Can a Pakistani-American Win a Los Angeles County Wide Election?
By Omar Haroon
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy
Hello, my name is Omar Haroon, and I am running for Los Angeles County Assessor. I am a proud native of Los Angeles-born at the Queen of Angels Hospital to immigrant parents that were born in Pakistan and India. I graduated from Santa Monica High School. After high school I attended UCLA where I earned my Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering. My wife Mariah and I were married in 2001. Currently we live in Los Angeles where we are raising our five-year-old daughter and two-year-old twins.
I have an extensive background in real estate and financial management, including the launching of multiple hedge funds and working as a Construction Manager with IDS Real Estate Group. Currently I am a Deputy Assessor with the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office. The Assessor’s Office is responsible for the valuing of all the real and taxable personal property in Los Angeles County, so that property taxes can be applied. With your support, I hope to serve the public as the Assessor. It is one of only three positions that is county wide, along with the Sherriff and District Attorney, making me directly responsible to the nearly 10 million citizens of Los Angeles County. As Assessor I would be responsible for overseeing the valuations of property which at the recent close of the last fiscal year totaled over $1.12 trillion.
A lot of people have asked me why I would want to take on a county wide campaign when I am already so busy working and raising young children. There are a few reasons. First, I have always had a desire to serve the public in the greatest capacity that I am capable of. With my managerial and technical experience, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to apply my abilities in highly meaningful way. In addition, with the Assessor being such a high profile position it should lead to even greater opportunities to serve in the future. Second, I feel that it is important for our community that we start engaging more directly with the political process and power structure. It is important that we have vocal leaders that are visible to just not our community, but to the larger world as well. The third reason that I choose to take on this endeavor is that I can and, with your support, will WIN. There has been a lot of turmoil recently at the Assessor’s Office and with there being no incumbent (the last Assessor is currently facing a multitude of felony charges related to corruption) this is the perfect opportunity for me to win this office.
As your Assessor I plan on ensuring fairness, efficiency and transparency. Faith needs to be restored in the Assessor’s Office and I am the man to do it. My first act as Assessor to ensure fairness, efficiency and transparency will be to use my expertise to oversee the implementation of new computer system. The Assessor’s Office current computer system that is used to track Los Angeles County’s 2.64 million properties was developed in the late ‘70s. It is extremely costly to maintain, incredibly cumbersome to interface with, and lacks certain basic controls that ensure accountability for any changes that are made to Assessor records. By applying my supervisory and technical expertise I will see the Assessor’s system updated so that the office has the ability to better respond to taxpayer concerns, process everything in a more timely way, and ensure accountability in everything that is done. This will be an important first step in restoring the public’s trust in the office.
For me to accomplish all of this though, I will need your help. The election is not until June 2014 but laying the groundwork now is an essential step for victory. There are many ways to help including hosting a fundraiser, donating directly, volunteering, and, of course, voting if you live anywhere in Los Angeles county. Please visit www.OmarHaroon.com and contribute in any capacity that you are capable of, it will make a difference and be greatly appreciated. It is also important that I spread the word of my candidacy. Please share this article with people you know. If you know of any large gatherings that I would be able to speak at, please go to my website and inform me of it. At www.OmarHaroon.com you can also register to receive updates about the campaign.
I would also like to take a moment to encourage the youth to consider public service. It is important that as a community we empower ourselves by participating directly in the political system. One suggestion that I have for you if you one day wish to hold public office is to increase your understanding of all the different cultures that meld here in Los Angeles. Participate in inter-faith events, reach out to people of different origins, and learn everything you can. It is important that as a leader you have the ability to bring people together from all walks of life.
A few people I have spoken to question whether a Pakistani-American can win a Los Angeles county wide election. The answer is YES! We are a tightly bound community and having all of you as a base to build upon is actually a huge advantage that I am thankful to have. I know that with your support I will be Los Angeles County’s next Assessor. Thank you for taking the time to read about me, please visit www.OmarHaroon.com when you have a moment and vote June 2014.
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