LELAND — Louis Harmati is running to be elected for on Leland Town Council.
Author’s note: Port City Daily’s candidate interviews are largely unedited. Edits have only been made to correct spelling or grammatical errors. Candidates were not given word or character limits to answer each question.
Louis Harmati opted not to complete Port City Daily’s candidate questionnaire, StarNews it was too complex to complete. Instead, he supplied the questionnaire he completed for the StarNews. Harmati’s materials appear unaltered below:
What are the biggest challenges for Leland?
The biggest challenges for the Town of Leland is the continued growth our area is experiencing, and the transportation issues associated with rapid growth. Managing the growth and new developments will take more planning, and discussion as to how big Leland wants to be. What kind of community will Leland be in the next 10 to 20 years? And how will Leland address the public safety issues associated with rapid growth and development.
Another important and possible disastrous development is the sale of New Hanover Memorial Hospital. The sale could adversely impact hospital care and health care cost in our area. If a private company buys the hospital, then they could raise prices, sell it, or close it if they do not make a profit. Health insurance and healthcare is one of the fastest growing expenses of American families. In 1980 health expenditure per person was $2, 848 a year. In 2017 health expenditure cost rose to $10, 379 per person a year. The failure of finalizing a new river crossing was a disappointment, but we have an opportunity to address that issue again. I hope that the communities concerned with improving our transportation system will come together, and get behind a river crossing plan that they can all support. At this point the CFC is only partially funded for right of way acquisition, but construction remains unfunded. The project is programmed for right of way authorization in later years. It will have to compete for funding in the next round of project scoring. NCDOT will release the next draft STRIP in February 2022.
Why are you the best candidate for Leland Town Council?
I have lived in North Carolina since 1970, and in other parts of our state. I moved back to Wilmington in 1985, and I have lived in Leland since 2001. I served in the North Carolina National Guard, and I was Center Commander for the Army and Navy Reserve Center in Wilmington, North Carolina from 1988 to 1990. As commander I was responsible for emergency operations in case of a national emergency. I owned a small business in Wilmington, and I also sold insurance and real estate for a short time. I was instructor of public administration and management for a small college for five years. Before that I worked for the United States Department of Treasury as a special agent auditing government employees. Later I worked for DOD auditing defense contracts. Today I teach a Constitution Seminar on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, and purpose of the Constitution. On September 17, 2019 I gave a lecture on the Constitution to the students at Roger Bacon Academy. I believe my experience in business, in education, and in government makes me the best qualified candidate to serve the Town of Leland and its residents. Most importantly, I understand the purpose of government and the meaning of the Declaration of Independents and the Constitution. Therefore, my job as councilman is to protect the constitutional rights of Leland residents, and their right to use and enjoy their property in accordance with their pursuit of happiness.
How would you rate the job the current council is doing?
I think the Town of Leland has done a good job in managing its growth, and providing public services to its residents. They have taken a business approach to managing the town, and keeping taxes as low as possible. I believe we need to take this same approach into the future, and not burden our residents with out of control government growth and regulations. Some of the things I would do differently are to eliminate the parking permit requirement for parking in front of your home. I would concentrate on more affordable housing in the range of $150,000 to $200,000 for young families entering the housing market for the first time. And I would like to see more enforcement of the
highway laws for big trucks driving through Leland. The only thing I would question is the Council’s adoption of U.N. sustainable development goals. In 1976 the U.N. Conference on Human settlements said, “Government control of land use is indispensable.” By 1992 the U.N. changed their language from control of land to smart growth, sustainable developed and to sustainable communities. The control of private property is unconstitutional according to the Amendments V and XIV. The IX and X Amendments reserve powers to the states and to the people those which are not delegated to the federal government in Article 1, Section 8. The adoption of foreign laws to control land use or personal behavior is unconstitutional.
What would you change to improve the response efforts in a natural disaster?
Hurricanes and natural disasters are always a problem for our area. The best plan for these disasters is to plan ahead, and to have a good communication system set up. The town of Leland should have their own emergency operation center to coordinate emergency operations and disaster relief aid. The center should be set up five days before the
storm arrives, and it should go into 24/7 operation 48 before the storm hits our area. Food, water, and medical supplies should be prepositioned to help our community during natural disasters. The National Guard should be prepared to airlift supplies into our area, when flood waters close our transportation system. Public safety becomes a big issue during natural disasters, and it should be coordinated with the county and state officials.
With the NCDOT ending the CFC project, what should happen next?
I have lived in this area since the 1970s. I know that the piedmont region of our state has much more political power than the Cape Fear area. Most of the highway funds are allocated to the western part of our state. The people in our area need to combine together, and petition the state legislature to build a modern day bridge for the Cape Fear Region, and to improve the infrastructure of our area. The best Cape Fear Crossing route is the V-AW modified proposal created by Mr. Brayton Willis. His proposal is much less expensive than the other six NCDOT proposed routes. The V-AW proposal was submitted to the NCDOT, and we need to express our desire that the NCDOT look at it very seriously.
The V-AW proposal does not destroy private residences, and it cost much less than the other six NCDOT proposals. It is a vertical lift bridge with dedicated truck lanes that lead to the port of Wilmington. It uses a multi-modal transportation system using pedestrian, bicycle and rail. It gets trucks off Front Street and Carolina Beach road, and there is less environmental damage than the other six proposals. Most importantly, it would not negatively hurt residential property values or tax revenues for the towns.