City Council honors slain Irvine couple, postal carrier

Tuesday's Irvine City Council meeting was marked with an introductory moment of silence in memory of Keith Lawrence and Monica Quan, as well as two law enforcement officials who allegedly fell prey to former cop Christopher Dorner.

Mayor Steven S. Choi also commended Roger Steeber, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier for saving the life of an elderly Irvine resident on Sept. 17. Steeber was on his route when billowing smoke snagged his attention, leading him to the mobile home of Karen Petersen, 79.

According to Orange County Fire Authority division Chief Michael Moore, the fire in question was moving fast on one of the windiest days of the year, and it was only Steeber's quick thinking that saved Petersen before she was overcome by smoke.

Next, City Manager Sean Joyce cited the Orange County Business Journal to announce that Irvine, with a 94.8% jobs-to-population ratio, had acquired the “National Jobs Title” by leading the pack of 100 largest cities. 

Unlike previous meetings, the council moved quickly through agenda items with unanimous votes on the consent calendar, public hearings and the first half of the council business list.

Discussions about the City of Irvine 2013 State and Federal Legislative Platform, however, provoked a heated conversation about the city's initiatives, or lack of thereof, regarding gun control.

Introducing an amendment that pegged the issue of public safety on gun restrictions, Councilmember Larry Agran said, "Newtown could be our town."

In response, Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway commented: "The one word I have not heard today is the 'Constitution.' Everyone wants to protect the 1st Amendment, and I'm among them, but no one wants to protect the 2nd Amendment. We may not like it, we may disagree with it, but it's the constitution of the United States."

The amendment failed 2 to 3, with the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilwoman Shea dissenting.

Finally circling back to the city's recommendations contained within the legislative platform, the council voted 5 to 0.

The last item of the evening was Irvine's membership to the Association of California Cities of Orange County (ACC-OC), which will cost approximately $24,000 this year, due to a discount the city has been afforded.

Described by public speakers as a "terrific resource," the council passed the motion with all voting in favor.

Doubts were aired, and subsequently put to rest, about the mayor's possible intent to replace Irvine's membership on the League of California Cities with the newly acquired position on ACC-OC.

"I am really tired of Orange County working against its best interest," Councilwoman Beth Krom said. "I'm tired of cities being stratified, I'm tired of us being divided into small cities and big cities. I'm tired of partisanship being injected into non-partisan offices and I'm tired of people having to pick sides. This is a county that either stands together or falls together."

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