Friday, August 16, 2013

California lawmakers seek closer ties with Mexico

 — Saying California has neglected its relationship with Mexico, a veteran California legislator on Tuesday called on Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to make a greater priority of cross-border ties.
“You have a governor who has gone to China, opened up a trade office (there), and we haven’t gone to Mexico yet,” said state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Anaheim, referring to Brown.
Correa spoke at the offices of the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation (DEITAC), a group that promotes foreign investment in the city’s manufacturing sector. He was accompanied by two members of the Assembly — Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, and Rocky Chavez, R-Carlsbad — as well as Denise Moreno Ducheny, a retired state senator from San Diego.
The DEITAC briefing was part of a two-day visit to the San Diego-Tijuana border region that concluded Tuesday. While many topics discussed during the tour are controlled by the federal government, the legislators said speaking out about Mexico’s importance to California is crucial.
“We’ve got to begin to say, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of activity between Mexico and California,’” said Correa, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation and vice chair of the Border Legislative Conference. “The obvious stuff is the border crossings. People don’t come to Tijuana anymore because it takes them six hours to get back.”
The visit included a meeting with Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante and a tour of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, where the group observed congestion at the commercial crossing.
“We have trucks that are lined up for hours going both ways,” Allen said. “This causes air pollution and loss of commerce. What we’re looking to do is enable our voices to be heard at the federal level ... so we can enhance commerce between California and Mexico.”

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