Incumbent challenged for countywide seat of assessor-recorder-clerk

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A normally low-profile, countywide political race that often falls under the radar for many voters this year features incumbent Ernie Dronenburg, seeking his third term the office of San Diego County assessor-recorder-clerk, and San Diego ethics attorney Matt Strabone is the challenger.

Dronenburg was first elected to the office in 2010 and re-elected in June 2014 by a 28-point spread. With only two candidates in the nonpartisan race, whoever receives more than 50 percent of the vote on June 5 will be declared the winner.

A normally low-profile, countywide political race that often falls under the radar for many voters this year features incumbent Ernie Dronenburg, seeking his third term the office of San Diego County assessor-recorder-clerk, and San Diego ethics attorney Matt Strabone is the challenger.

Dronenburg was first elected to the office in 2010 and re-elected in June 2014 by a 28-point spread. With only two candidates in the nonpartisan race, whoever receives more than 50 percent of the vote on June 5 will be declared the winner.

Strabone is endorsed by labor unions and liberal political organizations, including the San Diego County Democratic Party, California Nurses Association, National Latino Peace Officers Association Advocacy, Sierra Club and San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

Strabone currently serves on the board of directors of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, a nonprofit that trains local young professionals to create positive change. He also works with the North Park Community Association, a civic organization dedicated to community improvement.

Dronenburg is endorsed by labor unions, trade groups, law enforcement groups and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, along with El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, Santee Mayor John Mento and Santee City Council members Rob McNelis, Ronn Hall and Brian Jones.

While the office of County assessor-recorder-clerk typically draws little public attention, every county resident who owns property or rents is affected by what happens there.

The office oversees assessing the value of real estate and personal property, and property taxes constitute the largest share of revenue for the county. The office also involves registering business names and issuing marriage licenses, birth and death certificates. The office has a $71 million budget with 405 employees and five offices in San Diego County.

Dronenburg said his department has returned an average of $3.2 million of his annual budget to the County general fund. His office is forecasting a return of more than $5 million in 2018.

Dronenburg also is known for implementing technology innovations to his department to allow more online forms transactions. San Diego was the state’s first county to implement a document e-recordings system with secure electronic signatures. A document digitalization program saves the printing of more than 650,000 pieces of paper annually.

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