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February 2013

News Review
Mayor Lee Announces Carmen Chu as Assessor-Recorder
District 4 Supervisor to Fill Vacancy as Steward of City’s Real Estate Taxation & Public Records
Posted Date: 2/6/2013
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced his intention to appoint District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu as Assessor-Recorder, filling the vacancy left by Phil Ting who became California Assemblymember of the 19th Assembly district in December 2012.

“Carmen Chu will lead the Assessor-Recorder’s office with the same level of budgetary expertise and fiscal prudence she demonstrated when she provided the leadership needed to develop the City’s first two-year budget, balance a $6.8 billion annual city budget and close budget shortfalls of $380 million,” said Mayor Lee. “Carmen’s exemplary budgetary skills as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors have benefited the entire City and she shares my values of equity, efficiency and responsiveness to all San Francisco residents.”

In FY 2011-2012, the Office of the Assessor-Recorder generated approximately 35 percent of the City’s General Fund revenue and captured more than $23 million in underreported and unrecorded transfer tax. Zoon Nguyen was appointed by Phil Ting to be the Acting Assessor-Recorder of San Francisco on December 3, 2012. The Assessor-Recorder equitably and effectively administers the property assessment system of the City and County of San Francisco. The duties of the Assessor-Recorder include locating all taxable property in San Francisco and identifying the ownership, establishing a taxable value for all property subject to property taxation and listing the value of all property on the assessment roll. The Assessor-Recorder maintains public records, conducts fair and efficient assessments and ensures equality in all assessments.

“Chu brings a strong track record and qualifications stemming from her effective relationships with her colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor, as well as her demonstrated responsiveness in serving her constituents as a Supervisor,” said California Board of Equalization Member Betty T. Yee. “Chu will enhance the high caliber of professionalism at the Assessor’s Office. As an elected member of the State of California’s oversight agency for statewide property tax administration, I look forward to working closely with Chu for the benefit of all Californians.”

Carmen Chu was elected to the Board of Supervisors in November 2008 and November 2010 to serve as the City’s representative to the Sunset/Parkside District after being appointed to serve in September 2007 by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

As member of the Board of Supervisors representing District 4, Carmen Chu served as Chair of the Board’s Budget & Finance Committee for FY 2011-2012 and FY 2012-2013. Together, with labor, community advocates, City departments, and the Mayor’s Office, the Board of Supervisors were able to agree on a $6.83 billion spending plan that provided funding for the most vital City services and closed a $380 million General Fund budget deficit.

During her time on the Board, Chu worked on legislation to encourage more companies to do business with the City by streamlining the City’s contracting process; provided protections to tenants who are victims of domestic violence; strengthened regulations, coordinated enforcement and expanded community review of proposed massage establishments; and encouraged small, local business participation in City projects.

Prior to joining the Board of Supervisors, Chu worked to improve the lives of San Francisco residents through her tenure at the Mayor’s Office of Public Policy and Finance, where she served as the Deputy Budget Director to develop and forecast the City’s annual and long-term budget, and worked on projects such as the 311 Customer Service Center – a centralized point of access to City services available to residents 24/7. Chu has also consulted with PFM, a private consulting firm that specializes in advising municipalities on the management of debt and financing of large public works projects.

Currently, Chu serves as Chair of the Government Audit & Oversight Committee, and as member of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA), Health Service System Board, and the City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee. Chu also serves as a Director with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, and is a Board Member of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

Chu holds a Bachelor’s degree from Occidental College in public policy and a Master’s degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

Mayor Lee today also announce that rating agency Moody’s has upgraded the rating of City and County of San Francisco’s $2.2 billion general obligation bonds from Aa2 to Aa1, the second-highest possible rating. Moody’s has also upgraded the rating on the City’s essential-asset lease and certificates of participation (COP) to Aa3 from A1. The ratings on the leases and COPs that were rated Aa3 prior to this review have been confirmed. The outlook for the City’s long-term ratings is stable.

In October 2012, Moody’s placed under review the leased-backed obligation and/or general obligation ratings of 32 cities in California, and downgraded the pension obligations of eight cities and one pooled financing. The reviews were mostly for downgrade, although the general obligation bond ratings of San Francisco and Los Angeles were on review for upgrade.

Moody’s upgrade recognizes the quality of the City’s exceptionally “large tax base, wealthy populace, recovering housing market, large and diverse regional economy, and sound prospects for continued economic improvement at a rate superior to the likely state and national growth rate.” The action also reflects the City’s fiscal position which is likely to improve and moderate debt levels. However, the City’s $4.4 billion unfunded liability for retiree health care coverage will continue to be a challenge for San Francisco.