisdictions makes the Assessor’s Office the most logical position to really take a stand for homeownership and take this bull by the horns.”
The assessor is responsible for determining the value of all property in Santa Clara County, and also provides property tax information to the public. The office has no term limits.
Francisco Ramos, a delegate for the state Democratic Party Central Committee who’s organized with Crockett in the past, said the candidate has the “breadth and experience” to know what the needs of the position are.
“He can also understand budgets, spreadsheets—all the financial workings of the office to really try to bring about the change that is necessary for Santa Clara County,” Ramos said.
Crockett’s top priorities include having the office look at solutions to ensure residents can afford to live in the county and creating more sustainable policies to account for any impacts property may have on climate change. He pledges to implement standards in the office set by the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board, a nonprofit that establishes practices for businesses and organizations to track decisions with their carbon footprint in mind.
“Imagine a future in this county where anytime you go for a county service… you knew that any service you received there was carbon neutral,” Crockett said. “We’re going to be responsible stewards for this planet that we have. The Assessor’s Office is just a small part of that planet.”
Stone called Crockett “a nice guy,” but asserted he has the most experience in the field of candidates.
“I’ve been in the real estate investment and development business for almost 50 years. I know this business,” Stone told San José Spotlight. “I can’t create a scenario where someone with my track record, my experience, could possibly lose this election.”
Stone says he saved the county $21.3 million through fiscally conservative measures and significantly increased the racial and ethnic diversity in his office.
While Crockett acknowledges Stone is the man to beat in this election, he said he’s willing to endure “whatever comes my way” to make sure people are able to afford to live in the place they grew up.
“I became incredibly present to the fact that I couldn’t call (Monterey County) my home as an adult,” Crockett said. “I see that happening to so many other people who have grown up here. Santa Clara County is their home. I want them to keep their home.”