Le’Dor Milteer, one of two candidates running for the Sandy Springs City Council District 4 seat, is a journalist who says she wants to improve the council’s communications and diversity.
Milteer is vice president of broadcast at the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. There, she produces and hosts “In Contact,” a public affairs TV program for the African-American community. If elected, she said, she would continue to host the program as part of her civic outreach.
“I think it goes hand in hand” with council service, said Milteer, whose campaign theme is “connecting the community to the council.”
She described that role as helping to explain how the city works, and how issues like traffic, walkability and zoning tie together. From her own experience, she described city meetings as a combination of confusing and inspirational.
“Zoning meetings – they speak a different language… It’s in code and it’s intimidating,” she said. But she also recalled how she was impressed earlier this year when Mayor Rusty Paul in a council meeting described a “vision” for improved transit after a trip to see Dallas-area systems.
Milteer and Jody Reichel are, so far, the only two candidates running for the District 4 seat, representing the north-central city, which Gabriel Sterling is leaving for a Fulton County chairman run. Right now, the mayor and all six City Council members are white men, while the city’s population is about 52 percent women, 65 percent white, 20 percent black, and 14 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
Milteer says it is important that both District 4 candidates are women and that she is African-American.
“We are a diverse group here in Sandy Springs,” she said. “I think having a diverse group of people involved in making decisions matters.”
“When you go to those [city] meetings…it’s all older white men and that’s not what Sandy Springs looks like,” she added. “Let’s shake it up. Let’s get some women in. Let’s get some people of color in.”
She praised the Sandy Springs Police Department – where she attended the Citizens Police Academy — as having a force reflecting the community’s diversity and conducting good outreach.
Milteer and her husband Vonche first moved to Sandy Springs around 2000, moved briefly to Marietta, and returned about 10 years ago. They have a 16-month-old daughter and a 7-year-old son attending Woodland Elementary School. They are currently renting an apartment on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road while searching for a house to buy.
Milteer formerly ran two local salons along central Roswell Road, Sandy Springs Hair Studio and Salon Le’Dor. The failure of those salons helped to spark her interest in city government and how its programs work, she said.
She is a member of Heritage Sandy Springs and has volunteered on Leadership Sandy Springs’ Movies by Moonlight event, where she got involved after meeting Jan Paul, LSS’s executive director and the mayor’s spouse, via fundraising at Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Milteer said she has long considered a council run and met with Sterling a year ago to ask about how the job works. Asked her opinion of Sterling, she responded with enthusiasm.
“Oh, my goodness!” she exclaimed. “To me, honestly, I love Gabe. He’s a rock star.”
“We differ in many different ways,” she said, but added, “He does things for the right reasons.”