Councilman Johnson, however, tells Style: "I'm planning to run." He says he
trusts his constituents to make the right choice. "I'm running for the seat,
not against an opponent," he says.
Jones has collected 150 signatures of registered voters in the 3rd District
25 more than required. Soon she'll take them to the registrar's office.
Jones is campaigning on a platform that might anger some blacks and attract
others. And she works actively to court the votes of whites. "You must learn
to leave race out of the issues," Jones says.
She suggests that many Richmond blacks have never fully experienced the "pain"
of discrimination the way their ancestors did. "Made-up racism in the minds
of black leaders gets into the minds of children," she says, and that stalls
Soon Jones plans to visit the retirement community Imperial Plaza. There are
1,100 people there, she says, most of them white. "I think I'll win their vote,"
(Johnson, meanwhile, insists he filters race from whatever issue he's dealing
with at the time. He cites voting for the Robert E. Lee mural on the Canal Walk
and against the closing of Lombardy Street as examples. "There's so much you
don't know about the district, about the bureaucracy of the city," he says.
"It takes time to learn that.")
Jones' church and its neighboring 24-hour day care make up her Love Outreach
Ministry. It's here that Jones spends most of her time.
For now, her campaign manager, John Royster, says that Jones must talk strategy.
Jones says some supporters have instructed her to "play down the religion thing."
Some City Council members, they tell her, have made the association with religion
"I hate to do that to God," she laments. "I worked so hard to be pastor."