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Boyd hands mayor’s gavel to Pearson

Kelly Boyd’s term as mayor ended Tuesday with his choked-up thanks to city staff, fellow council members and Homeless Advisory Committee members for a memorable year.

“It has been a pleasure for me to serve the residents of this community,” Boyd said. “Some have disagreed with me — and that’s OK. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But overall, we have worked well together.”

Boyd’s last act as mayor was to nominate Elizabeth Pearson to succeed him. The vote was unanimous.

Once seated, Pearson immediately nominated Councilwoman Toni Iseman for mayor pro tem, seconded by Boyd. The vote also was unanimous.

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Pearson previously served consecutive terms as mayor in 2005 when Bluebird Canyon experienced its second devastating landslide, and in 2006, a tribute to her leadership during the crisis and its aftermath.

Pearson’s first act was to thank Boyd for his service.

“And it’s not just because he is ‘our guy’ — on Valentine’s Day, he gives us [the four councilwomen] candy,” Pearson said. “He adds a dimension that no one else could.”

Boyd’s family history — he is the fifth generation of the Thurston-Boyd clan to grow up, live and work in Laguna — brings a unique perspective to council discussions, Pearson said.

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Councilwomen Verna Rollinger, Jane Egly, Iseman and Pearson, who all supported the city-wide ban on fishing, which Boyd deplored, presented him with a remembrance of his term.

After eyeing the package with some trepidation — expecting perhaps one of those singing fish or a fishing pole because he is an avid angler — he finally unwrapped a starfish wall plaque.

“They got me again,” Boyd said.

In his brief look back at the past year, Boyd said that two years ago he would not have dreamed how well the city would resolve the homeless issues. And that was before the American Civil Liberties Union stirred the pot by suing the city for banning camping on the beaches and in parks without providing an alternative. The suit, subsequently settled, created an avalanche of homeless campsites on public property and backlash from residents, tourists and the business community.

“Toni and [Assistant City Manager] John Pietig did a phenomenal job,” Boyd said.

Iseman and Pietig served with Boyd on the Homeless Task Force and its successor, the Advisory Committee on Homelessness, which recommended the alternative sleeping site at ACT V, under the auspices of Friendship Shelter, Mercy House and Laguna Relief and Resource Center.

Boyd also extended his thanks to Faye Chapman and Arnold Hano, among many, the outgoing mayor said, who worked their butts off to help the homeless and restore the beaches and parks to their intended use.

Iseman said the outcome of the homeless issues would never have happened without Boyd’s efforts.

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“People gained a sense of trust watching him work,” Iseman said.

Other highlights of his term cited by Boyd included the opening of the Third Street Community Center and the Laguna Beach Seniors Susi Q.

“That was Elizabeth’s project that she worked so hard on,” Boyd said.

Another achievement was the joint alert system by which residents can be notified of an emergency, for which Iseman pushed so hard, Boyd said.

It was employed a few weeks ago when two children went missing in Laguna.

“We retained the hospital with its emergency room and thanks for that go to Jane, Cheryl Kinsman and John Pietig,” Boyd said.

“You have no idea of how many hours they worked to make this happen,” Boyd told the audience.

Boyd also thanked Egly for keeping him smiling.

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“He has been a true delight on the council,” Egly said, giving Boyd a pat on the arm.

Boyd, along with Pearson and Iseman are up for reelection in 2010. All three have indicated their intention to run again.



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