Who Is Mina?

Mina has a stellar record as an environmental advocate. Early on she participated in protecting the West Meade waterfall which is now a Metro wilderness park. We are indebted to her for protecting the large 240 acre wooded corridor between the hills of West Meade and Bellevue by an SP, her very first action after being elected in 2015. The SP  guarantees that only 14 acres adjacent to the Reserve can be developed leaving the rest of the 226 acres of wooded area untouched. She negotiated a similar protective SP for the 180 acres of woods between the Lexington Apartments, the end of Rodney Dr. and the hills above Jocelyn Hollow Dr. Without her negotiation skills and relentless engagement, we might now see denuded hills and big houses instead of an extensive corridor of old growth forest.

Dr. Hans-Willi Honegger 
West Meade

I met Mina about 12 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. Mina is a little dynamo – quiet, effective, well respected and an extraordinary hard worker. My admiration for the person she is has been unwavering since then.

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; her non-English speaking mother lives with Mina and her husband. Mina takes on many home chores, allowing her husband to devote long hours to his job.  Throughout, she juggles all of her commitments, including Council, 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 her 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 represent us in Council for District 23. In my opinion, she really must continue to be our 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.

Trish Bolian

I have known Mina Johnson for about 12 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. Before her election to Metro Council, we spent many hours together attending community meetings and speaking at Metro Council, Planning Commission and BZA public hearings. Since her election, we still spend lots of time together, some of it at community meetings, but most of it just being friends – attending public events together, like the traveling Vietnam Wall, shopping at art shows and bazaars, but 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 with everything Metro.  She was always a source for the Metro Code and processes in Metro government; but as a Councilwoman, she has really been able to put that knowledge and experience to work for all of us. Mina works tirelessly for her neighborhood, her district and Nashville as a whole. During the last 3 ½ years, I have watched Mina devote countless hours to her Council work.  She thoroughly researches the tough, controversial issues.  She is fair-minded and votes for what is best for her District and Nashville.  I have watched her stand up for both her constituents and her convictions.  She cannot be intimidated; she is not afraid to speak out or ask the tough questions.  I am so proud of her accomplishments, her leadership and her integrity.  I believe she is one of the best Council members we have.

My only regret about Mina running for re-election 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

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