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Charlie Uhrig

Charlie Uhrig
Charlie Uhrig - Candidate for Solvang mayor

Candidate for mayor of Solvang

Why are you running for office?: I am running because I love Solvang and believe we deserve, and should expect, a respectful and transparent local government that values community above all else. I believe it is more important to listen to all sides prior to, not after, making decisions that will affect the whole community, which would protect our community's diverse cultures, lifestyles, and ethnicities. I feel that City staff and contract service employees should be valued and their input is encouraged in order to ensure a positive work culture. We need to get back to respectful dialog and discussion at council and community meetings. We face tough decisions ahead and it is important for the city leadership to put the best interests of the community ahead of their own.
What makes you qualified for the job?: I am uniquely qualified for the office of Mayor because I have worked with city staff, schools, residents, business owners, and special event organizers to address their concerns and find solutions in the best interest of the community. I have been a longtime resident and chose to raise my family here at local schools. I have volunteered with schools and nonprofits, to work with our local youth, and provide opportunities and experiences for them and their families. It is through these experiences that I have seen firsthand how diverse and special this community truly is. Each of us deserves to be heard, and know that we matter. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: My first priority would be to “open up” City Hall to the public. This would include the financial budget and city offices. The "less is more mentality" is not working for the residents and/or business owners. The limited hours of operation due to part time staff, and overuse of current staff, is inefficient and makes completion of projects and general office responsibilities difficult at best.

Another priority would be to encourage input from the community and city staff, in order to ensure they feel welcome, needed, and valued. We will need everyone’s ideas in order to make the best decisions for the present, and the future. As your public servants we need to be held accountable for our actions and decisions.
How will you interact with other governments?: One of my duties as the Solvang Community Resource Deputy, was to represent the Sheriff’s Office Solvang station when the Police Chief was not available. In that capacity, I participated in many planning and organizational meetings with City Staff and department heads, and other local and county government officials during times of recent disasters. Those meetings were designed to allow collaboration and the opportunity to work together for our cities and county.

I plan to attend the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) meetings.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: I will be in close communication with our state and county health officials regarding safety guidelines and mandates. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to implement and allow less stringent policies, in order to promote local businesses and tourism in Solvang. The community has found that some of the changes are not as bad as originally thought. However, there are still many closed storefronts that need to be filled. I believe we can promote Solvang as a safe destination to enjoy virtual work and/or school.

We should also promote "Shop Locally” to reshape our current marketing strategy. As a destination town, tourism accounts for a large portion of our general budget revenues, however, buying locally in Solvang helps to support our local businesses, and increases tax revenues for the general budget. By working together, we can help each other overcome financial hardships.
Which two issues are most important to you?: There are a number of important issues. One of the biggest issues the new council will face are the financial concerns that residents and business owners have regarding the budget and recovery from the COVID pandemic. Parking will continue to be a problem as long as we close roads and take over current parking spaces to allow for current social distancing requirements. Another issue is the need to finance the wastewater treatment plant upgrades and water resources, as those will have long term effects on our infrastructure and future plans for our City.
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