Support For Petrilla, No Support For His Agenda Item

Gone since April with the National Guard in Afghanistan, Jesse Petrilla returned to City Council in Rancho Santa Margarita amid hearty applause and a commendation, but his desire to make a statement about Prop 30 was met with silence.

Jesse Petrilla's first night back as a city councilman for Rancho Santa Margarita was quiet. As far as he was concerned, probably too quiet.

There was a light schedule on the agenda of the City Council on Wednesday. So light that, after commendations to Petrilla, among others, the only new business to discuss was an agenda item that Petrilla himself brought before the council.

Petrilla wanted the council to adopt an official stance that disapproved of Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown's tax initiative.

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No other councilmembers even discussed it, and after Petrilla made the motion, it died for lack of a second.

And that was it. Short and sweet. And silent.

The rest of Petrilla's night was considerably more successful. (See videos)

He was recognized for his duty in Afghanistan as part of the California National Guard, which had taken him away from council business since April. Although he had been expected to be gone for up to 400 days, his departure was closer to 150.

"We express our gratitude that you're home safely and the city may now remove those yellow ribbons that symbolized our collective concern and hope that our fighting men and women will return home," Mayor Tony Beall said, referring to yellow ribbons place in Central Park earlier this month until the return of Petrilla and the city's adopted 2/5 Marines from Camp Pendleton. "Welcome home."

Petrilla received applause in the council chambers from those who acknowledged his military service, and Petrilla—the youngest person ever elected to this City Council—presented the city with a gift, a flag that had flown over his camp in Afghanistan.

In other council news, city vector representative George Gutman reassured councilmembers that the West Nile Virus that had become such a big story in Dallas—1,093 cases, 43 deaths—was not an issue here.

"That outbreak was pretty much a matter of them dragging their feet," Gutman said.

In Orange County, flea-borne typhus is a greater threat, Gutman said; there were eight new cases last month, 24 for the year. So far, the cases were in Santa Ana, Westminster and Fullerton. As the weather cools, Gutman said vectors such as skunks and possums will move closer to human contact and that will help increase those numbers.

Gutman said the typhus starts with a sore throat and flu-like conditions and usually includes "a headache that doesn't go away"; there is also muscle weakness that eventually feels like the muscles are being crushed.

City manager Jennifer Cervantez told the council that RSM had received an "honorable mention" from the Association of California Cities-Orange County for its smart sale of Rule 20A utility credits to Laguna Beach, which netted the city $437,550.

16 Falcon October 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Jesse, my family and I thank you for your service providing all of us on these pages the opportunity to exercise the Freedoms granted under the Constitution. "Liberty" and "Freedom" invite discussion and discord. I enjoy the fruits of the current council members by letting them do all the heavy lifting. A few months back it came to my attention that RSM's tremendous progress over the years may come to an abrupt end. In my humble opinion (IMHO), the community can not allow the dysfunctional disingenuous and dishonest elements infest our community. We have a "Barbarian at the Gate" campaigning on a negative platform and it is time to stop the Barbarian. I attended the Sept. 26th meeting thinking there would be a large community turnout, especially in support of Jesse but failed to see any alliance members attending. April was "On Point" with her last comments! As April stated so succinctly "There was no discord-just respectfully honoring one councilmember's request for a political platform, and moving on." No abuse, no waste, just good government.
April Josephson October 03, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Mark, thank you for your reasoned response. With regard to what you call the solidarity of the lack of response, this is one of those things where "you had to be there" to get the full picture. It was clear to those of us in attendance that there was no prior decision. In actuality, one council member left the dais at the beginning of the agenda item to take what the council calls a "comfort break." The rest of the council did not know how to proceed, or whether to move forward without him. After some discussion as to what to do, they decided to wait to see whether he wanted to contribute, which—as reported—he did not. This is something that you don't understand from the press, which merely summarizes the actions taken (not that there's anything wrong with that). I, for one, try not to judge things too closely when I am not a personal witness, because it requires assuming facts that I do not know. The meeting audio is on the City's website. It won't necessarily have the same impact as watching, but it may be worth a listen. As far as the Brown Act, I am on several boards and committees subject to it, so I do have familiarity. To my mind, it would be a clear violation to have said what you suggested, and not at all reactionary or paranoid.
glen p October 03, 2012 at 03:35 PM
April, I do listen to all the audio meetings, not able to attend at this time, I participate at a distance. I realize you can't get the full effect by just hearing what was said (or in this case NOT what was said) but still, the slience in the room was almost deafening, In, what appears to show, your vast knowledge of all the city councils actions, words, etc. was there a prior disscussion, behind closed doors, regarding the council discussing a stance on the state immigration issue? And if so is that privy to citizens eyes?
Mark Jordan October 03, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Thank you April. You've been one of the more reasonable voices I've had the pleasure to discuss such matters. All things considered, I think it best to side with the point of view of an actual witness. For now, I believe it's prudent to remain cautiously vigilant - options open. I cannot shrug the feeling of intrenched animus amid the council, of which I've not a heard a whisper of disavowal, but as to possible Brown Act violation and an orchestrated effort to embarrass Councilman Petrilla, I've put my appraisal on hold. Thank you again.
April Josephson October 03, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Thank you, Mark. I appreciate both your demeanor and your thoughtfulness. I've enjoyed hearing your point of view. I have had the opportunity to work on committees with four of the five sitting council members, including Councilman Petrilla. I don't believe what happened was meant to disrespect him or the military.


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