Monday, September 28, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 30

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on June 24th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 17 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 17

CANARY: How rude!


Oh Solvang, you continue to delight this little twittering titterer with your antics. And I love you for it! Who knew the little city full of tourist delights could have such an angry soul?


After years of quietly puttering along without many quips and quibbles, you seem to have exploded into a tumultuous sea of accusations and misgivings. I’m sure it was all just simmering under the surface until a big push for change came from City Hall. And then the pushback followed. 

First came the City Council majority, then came the organizations in charge of tourism and marketing, then the Architectural Review Board. 

And the latest city sweater thread to start unraveling is the one that belongs to City Councilmember Chris Djernaes, who’s the object of a recall petition being circulated among city residents who can’t stand the disdain he has for anyone and everyone who he disagrees with. Hurtful words and huffy puffing were once again flying across the Danish-themed city’s dais. 

Recall effort leader Lammy Johnstone put Djernaes on notice, telling him to resign during the June 22 meeting. 

“That would do more to help our city come together than anything else,” she said. 

Damn, J! You didn’t hold back.

The recall petition accuses Djernaes of disregarding the Brown Act, California’s open meetings law; bullying city employees; and defaming organizations and individuals, among other things. 

Djernaes scoffed at the petition, calling it a targeted effort because he’s been trying to clean up all of the “corruption and scandal” in the city. Yep, folks, he’s just doing his job. And if he’s kind of a jerk about it in the process, then screw you. Grow a thicker skin! 

He made enemies, he said, because he led “the movement to get rid of four married couples that straddled the council, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Architectural review.” 

He’s cleaning up the town. Getting rid of old people on advisory commissions. Bringing in ferris wheels, drone shows, and new development. He’s helping get rid of city staff and hiring consultants to run things! Solvang isn’t a city, apparently, it’s a business—so deal with it, people!

Who cares if he accused the Solvang Theaterfest of not wanting to support Julefest, when the organization actually offered to help. So what if he was involved in a little Fair Political Practices Commission investigation. So what if he insinuated that there were many reasons to remove Joan Jamieson from the city’s Architectural Review Board during a public meeting before being strangely shushed by Councilmember Karen Waite. So what if there’s weird things afoot on the City Council, and he seems to be in the center of it as Mayor Ryan Touissant’s outspoken and sometimes wrong sidekick. 

Who cares if he’s rude to constituents who speak during public comment or argues with them from the dais? 

“Really, that’s all they got?” he said. 

That and apparently someone who’s already champing at the bit to take his place before the signatures have even been signed on the petition recall effort! Jim Thomas, who served as Santa Barbara County’s sheriff until 2002 and unsuccessfully ran for county supervisor, announced on the SYV Strong Facebook page that he was throwing his hat in the proverbial ring—should Djernaes, you know, actually get recalled. Just in case!

Thomas for one isn’t happy about the direction Solvang is moving. He thinks Solvang needs to maintain its “special essence”: “Its heritage and efforts to retain that special ambiance I used to ride a motorcycle for over a hundred miles to visit when I was a young man,” he wrote on Facebook. Wow, that’s oddly nonspecific. 

It looks like Solvang’s in for more of a rough ride. And I’m here to watch. I wouldn’t miss it. Not for the world. 

The canary is buckled in and ready. Send thoughts to

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What do you think should happen at the Oceano Dunes SVRA?

Ban vehicles for good. It's actually enjoyable without all the traffic.
Open it to off-roading now! Oceano needs the revenue now more than ever.
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Keep it closed until the pandemic is over.

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