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Contra Costa assessor dresses in drag

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, January 23rd, 2009 at 1:32 pm in Contra Costa politics.

This is the funniest video I have seen in ages:  Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer appears in drag at a 1999 Christmas party. (See link below.)

I have to say, Gus has pretty good legs. Seriously, though, he must consult a fashion expert the next time he cross-dresses. The shoes are hideous. I hope that hairpiece has been burned. And I won’t even talk about the stockings!

How did I get this video? It surfaced in the wake of stories my colleague Matthias Gafni wrote this week about the $1 million settlement of a civil lawsuit filed against Kramer by a junior assessor. (A jury found Kramer guilty of refusing to promote her because she had filed a sexual and racial harassment complaint against him. An internal investigation cleared him of any harassment.)

The video did not make it into the trial because the judge rightfully viewed it as irrelevant to the allegations.

But it’s still great video where everyone seems to be having a good time. Whatever Gus’ faults may be — and I’ve known him nearly 15 years — he is never afraid to poke fun at himself or anyone else for that matter.

Now, what I want to know is this: Who are all the other men in the back row dressed in drag? Send me the names and I’ll add them to the annotations on the video.

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  • Arne Simonsen

    Way to go, Gus! :)

    I have to agree with Lisa in her comments about Gus. After seeing this video (and why wasn’t I invited??) Gus just went up another 10 points in my opinion.

    By the way, was that former Antioch Mayor and BART Director Joel Keller out there stuffing a dollar bill in Gus’ garter? :)

  • John W

    Okay, very funny stuff. But, since this is a political blog, what are the implications of the latest news for 2010? Any qualified people likely to see this as an opening?

  • juan

    This why this county is broke and will be destroyed. This is about as immoral as it gets. What next a trip to a brothel on the taxpayers dime. What a bunch of sick people!

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    I doubt it.

    This was a silly stunt intended to give the staff of the assessor’s office a laugh at Kramer’s willing expense. It may have been in poor taste by most standards, it was done in good fun and no one should take it too seriously.

    While someone might make hay out of the image of Kramer on this video, it would take a considerable amount of money to run a countywide campaign against a well-known incumbent.

    Kramer also has a fairly extensive record as an activist assessor who fought the oil companies and sought to reduce property tax assessments countywide.

    I would expect, though, that Kramer will take his next election far more seriously just in case his recent troubles with the Air Board fine and the lawsuit filed by one of his junior assessors attracts a serious challenger. He hasn’t had one in many, many years.

  • jade

    The county did not pay for one dime of that! That was an after hours Christmas party paid for by the employees. Gus may have his faults but that office manages to do a lot of work pretty efficiently. The employees strive to make sure the taxpayers are assessed fairly and they will frequently go out of their way to help people.

  • John W

    Just to clarify, my question about the possibility of a challenger “taking advantage” had to do with the lawsuit, not with the Christmas party attire. Also, I have no opinion about the merits of the lawsuit. I was just wondering about the likelihood of political fallout.

  • http://www.vimeo.com/2890201 Jon Girard

    Right on! Good post.

  • Donna Gray

    I am glad the Assessor has such a good sense of humor. Interesting to me is how this video just happen to surface when the law suit was in going on. The intention came through loud and clear, however I think it probably back fired. Its appears to me the only way some people can get ahead in the Assessor’s office is too file a law suit. Passing a test is not the only prerequisite for being promoted. Other factors are considered as the whole package and evidently this person didn’t have the whole package. Its a shame this newspaper has a problem with reporting all the information. Gus good luck to you in 2010 you have my vote.