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.