LONG BEACH — Councilman Edd Tuttle did not want to move back to his district. So, with a little help from his colleagues, he had the district moved back to him.
Tuttle insists that he did not know that his North Long Beach area district included only the west side of Linden Avenue, not the east side, where he and his wife moved about three months ago.
But Councilman Evan Anderson Braude, who chaired the committee that redistricted the city earlier this year, was not so quick by accept that excuse from the nine-year incumbent.
Braude cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday as the City Council approved changing boundaries so that the Tuttles' apartment in the 3600 block of Linden Avenue will be a part of the 8th District. Tuttle estimated that the change will add about 20 residents to his district. They were previously represented by Councilman Ray Grabinski in the 7th District.
City Attorney John R. Calhoun said Tuttle would have been allowed under the city charter to live outside his district as long as he resided in the city during his term. But Tuttle would have had to move back into his district to face reelection unless he wanted to challenge Grabinski in his district.
Tuttle blamed confusion surrounding redistricting--and at least one miscue in trying to check to make sure that his new residence was in the 8th District--as the cause of the gaffe.
Braude said multiple maps were produced showing different reapportionment options. But the final map was well known to the council.
"The final one, we voted on (it) two or three times in a row," Braude said in explaining why he voted against allowing Tuttle to move the district lines to accommodate his new residence.
Before this year's redistricting, Tuttle and Grabinski said, it was relatively simple to know their district boundary lines.
"Edd and I had a simple line for a lot of years, Bixby Road," Grabinski said. On the north was Tuttle; on the south was Grabinski. Added Tuttle, "I didn't really have any problems because the neighborhoods are basically contiguous."
But when that east-west line was redrawn, it dipped south at Linden until turning west again at 34th Street. However, only the west side of Linden became part of Tuttle's district. The east side, where Tuttle and his wife moved, remained in Grabinski's district.
While most of the boundary switches were occurring in the southern end of the city during redistricting, Tuttle said there was little change near his district in the north. When the new map was finished, he said he just looked at it and made a "mental note" about the location of his district.
About three months ago, Tuttle said he and his wife, Nancy, decided to move to the Linden Avenue apartment. To make sure the apartment was within his district, he said his wife telephoned Grabinski on June 25. Tuttle said his wife received assurances that the apartment was within the 8th District.
Grabinski, who said he knows his district's boundaries, recalled that he might not have differentiated between one side of the street or the other when he talked to Nancy Tuttle.
"I might have given her the wrong information," h conceded. But he said he is certain that he asked Nancy Tuttle to check further with the staff member who specializes in the district boundaries.
About a month ago, Tuttle said he found out that he did not live in his own district when he received copies of the final maps of the districts from the city clerk. That left a choice--either move back into his district or have the boundary changed before he faces reelection next April.
"It's burdensome to get up and move," said Tuttle, who has lived in the district for 36 of his 40 years. He added that the city clerk found that making the change would be cost free, only about 20 constituents were affected and "the change was so insignificant they didn't have to make any changes otherwise."
Asked if the switch amounted to gerrymandering--redistricting to give an edge to a party or interest--Tuttle replied, "It's not gerrymandering in the traditional (sense). . . . But I would say it's gerrymandering (in) that it accomplished legal residence."
Grabinski said he had no objection to the change. The block in question, he said, has the Petroleum Club, a church and one or two apartment houses and his district already has the most constituents in the city.