The August primary race for property appraiser was a crowded one with five candidates. It’s now down to two: former property appraiser Pedro J. Garcia, 77, and former Hialeah State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, 44. They are vying for the opening created in January when Carlos Lopez-Cantera was appointed the state’s lieutenant governor.
Mr. Garcia has 38 years of experience appraising Miami-Dade property and was a long-time member of the Value Adjustment Board, an independent quasi-judicial body that adjudicates cases appealed to the property appraiser’s office. In 2008, he became the county’s first elected property appraiser, but lost his seat to Mr. Lopez-Cantera in 2012.
There is no doubt Mr. Garcia is more knowledgeable about financial matters. Mr. Gonzalez, chair of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation, has hit term limits, but little in his legislative experience seems to have prepared him for this position, nor did he make a persuasive case to the Editorial Board.
During his first go-round, Mr. Garcia made some significant changes to the office, but stumbled. He was accused of not cracking down on homestead-exemption fraud. His decision not to include foreclosures in the valuation of homes and not dealing quicker with homeowners challenges were also concerns.
Both candidates pledge to make the office more virtual, allowing property owners more information online, making TRIM notices easier to understand, modifying homestead-exemption filings and offering an open-door policy. Mr. Garcia seems to understand his lapses. Given his deeper knowledge of the office, voters should give Mr. Garcia a second chance. The Herald recommends PEDRO J. GARCIA for Miami-Dade property appraiser.