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File #: 2017-4387   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/20/2017
Title: Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding the Formulation and Implementation of Sister City Relations Between Yeongdong-gun (County of Yeongdong), South Korea and the City of Alameda. (Community Development 256)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Yeongdong Proclamation, 2. Exhibit 2 - Alameda-Yeongdong County MOU, 3. Resolution

Title

 

Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding the Formulation and Implementation of Sister City Relations Between Yeongdong-gun (County of Yeongdong), South Korea and the City of Alameda. (Community Development 256)

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From: Jill Keimach, City Manager

 

Re: Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Mayor to Sign a Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Formulation and Implementation of Sister City Relations Between Yeongdong-gun (County of Yeongdong), South Korea and the City of Alameda

 

BACKGROUND

 

Alameda’s Sister City program works to promote cultural understanding and cooperation with cities around the world, and to strengthen international partnerships at the municipal and person-to-person levels. Alameda currently has two active Sister Cities, and one active Friendship City:

Sister Cities

                     Jiangyin, China (2008)

                     Dumaguete, Philippines (2015)

 

Friendship City

                     Wuxi, China (2005)

 

The Sister City program is a partnership between the City of Alameda and the Alameda Sister Cities Association (ASCA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2009. Prior to 2009, the Sister Cities program was facilitated by the Social Services Human Relations Board (SSHRB) Sister City Workgroup. ASCA evaluates and recommends new Sister Cities for adoption and, as a representative of the City of Alameda, organizes and supports all Sister City activities, including fundraising and cultural events, economic exchanges, delegation visits, and humanitarian efforts, among others.

 

In November of 2015, Mayor Spencer was introduced to the Mayor of Yeongdong-gun, County of Yeongdong (“Yeongdong”) during a visit to Dumaguete, Philippines, which is also a Sister City of Yeongdong. During that visit, Yeongdong officials expressed interest in developing a Sister City relationship with the City of Alameda, and invited Mayor Spencer to visit Yeongdong. In October of 2016, Mayor Spencer, Alex Chen, the ASCA secretary, and Hee Jeong Matz, the chairperson of ASCA’s Yeongdong Sister City committee, visited Yeongdong for the Nangye Traditional Music Festival and Korean Wine Festival. During that visit, Mayor Spencer presented a proclamation encouraging the development of a friendly relationship through active communication on shared interests between the County of Yeongdong and the City of Alameda (Exhibit 1). In addition, in February of 2017, Mayor Spencer, Community Development Director Debbie Potter and Economic Development Manager Lois Butler met with Mr. Jae Y. Pyun, the Chairman of the Board at Yeongdong Winery Cooperative and toured several businesses at Spirits Alley.

 

In February of 2017, ASCA recommended the adoption of three new Sister Cities: Yeongdong in South Korea, Wadi Foquin in the Palestinian Territories, and Varazze in Italy. Typically, the path to adopting a new Sister City has included ongoing engagement between Alameda and the proposed Sister City, including formal and informal communication, and delegations to and/or from the proposed Sister City.

Because Alameda City and ASCA officials have traveled to Yeongdong and met in person with local officials, the relationship with Yeongdong is considered the most developed of the three proposed Sister Cities, and furthest along in the process to becoming a formal Sister City. In addition, ASCA and City staff are currently working with Yeongdong officials to plan a delegation from Yeongdong to Alameda from July 2 to 5, 2017, to participate in our 4th of July celebrations. Given the depth of the City’s existing relationship with Yeongdong, ASCA has requested that the Sister City relationship be formalized during this visit through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Exhibit 2). Tonight’s action is the next step in formulating a Sister City relationship with Yeongdong.

Concurrently with this process, staff is also working closely with ASCA to develop formal guidelines for the Sister City program, including criteria for the adoption of new Sister Cities and the definition of ASCA and City roles in Sister City relationships. These guidelines are expected to come to City Council for review and approval in July of 2017.

DISCUSSION

 

Yeongdong County is centrally located in the mountainous Chungcheongbuk-do region of South Korea, with a population of 50,366. It has a warm climate and rich soil, and is known for growing fruit year-round: grapes in the summer, apples in the fall and persimmons in the winter. With 43 wineries, Yeongdong is also one of South Korea’s largest wine producing regions. The County accounts for 13.7 percent of the nation’s grape production. Yeongdong also hosts an annual Grape Festival in August, and Wine Festival in October. As noted, Alameda City representatives visited for the annual Yeongdong Wine Festival in 2016. The festival program includes a wine competition, wine tasting, culinary and artistic events, and the opportunity for participants to make their own wine. The concentration of wineries and wine tourism in Yeongdong represents an opportunity for economic and technological exchange between Yeongdong and Alameda, which is home to its own local winemaking industry.

A Sister City relationship between Alameda and Yeongdong could also encourage connections and cultural exchanges between our artists and arts communities.   Yeongdong is particularly known for the performance of Gugak, a traditional form of Korean music. The Nangye Traditional Music Festival, which is held in conjunction with the Yeongdong Wine Festival, features musical performances and other events such as a drum striking ceremony, an academic competition, and a royal parade. Yeongdong’s permanent cultural facilities and resources include the Nangye Korean Classical Music Museum, the Yeongdong Korean Classical Music Experience Village, and the nation’s first Gugak orchestra.

Yeongdong is also home to the No Gun Ri Peace Park, which marks the site of the 1950 No Gun Ri massacre, in which an undetermined number of South Korean refugees were killed by U.S. forces. Today the Park hosts programs for peace, including the 8th International Conference of Museums for Peace, which had 150 participants from 35 different countries. The development of a Sister City relationship with Yeongdong offers opportunities for involvement in humanitarian and peace programs by Alameda citizens, by having similar discussions here (such as in our schools or libraries) or sending a contingent to Yeongdong to participate in activities that promote peace.

Based on these opportunities, and the formation and ongoing commitment of the Yeongdong Sister City Committee, ASCA has evaluated the County of Yeongdong and recommended it be adopted as a Sister City. As a result, staff is moving forward ASCA’s recommendation that City Council adopt a resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign an MOU regarding formulation and implementation of Sister City relations between Alameda and Yeongdong.

In addition to establishing formal Sister City relations, the proposed MOU (Exhibit 2) calls on both cities to promote visits between their people and encourage exchanges in the fields of culture, economy and trade, science, and technology. The MOU also establishes the Alameda Sister City Association as the City Council’s designee responsible for formulating and implementing the friendly exchange and cooperation programs between the two cities and carrying out the day-to-day work of a Sister City relationship.

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no impact on the General Fund. Funds to support the development of the Sister City relationship between Alameda and the County of Yeongdong, South Korea come from the Alameda Sister City Association.

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

This action is consistent with SSHRB Charter and Ordinance authority “to create an environment which will encourage and bring about mutual understanding, respect, and goodwill among groups of people in the community” (Alameda Municipal Code Section 2-11.5).

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This action is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15601(b)(3).

RECOMMENDATION

 

Adopt a resolution authorizing the Mayor to Sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the formulation and implementation of Sister City relations between Yeongdong-gun (County of Yeongdong), South Korea and the City of Alameda.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Potter, Community Development Director

 

By,

Amanda Gehrke, Management Analyst

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibits: 

1.                     Yeongdong Proclamation

2.                     Alameda - Yeongdong MOU