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Chris Djernaes

Chris Djernaes
Chris Djernaes - Candidate in Solvang City Council Recall Election

Solvang City Council Recall Election

Why are you running for office?: I’m defending my seat against Spurious Recall brought by a widely-known political machine angered over their nearly complete loss of power and control over the City Government and City contracts and services that had favored their businesses and personal financial agendas. I was part of the Council Majority that removed them, and they’ll do anything to get it back. They’ve created a belligerent and toxic environment that is hostile to the Community – i.e., few people will dare stand for election or engage for fear of the abuse of the nasty “cancel culture” retribution. Therefore, this is a City Referendum – a) Return power to the political machine’s corrupt, scandal-ridden City Government and an anemic 1990s economic model, or b) Transition to a transparent Community-driven Vision, where City Government, Residents and Businesses work together for a Better Solvang where everyone wants to Visit, Work and Live.
What makes you qualified for the job?: I have a 2-year record of 1) cutting 33% or $3 million from a $9 million budget, 2) automating and reorganizing government operations to do more with 50% fewer employees, and removing non-performing senior management guilty of corruption and abusing their authorities, 3) cutting CalPERS liabilities and yearly payments by 50%, i.e., saving $500,000 annually, 4) eliminating $1.25 million in wasteful, non-performing, and fraudulent contracts and policies (e.g., parking fees) 5) eliminating corrupt legacy deals and contracts favoring corrupt council members and community leaders, 6) eliminating monopolistic contracts, and city policies, ordinances and licenses, 7) updating General Plan and ordinances to better manage City growth, development and infrastructure investments to replace antiquated Wastewater Treatment Plant, 80-year-old sewer and water systems, revenue generating parking structures, 8) creating regional alliances and strategies to secure future water needs 9) initiating re-branding and studies to generate sustainable tax revenues from tourism - i.e., fewer and higher spending tourism, 10) promoting Community outreach to educate and give voters a voice on critical issues before the Council, 11) working to attract $500 million in new development within City limits that will double City's tax revenues to $15 million and reduce taxes on residents, and 12) Fulfilling campaign promises to promote a Community-driven Vision for a Better Solvang that reduces taxes, increases services and is more inclusive, and creates strong legacy and foundation for Solvang's Future Communities. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: 1. Completing my 2018 campaign promises and Finish what We Started - e.g., cutting taxes on water and creating county and regional alliances on water, sewer, and services

2. Managing sustainable growth through smart investments in infrastructure, services, housing, et Al., designed to make Solvang the very best place to visit, live, work and play. I've worked hard to improve the Quality of Life and create a healthy balance between the needs of Residents against the disproportionate impact of Tourism.
How will you interact with other governments?: I worked hard to rebuild broken relationships and create new regional alliances and strategies with the County, the Chumash and the SY Valley's cities, public agencies - e.g., water and sewer. We are now working on a regional vision, strategies and investments that will produce economies of scale and better provide common Services at lower cost - e.g., water, sewer, library, senior support, law enforcement, et Al. I working to replace Solvang's previous "go it alone" strategies - e.g., State Water - which have done irreparable economic harm to the Community with smarter regional solutions.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: The City of Solvang is hostage to State and County policies. However, I led the Council in making budget saving cuts, making PPE and sanitizers widely available to all, funding local food banks, increasing funding to senior services to feed and protect those most vulnerable, bringing new business loan programs to prevent business closures, initiating early eviction moratoriums for residents and businesses, and to re-open our tourist dependent City as fast and safely as possible by encouraging investments in outdoor dining, e.g., closing Copenhagen Drive and fast-tracking permits for outdoor Services. I will continue to do all I can to safeguard the Community's health and welfare and the City's Budget against another wave of COVID-19.
Which two issues are most important to you?: I plan to:

1. Double the City's tax revenue model through full cost recovery on Tourists' inordinate use of water, sewer, parking, etc., as the City must not force Residents to subsidize businesses and Tourists through higher local taxes/fees on water and sewer.

2. Create a Common Vision for a stronger Community and Civic Engagement where City Government, Residents and Businesses work together to make Solvang the most desirable place to Visit, Work and Live. Let's Keep Moving Forward Together.
Article Topic Follows: News

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