The Johnson Treatment

Council candidate presides over a rather unique substance abuse program

Shortly after announcing his candidacy, Johnson urged African-American voters to help him "take back" the Position 4 seat, which, prior to Bell's victory in a special election earlier this year, had been held by John Peavy, Sheila Jackson Lee and Anthony Hall -- all of whom are black.

After Johnson advanced into a runoff with Bell, the councilman accused Johnson of "playing the race card" for his alleged role as an architect of an all-black "slate" for the November 4 election.

Johnson denied having anything to do with the slate and implied that Bell -- who has been endorsed by such African-American officials as Councilman Jew Don Boney and state Representative Garnet Coleman -- was himself a racist.

On the campaign trail, Johnson makes much of his refusal to take contributions from special-interest PACs while accusing Bell of cozying up to such contributors as the Houston Contractors Association, which supported Proposition A, the anti-affirmative action initiative that voters rejected on November 4.

At a recent candidates forum, Johnson pounded the dais with a bundle of campaign-finance reports filed by Bell, whose support of the city's affirmative action program is well-documented. Pointing out that Bell's campaign had taken money from the same contractors who want to end affirmative action, Johnson called his opponent "a wolf in sheep's clothing." Given his business relationship with Quanell X, Johnson might want to reconsider that guilty-by-association strategy.

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