My thoughts on campaigning and becoming a Councilmember

As we are approaching final days of campaigning for my re-election for Metro Council, I would like to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation to all those who early voted, who publicly endorsed my campaign, who contributed to my campaign, who supported my campaign effort, and to my dedicated volunteer campaign team!  I have no other words but to say, “Thank you.”

In my last blog post, I shared my Road to Metro Council. It is almost 30 years since I left Japan and I have called Nashville home for the past 25 years (West Meade for the past 19 years). As I stated in this blog, I never imagined, in my wildest dreams, I would be your Metro Council representative. When I ran for Council in 2015, I was often asked why I decided to be a candidate.  My answer was that I was not interested in being a candidate, but I was interested in continuing to do what I had been doing for years – speaking up and speaking out for our neighborhoods.

Over the past 19 years I have devoted much of my time and energy to volunteering for this District.  When not volunteering for my community, I was a full-time caregiver for my mother-in-law who suffered early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, then caring for grandfather-in-law and grandmother-in-law who both outlived their daughter. During my first term, I was able to devote most of my time to my constituents and Council work.

As you may recall, I announced my plan to not seek re-election earlier this year. I was constantly contacted by many of my constituents attempting to change my mind following my announcement. Eventually, many of you persuaded me. I imagine anyone who has a career and commitments outside of your private life with your family and loved ones will understand how challenging it is to balance work commitments and private time and obligations. Most of my life when hard decisions were necessary, I have chosen the well-being of my family over my career advancement. Although I never considered serving on the Council as a career advancement, my earlier decision to not seek re-election was one of the examples of tough choices in my life, since I really enjoyed my role as Council Member. You can read my reasons as to Why I Reconsidered My Decision and Am Now Asking for Your Vote. Some may question my commitment to the district because I changed my mind. However, I can promise you that my commitment to District 23 and the city we all love is as strong today as it was four years ago.

As I stated previously, I don’t consider myself as a politician. Instead, I think of myself as a civil servant. Nonetheless, campaigning is the road one must go down in order to be elected to the position. I have witnessed campaigning being perceived as winning or losing a fight against your opponent. I believe campaigning is not a fight against your opponent, rather it is an opportunity to show your record and commitment to the voters. That is why I take satisfaction in running a positive campaign.  After all, we are all neighbors who care about our community.

I am so grateful for the kind words, encouragement and endorsements I have received. I would like to share some of them with you.

 

  

   

   

   

   

   

   

    

    

    

 

I have shared highlights of my experience prior to being elected as your Metro Council representative, and after being elected on my blog post. Below is a short summary of some of my experience.

  • Bringing the Harding Road Athletic Field to the West Meade neighborhood instead of higher density condos or assisted living facility
  • Instrumental saving the West Meade waterfall
  • Preventing LED/digital signage in residential neighborhoods
  • Instrumental in creation of the “Development Tracker”
  • Protecting Bell’s Bend by preventing May Town Center
  • Preventing expansion of home businesses in residential neighborhoods
  • Preventing the Construction and Demolition (C&D) Landfill adjacent to West Meade
  • Appointed by Mayor Karl Dean to the AMP Citizens Advisory Committee
  • Participated as a member of the Nashville Next Community Engagement Committee during the three-year update of Nashville’s General Plan known as Nashville next

During my term as your Metro Council representative many things have been accomplished, including:

  • Preventing large scale development on 245 acres known as Nashville Highlands, by permitting development on only 14 acres and protecting more than 200 acres for open space
  • Preventing another large scale development on 123 acres known as Nandi Hill by reducing the allowed 600 residential units to 128 units or single cabin
  • Sponsored Short-term Rental bills to prohibit non-owner STRs in R, RS and RM zoned areas.
  • Sponsored several bills to reform the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) process
  • As a member of the Metro Council Rules and Confirmations Committee, changed the rule to afford accountability for all Metro Council committees by requiring a quorum of committee members before any vote is taken. 
  • Sponsored the bill that put the Charter Amendment 1, requiring more transparency for the annual operating budget, on the August 1 ballot.
  • During my last four years in Council, I have e-mailed out over 60 newsletters discussing upcoming meetings and Council votes, requesting constituents’ input and being transparent in why I voted the way I did.
  • I conducted 33 Districtwide community meetings along with numerous other smaller neighborhood meetings.
  • For every rezoning request brought to me over the last four years, I have averaged eight combined community and neighborhood meetings before any development plans or zone requests were finalized.
  • I have answered countless emails and telephone calls. I have been accessible when my constituents needed me for my assistance. 
  • Through my persistence, Public Works has completed Phase I of the Davidson Road sidewalk project which had been in the Capital Improvements Budget for more than 12 years.
  • Phase II of the Davidson Road sidewalk project is currently underway. It will resume as soon as all the easement agreements are finalized.
  • Bresslyn Road was approved as one of Metro Public Works traffic calming projects.
  • I worked with the Metro Historical Commission on the first historical marker project in our district. It was my honor to recognize Hillwood Estates and the Hill family for their enormous contribution to our community.
  • Although Belle Meade has its own government, I attended Belle Meade City Commission meetings regularly to learn about their issues. I was instrumental in connecting the Belle Meade City manager with Nashville Electric Service when they were having difficulty with the installation of the License Plate Reader Cameras on the NES poles.
  • I sponsored Resolution RS2018-1473 to update the inter-governmental agreement to bring more revenue to the City of Belle Meade to fill the loss of the Hall income tax.
  • When renovation of the Hillwood Bridge was announced, I contacted State Representative John Ray Clemmons, various project team leaders within Metro Public Works and the City of Belle Meade to be sure all agencies and project teams were coordinating to minimize negative impact and inconvenience to the neighbors. Renovation was completed in August 2019.
  • I have obtained a commitment from MNPS leaders and Metro administration that the community will play a key role in deciding the best use of the property. I am committed to making sure that MNPS and the administration follow through on their commitment when the high school closes.

When I am re-elected, I pledge to continue my commitment to my three top priorities:

  • Continuing my efforts to preserve and protect our wonderful residential neighborhoods, natural resources and open spaces;
  • Keeping Hillwood High School property for the best use for our community; and
  • Mandating transparency and accountability in Metro Government. 

My last four years as your Metro Council representative has truly been an honor.  This re-election campaign has been an exciting time.  I owe so much to so many.  But we can’t rest yet; we still have 3 days until Election Day.  Voting is at the heart of our democracy.  It is not only a right, but a privilege.  So, if you voted during early voting, thank you.  If you have not, I am asking for your vote on September 12 to re-elect me as your District 23 Metro Council representative.

 

Mina Johnson

www.minaforcouncil.com

 

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  • Kathy Baker
    published this page in On the Issues 2019-09-08 21:04:44 -0500

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