I met Mina about 8 years ago as we each attended many of the same meetings in our city. We both could see clearly that neighbors and neighborhoods needed a voice, protection from some proposed changes and an effective interface with those in the city (both elected and non-elected) whose roles affected our city. Eventually, we sought each other out as like-minds with similar interests and focus. My admiration for the person she is has been unwavering since then.
Mina is a little dynamo – quiet, effective, well respected and an extraordinary hard worker. We have attended large meetings together, as well as small meetings with a Council Member or two, meetings with city officials at the Planning Dept, Public Works, etc. She is well respected and held in high esteem by all of those we have met with.
Mina is from Japan; learning English at an early age helped when she left Japan in her 20s for the United States. A Japanese business was opening their first store in the US; Mina was selected to open that business in Atlanta. Few of us would have that confidence to learn a new language, move to a foreign country to open an American business. She is obviously a smart, well-informed, risk-taker who is not afraid to think outside of the box and reach out in new ways. After spending 13 years in America, Mina decided she wanted to become a naturalized citizen. To become a Naturalized citizen, a person must have "good moral character" and must pass U.S English skills and an understanding of U.S. history and government test. In 2003, Mina’s goal was achieved - she became a United States naturalized citizen.
During the May 2010 flood, Mina and I reached out to an Egyptian community by Mills Creek; this community had been decimated by the flood and had been overlooked in their need. The next day off we went in her big red truck loaded with water, food, paper products, all that we could imagine might be needed. I will never forget the image we must have been - a big red truck, a small Japanese lady behind the wheel, with a blond lady passenger - driving slowly through that damaged neighborhood. We were able, with the approval of a mother, to give her children some fresh fruit and water. No sooner had we done that, than we were surrounded by people who were desperate. We handed out food and water until it was all gone. One young boy asked if we could bring more; “we have nothing” he said. We promised to return; so, off we went to the nearby Sam’s to reload the truck. Within a day or two, other volunteer groups were helping that community, but I still feel proud about what Mina and I accomplished in those first few days.
Mina is very family oriented; she helps care for her husband’s 94 year old grandmother; her non-English speaking mother lives with Mina and her husband; and she takes on many home chores, as her husband works long hours and is frequently out of town. Throughout, she juggles all of her citywide commitments in such a way that I am many times astonished.
Mina is extremely knowledgeable with technology and computers, somewhat of a techno-wiz. That, to me, is a true advantage to all. By using her techno knowledge for research, she is able to go to the heart of the matter and make the issue the issue. What a gift to this city and to neighborhoods, especially in West Nashville.
Mina and I have grieved together as each of us lost pets, and rejoiced together with new pet additions to our family. Mina and her husband have a huge beautiful dog that they adopted as a puppy. Mina worked diligently to train that puppy as he grew into a very large dog; through her kind and loving training, she now controls him with the softest, kindest voice.
I have been quite involved in neighborhood and citywide issues for years now. I can only say how blessed we are to have Mina willing and able to step in and run as the Council Member for District 23. She already has a wonderful working relationship with many people in city government; that is an advantage that cannot be underestimated. In my opinion, she really must be our next Council Member.
I am privileged to say who Mina is to me. She is a small powerhouse with all of the good traits, integrity and honesty to which we can all aspire. Mina is a true friend. Who do I know to call when I really need some help - Mina. I know she will be there for me, and she will be there for you too.
I have known Mina Johnson for almost eight years. Oddly enough we met at a Planning Commission public hearing, where we were both speaking in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed LED signage in residential neighborhoods. After that first meeting several concerned neighbors continued to meet and discuss this issue. Mina and I had the same views about protecting neighborhoods, so we “clicked.” We stayed in touch and continued discussing other issues we had concerns with, and thus our friendship grew. I am so proud to call Mina my friend; we have been through a lot together. I cannot count the number of hours we have spent attending community meetings, Metro Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings and the BZA meetings. But it has not all been community work; we also find time to have fun together – art shows, bazaars and my favorite – getting together for lunch. We go out to lunch and it turns into three hours of “girl talk” and catching up. We both have a love of dogs and have been there for each other in times of loss of our beloved pets. Mina is someone I know I can call on, but better yet count on, no matter what I need.
Mina is extremely knowledgeable regarding the Metro Code; she understands the process used by the Planning Department, the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeal (BZA), as well as the Metro Council. I would bet she has attended more public hearings and community meetings than any candidate running for Metro Council. Mina works tirelessly for her neighborhood, her district and Nashville as a whole. When she talks about being a NIMBY, it does not mean “not in my backyard,” but rather Nashville Is My Back Yard. She truly wants to make her neighborhood, her district and the whole of Nashville a better place for everyone. She has no ties to developers, realtors or Metro officials. Her special interest group will be her constituents.
My only regret about Mina running for Metro Council in District 23 is that I do not live in that district and cannot vote for Mina; but I fully support Mina and would urge each voter in District 23 to cast your vote for Mina.
Charlotte S. Cooper
President, Green Hills Neighborhood Association