Newsmakers Of The Year:

Boyd, Iseman alike in fights

The two council members may not see eye to eye on every issue, but they work hard to make Laguna the best it can be.

January 01, 2010|By Barbara Diamond

Working together or at daggers drawn, Kelly Boyd and Toni Iseman led the way in some of the most combustible issues facing the City Council in 2009.

Together they staunchly represented the council in defusing the debacle created by the American Civil Liberties Union suit that for months pitted residents and the business community against the homeless who had taken over city parks and beaches. Their rapport fizzled over the proposed five-year ban on commercial or recreational fishing from those beaches or the off shore waters of Laguna, which Iseman supports and Boyd opposes, but they mutually blasted the county for fencing off the library grounds, which shortly thereafter was removed.

Poles apart in style and political philosophy, they are united in their love of Laguna and their desire to serve it.


Iseman is daintier in her approach to issues, coming at it from a more oblique angle, using anecdotes to prove her point. Boyd is more blunt, but generally more succinct. Both go down swinging.

Iseman was elected to her third consecutive term on the council in November 2006. Boyd was returned to office after a 24-year hiatus

She is a standard bearer for preservation, conservation and moderation in development. She was the “Phantom” of the canyon, planting anti-development, Burma Shave-type signs along the roadway, when the Irvine Co.’s huge “Laguna Laurel” housing and commercial development seemed inevitable.

Her environmental credentials include terms on the board of Laguna Greenbelt Inc. and the California Coastal Commission.

Iseman is supported by the Laguna Beach Democratic Club, Village Laguna and environmentalists.

Boyd, born and bred in Laguna, was supported by the Laguna Beach Firefighters Assn., the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn., Republicans and his family’s historical ties to the city — a school, a street and a trailer park all bear the Thurston name.

Boyd, owner of the Marine Room Tavern, quickly staked out the homeless issue as one of his major concerns.

At the Jan. 26, 2007, council retreat, Boyd said the city needed to address the problem of homeless people and their health issues.

“I stand outside of my business because I smoke and I see them,” Boyd said. “There are new ones and a bigger population of [homeless] women and we need to figure out where they are coming from.”

It was only the opening salvo and the goal would broaden.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles