Mayor Barbara Kiley on Tuesday resigned as president of the North District of the American Cancer Society amid criticism over her vote last month against an ordinance that would ban smoking in restaurants, places of employment and other public places.
Kiley was asked to resign by Hal Massey, chairman of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Unit of the American Cancer Society. Margaret Edwards, director of marketing and communications for the organization, criticized Kiley for abandoning the group’s anti-cancer goals.
“Our mission is to conquer cancer,” Edwards said. “We want her to believe in our goal to enforce a stricter (smoking) ordinance. We need a leader in (the president’s) position who believes in tobacco control, one who will take a stand.”
The mayor was also criticized by a former president of the California division of the American Cancer Society for mentioning her affiliation with the organization as she was voting against the ordinance.
James Nethery, a dentist who works only with cancer patients, said Kiley used her position to appease residents who support the ban, then voted against it on behalf of merchants who oppose it.
“Kiley was trying to have the best of both worlds,” Nethery said. “If you volunteer in the American Cancer Society you are . . . not free to bandy the organization’s name around, then (vote) against its policies and positions.”
But Kiley contends she did not vote against the ordinance, rather she wanted to let voters decide on the ban.
“Yorba Linda does have an ordinance limiting smoking in public places, and my vote was not to deny the stricter ordinance but to put the ordinance on the November ballot and let the good people of Yorba Linda cast their own vote, so as to limit any legal liability or possible litigation by the powerful tobacco associations,” Kiley wrote in her resignation letter.