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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Early voting is underway, and Election Day is next week. So WWAY wants you to meet the candidates for Wilmington Mayor.

We sat down with Justin LaNasa, who says it is time for new leadership.

LaNasa was born and raised in York, PA. He served in the Army for three years, and then joined the Coast Guard. LaNasa says in his first month aboard the Diligence in the North Atlantic Ocean, he was part of the rescue mission that later became the basis for the book and movie “The Perfect Storm.”

“We saved six that month, but there was one we couldn’t save,” LaNasa said. “That was the ship the Andrea Gail.”

LaNasa says the Coast Guard brought him to Wilmington in 1991. He later opened his own tattoo studio. LaNasa says his interest in public office has grown since becoming a business owner.

“When I first opened a business in Wilmington it was a little easier for small business to flourish, and ever since then, in the past 16 years, there has been nothing more than regulation regulation, regulation,” he said. “They are hindering businesses from thriving while trying to promote large businesses that keep going out of business.”

LaNasa says local government has forgotten about who it serves. He says it is time voters elect a citizen for mayor and not a politician.

“I feel the people are left out of all decision making,” LaNasa said. “I feel that there are seven individuals in the city that will tell you how they are going to spend your money. Like it or not you have nothing to do or say in that matter and I feel that is very wrong in local government.”

The mayoral hopeful is a familiar face when it comes to elections. LaNasa has run for New Hanover County Commission, Wilmington Mayor and City Council. Though his previous attempts failed, LaNasa is focused on the seat of incumbent Mayor Bill Saffo. While he may have had a better shot getting elected to one of three open city council seats, LaNasa says what the city needs is leadership.

“Mayor is my spot, ’cause I have a dominating voice,” LaNasa said. “I work well with others. I think a lot of those city council members need good leadership, and I don’t believe they have it at this point.

“My main message to the people of Wilmington would be is that I can bridge all walks of life and can communicate with everybody and have their message heard on council and work with council to make a better Wilmington for all citizens not just a select few that have the council’s ear.”

Comment on this Story

  • Guest11221

    Dude!!!! You could not even beat Ricky Meeks last time you ran for Mayor. You put up all those signs, spent all that money while Ricky did not put up one sign or spend a dollar. Get the hint, people see through all of your accusations and know you try to deflect the real issues with whatever is the flavor of the month. This time it happens to be signs. Thank you for serving your counrty in the Coast Guard, but we really did not need your little plug about the Andrea Gail. Get over yourself!!

  • Shashoo

    AMEN! Those of us who know the REAL Justin know what a bunch of crap this is! It’s free advertising for a failing tattoo studio.. Wait.. you have to be able to draw in order to tattoo… Nevermind…

  • Justin W. LaNasa

    Steve Rose????? is that you Dude???

  • nd1

    Maybe I am missing something or mistaken but………..

    On the Diligence during the perfect storm? Maybe it was just a mis-understanding or a mis-print.

    The perfect storm occurred around October 28, 1991 and dissipated around Nov. 4 1991

    DILIGENCE VI, the current DILIGENCE was commissioned in 1964.  DILIGENCE VI is a 210′, diesel powered, helicopter-capable Coast Guard cutter with 76 crewmembers.  DILIGENCE VI was originally home ported in Key West, Florida but changed homeports to Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1983.  In 1990, DILIGENCE VI was temporarily decommissioned for modernization.  In 1992, following a 28 million dollar refurbishment, a virtually brand new, rebuilt, DILIGENCE VI was placed back in commission and home ported in Wilmington, North Carolina.


  • involved

    Very interesting, the cutter Diligence was out of commission for a refit from 1990 to 1992. She didn’t come to Wilmington until 1992. So that means that during the “perfect storm” she was not in service. Mr. Lanasa claims to have been aboard the Diligence during this incident and further claims to have participated in six rescues. Seeing as how this looks, I can not help but to call into question some other claims made to other media outlets about awards received (none specifically cited). All veterans should be proud of their service regardless of what their respective duty or job was a storekeeper, clerk, cook, truck driver it does not matter . Veterans should never feel the need to embelish or lie.

    Let me make this clear, I could care less about the office you are seeking or the incumbent your are attempting to un-seat.

    Mr. Lanasa, please take the time to further explain in more detail your time serving in the coast guard as it related to “the perfect storm” incident October 28, 1991 to November 4, 1991. Even though you were very specific about the incident by naming the M/V Andrea Gail perhaps there has in fact been some sort of mis-communication. Remember you deserve the credit that you rightfully earned. If you claim something that is not entirely true then do the right thing.

    I encourage everyone to visit http://www.stolenvalor.com you can volunteer your time to help preserve the valor rightfully earned by those who serve and have served.

    You have our full attention
    Semper Paratus…

  • Justin LaNasa

    My bad.

  • USCG retired

    Former boatswain’s mates can occasionally embellish when telling a sea story. Seems to me Justin is telling a fairy tale, though…there is a difference.

    Yes, I too, question this claim. The CGC Tamaroa was the cutter that rescued the crew NYANG helicopter that ditched. Justin, are you saying that the Diligence was out on the Grand Banks searching for the longliner Andrea Gail?


    I mean…I was in New Jersey at a lifeboat station…and I worked with the same NYANG crew in joint operations at a different time. I guess that means I have a connection, too?

    This is weak.

  • big dawg

    dude don’t be a hater
    or r u skeererd ?

    let LaNasa rock the vote!

    we need a change from the the good ol’ boy -eat lunch at the local golf course- forget the everyday man or woman imposed standard.

    we need a voice of help all not the chosen few !

    just say’in. !

  • Guest11221

    Good post Lanasty!

  • Guest007

    Lots of shots at Justin. He ain’t great but at least he’s not the kind of arrogant, self serving loser like Slick Rick Catlin and Sleazy Bill Saffo. All their years and these good ole boys have milked the system for their own benefit. Let’s retire Saffo this year and elect anybody but Catlin next year. Better a tatoo than a hosing!

  • Guest11221

    I could care a less if he is a tattoo artist, pooper scooper, a waste worker, or trashman he is just as bad if not worse than anyone currently in office. You speak of arrogance. If you looked the word up in the dictionary, some of the current city council may be there but they would be standing behind Lanasa. He is much worse.

  • Guest221122

    This is a prime example of your ignorance.

  • Justin W LaNasa


  • Guest20

    How can we expect you to know the answer, if you don’t even know the question?

  • Justin LaNasa

    What time is it?

  • Justin W LaNasa

    I’ll have to look at my magic 8 ball.

  • Justin LaNasa


  • Guest20

    Time for you to wake up and realize you made a mistake running for public office.

  • Justin LaNasa

    Your dates are wrong!!!!!!!! But every thing else sound accurate about the Cutter Diligence and if you folks want a real story have wway call up my old Senior Chief Dan Terry or my 1St LT they both still live in-town. Its a shame when cronies feel their main source of income will disappear when their beloved GREEK crime boss does!!!!!
    So the petty fabrication begins!!!

  • involved

    Dates regarding the “perfect storm” or the “Halloween storm of 1991”.



    Link showing that the Diligence did not even have a commanding officer from 1990 to 1992:

    So you say “your dates are wrong!!!!!!!”. Who’s dates are wrong, the Coast guard or NOAA, who’s?

    By the way in which Mr. Lanasa told his story it sure looks like he is wrong. Do you still maintain that you were aboard the Cutter Diligence during the “perfect storm”? I love nothing more than to give credit where credit is due. Like someone said earlier, as of right now this “does not pass the sniff test”.

    At this point I don’t care about the election, so what ever you want about Saffo, I could care less about him. I am locked onto your story!!!

    As far as WWAY calling up your old Senior Chief, that is up to them. All I am saying is according to what YOU SAID does not add up with what is documented from the USCG and NOAA.

  • Guest20

    Just what we need…another polician who makes decisions by looking at their magic 8 ball.

  • Justin W LaNasa

    Whoops again.

  • Guest99x

    Is there a possibility to leave the office of Wilmington mayor vacant for two years??? Then, let the voters decide if we are better off.

    I remember a ‘Nam era slogan “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Fast forwarding to Wilmington, NC 2011, a slight revision of that slogan fits too well: “What if they held an election and nobody came?”

  • guest111

    “What time is it?” – – “I’ll have to look at my magic 8 ball.” Well, so much for this. I will leave the mayor’s election blank. I give up on Wilmington.

  • Guest111

    Justin, this response is so unprofessional and childish. This election is no joke, it’s serious because the trend of our council has got to be stopped. This behavior is on the level of the county commissioner who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I may need to rethink my vote or skip my vote on the mayor’s race.

  • Guest3

    All Justin has to do is keep posting, and he will defeat himself.

    This is all just a joke to him. We don’t need someone like this making decisions for us.

  • Guest555

    How can someone who threatens someone to frame them with murder be elected!!! Lanasa you are a joke!!! And I still have that email……

  • Guest555

    How can someone get elected that threatens a person with framing them for a horrible crime?? Lanasa is a joke… And so you know I still have the email…..

  • Native Wilmingtonian

    Ask Justin LaNasa a question and you will get a direct answer. Look at the side by side questions in the Star News. LaNasa answered and Saffo did the “Texas two step”. I know that the side by side Q&A made up a lot of voters minds for Justin.

    All of his answers may not make you happy. Do you know anyone you agree with all the time? Me neither.

    Let’s make a positive change for our City. Be part of the Power Elite! VOTE! A Voter is a Citizen. Non voters just gripe and want to have all their needs met with no inconvience.

  • Justin. LaNasa

    PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK.Their where 3 or 4 cutters I believe out their that month and I remember the Cutter Chase a 270 got to pull into Boston for liberty during Christmas while we had to stay out in the pounding seas.Because they had a full bird Capt and we didn’t !!!! You know what grinds my gears these folks who comment go by false names/titles what chickens. lol

  • USCG Retired

    Once again, to refresh your memory, USCGC Chase is a 378′, not a 270′, and a 270′ only has a Commander as CO, not a Captain.

    Nice diversion…the CGC Diligence, of which I am also former proud crewmember, was nowhere near the action of the October 1991 storm.

    When doing your homework, you should at least try and crack open a book instead of relying on what is now, apparently, a faulty memory. I think what is really grinding your gears is a lack of lube oil.

    There are so many problems with your story, I don’t really wish to belabor it.

    You should have stopped at “oops, my bad.”


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