Monday, August 26, 2013

Council president: Tijuana-San Diego relations still strong

Council president: Tijuana-San Diego relations still strong
By Sandra Dibble Aug. 7, 2013

Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, left, speaks with San Diego council president Todd Gloria, center, and councilman David Alvarez at Tijuana City Hall on Wednesday. - From Todd Gloria's Twitter page

TIJUANA - The turmoil at San Diego City Hall and Mayor Bob Filner's fragile tenure will not affect cross-border relations, council president Todd Gloria said Wednesday.

"We have a wonderful relationship," Gloria said during an interview in Tijuana, where he joined fellow Councilman David Alvarez and other members of a San Diego regional delegation for a visit to the city. "Councilman Alvarez and I are committed to making sure it continues regardless of the uncertainty at City Hall right now."

Hosted by Mayor Carlos Bustamante, the group gathered for a morning meeting at Tijuana City Hall to reaffirm the importance of cross-border ties. The delegation included Jerry Sanders, president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a number of officials from the San Diego Association of Governments, including executive director Gary Gallegos; Jack Dale, a Santee councilman who is serving as SANDAG chairman; and Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Teresa Sessom, who heads the agency's regional planning committee.

Bustamante said the aim of his invitation was to showcase Tijuana and the northern Baja California region. He stressed that Tijuana "it is a safe city and more people should come." Congestion at the border crossings remains the main deterrent to a greater flow of people, he said.

Bustamante also said the controversy surrounding Filner's treatment of women "makes me feel sorry for San Diego and sorry for Filner." But he said the cross-border collaboration will continue, adding that "the relationship is not about one person or two people. It's very advanced."

He had forged a close relationship with Sanders when the latter served as San Diego mayor. Filner has been a frequent visitor to Tijuana, and in February opened a San Diego branch office in space offered for free by the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation.

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