HELL ON EARTH Singer Crashes Council Candidates Forum

St. Petersburg Times reports that the shock rocker who made worldwide headlines a few weeks ago while planning an onstage "suicide concert" wants a seat on the very St. Petersburg City Council that helped drive his show underground.

Sporting a suit and tie, dreadlocks and 9-inch stacked shoes, Billy Tourtelot arrived at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on Wednesday (October 22) to take part in a council candidates forum put on by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

But club officials wouldn't let Tourtelot speak, saying he was not a qualified candidate.

The scion of a prominent St. Petersburg real estate family, Tourtelot, 33, is promoting himself as a write-in candidate for the District 3 council seat. Bill Foster now holds the seat, and political newcomer Bill Dudley is challenging him.

To have qualified as a write-in challenger, Tourtelot would have had to file an application and qualified for last month's District 3 primary, said Mark Winn, chief assistant city attorney.

It's too late to jump in for the Nov. 4 citywide election, and anyone who managed to write in Tourtelot's name would be wasting a vote, Winn said.

Despite that and the Tiger Bay turndown, Tourtelot made himself available to talk to the media, which paid less attention to Foster, Dudley and District 1 council incumbent Rick Kriseman. Kriseman's opponent, Dennis Homol, did not appear.

Foster, Dudley and Kriseman described their platforms and answered questions about such topics as police morale, Midtown development and the city budget.

Foster and Dudley said they support keeping Albert Whitted Airport open, while Kriseman said he is "leaning toward" doing so.

A circuit judge blocked Tourtelot's concert, which was nowhere to be found on its scheduled date, Oct. 4.

The leader of the heavy metal band HELL ON EARTH, Tourtelot said the concert was to have been a show of support for euthanasia. The City Council passed an emergency ordinance to keep it from happening.

Tourtelot said human rights are among his major concerns, and that his constituency would be "people who are sick and tired of politicians."

The following is Billy's response to the St. Petersburg Times article:

"As a native of St. Petersburg, District 3, I feel obligated to enter this election as a write-in candidate. City council has a history of throwing money and valuable resources around at simple problems that could have been easily handled by simple communication. When city council is voting on ordinances that rule on how much bird seed our citizens and tourists are allowed to feed birds in parks, there's a problem.

"On issues such as Albert Whitted Airport, I wish to protect what's left of St. Petersburg's history and undeveloped land for our city's future.

"I believe parking meters are a poor way to generate revenue, especially in hospital, downtown and business districts. They should be removed. I think the history of our city's attempts to generate revenue using parking meters speaks for itself.

"My first personal duty as the new District 3 seat holder will be to cut my annual salary by 10% and have it allocated to the St. Petersburg Police Department's salary budget. I will expect all city officials with managerial positions to follow suit.

"There are many issues I wish to address. I am inviting Bill Foster and the other District 3 candidates to a good old American public debate."

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