Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Veronica Carter seeks first term on Leland Town Council [Free read]

Veronica Carter is running for a seat on Leland Town Council. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Veronica Carter)
Veronica Carter is running for a seat on Leland Town Council. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Veronica Carter)

LELAND — Leland resident Veronica Carter is seeking to be elected for a first term 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. 

What is your campaign platform?

The planks in my campaign platform are as follows:

Infrastructure — The citizens of Leland deserve to have their voices heard when it comes to local transportation. We cannot allow other governmental entities to pressure our residents into accepting projects that severely impact the fabric of our community. Collaboration and cooperation with our neighboring municipalities, as well as the state and federal agencies that make the decisions that impact the citizens of Leland is key.

Resiliency — We must rebuild and change our ways of building to be more resilient. We must be prepared for the next storm. There are existing techniques and procedures that create “tough housing” that give structures “a fighting chance” when extreme storms impact our area. We need to educate contractors and homeowners and look for ways (e.g. grants) to retrofit existing communities. Workforce Housing-Hurricane Florence took a problem and made it a crisis. Not everyone can afford to live in our town. We need housing priced so that hard-working teachers, first responders, health care professionals and seniors can afford to live here. As we move forward as a community we must leave no one
behind!

What makes you qualified to serve on Town Council?

I have over 38 years of experience working in the US and internationally as an Army officer and Civil Servant. I’ve successfully managed complex transportation, supply, maintenance, ammunition, and field services operations (and multimillion dollar budgets) for military, government, and international organizations on four continents often under extremely austere conditions.

In addition, I voluntarily served in leadership positions with two grassroots groups that successfully fought the Sims Hugo Neu landfill and the Titan cement plant.

Many residents of “old” Leland often air concerns about feeling left behind or left out. Do you feel “old” Leland has adequate elected representation? Why or why not?

We are one town. In my fifteen years of living in Leland, we’ve had Town Council members from the older parts of town. In fact, former Mayor Frankie Thomas built my Dad’s house and helped us find the land that we purchased when we originally moved here. I’ve never felt there was a difference. During my work with Florence recovery, I went through neighborhoods throughout Leland to help my neighbors, “old” and “new”. We are Leland. I encourage any resident of Leland who feels their part of town is not being represented to step up and run for office.

What makes Leland, Leland? What defining places, characteristics, or ideas make up the town’s identity?

The people of Leland make Leland. We aren’t called “old” Leland or “new” Leland, we are the Town of Leland. We, the people make Leland what it is. We are Leland.

Do you see Leland as a bedroom community for Wilmington? Should the town take steps to further its own economic and cultural independence as a community or aim to complement existing industry in Wilmington?

I wouldn’t call Leland a bedroom community of Wilmington. I see Leland as being a suburb of Wilmington. I don’t believe having our own identity and complementing existing industry in Wilmington as being mutually exclusive; we can do both. For example, the Leland Cultural Arts Center has become an asset to our community and is frequently visited by residents of New Hanover County.

The town has obligated itself in agreements with developers to pay over $1 million in incentives so far in 2019. That obligation could soon climb to a maximum of $4,497,750. Leland is using System Development Fees to essentially reimburse developers for fees they pay into the town. What are your thoughts on this pattern of incentives for private projects?

The Town of Leland incentive program does not use taxpayer dollars. To quote a recent article in The Port City Daily “in simple terms, it’s a reimbursement process”. Your recent article did a good job explaining the reimbursement program. As a candidate for Leland Town Council, if anyone else can think of a better way to increase the tax base and keep taxes low, I’m ready to listen!

What’s your honest take on the utility drama that has lingered over the region for years?

I assume by your question that you are referring to the lawsuit and the appeal that involves the Town of Belville, the Town of Leland, and H2GO, and what the judge in the case described as an “illegal action” when the former H2GO Board transferred H2GO’s assets to the Town of Belville? Assuming I’m correct, as someone who would be representing the Town of Leland if elected, I would like H2GO’s assets to be returned to H2GO, because the bulk of H2GO’s customer base resides in Leland. After that illegal action has been remedied, I would hope the municipalities could reach a compromise and move forward. I like the compromise that has been reported in several news outlets. It is time to put all of this behind us and start working together as neighbors.

Is it fair that taxpayers have, to some degree, helped foot the bill for the multi-million dollar H2GO lawsuit?

As a taxpayer in the Town of Leland, if the Town Council and Mayor had not fought for the return of millions of dollars that was illegally transferred to Belville (remember that the Court’s legal opinion) that would have been, in my humble opinion, dereliction of their sworn duty to protect the interests of the citizens of the Town of Leland.

What is one action/vote Leland got wrong in 2017-2019?

I’m not going to comment on what Leland did right or wrong between 2017 – 2019. I feel it would be a disservice to those who may be my future colleagues to comment at this point. It is easy to “Monday morning cornerback” without being on the field. I may disagree with a decision but that doesn’t make it “wrong,” it makes it “different”. We need to bring back what is known as “compromise” in politics, as long as it’s not illegal, immoral or unethical.

What is one action/vote Leland got right in 2017-2019?

I’m not going to comment on what Leland did right or wrong between 2017 – 2019. I feel it would be a disservice to those who may be my future colleagues to comment at this point. It is easy to “Monday morning cornerback” without being on the field. I may disagree with a decision but that doesn’t make it “wrong,” it makes it “different.” We need to bring back what is known as “compromise” in politics, as long as it’s not illegal, immoral or unethical.

Anything else you’d like to share with voters?

More information on Veronica Carter and her campaign platform can be found on her website or Facebook page.


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