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Originally published Friday, October 2, 2009 at 5:06 PM

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Albertini for assessor

The Seattle Times supports Graham Albertini for King County Assessor.

GRAHAM Albertini is this page's choice for King County assessor, a job left open by the retirement of Scott Noble.

The primary election in August did not narrow this race to the top two candidates. Because of the timing of Noble's retirement, the five candidates for assessor weren't on the primary ballot, which means they are all on the November ballot.

The one public figure among the five is Lloyd Hara, who has been a Port of Seattle commissioner, and many years ago, Seattle city treasurer and King County auditor. Hara has raised the most money and is the most skilled at campaigning. He is not, however, an expert on real estate or the property-tax system. He is 69, which is late for starting on a new career.

Among the other candidates, the one who stands out with appraisal and management experience, and also civic involvement, is Albertini.

Albertini has been an appraiser for more than 20 years, and is a teacher of appraisers at North Seattle Community College. He had management experience hiring and training appraisers for Home Savings in Bellevue.

Later he worked for Washington Mutual. Five months before that institution failed, Albertini went public with a story, published in this newspaper, of how WaMu's appraisal function had broken down. Going public was an act of civic boldness.

Last year, Albertini was named Appraiser of the Year by the Seattle chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

The assessor's job is not about appraising individual properties, which is what Albertini does, but mass appraisals. It has to do with computer systems — and the office has a legacy mainframe, with some drawbacks.

It also has to do with the property-tax system, a complicated thing Noble understood and could explain better than anyone in the county. Albertini will have to learn that. But he's bright and he's a good communicator. He will be able to grow in the job.

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