Johnson Wants Montclair Voters To Use Her Record In Appointed Role As A Guide

In explaining what is motivating her to seek election to the Montclair City Council this year, 18 months after she was appointed to that panel, Tenice Johnson contrasted her former home with her current one.
“In 1991 my family moved from South Central Los Angeles to Montclair. Our Los Angeles neighborhood had been so nice and quiet when we first moved in but as years passed we found ourselves surrounded by drug dealers, and afraid to go outside wearing the wrong color. I hate moving, and I never plan to leave Montclair. Therefore, I have to be responsible for the community where I live. I can’t depend on others to keep the neighborhood safe. It is my job to be a part of the solution. Consequently, within months of moving here I started volunteering to support this community. My specific focus may have shifted, but my service to this community has been unwavering.”
In February 2019, the city council elevated Johnson, who at that time was on the planning commission, to the city council. The appointment was necessitated after John Dutrey was elected mayor in November 2018 with two years yet remaining on his term as councilman. The council for eight weeks thereafter deadlocked, with councilwoman Trish Martinez and Carolyn Raft on one side and Dutrey and Councilman Ruh on the other, over whom to appoint. At last they compromised on selecting Johnson.
Johnson said that at this point, after serving in the post for a year-and-a-half, “I believe I am qualified to hold the position of city councilperson based on my experience in this city. I sat on the board of directors with the Neighborhood Partnership of Montclair, where we addressed housing needs of residents. I was appointed to the Community Action Committee to address social and recreational needs of our community, and lastly I spent twenty years as a Planning Commissioner addressing development and infrastructure issues. I currently spend several hours a day volunteering at the Montclair Chamber of Commerce to help support local businesses.”
Johnson said she was reluctant to contrast herself with the other candidates in the race by discussing in detail what distinguishes her from her electoral opponents, given how little she knows about them.
“At this point in time, I am not sure who my opponents are, since the filing period will be open for several more days,” she said earlier this week. “However, I think the work I have done in this community for nearly thirty years sets me apart, as my experience provides knowledge that my opponents may not have.”
In sizing up the major issues facing the city, Johnson said, “Shortly after my council appointment last year, I sent a query out to the community, letting residents know that I wanted to be their voice and asking them what they wanted me to do. The response was resounding. Residents reported that they wanted more police, more police at schools, more police patrolling the streets. They wanted potholes fixed and, by the way, more police. Well, police are expensive and our budget is finite. So we need to find new ways of generating revenue.”
Johnson said, “In the midst of recent unrest, there have been many calls to defund the police. I believe the opposite should be true. We need to ramp up the police, not just with more officers. We need to add social workers and mental health professionals who are available to work 24/7 in concert with police officers.”
In addressing how the city will pay for the increase in police presence she is proposing, Johnson said, “There is an effort to put a 1 percent retail sales tax on the November ballot. It is important to note that this is not a utility tax. It is not a property tax. It is not a grocery tax. It is a retail sales tax. Most of this revenue will be generated by people who shop in Montclair, but don’t necessarily live in Montclair.”
Her previous experience relating to government, she pointed out, consisted of her presence on the city council since February 2019, her service on the planning commission from 1999 until last year, her participation as a member of the Neighborhood Partnership of Montclair Board from 1996 to 2002, her participation in the state-mandated Successor Agency to the Montclair Redevelopment Agency as an oversight board member from 2012 until 2018, and her participation in an appointed capacity with the Montclair Community Action Committee from 1993 to 1999.
Johnson was also selected as the Montclair Woman of the Year in 2014.
Johnson attended high school in Detroit, Michigan. She has a bachelor of science degree with a focus in business management. She began attending college at Saginaw Valley State College in Michigan. “Then life happened,” she said. “I finished at the University of Phoenix in Ontario.”
In 2009, she retired as a healthcare administrator from Kaiser Permanente.
Johnson married her husband, Warren, in 1981. “We have two children, Elizabeth and Warren Jr.,” she said. “Our daughter and her husband have two daughters, Alana and Alexis. Our son and his wife have two sons, Joseph and Jalen.”
Johnson said, “It is my desire to be the voice of the people. When the residents speak, it is my job to make their voices heard.” She encouraged Montclair’s residents who are of the age of majority to register to vote if they have not already done so to “Vote Tenice Johnson, your voice for a safe and vigorous Montclair!”

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