CB Johnson is no stranger to community service.

One of 12 children, he was always baby-sitting and watching out for other youngsters in his neighborhood in Austin, making them part of his extended family, he recalls.

Now at 50, Johnson wants to take on the problems of an even larger family-those of the 29th Ward. And with the right people bringing this family together, he said; important issues like education, jobs and public safety can be dealt with effectively.

“We have to sit down and hammer out ways to engage the people and get a clear idea of what they want to see,” Johnson said.

One thing Johnson said he’s learned in his years of political field work, and as chief executive officer of the Campaign for a Drug Free Westside-the 29th Ward lacks strong leadership and a willingness of its leaders to truly sit down and speak with the community.

One way to tackle the 29th Ward’s problems, Johnson says, is to conduct a five-year strategic plan. One with measurable goals and which includes an annual 18-month reassessment of how it’s working. The plan would be created by people from all 49 precincts across the ward, Johnson said.

An education task force comprised of teachers, administrators and parents would assess what to do in the schools. Business summits would help explore ways to improve local job prospects, and he would work with people to help them create their own small businesses. To tackle crime, Johnson said he would “reignite” block clubs, community watches and work closely with the 15th District police.

This is Johnson’s second run for public office. In 1999, he lost his bid for 29th Ward alderman.

-Deborah Kadin, Austintalks.org

To learn more about CB Johnson:

  • 773-295-7381