LONG BEACH — A city planning commissioner has joined the jockeying for the 8th District Council seat in what could become a crowded field, after Councilman Edd Tuttle's surprise announcement that he will not seek reelection next spring.
Planning Commissioner Pat Schauer, who was co-chairing Tuttle's campaign, said Wednesday she will file for the seat. Even before Tuttle bowed out, drilling company executive Jeff Kellogg had already spent weeks walking the district with the intention of running against Tuttle in the April 12 city election.
Tuttle, who has been on the council for nine years, informed Mayor Ernie Kell on Monday that he will not be a candidate. Schauer said the tall, stocky councilman told her "the straw that broke the camel's back" was the garnishment of his council pay two weeks ago by his ex-wife who was seeking $1,466 in back child support payments.
Although Tuttle has since repaid the debt, the incident was the latest of a series of politically crippling embarrassments. Tuttle had to have his district's boundary moved in October to include his new apartment because he said he inadvertently moved out of the district.
Controversy Over Helicopter Ride
He became embroiled in a dispute last summer over whether he accepted a free demonstration ride from a helicopter commuter firm seeking a city license. He said at the time that although he had received a courtesy pass from the company, he had paid for a helicopter ride from Long Beach to Los Angeles International Airport. He later said that the pass had been stolen from his council office.
In 1985, the council censured Tuttle for lobbing racial slurs at teen-agers before being arrested for public drunkenness aboard a city bus. Tuttle apologized, admitted that he had a problem with alcohol and entered a treatment program.
Tuttle was reported to be out-of-town on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment. But his father, Harvey Tuttle, said his son is "hurting financially" after devoting much of his time to years of public service. While the councilman "still has a lot of energy," the senior Tuttle said his son used to joke that "he's been in a financial bind since he was 13."
The councilman has said in the past that his income is derived mainly from his $13,224 annual council salary and teaching photography classes part time at area colleges.
Jim Gray, a former harbor commissioner who had locked horns with Tuttle on several occasions, said that with the councilman's personal problems, "it's hard to have time to serve your constituents." Gray said he expects a crowded field of candidates on the ballot.
Gives Kellogg Edge
Sid Solomon, head of the liberal Long Beach Area Citizens Involved, said Kellogg has an edge in the race to represent the mostly bedroom-community district that includes Bixby Knolls and Virginia Country Club.
"Anyone who comes in now has a little bit of catching up to do," Solomon said. Kellogg, 33, a Long Beach native who works in his family's oil drilling business, said his family supported Tuttle in his early races. Recently, however, "it was not something he was putting all his energy into."
Schauer, 46, a Long Beach resident for eight years, said her entrance in the race is "a natural extension of my present and past activities and participation in neighborhood issues." A real estate broker who has served more than a year on the Planning Commission, Schauer said preservation of neighborhoods and the environment will be key issues in her campaign.
She said Kellogg is a "nice young man" but that she intends to offer an alternative.
City Council campaigns are nonpartisan. Council seats held by Wallace Edgerton, Thomas Clark and Clarence Smith will also be on the April ballot, along with the citywide election of the city's first full-time mayor.