‘Bring Back the Crooked Assessor’

California’s Assessors Used to Have the Freedom to Make Decisions. Now None of Us Do.

The ongoing criminal investigation of Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, on allegations that he lowered tax assessments on property owners in return for campaign contributions, divides Californians into two camps.

The first, and larger, is made up of all those who, having come of age since the 1978 passage of Proposition 13, will greet the news by asking, “What is an assessor?” The second camp, the graying and dwindling cohort of Californians who predate that famous property tax initiative, will nod sagely and muse, “Ah, yes, the Crooked Assessor. …

There Will Be Mortgage Blood

An Idea That’ll Make No One Very Happy (Which Is Why It’s Good)

By now we are all eminently aware of our nation’s mortgage crisis. Lenders over-lent, buyers over-bought, and state-of-the-art hedging ensured nobody would ever be held accountable.

But four years on, economists …