Monday, December 2, 2019
[Contra Costa County] Embattled Contra Costa County assessor Gus Kramer to run for county supervisor seat
Blog note: this article references a formal accusation by the county’s civil grand jury.
Contra Costa County’s long-time assessor, Gus Kramer, who is facing civil misconduct charges of “willful or corrupt” misconduct and creating a hostile work environment, will run for a seat on the board that he is suing and who voted last year to censure him: the county’s board of supervisors.
Kramer confirmed his bid for the District 5 seat, for which Martinez planning commissioner Sean Trambley is also running.
Kramer and Trambley will run against Federal Glover, who has held the seat for two decades. Glover has confirmed to this news organization that he plans to run again for his seat, which represents the area that includes Antioch, Bay Point, Crockett, Hercules, Pinole, Pittsburg, Port Costa, Martinez and Rodeo, as well as other unincorporated communities.
Candidates have until Dec. 6 to file for the March 3 ballot.
Kramer, who lives in Martinez, said in an interview that while he loves his job as assessor, he wants to get involved with setting policy in the county.
“I have people in my (assessor’s) office who are extremely capable and knowledgeable and who will do a wonderful job,” he said of potential replacements for the county assessor role. “It’s time for me to move on and do something different.”
He cited his experience with land use in that office, as well as 10 years as the Martinez city clerk and stints in the Contra Costa County sheriff’s office and public works departments as part of a resume that he believes would help him do well in the role of county supervisor.
But Kramer, who was first elected to the non-partisan assessor’s office in 1994, has also been dogged by controversy. Currently, he is embroiled in legal proceedings after a formal accusation by the county’s civil grand jury, filed in court by the District Attorney’s Office, alleged Kramer made “sexual” comments multiple times to female employees in his department and once made an ethnic slur to a worker.
A trial for the case is expected to start in January.
In interviews and in the grand jury transcript, Kramer has said the allegations against him by employees and the county supervisors’ censure are all politically motivated by people who are unhappy with him or who want his job.
He has repeatedly criticized the board of supervisors. When supervisors voted 4-0 to censure Kramer when his employees’ accusations about him became public, he sued the county, claiming it failed to turn over documents about the censure vote and violated open meeting laws by discussing the matter in closed session. The suit remains open.
Martinez planning commissioner Trambley, meanwhile, announced in a press release that he is beginning his campaign for the District 5 supervisor race, noting in a written statement that “Our communities deserve a supervisor who will show up and work hard for all of us. I believe Contra Costa County, with new, active leadership, can offer better opportunities to those hoping to buy a home, start a small business and provide for their families.”
Trambley, who was raised in Martinez, is also the CEO of his communications firm, SMT Strategies. On his campaign website, he has cited fighting for new housing, opposing an indoor gun range near Martinez schools and supporting “common sense cannabis policies” as his accomplishments in Martinez politics, and he is a member of the Contra Costa Young Democrats — the local chapter of the youth arm of the California Democratic Party.
“Our aging infrastructure needs massive improvements, we aren’t building nearly enough housing and we need to create jobs locally so people can have the opportunity to work where they live,” Trambley says on his campaign website.
Glover, the incumbent District 5 supervisor, has been on the board since 2000 and was chairman of the board in 2004, 2008 and 2013. He began his fifth term in 2017.
Before that, Glover was on the Pittsburg City Council from 1996 to 2000 and for 22 years worked at Dow Chemical.
November 11, 2019
The Mercury News and East Bay Times
By Annie Sciacca