As City of Cotati staff reconvened for their first city council meeting of the new year Tuesday night, a new honorary mayor was chosen — Anabel Dane of Lawrence E. Jones Middle School, a bright, young girl who hopes to pursue a career in art and writing.
While the modest 13-year-old Cotati resident doesn’t quite know how she was picked for the role, she did say she is certainly excited about the opportunity and wants to learn about who the major players are at city hall and who helps to run the inner workings of the city.
“I was really surprised when I found out, I thought it was going to be someone else because I am not as well known in my school but I am really happy about this,” Dane said.
However, her beaming parents and little sister all agreed that it was a role that was much deserved as the talented 8th-grader has excelled both in her grades and in her passions of art, writing and drama and has even won multiple spelling bees, making it up to the county level.
Much to her chagrin her proud father said of his daughter, “I’m not surprised you were picked. You are well appreciated and well liked at your school.”
Dane’s mother, Raquel Montoya-Dane, also said she was very proud and thinks it will be a good opportunity.
“This is amazing! I didn’t even know that this was something they did,” Montoya-Dane said.
Dane said what she hopes to learn the most from this experience is learning about what the city council and city staff is like. She thinks it will be beneficial knowing who runs the local government.
“I’d like to know who is in charge of the area,” Dane said.
Once all of the city council members were seated and the pledge of allegiance said, Dane was asked to approach the podium following a formal reception to address and meet city council members.
Dane, smartly dressed in a black polka-dot dress and boots told the crowd a little bit about herself, “I like art and I think I was chosen for this mainly for my good grades and my involvement in the drama program.”
And when asked by new Mayor Mark Landman what her favorite aspects of art and writing consist of, Dane explained that she enjoys graphic novels since it blends two different forms of storytelling, art and the written word.
“And I like to think up stories that I plan to write about and don’t get to,” Dane mused. She also mentioned she enjoys writing and drawing as a hobby because it allows her to immerse herself in new worlds and in imagination.
She enjoys art so much so, that her passion and her skills landed her a seat at the renowned Santa Rosa High School ArtQuest program next fall.
Former Mayor Susan Harvey said of Dane’s endeavors, “It sounds like you have a bright future because you’ll be able to put two things together (Art and writing) and I hope you will be able to get there.”
Dane’s next task as honorary mayor will be to consult with her peers at school to find out what programs or tasks they would like to see the city council consider. She will also be presented with an honorary mayor document and have a chance for a photo-op with city council. The closing honorary mayor ceremony will take place at the next Cotati City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. at city hall.