When Cedar Mannama was three years old, he decided he wants to be Mayor John Dooley.
“It came out of the blue,” says his grandmother Cindy Lazenby. “We started doing imaginary play, and I said, ‘Who are you going to be?’ He put on a very serious face, put his hand on the table like he was writing on a desk, and said, ‘I want be the mayor of Nelson. Mayor Dooley.’
“And I said, ‘Oh, do you want to be the Prime Minister of Canada?’ He says, ‘No, I want to be Mayor Dooley.’”
Later that year a suit arrived in the mail, passed down to Cedar by one of his cousins who had worn it to a wedding and grown out of it.
Cedar put it on and immediately announced that he was Mayor Dooley, and since that day has often assumed this role. He is now five, attending kindergarten at Rosemont Elementary School.
Asked by the Nelson Star why he likes Mayor Dooley so much, Cedar says, “I just like him.”
Lazenby said he first met Dooley at the Remembrance Day ceremony, where Cedar held out his hand and introduced himself to Mayor Dooley as Mayor Dooley.
Cedar says he enjoys dressing like the mayor.
“I wear a tie and a jacket with a collar, and when I look at the clothes, I remember him. And I even got to wear his coat of arms.”
In December he visited City Hall, where he sat behind the mayors’ desk, donned the chain of office, had a conversation with the other Mayor Dooley, and had his photo taken.
“Eventually I am going to go back and see him again,” Cedar says.
He says the mayor does not tell people what to do, but helps to solve problems.
“He like helps out if there’s any problems in the town,” Cedar says. “Like if there’s a fire and they have tried everything, and water didn’t work, and nothing that they have was working.”
The other Mayor Dooley told the Star that when kids come to City Hall it’s mostly in school groups.
“But he did this all by himself,” Dooley said. “He came in and we had a great conversation.”
Cedar recently won a competition in the kindergarten age category in the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology’s Contraption Contest.
Kids were asked to come up with inventions that would help us live in a warmer climate. They didn’t have to build their invention, just provide drawings and an explanation.
Cedar submitted a proposal for a robot programmed to pick up garbage and seaweed that has floated onto land from flooding, and propellers to help fish swim in fish bowls, both powered by sea water.
He also proposed that the city build “a lab with a professor that is doing experiments to help the town.”