Councilman Healing After Back Surgery

Marine Room Tavern owner and council member Kelly Boyd is recovering after illness that kept him from his official duties for several weeks.

Wednesdays are Kelly Boyd’s golfing days, but he hasn’t been much in the swing for that lately.

He was also unable to attend City Council meetings and official city events in recent months where supporters felt his absence.

Boyd has been laying low because he fractured three ribs last December from intense coughing spells due to bronchitis. During an exam three months later, doctors discovered three cracked vertebrae.  Boyd said the cause is unknown.

He is, however, saying that smoking for the past 55 years probably instigated the whole series of events.

“It’s just been an accumulation of things,” he said in an interview this week.  “I’m hanging in there and things are getting a little better. I just have some therapy to go through, that’s all, and it takes time.”

Boyd, 68, went through an out-patient operation to fill and stabilize the fractured vertebrae seven weeks ago and is now going to back therapy for an hour three times a week.  After experiencing some trouble breathing, he’s also starting three-and-a-half hours of pulmonary and respiratory therapy a week to strengthen his heart and lungs, weakened, he surmised, due to smoking.  The therapy will introduce him to specific exercises, breathing techniques and a food plan to strengthen his health, he said, adding that he stopped smoking when he had his back operation.

Boyd returned to the council meeting last week after missing three meetings, the only meetings he’s missed since he was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Looking gaunt and his voice strained and hoarse while making comments later, during the opening roll-call, he gave a clear and affirmative “here” in response.

He doesn’t see his health as an issue in fulfilling his elected responsibilities and is on several city committees as the designated council member, sometimes sharing those duties with another council member.  Verna Rollinger, who co-represents the council on the Irvine Bowl Policy Committee, said Boyd didn’t miss a meeting even when he was dealing with health issues this year.

Boyd repudiates months-long rumors that he has cancer.  “I’ve had every test they have and there is absolutely no sign,” he refuted.

An avid golfer, he said he hasn’t picked up a nine-iron in nine months.  He’s hoping that after the next five weeks of pulmonary and respiratory therapy, he’ll be back on the green again.  “When I know my back’s better, I’ll start swinging a club,” he said.

A Laguna Beach native, owner of the Marine Room Tavern and former waterman, Boyd insists on keeping Laguna free of restrictions, including the recreational fishing ban imposed by the Marine Life Protection Act now in effect. He is, however, a proponent of keeping the ocean clean and supports stopping run-off into the ocean at Aliso Creek, and is adamant about fewer city signs telling people what they can’t do on the beach.

Boyd is also a descendent of one of the town’s early settlers, Joe Thurston, whose family settled in Aliso Canyon in 1871.  He is up for re-election in 2014.

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