Carmen Chu is the elected Assessor for the City and County of San Francisco. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of the California Assessors’ Association and past President of the Bay Area Assessors’ Association.
As Assessor, Chu runs an organization of 200 professionals. Her efforts in overhauling the operations and performance of the office and in successfully reversing a decades-old backlog earned her office the prestigious 2020 Good Government Award, an honor recognizing excellence in public sector management and stewardship.
In addition, Chu serves on the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System Board where she oversees the investments and policies of a $26 billion public pension system. She also provides direction on the Executive Board of SPUR, a non-profit research and policy organization focused on developing regional solutions to cross-county challenges like housing affordability, climate resilience, economic equity and public transportation.
As a public servant, Chu’s values are rooted in her experience growing up a daughter of immigrants. In 2017 she launched the Bay Area’s first Family Wealth Forum, an initiative to bridge the resource gap for low-income and monolingual immigrant communities in accessing free, credible financial and estate planning services. Over 1,300 residents and their families have since received one-on-one counseling or have been helped though this program. Other efforts to expand access such as her in-language educational videos and information earned her the 2018 Epic Awards, top honors from the California Association of Public Information Officers.
As a strong women leader of color, Chu firmly believes in providing equitable opportunities for the community. In 2018, Chu launched the WChallenge a non-partisan civic engagement effort aimed at uplifting the representation and voices of women. There were 48 non-profit organization sponsorships and 150 local women civic leaders have signed on to attend the WChallenge.
Chu and her staff were also proud to be the only County Recorder office in the State to remain open the entire weekend when California first resumed same-sex marriages in 2013. As a result, 479 couples were able to immediately record their public marriages in the historical records of the City & County of San Francisco without waiting a minute longer for the same rights others experience.
Prior to her tenure as Assessor, Carmen was an elected representative on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Deputy Director of Public Policy and Finance for then Gavin Newsom’s mayoral administration. As Supervisor, Chu distinguished her time as a nuts and bolts policy and budget wonk. Legislation she carried included tenant
protections for victims of domestic violence, funding for small business development, micro-contracting opportunities for local businesses, active storefront zoning for neighborhood commercial districts and enabling legislation to build the largest renewable energy installation on any municipal facility in the country at the time.
By the numbers, a few interesting facts about Chu and her accomplishments:
She is the only Asian American woman elected as Assessor in the State of California. Currently there are only two Asian Americans and 18 women elected amongst California’s 58 counties;
Annually, 155,000 documents and 14,000 businesses now file online as a direct result of Chu’s commitment to initiate and expand online services;
There are 205,000 vital real estate files and over 3 million images that are now safeguarded and stored digitally through the Assessor’s new records systems;
In her term as Assessor, the office has outperform revenue expectations by over half a billion dollars;
About $545 million in CA ERAF dollars was returned to San Francisco as a result of strong property tax growth;
Implementation of a new transfer tax audit program resulted in the recovery of close to $40 million in underreported taxes;
In progress new construction assessments increased from less than $500 million in 2014 to over $11 billion in 2018.
Cumulative growth in the roll created $2.6 billion in additional bond capacity for road repairs and needed infrastructure work.