Reporter: Is it true that youre leaving office
early and that Sally Donart (local Democratic party organizer) will take over your seat
until your term expires?
Harlig: Where did that come from?
didnt indicate to anyone that I intend to leave my post before the term is
completed. Theres always the possibility that family issues, or my own health might
change that. At the moment, as far as I know, I will finish the job I set out to do.
Reporter: Why have you decided not to run again?
Harlig: I had actually decided not to run again the last
time, but I had been instrumental in getting the St. Lukes folks here and in helping
to raise the money for the campaign. When I announced that I wasnt going to run
again, a fairly large number of people came forward and said, "You need to see that
St. Lukes deal through to its completion
." So I ran for the two-year
term, but I had already made up my mind that I had done enough. You can only do this kind
of work so long
and then you have to think about your health, your sanity, and your
Reporter: What did you do before you a were county
Harlig: I had a restaurant, hotel and banquet facility in
the San Fernando Valleythe Sportsmans Lodge. It was a very successful and very
satisfying business for me to be in, but I had decided it was time to do something else,
and when my wife and I came to this place in 1973, that was all it took for me to decide
to go back and sell my business and move up here.
Reporter: Were you involved in politics in Los Angeles?
Harlig: No. I was in business and nothing more. I
wasnt involved in politics, either, when I came up here for the first 10 years. I
was just retired and loving it. I got a call one night from a couple of friends of mine in
the south county, Nick Purdy and Robert Gardner, and they said, "Weve got an
opening on the planning and zoning commission for somebody in the north end of the valley;
will you accept the appointment?" I said, "Absolutely not." And they said,
"Three hours a monthsurely you can figure out a way to give that much of your
time back." I couldnt figure out a way to say no to that. Next thing I knew, I
was working 40 hours a week as a planning and zoning commissioner, and I decided that if I
really wanted to make an imprint and help my community, I needed to be an elected officer,
so I ran for county commissioner.
Reporter: You must get some satisfaction out of it to do
it as long as you have (for nearly six years).
Harlig: Theres a lot of satisfaction. Otherwise,
why would anybody do this kind of work, for that kind of money?
Reporter: What do you find satisfying about it?
Harlig: I think helping to reflect the values of the
community and get them into the comprehensive plan and into the ordinancesperhaps
set the tone for the future of this valleyis as good a contribution as anybody can
make to a place that they love and want to see stay as wonderful as it is.
Reporter: So what part of the job makes you insane?
Harlig: The time is a huge factor, and theres no
privacy, and as youve noticed, people call at all hours of the day and nighton
the weekends and holidaysand they stop you on the street. Thats part of the
public service, and I accept that, but Ill be happy to go back to a life where I can
do what I want, when I want, rather than always being at peoples beck and call.