Hi, my name is Gus Kramer and the Millennials in my life say I needed a personal website of my own. I guess AOL isn’t cool any more. I dont have time for blogging or twittering, but I would like to share more about myself online.
So here is more about me, and a few jokes as well. Sometimes sharing a laugh is the best way to break the ice and connect. I am a local Contra Costan who is currently servicing as county assessor. I love living and working in Martinez.
A little bit about me. I was born in Contra Costa and raised in East County. My high school was Pacifica High in West Pittsburg (Go Spartans!) and graduated in 1968. Back then the area was called West Pittsburg, but now it is called Bay Point. It was a small high school but we played hard in local sports and competed well against larger central county schools. It closed in 1976 and is now Riverview Middle School on Pacifica Ave. Having a high school of our own, rather than sending kids to Concord or Pittsburg, was a real anchor for the community.
After high school I attended DVC for a year, then went to mortuary school in San Francisco. Working in mortuary and funeral services is a very specific calling. It is not for everyone, but for those that answer the call it can be fulfilling. It taught me a deep respect for life, caring for the living, and humbleness in the face of the awesome hereafter. Working as an embalmer introduced me to the CC Coroner’s office, and I worked there for several years. It might be how I keep my sense of humor when things are gloomy. I continued my education at USF studying public administration at night, while I worked for the county. This began my career in public service.
I settled and raised my family in Martinez, the County Seat of Contra Costa. the adopted home town of environmentalist John Muir and the birthplace of baseball hero Joe DiMaggio. I still live there today, in an old house downtown I have been fixing up and restoring bit by bit over the decades.
Bitten is a strong word for it, so maybe I was nipped by the political bug in the mid-80s in Martinez. I wanted to be involved in my community, give back, and continue to serve. I ran for City Clerk and won. As clerk I was not voting on issues like the city council, but I was part of the process and aware of the machinations of local government. As city clerk I donated all of my monthly salary to provide scholarships to local students. Education helped my rise up and build a foundation, and I wanted to give back to the community rather than take from it.
Me in Martinez with councilmembers McKillop and Avila-Farias at a civic event
A priest, a politician, and a clown, walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this, some kind of joke?” LOL
As an elected official (not really a politician), I fight for regular folks like me. After I was voted into office as County Assessor, I pushed for equitable property rates and protected families and regular citizens from unfair burdens. My years of working for local governments have shown me different perspectives on the powers and pressures in play, and my experience allows me the means to keep doing a great job for all. My years in funerary services helped tap my sensitive side, my empathy, for understanding what others are going through. It keeps me in touch.
A push poller calls a voter that really, really HATES the candidate. The voter goes into a five minute rant ending with: “And if your guy gets elected I don’t know whether I will close my business, or leave the county!” The poller says: “OK, I will put you down as ‘undecided.'” Hahaha
As County Assessor, I want my office to the the example of how local government works efficiently. I have made improvements to
streamline our office operations, eliminated case backlogs, and improved levels of service, all while operating substantially under budget. Other departments should take note.
As an “insider” of local government, I see how the sausage is made. The power plays, the money grabs, the wheeling and dealing. Most citizens never get to see this, and don’t understand how it effects them. When it comes to real property, a family home and nest egg, lives depend on it. I make a point of getting out into the Contra Costa communities and speaking about the state of the real estate market, the tax base, and the big picture of property values in our region. I speak at real estate professional luncheons, Rotary meetings, and many other social, professional, and service organizations to share my perspective and give others a look behind the curtain.
Feel free to invite me to your group’s next meeting to discuss the state of real property in our county. Or say HI on the street next time you see me. I want to hear from you, about you, or at least share a good (clean) joke and a laugh.