The SCC Assessor’s Race is the Political Show of the Season

Put popcorn in the microwave and pull up a chair for next year’s political show of the season: the Santa Clara County Assessor’s race. No, we’re serious. Normally the dullest election around, incumbent Larry Stone has had an opponent only twice since being elected more than a quarter of a century ago, and the last one—Pete McHugh in 2006—he beat by three-to-one.

This time, water board director and entrepreneur Gary Kremen, who was inventing online dating in the internet’s early days as the founder of Match.com when Stone won the office in 1994, promises to make things interesting. Kremen claims he has collected a large list of endorsers—though he has yet to publish that roll—and wants to leverage his technology experience to modernize the office.

Stone, who turned 80 this year and boasted about his list of more than 70 endorsers, cites automation for being able to grow annual tax receipts more than fourfold to a cool half-trillion-plus while his budget grew at less than the rate of inflation.

“I’m good at it,” Stone says. He acknowledges that he irritated his union by insisting on implementing performance evaluations early on, and for pushing in-person attendance for some employees during the pandemic.

“Gary Kremen is sucking the tit of the union,” Stone told Fly, “That’s what the whole race will be about.” Later in an interview, he said he regretted putting it that way.

Stone sent over a list of 16 electeds who’ve endorsed him, mostly white and from San Jose and Sunnyvale, where he once served as mayor. Kremen, meanwhile, says he has been Hoovering up a diverse list of public officials in cities around the valley.

Kremen, who was in a joint meeting of Valley Water and the chatty San Jose City Council, was unavailable to fire back as Fly went to press. He’s not shy with his opinions either, so get ready for what promises to be a race worth paying attention to.

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

13 Comments

  1. “the founder of Match.com”

    you mean the godfather of tinder – world class sleaze-ball and harbinger of the collapse of society

    Nobody deserves this guy more than the Santa Clara though…

    maybe Vegas, but I’m sure there are an abundance of sleaze-balls there already

  2. I do not know Gary Kremin yet I fully endorse his candidacy. Longevity has made the incumbent arrogant and entitled. People have rallied to him not for accomplishments but out of lack of attention to the office. Time for him to be gone.

  3. Kreme is what’s best described as “filthy” rich – the dude is good at PR, but if you get close to him, he is a sleaze-ball, the kind of Vegas strip club trotting politico who could easily end up in a Matt Gaetz-style scandal. Besides Match.com, one of his primary 90’s money-making ventures was being the first to register the domain “sex.com,” which he eventually sold for $15 million.

    More recently, Kremen was part of the winning side in an all-male vs all-female vote to make documented sexual harasser Rick Callender CEO of the Valley Water District, and did nothing to defend the women on his board from baseless accusations of racism for opposing Callender’s appointment.

    Considering that Kremen appears to the only individual listed twice on San Jose Spotlight’s list of donors (Not sure what to make of that double listing, but Callender is listed as well, and the SCV Water District that Callender/Kremen run is listed as one of SJS’s largest donors) it will be interesting to see just what sort of coverage he receives over there while they continue to run stories on him without bothering to disclose the fact that he helps fund their news organization. I’m sure his list of endorsers will have nothing to do with his endlessly deep pockets and proclivity to make campaign donations.

  4. I like Gary, not so much Larry. Gary accepted my friend request on facebook long ago, we had a few chats, I think he’s a smart and interesting guy that made himself approachable for me. Larry Stone unfriended me, never actually said anything mean to him, so screw that guy. I think being approachable is a good hallmark of a public servant.

  5. Gary Kremen has a successful engineering and business background. He is active in attending community functions and has always appeared positive and approachable at these events. The couple negative personal comments among these comments seem uncalled for and just low politics. Kremen seems capable and can-do, and with his tech background should be able to do the work of assessing.

    By contrast, Larry Stone told everyone who would listen that he would be unable to figure out a way to re-assess commercial property if required by Prop 15 in 2020 (which failed, and which Stone had the audacity to use his public office to campaign against). WHAT??? Stone can’t assess commercial property? Stone can’t work the computer system to handle re-assessments? It’s too much work and Stone is too tired to do it?

    We need an assessor who will be able to do whatever the job requires. Support Kremen for Santa Clara County Assessor.

  6. It’s funny that Larry told everyone that Prop 15 would create too much work for his commercial appraisers, because for the last couple of months he’s been on a publicity campaign to encourage commercial property owners to apply for Covid-related value reductions, which significantly adds to the workload of the commercial appraisers. Mind you, he hasn’t provided any additional tools to help manage the added workload, he just made it easier for those owners to apply.

    And this PR blitz began right after he announced his re-election campaign. Totally not related at all!

  7. I don’t get it. What connection does Gary Kremen have with unions? As a Democrat, why shouldn’t we do more to support them?

  8. All this is due in no small part to taxing property based on value representing ability to pay, that stokes the greed of high-taxers with envy and resentment. Value is always subjective and subject to political and other manipulation.

    It has been ages since the need has been obvious to switch to square footage.

  9. Yeah, I don’t think that Gary has an natural connection to the unions. But Gary is quite “transactional” in his activities and I am sure labor is “using” Gary to attack Larry for his opposition to Prop. 15 (which I supported BTW) and Gary is using labor. I’m sure Gary will have plenty of support from those who scratch each other’s back without regard for the merits on civic service. Larry’s statement was foolish but not sexist. Unfortunately the politics on this one is already becoming a spectacle in the wrong way that voters should be making decisions. There will be more undoubtedly as Gary bought his Valley Water seat by spending 10 times his opponent with his porn wealth and he and Larry both with likely be well funded.

  10. @David Poeschel: try asking some women. Larry’s comment was sexist, and offensive. I’ll give you foolish, too. What could Larry have been thinking?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *