The Solvang City Council voted to pass a resolution placing a recall for council member Chris Djernaes on the Nov. 3 general election ballot at its Monday night meeting. The council passed the resolution with three yeses and one no from councilmember Daniel Johnson. Mr. Dejernaes abstained from voting.
Placing a recall for Mr. Dejernaes on the November ballot is the result of a petition by Solvang residents that amassed the number of signatures required for the city of Solvang to accept its certificate of sufficiency.
As the News-Press reported, on July 20, 1,342 signatures were submitted to the city clerk on July 20, of which the County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor Elections Division determined 1,156 were valid. The minimum number of required signatures for a recall petition is 920, one quarter of Solvang’s registered voters.
The petition for Mr. Djernaes’ removal accuses the council member of contempt of the Brown Act; violation of ethics; disrespect of constituents, speakers, voters, and current and former Solvang City Council members; defamation of organizations and individuals, and harassment of employees of the city of Solvang.
The notice of intention to circulate the original recall petition also alleges that Mr. Djernaes intends to implement large sale development that will be detrimental to the city.
“If Djernaes remains in office until the completion of his term in 2022, the inevitable result will be a diminished quality of life and increased taxes for the residents of Solvang,” it reads.
Mr. Djernaes has called the allegations against him “specious” and refused to resign from his position. During Monday’s meeting, the council member asserted that he has “stood up for a majority of the people in this community,” residents and businesses alike, in finding ways to lower taxes.
Despite exploring ways to utilize city property in ways that generate revenue and lower the taxes of Solvang residents, Mr. Djernaes said what he’s trying to do is “lost on certain individuals who want to recall me.”
According to the staff report from Monday’s meeting, the council has to call an election and issue an order that an election will be held to determine whether or not Mr. Djernaes will be recalled. The recall will be consolidated into the November 3 general election.
Mr. Djernaes said he looks forward to going before his constituents in November to again make the case for what he stands for on the Solvang City Council.
“I look forward to the opportunity of going out and making that case again. If it needs to be done every year, then I will make it so every year. People need to understand what this council, what I stand for, and what this council has been fighting for and I’m happy to do that myself,” he said.