Mayor Steve Dicterow conceded that Anne Johnson always proved better prepared than he when they served together on the city’s recreation committee.
Former council member Elizabeth Pearson captured Johnson’s can-do character. “When you’re in need, she steps in,” she said. From a white slip-covered chair in Johnson’s home, “she’s pulling all the strings,” said Sue Kempf, appointed to the Planning Commission where Johnson has served 16 years.
Hotel manager Peggy Trott, who characterized Johnson as “wicked smart,” predicted that her mentor, the late Kathleen Blackburn, “is looking down on you and saying ‘you go, girl’.”
Johnson, the Woman’s Club 22nd woman of the year, graciously absorbed the paeans of praise from her friends, colleagues, granddaughters and brother at a lunch last Friday, July 22.
When she finally took the microphone on her own behalf, Johnson described herself as uncharacteristically “speechless.” But ever prepared, she read from pre-written remarks that revealed a bit of her growing up, her involvement with the Woman’s Club since moving to town in 1988 and how she and fellow board members wooed a high profile guest, the protagonist “in a modern day witch trial.” Anita Hill, who in 1991 accused her former boss and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, lived briefly in North Laguna and ultimately agreed to meet with club members in a private home, Johnson said. “There were no pictures, no press; we had a wonderful meeting,” she recalled.
Since joining the club, Johnson said she’s seen a new generation of leaders emerge and make improvements. “It’s still the same, only better. It’s the mantra for the club and the mantra for the town,” she said.