DOWNEY - In a much-anticipated development honoring the spirit of peace and friendship between cities instigated by Dwight D. Eisenhower's International Sister Cities Program, Downey has just forged a bond with another city south of the border: Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico.Fresnillo was by city resolution formalized Tuesday as Downey's fifth sister city. The vote was 4-1 with Mayor Pro Tem Anne Bayer dissenting. Downey has previously established affiliations with Guadalajara, Jalisco, Alajuela (Costa Rica) and Ensenada. Fresnillo, whose population of around 115,000 is nearly identical to Downey's, is the largest city in Zacatecas state in north central Mexico and is known to sit atop one of the world's richest silver mines, known as the Mina Proano or Fresnillo Mine. Groups of Zacatecans in Southern California (the Southern California Diaspora) who saw the benefits of a more collaborative, more meaningful relationship with their mother city/state had earlier advocated closer ties between Fresnillo and Downey, and expressed their wishes in tangible ways. Case in point: selected members of the Downey Fire Department in May conducted a five-day firemen and civil protection training program in Fresnillo, while a delegation from the city paid Downey a visit in July. All that was left was a formal letter of intent from the city of Fresnillo. This was accomplished. In the meantime, as a further gesture of goodwill and as promised, Downey Fire donated a fire truck to the city. It was delivered last month. An eight-member Downey Fire team will head to Fresnillo soon to train its fire department on how to operate and maintain the truck. Sister Cities engage in completely voluntary direct-contact, people-to-people programs that encompass student, cultural, professional, business, government, even athletic, programs. Elected Sunday as Downey Sister Cities Association's new president was Mike Murray. For information about the association/how to join, call Paula Mejia at (562) 884-9657.
********** Published: October 30, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 28