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Mayor William Lai Visits Californian Cities

 

As the sister-city relationship between Tainan and San Jose nears four decades since it was established on April 12, 1977, Mayor William Lai visited the Californian city during his trip to the United States from September 6 to 13. At his meeting with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Mayor Lai invited Liccardo to visit Tainan next year for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the sister-city connection. The American mayor accepted the invitation at once, and said that he looked forward to visiting Tainan for the special occasion. While Lai was visiting, San Jose City Hall flew the official city flag of Tainan to demonstrate the strong friendship between the two cities.

 

Lai recalled that San Jose was one of America’s key agricultural production centers when the sister-city affiliation began in 1977. “Now San Jose is the ‘Capital of Silicon Valley’ and hosts more than 3,000 high-tech companies. The transformation of San Jose into one of the world’s most important high-tech cities is something for us to emulate,” said Lai.

 

Expressing his wish to promote exchanges between Silicon Valley and Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan, Liccardo noted that there was an increasing need for direct flights between San Jose and Taiwan because 40 percent of the passengers flying from San Francisco International Airport to Taiwan were from San Jose. Liccardo said he hoped there would be direct flights between San Jose and Taiwan in the future, to support the expansion of exchanges between Taiwan and the US.

 

Since the start of the sister-city relationship, the San Jose-Tainan Sister City Association (SJTSCA) has played an important role in promoting bilateral exchanges in education, culture, the arts and sports. Vice Mayor of San Jose Rose Herrera, who has visited Tainan, praised the two cities’ warm, family-like relationship and hoped mutual exchanges would stay strong with the support of SJTSCA volunteers.

 

Lai also met with California Treasurer John Chiang in Los Angeles. The American politician’s late grandfather was a renowned lawyer in Tainan. While spending summer in Tainan during his childhood, Chiang observed how his grandfather fought for justice and helped the poor, which inspired him to want to be a lawyer himself and follow his grandfather’s footsteps in serving the public. He most recently visited Taiwan three years ago, when he came to find the place where his late grandmother had lived.

 

“Treasurer Chiang is the first Taiwanese-American to run for governor of California in nearly 200 years. His grandfather would be very proud of him. We are all very proud of him,” said Lai, who talked with Chiang about their respective cities’ economic development, and expressed his admiration for Chiang’s moral courage in launching fiscal reform in California. The mayor said he hoped Chiang’s deep understanding of Californian cities and special affection for Tainan would facilitate the enhancement of cooperation between Tainan and California in all respects. “I convey to Treasurer Chiang warm regards from the people of Tainan. Hopefully, Chiang will have become California governor when we meet next time,” remarked Lai.

 

The mayor also visited Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek and Pasadena Sister Cities Committee Member Nat Nedar. Lai commended Tornek for his contribution to the revitalization of Old Pasadena, which brought shops and eateries to the town and turned it into a popular tourist destination. Lai invited Tornek to visit Tainan, which has been lauded as “Taiwan’s food capital” by CNN and dubbed as “a veritable food museum” by The Wall Street Journal. “Tainan is also Taiwan’s cultural capital and has three national scenic areas. I feel sure Mayor Tornek will like Tainan,” said Lai.   

 

Nedar, whose wife hails from Tainan, recalled a past visit to Tainan’s Anping Old Street, remarking that its historical ambience reminded him of Old Pasadena. “Both cities have been successful in rejuvenating old city areas and changing them into tourist attractions,” said Nedar. “We hope to establish sister-city affiliation between Pasadena and Tainan.”