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Council OKs new sister, friendship cities

San Jose del Cabo in Mexico and St. Ives in England were chosen to have relationship with Laguna Beach.

September 06, 2012|By Barbara Diamond

The City Council on Tuesday gave its blessings to the adoption of a new sibling by the Laguna Beach Sister Cities Assn. and the friending of another.

Sister Cities is not a city-sponsored organization, but Mayor Jane Egly and Councilman Kelly Boyd participated in the selection of San Jose del Cabo in Baja California as a potential sister city and St. Ives, England, as a friendship city.

The association requested council and public participation in the selection of future sister cities back in March. Since then, 20 submissions were evaluated and 18 eliminated from consideration. Association members visited the two remaining contenders at their own expense.

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"After going thought this process, LBSCA would like to ask for the council's blessing to confirm that we may contact our counterparts at San Jose del Cabo and St. Ives to solidify our relationships," said association President Karyn Philippsen.

Egly had previously visited San Jose del Cabo, which is near Cabo San Lucas, as a tourist and found much to commend it.

"It is a delightful village," Egly said.

Selections for sisterhood are based on mutual interests, with no other sister city relationships or at least none that conflict with Laguna Beach, and an understanding of what makes a successful relationship, according to the criteria cited by the association.

Other criteria include:

•Official consulate nearby and officials available to participate in events.

•Similar topography, demographics and community values on education and public safety.

•Accessible by rail or plane.

•Similar businesses related to tourism and hospitality, and those with minimal environmental impact and an emphasis on the arts and surfing are key components of the criteria as well.

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Why San Jose del Cabo was chosen?

The city is a two-hour flight from Orange County. It was safe enough for President Obama to attend a G-20 conference there in June.

While fishing is an important industry, so is the preservation of an estuary, bird sanctuary and one of the world's largest living reefs a few miles away.

Peopled with artists, the town even has an art walk on the first Thursday of the month and a civic sculpture collection.

Charming colonial architecture contrasts with the rampant building in Cabo San Lucas farther south.

"It doesn't have a coastline of high-rises," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson.

However, the resident population is 70,000, compared to Laguna's 24,161.

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