By Lammy Johnstone

Personally, I find the word “recall” distasteful. To me, it translates into recalls of food which, in turn, sends me into the pantry pulling out this brand of mac and cheese or that brand of Italian sauce. However, a recall of a politician is a whole different story, which brings us to the recall of Solvang Councilmember Chris Djernaes.


When he first ran in 2018, Djernaes promoted his financial expertise and how it would empower our city. What we did not know was his sting history. In the early 2000s, he worked for Hampton-Porter Investment Bankers. He botched that employment when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) got a heads-up on his questionable dealings, including fraud, which resulted in Djernaes being ordered to pay $32,000 in “compensatory damages.” He also no longer holds a license to be an investment adviser. In other words, he could no longer be a financial consultant to any one of us much less the city of Solvang.

Again, why the recall?

Djernaes is Machiavellian. What we saw when he ran for office in 2018 is not what we got. Anyone following Solvang City Council meetings is aware of his obnoxious, vocal disrespect to constituents who are voicing opinions. Then there are his derogatory remarks towards staff members not to mention inflammatory statements against previous council members and current members. 

A couple of months ago he was so vocally objectionable the mayor broke his gavel trying to curtail his blabber. But let’s move forward. Again, if you follow the meetings, you are aware Djernaes is not engaged in the city’s business. More often we see him flipping his thumbs on his phone texting and, when he is bored doing that, he opens his computer. Who knows what he is looking at.

Then there are his vehement objections to the Orona family business. They run the Solvang Trolley, a mainstay here since the late 1970s. City Council majority gave a go-ahead to continuation of the operation but Djernaes objected and, like a wandering troll, continues to harass the family as recently as Saturday, Oct. 10, when he brought five PETA folks to the area where the trolley is parked. 

Again, why the recall?

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: If our current council remains as is with their ineptitude regarding spending our tax dollars, there is a chance Solvang will go bankrupt within the next two years. Fortunately, some are not running and we have new options. Meanwhile, remember we may still have Djernaes who, among a plethora of other things, approved the firing of half of our city staff and bring in costly outside vendors as replacements. He also approved closures of our Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce. Adding insult to injury, he was a backer of contractor Ed St. George who had a plan to demolish the Veterans Hall, Senior Center, library, etc. and replace the area with apartments, including low-income housing.

Again, why the recall?  

Just reread all of the above and then, for the sake of Solvang’s future, vote YES to recall council member Chris Djernaes.


The views and opinion expressed by Lammy Johnstone are her own.