MONTEREY PARK — Mayor Judy Chu, six city officials, and a group of residents and community leaders are embarking on a two-week tour of Taiwan and Hong Kong that will include meetings with businessmen interested in developing in Monterey Park.
They will also visit Monterey Park's sister city, Yung-Ho, south of Taipei. The link was established nine years ago, and this is the first time a delegation from Monterey Park has returned to the city of 200,000.
No city funds are being used for the trip, Chu said. All participants are paying own their air fare and hotel expenses, and the government of Yung Ho is providing room and board for the Taiwan segment of the trip.
The group of about 30 will leave today for Taipei, and about half will return in a week. The other half will fly to Hong Kong and will return Oct. 19.
"I was interested in reviving the sister city relationship," Chu said Wednesday. "It had been dead for years because of the kinds of tensions in Monterey Park, a negative attitude toward everything having to do with Asia. There was a backlash against immigrants."
For the mayor, it will be her second visit to Taiwan in 20 years. After Chu graduated from high school in 1970, she spent the summer in Taipei with a group of several hundred Chinese-American youths, taking classes in the Chinese language.
The six officials traveling with Chu are: City Manager Mark Lewis; Economic Development Director Keith Breskin; Parks and Recreation Director Susan Hunt; Personnel Director Mario Beas; Library Director Elizabeth Minter, and Senior Librarian Christina Yueh.
Chu, Lewis and Breskin plan to meet with several developers in Taiwan and Hong Kong who have submitted proposals for hotels and shopping centers on North Atlantic Boulevard between Garvey and Hellman avenues, seven acres of property the city has zoned for redevelopment. They will also meet with other businessmen to drum up interest in the city.
"We'll be looking forward to having the chance to talk to them about potential investments in the Monterey Park area," Lewis said. "With the worsening economy in this country, it's certainly worth our while to seek any opportunity."
The delegation will present an encyclopedia to the Taipei chapter of Lions Club International. Monterey Park's Bruggemeyer Memorial Library has received Chinese-language books and money to buy a computer program for cataloguing Chinese, Japanese and Korean literature from the Taipei group. Also, the city of Taichung--which has a sister city relationship with Kiwanis International in Monterey Park--plans to donate additional books to the city.
Chu said she has also been asked by East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park to bring back Chinese medicine books for the college's premedical program.