Attorney Susan Guinn to run against embattled County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg

Dronenburg challenged gay marriage ruling in 2013

SAN DIEGO - A consumer attorney has filed papers to run against embattled San Diego County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg, whose decision to challenge a gay marriage ruling sparked controversy.

Elected in 2010, Dronenburg served in relative obscurity until his decision to challenge a Proposition 8 ruling last July.

Frustration was on display outside the County Administration Building days after the ruling, as gay activists demanded to know why Dronenburg was challenging the California Supreme Court's decision to lift the stay on gay marriage.

"I just want direction," he told 10News in a 2013 interview.

He claimed he wanted clarification, but activists charged he had a hidden anti-gay agenda, which he denied.

Dronenburg later withdrew the challenge.

Eight months later, he's facing another kind of challenge.

"I have a history of fighting for taxpayers and consumers, and I will fight for the taxpayers to make sure they get a fair deal," said Susan Guinn, who has also worked on health and environmental sustainability issues.

Guinn is married to her partner, has two children and is on the board of Equality California, but said gay marriage was not her motivation to run against Dronenburg.

She said what fuels her is the impact Dronenburg's challenge could have on his positions as the county's clerk/assessor/recorder.

"Elected officials can't play favorites. They have to follow the law … The perception of playing favorites alone destroys the integrity of the office. It destroys the trust in the office," said Guinn.

She said the notion of a non-partisan office playing favorites could dissuade some from asking for help and seeking services.

Guinn also questions the unusually high backlog of property assessments and appeals.

"There is a backlog of thousands of property assessments that haven't been done in San Diego County. It's the first time that's happened in many, many years. That means people are ending up with outdated bills that are 1 [to] 3 years old," said Guinn.

Her message is already drawing some high-powered backing.

Days after she filed her papers declaring her candidacy, Guinn has secured endorsements from soon-to-be Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, County Supervisor Dave Roberts and Rep. Juan Vargas.

Guinn and Dronenburg are two of four candidates running for the office, with the election taking place this June.

10News reached out to Dronenburg for comment, but he wasn't available.

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