Photo by Martin van den Hemel
Though he lost by fewer than 100 votes to Alexa Loo for the eighth and final spot on council, Derek Dang says he won’t insist on a recount.
“I’m not going to file an appeal,” Dang told The Richmond Sentinel Sunday. “If they do it, they do it. I’m not going to be going that route (of requesting a recount).”
With the current makeup of council, Dang said he questioned how useful he’d be.
And he said he thinks Loo “will be good there.”
Dang said this campaign was the nastiest he’s witnessed, and although he’s thick-skinned, it has taken a toll on his family.
“These guys don’t give a darn,” Dang said about the “cesspool of comments from people with no accountability,” referring to the anonymous individuals on social media who targeted him. Dang was accused of taking advantage of his position on council to benefit his real estate and property management professions.
“You do everything right, you disclose and tell people, they insinuate that you’re doing things under the table. It was mean-spirited. It was nasty. It was deceptive,” he said Sunday. “They beat the hell out of us on social media.”
Asked if this is the end of his political career, Dang was uncertain and said the disappointment of losing was still too fresh.
“I don’t know if I want to put my family through that again,” he said, adding that he stopped reading the social media comments at one point. But then his daughter began to read about what was being said about her father.
“I found that I was in a peculiar position where my daughter was trying to protect me.”
Although that was a role reversal he wasn’t expecting, he said he got to see a side of his daughter he hadn’t seen before.
“There is no standard, there is no civility or decorum,” Dang said about the painful things that were being said about him. He won’t miss reading the “crazy, racist and nasty” emails councillors frequently receive from the public, he said.
Dang said he’s proud of the work that council has accomplished since he was first elected in 1996. He noted the construction of community centres, the Richmond Olympic Oval, the new city hall, the new fire halls, the completion of the Canada Line connecting Richmond to Vancouver International Airport and Downtown Vancouver, and the hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics as among the city’s accomplishments he’s most proud of.
“I think I’m leaving when the city’s in pretty good shape, and I hope it stays in good shape.”
Last but not least, Dang wanted to thank all of those who voted for him, and gave him the privilege of working in the city he so dearly loves and in which he’s now raising his family.
He’s happy to become a citizen, though he hopes he won’t have to go into city hall to complain too much.