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Incumbent Clark County assessor faces 2 political newcomers

The race for Clark County assessor comes down to the value of experience.

Incumbent Briana Johnson, a Democrat, has worked in the assessor’s office for 27 years, including the past four as assessor.

Republican Helen “Ms. OS” Oseguera and Brandon Menesini, who is not affiliated with a political party, have never run for office before and have not worked in an assessor’s office, but they say a new attitude is needed in the department to improve the way it serves the public.

Oseguera said she also hopes to be part of a Republican push to retake control of the government after what she called the illegitimate election of President Joseph Biden in 2020.

Johnson, 48, said experience is necessary to perform the job of the assessor, who sets property valuations for tax purposes. She said she views the job as nonpolitical, and she is merely carrying out the policies of lawmakers and other officials.

“I like to refer to my position as a department head that just happens to be elected,” Johnson said.

“I’m here because there is a need, there is a job to be done,” she added, “and I know how important this job is and what it entails, and I’m just hoping that the voters vote for experience and someone that can do the job.”

Tax cap confusion

Johnson has faced turmoil this year about confusion over property tax caps. She said the assessor’s office has worked for years to educate homeowners on their rights and that she has been frustrated that so many people were still confused about their tax obligations.

Johnson said the silver lining of this year’s problems is that more people should be aware of the property tax caps now.

One accomplishment Johnson cited from her first term, prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, is that people can now complete all their business with the assessor’s office online.

Oseguera, 63, said she has experience dealing with assessor’s offices when she worked for an engineer in California, and she cited the property tax cap confusion as something she would investigate if elected, possibly with an outside audit.

However, she said her decision to run for assessor came from an overall frustration with Democratic control of the government. She said she was among a group of conservatives who identified 19 uncontested races without a Republican candidate, and she ended up being slotted into the assessor’s race.

“Running for office, honestly, was not anything that I had planned or hoped for,” said Oseguera, who said she was retired but is back working part-time jobs because of Biden’s economic policies.

Biden ‘reincarnation of Hitler’

Asked if she believed Biden was legitimately elected, Oseguera said, “Hell no. And that’s a double hell no.”

Asked about a Twitter reply in which she referred to Biden as “the reincarnation of Hitler,” Oseguera said, “That’s an understatement.”

She said she thought Johnson was “a good person,” but that her experience of working in the assessor’s office for so long was actually a detriment.

Menesini, 32, said his desire to run came from personal frustration after he struggled to help an elderly family friend get information from the assessor’s office on why her home value had changed. She died before resolving the dispute, he said.

“I was extremely disappointed and offended by how poorly the office is run from a customer service standpoint, based on phone calls, contacting them through email, even reaching out in person,” he said. “I was just thoroughly disgusted, really, with how badly they were treating the public.”

Menesini, who said he is the manager at a call center, said he wants to set office policy on customer service to make workers remember what their job is.

“The general attitude of the office needs to understand that they are civil servants,” he said. “They serve the public, not the other way around, and that is the No. 1 purpose of running is to fix that attitude.”

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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