FULLERTON : Recovering Mayor Will Seek Reelection

Mayor A. B. (Buck) Catlin, still recuperating from a body surfing accident that left him partially paralyzed, said Thursday he will file for reelection on Monday.

The 71-year-old mayor, who has been absent from City Council meetings since his June 20 accident, also said he plans to return to the meetings beginning Tuesday.

While Catlin was in therapy, Mayor Pro Tem Chris Norby has been filling in. Catlin has been a member of the City Council since 1982.

"I'm walking a mile every day," said Catlin, who is still undergoing part-time rehabilitation therapy at St. Jude Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Fullerton. "I'm not fit as a fiddle yet. But I'm at least in the third row of the orchestra pit."

Dr. Bruce Everette, a neurosurgeon at St. Jude Hospital who has been overseeing Catlin's rehabilitation, would not comment specifically on the mayor's progress. He did say, however, that Catlin is doing fine and should be physically able to make his reelection bid.

"I would think there would be no problems," Everette said. "It is, after all, a thinking job."

Catlin was injured when he was surprised by a wave that threw him headfirst into the sand in Laguna Beach. The mayor was with his wife, Bobbie, celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary.

He was pulled from the surf by his wife and a friend when he failed to surface on his own. Catlin recalled that he could move neither his hands nor his feet and was helpless in the water.

The mayor spent nearly a month at St. Jude Hospital after the accident. During that time, he was undergoing full-time therapy for partial paralysis in his feet and hands.

A former Navy submarine commander and a former professor at Fullerton College, Catlin said he wants to put the episode behind him and is looking forward to getting back to council meetings and the upcoming November elections.

As for campaign issues, Catlin said he will focus on clean air, waste management, recycling and traffic congestion.

"We can't turn back the clock to the 1950s," Catlin said. "We're not an island. The problems we have are also regional problems. And all the cities must start to work together to solve them."

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