Candidate discusses his goals
Editor’s note: This is part of a series about local candidates in advance of the Nov. 8 election.
Charlie Uhrig is stepping down as the mayor of Solvang, and Mark Infanti is running unopposed for his seat.
“The current (city) council has been working together very well, and our current mayor is very well respected. And I was hoping he would stay, but he is stepping down,” Mr. Infanti told the News-Press. “He and the council have encouraged me to run, and I decided I would run.”
Mr. Infanti has previously worked as a project management consultant for clients such as aerospace and defense contractors.
“Part of my old career that crosses into this environment is that I am comfortable speaking in public in front of large groups and I am very comfortable preparing for that,” said Mr. Infanti.
Mr. Infanti has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Texas El Paso. He also studied architecture for a few years prior to switching his major.
He said that as mayor, his primary goal would be to keep Solvang running in the way residents want it to be run.
“That sounds simplistic, but you get a lot of comments from residents. I want to be transparent and respond to comments, making sure the majority of citizens are satisfied with the way that we are running the city,” Mr. Infanti said. “The previous council had the onerous tasks for the last few years of correcting errors made by the council before it. That council did a lot of damage to the city’s financial structure, employment levels, a lot of things. And in the middle of all that was COVID.
“What the current mayor and council have done is try to get the city back on track,” Mr. Infanti said.
“I want to continue that,” he said, adding that the city is in the process of hiring a new city manager, as well as other positions.
Mr. Infanti discussed Measure U, which is on the No. 8 ballot and would mean a 1% sales tax increase for Solvang.
“There have been a lot of comments that say it’s silly, etc.,” Mr. Infanti said. “I am very irritated because I have heard a lot of comments attributing a lack of transparency. We have been discussing this at the city council for the last six months.”
Mr. Infanti said he wants residents to know that anyone can reach out to him at any time.
“Because I am unopposed, everyone is assuming I am going to be mayor. I have received several invitations to talk to businesses, individuals and groups,” he said. “I am available for that kind of thing. My job as mayor is to be able to tell anyone at any time what we are doing and why and answer questions.”