01 Sep Q&A: Ms. Dandie Says Richmond City Council ‘Needs New Faces’
If elected to City Council, La’Tanya J. Dandie, who goes by Ms. Dandie, says she will listen to what small businesses and residents need from the city. (Don Gosney)
Interview, Denis Perez-Bravo
Name: La’Tanya J. Dandie, a.k.a. Ms. Dandie
Job: Mental Health Worker & Case Manager
Public Service: Case manager for homeless people suffering with mental health issues; behavioral technician for West Contra Costa Unified School District
Highest Education: Bachelor’s in Community Studies – Humphrey School of Law
Richmond Pulse:. Why are you running for City Council?
La’Tanya Dandie: Richmond needs a change [from] what has been going on for years. There are many men on the City Council, and it needs new faces, including women, including Black women.
RP: What are the two most pressing issues in the city, and what should be done about them?
LD: One of the very first issues we need to take care of is the gross tax receipts that are pushing out the small businesses that can’t afford the taxes placed on them and are being punished for having a small business versus a larger company.
The second pressing thing is the Point Molate issue and how we are going to do more building, more revenue and more housing.
We have to look at why we are taxing small business owners. They should be taxed at a lower rate to keep them afloat. We should look at other cities that have tested and seen what they have gone through to help their small businesses, to grow more businesses to come to their city instead of pressing them out.
As far as Point Molate, we need to think about what we are going to do and how we are going to get revenue, building and housing to satisfy every person, to satisfy the community. To satisfy the council, to satisfy Chevron, to satisfy the fact that Point Molate was a place that should have generated its own money. Now we are at a standstill. We need to do something that makes everybody happy, kind of a happy medium for everyone.
RP: What is the most pressing issue in your district and how should it be addressed?
LD: I love my district. I love North, East and the Richmond Heights. One of the pressing issues is illegal dumping. I would like to [have] cameras watching areas where illegal dumping is being done. A lot of people blame it on the homeless, but illegal dumping comes from people from other places. I believe there should be some type of penalty for those that are doing illegal dumping in my area.
RP: How can the city help residents and businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic and then recover?
LD: That goes back to the gross tax relief. People have laid off people and have closed down business. They are trying to survive on the pennies and nickels they have. What we can do as a city is try to figure out how to hold off these gross tax receipts to keep people in business so they won’t become homeless or have mental health issues trying to figure out how to rebuild their businesses. We should come together with the Chamber of Commerce, get all the businesses in Richmond, and see what people would like us to do for them. We could come up with so many ideas of what we want to do with small businesses. We need to have a sit down with all the businesses via Zoom to see what they would like us to do versus us telling them what we are going to do.
RP: What changes, if any, to policing would best serve the community?
LD: We are in a time where we are talking about defunding the police. My greatest statement to everyone is, conversation, strong hard conversations, about things that need to be talked about. Where will the money go? Where is it going to be allocated? Who is it going to be allocated to? What services aren’t going to be used with the money that are being defunded from them? What we need to do is, on the top of the list, with policing, we get mental health workers. We need people who look like the people in our city to be the first responders before the police get out there.
RP: Why are you the best person to represent your district?
LD: I have been a resident in Richmond for 10 years, and I haven’t seen too much change. I have seen the same people kinda revolve in and out of the City Council. Now is the time to get those faces changed. To get new lenses out there to see the things that Richmond wants to see. People who go out and ask the hard questions. Sit down in the grass, sit down in the dirt, sit down in encampments and ask the people what they want. I am that person. I go to the people, to the children, to the park, to the libraries, to the homeless and to the encampments. There are not too many people in the council right now, nor too many people running right now, who actually go and talk to people outside of campaigning, versus going out there when the dust is settled, and go talk to the people after 5 p.m. and ask them what do they need, how can I help you. I am that person that will get down to it and figure out every service and resource that this person needs and guide and direct them. I will get up, get out and go do something.
Correction: An earlier version of this story identified Ms. Dandie’s first name as Janet. Her full name is La’Tanya J. Dandie.