Downey hosts second Chinese delegation

DOWNEY - The city of Downey welcomed a 23-member delegation from Jiangxi Province, China on Thursday last week, the second visit here in little more than two weeks by high-ranking government officials from that country of 1.2 billion people.On Dec. 23, Downey Regional Medical Center played host to a 30-member delegation from Jiangxi's southern neighbor, Anhui Province. Anhui Province is 600 miles south of Beijing and 100 miles west of Shanghai. Both visits, which include trips to such places as San Francisco and CalTech, were arranged by Pasadena-based U.S. China Business Institute, which has started an aggressive promotion of professional, cultural, and business exchanges between the two countries. Its president, Charlie King, acted as translator/interpreter for the group. Because of her Chinese connection through her and her late husband's Medical Books for China International, Mary Phillips again served as an unofficial tour guide/consultant. In the absence of the other City Council members, Mayor Mario Guerra bore the brunt of questioning by the contingent, which ranged anywhere from how the police force tries to keep Downey safe to what impact the economic slowdown has had on city operations. Assisting him on this were administrators/department heads including: assistant city manager Lee Powell, police chief Roy Campos, deputy city manager/community development Gilbert Livas, building director Linda Haines, community services director Thad Phillips, city clerk Kathleen Midstokke, and planning/economic development's Steven Yee. Assistant deputy city manager Scott Pomrehn acted as tour director. In both PowerPoint presentation and a lengthy question-and-answer session, Guerra took pains to explain the city's history, organization and chain of command, its aerospace/aviation heritage, the hospitals in its midst, its parks and other amenities (golf course, etc.), its 24 schools, Downey Studios and Learning Center, and its redevelopment efforts (Porto's Bakery, etc.). He also pointed out the central role Downey water plays in Coca-Cola's bottling operations and the bottled water (Dasani) industry. Before and after a buffet luncheon at Hackers Grill, the delegation was treated to a tour of City Hall, the Police Department, Fire Station #1, Downey Studios, the Columbia Learning Center, etc. The delegation's next stop is the east coast for a glimpse of New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., before heading home. ********** Published: January 16, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 39