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Mayor to Seek Foreign Investment During Trip to China

Murrieta Mayor Rick Gibbs is seeking foreign investment to create jobs in the city and the region during his two-week trip to China.

Murrieta Mayor Rick Gibbs embarked on a two-week trip to China on Thursday to seek foreign investment to create jobs in the city and the region.

Gibbs is expected to return to Murrieta on April 18 after visiting with provincial officials and business leaders in four Chinese provinces. The City Council in February voted to cover the cost of the trip, which is expected to cost approximately $2,500, according to Gibbs.

“It’s really about a labor of love for the city of Murrieta and trying to help us in matters of economic development, which really are geared at providing jobs for our community,” Gibbs said.

After arriving at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport from LAX and staying a night at a hotel in the city, Gibbs said he planned to travel to Heilongjiang Province, which is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Russian border. Next he will travel to Liaoning, located near North Korea; Henan, in the central part of the country; and Anhui, located west of Shanghai.

“For the four provinces that I will be in, [my hosts] will be introducing me to provincial officials, I will get an opportunity to present the city of Murrieta and the region to them, and make the case for why we’re a good place to invest,” Gibbs said.

This is Gibbs’ third trip to China to promote the region as an area for development. His first trip was part of the nation's EB-5 program, which encourages investment in U.S.-based projects. During his second trip in 2011, the city and Shaoxing County entered into a memorandum of understanding in an effort to increase trade, culture and education between the two regions.

During his current trip, Gibbs said he plans to also meet with Roy Paulson of Temecula-based Paulson Manufacturing, who will be in China on his own business, and travel together to Shaoxing County.

“China is a place where relationships are cultivated over time,” Gibbs said. “Most westerners go to China and think that it’s going to be exactly like here – that you strike up a conversation, you find you have an interest in doing business together, you get your lawyer involved, you write a contract, you sign a contract and there you go. That’s not the way it works in China. In fact, that’s not the way it works in most of the world.”

There is a lot of Chinese investment coming to the U.S., Gibbs said, but most investors look to larger cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“By us reaching out to Chinese investors, we are making them familiar with the city of Murrieta,” Gibbs said. “Murrieta is a business-friendly city that has an entrepreneurial spirit in City Hall. … We have a young, educated, affluent workforce in an area where the cost of land and construction are relatively cheap.”

The trip will cost the city about $2,500 for airfare and transportation, lodging, and meals when Gibbs is not being entertained, he explained. Gibbs added that most two-week trips to China would cost roughly $5,000, but his years of experience in international travel while in the military and in his civilian career has made him comfortable with traveling the country via subway, train and bus to help cut costs.

Gibbs said $2,500 is “an investment in the future.” He noted that 66 percent of the Murrieta workforce commutes long distances to San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties for work, so the city needs more job opportunities, particularly high-tech opportunities.

“How can we say we value quality of life when two-third of our citizens are on the road for two-hour commutes each way, everyday of the work week?”

“The people are entitled to know how we spend their money,” Gibbs said. “We are looking at this particular trip as a small investment in economic development that we hope will pay off with large returns downstream.”

Julia Milligan April 07, 2013 at 03:05 PM
China is not going to bring high paying industrial to Murrieta. Not with the regulations that California has not to mention the hoops that they would have to jump through here in Murrieta. We had a chance for a mall, Entertainment center and much more. Too many fees, Too much demand means no jobs. $2500.00 of useless waste. Lets put the Americans in business and help them.
Julia Milligan April 07, 2013 at 03:08 PM
One good example of Chinese investment Shopping center with Farmstead Market. Beautiful center 3 spots occupied. Very empty along with many others not stores no jobs. No American business no jobs.
Susan Marsh April 07, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Why? Why do we want, need foreign investors in Murrieta? Why are we not spending this time and money helping local residents build business? Instead we make it financially difficult for local people to open and run business in our city. It really isn't the job of the city council to become involved in private business but if they are going to become involved help the citizen of Murrieta.
Southwestmom April 07, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Why would we want relationships with a country that has one of the worse human rights history? This is insanity!
travis April 07, 2013 at 07:46 PM
I know how the Mayor can create "green" jobs without going to China: Let solar companies put panels up without ridiculous government interference. My solar installers had to climb up on my 2nd story roof 3 times after the panels were installed because the color of paint that they used didn't match "closely enough" with the roof and the trim. It would be hilarious except that I had to wait 3 months to get the panels installed, and because of overzealous building inspectors, the next customer will have to wait 3.5 months. *Better idea- send the building inspectors to China*
Roy T Tatar April 07, 2013 at 10:59 PM
A boondoggle & a waste of money. The mayor should be here taking down the offensive cameras that sent money to Arizona.
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Oh!Oh! Is it prudent to let Kim Jong-un and Pak Pong-ju, leaders of North Korea, know we are sending a retired air force colonel in civilian clothes to nearby Liaoning Province in China?
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 02:53 AM
The US and China used to be friends prior to and during WWII. Then the communist totalitain rulers took over China with a civil war. We want to have more influence with them to help them grow out of their oppressive ways. Also China's population is several times greater than ours. Modern parts of China are doing a lot better in education than the US They are graduating a lot more engineers and scientists than we are. In a few more years they could blow us off the map if they choose to. We want them to like us and not want to blow us off the map. We bought huge amounts of goods from them with paper money. They want to use that paper money and invest in real property here.
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Actually check the city website. Look under Business I think there are two full time persons, Bruce Coleman and Kimberly Davidson, that are part of the city government. The city council approved having the branch to help new businesses start up, and help ones already here in various ways. There are periodic reports presented to the city council. There is even a facility now to help people get started with ideas. Here is a quote from the city website. By the way I do not work for the city in case you wondered. "Murrieta's business-friendly government and entrepreneurial spirit welcomes your business! Our eager Economic Development Department works very closely with other City departments to help you to relocate your business here and to help you to grow/expand. We offer ombudsman and concierge services for your business, free marketing consulting by an in-house expert and a Fast-Track Program for targeted businesses." "There is never a shortage of business workshops and networking opportunities in Murrieta and our close partnership with the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce and other business-related resources help to ensure your success!" "Please contact Murrieta’s dedicated Economic Development team:"
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 03:22 AM
This is a continuing statewide problem, and may be getting worse. I have read recently that California is ranking in the worse 3 states to do business with too many regulations and too many hoops to jump through. I saw a list of thousands of small businesses that have left the state over the past few years. There are even some large corporations that have been here for decades that have moved their headquarters and much or all of their manufacturing facilities out of this state into other states. Now we even have dairy's moving to other states.
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 03:38 AM
I do disagree with your opinion that the $2,500 for Mayor Gibbs trip is a useless waste. There are multiple reasons to see ther value. He explained a few of them at the recent city council meeting. I understand more reasons from my own business experiences and business education. You have to plant seeds to grow crops, and not all the seeds fall on good ground and grow. You do have to work at in in multiple ways to grow investment and businesses. You have to look at the bigger picture, Not just this one $2,500, but at a grouping of such efforts.
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 03:52 AM
FREEDOM! That is what we are losing here. These rules about the paint colors of houses and roofs are troubling. I have known about persons that have become sick looking at all the houses and roofs being so nearly the same color and nearly the same style. You start thinking that the city is one big on-base military housing area. How did they ever get to make RED roofs required? This requires and wastes terrible quantities of fossile fuel for electricity to keep them cool during the summers. Lighter roof colors would save a lot of electrical energy.
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 04:34 AM
I should reveal that "Andy the Analyst" is not Andy Abeles. He is active in more Murrieta and Chamber of Commerce activities than I am and a nice guy. I am active in some Murrieta and Temecula activities. I like to think I am a nice guy too. So do not blame or credit Andy Abeles for what I write, some will be nice, and some will be intended to be constructive criticism, with an occasional attempt at humor.
Andy the Analyst April 08, 2013 at 04:59 AM
Actually the group hosting Mayor Gibbs in China, or another local group is willing to make the $2,500 cost to the city. However state laws, would treat that as an unlawful gift to the councilman that could lead to a conflict of interest. The city attorney advised on this issue when the EB-5 local group wanted to send council member Lane. The way it is legal is if the outside group presents the offer to pay for a specific trip for a specific purpose to the city manager without naming an individual to send, and the city manager designates who to send it is OK. Or if the city pays for the trip with city council approval it is OK. She said something like this, I might not be saying it exactly right.
Michael April 08, 2013 at 04:24 PM
This will be the Mayors 3rd visit to China to seek investors for businesses that will create jobs in Murrieta.Have the citizens received a return on our investment of sending the mayor to China or was this a nice way for him to have Murrieta pay for his vacation before he leaves office.
Julia Milligan April 08, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Well Looks like Andy the Analyst has al the answers. I also have 2 businesses and find no use in china investing here. It is true that California ha driven more jobs not only out of state but to other countries. Even the Ball company which manufactures all our canning jars and soda cans moved it Torrance facility to Vietnam of all places. I truly feel if Andy has all the answers maybe he should let the city council and our mayor know that there pleads for investment and goodwill should start with the governor of California and not the Chinese which we give green cards to for their investments.
Andy the Analyst April 09, 2013 at 07:10 AM
The city council has mentioned at nearly every meeting during item discussions they disagree with some past and recent actions of the state legislature they believe adversely impacts cities' budgets and rights of city governments and the property rights of the city's citizens. The state is shoving more and more of the budget responsibility for things back onto cities and counties, for example taking away the redevelopment funds from cities, and the dumping of numerous persons from the state prison system into county jails that do not have the necesary facilities to provide long term confinment, not the budgets to provide adequate medical care, or rehabitation programs. But they are also aware and grateful the city staff have been successful to get access to various funds to improve the infrastructure, including several recent freeway overpasses. Even now the state legislature is beginning to deal with new proposed legislation, probably over a thousand items. What is more alarming is a lot iof this legislation is now not what it was a few days ago. They have this prtactice of being able to strike out all the wording of a bill, write in new wording, even a new subject and title, and even pass it before the public even knows about it
Andy the Analyst April 09, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Julia, I am aware you said "start with the governor" and my reply "starts with the state legislature". Both are involved, and the past and current misdeeds of both have contributed to these problems.
Friendly Fred April 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Well Julia, the governor has realized he should do something to get more Chinese money into California. He left yesterday for a week long trip to China. He took along many state bureacrats and business leaders. For years now the USA usually has a trade deficit with China of something like fifty BILLION dollars per month. So you decide. Is he really going on this trip to get more Chinese investment into California. Or is he going to try to get them to sign agreements to reduce their output of greenhouse gases. Previously the Chinese were going to build four large wind power farms in the US, but the US gov't vetoed that on national security grounds.

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