Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sister Act

One of my little Quixotic time-wasters has been to try and make Querétaro and Swampscott, MA, sister cities. It hasn't been going so well, really. I assumed all you had to do was to get some low-level clerk in each locality to exchange a couple of letters or something, but in fact the whole thing is run through some big quasi-official entity called Sister Cities International, which appears to deal with freelance petitioners simply by ignoring them. (Because it seemed like a bad idea to lie outright, I had to concede in my application that I did not have the approval of either Swampscott's or Querétaro's officialdom. Also, there's the little matter of Swampscott not being a city.)

I have to admit, there's little or no altruism involved here - actually, I can't think of a single benefit to either town. But for me personally, well, that's a different matter, and now the Grand Rapids Press rubs my nose in it ...

HOLLAND -- The City Council has given the go-ahead to invite Manuel Gonzalez Valle, the newly elected mayor of Holland [Michigan]'s sister city Queretaro, Mexico, to visit Holland in August.

The two cities have had an official relationship since 1996.

The International Relations Commission is proposing a five-day visit, involving possibly up to 16 people from Queretaro, Aug. 20-24. The estimated cost to host the Mexican delegation is about $19,000, and some of those costs might be picked up with sponsorships and donations.

Queretaro officials last visited Holland during the 2006 Tulip Time Festival.

I mean, if this were a delegation to Swampscott... as the lone Swampscottian (yes, that' what we're called) living in Querétaro, I'm the Indispensable Man - they gotta take me. All-expenses-paid, first class travel, full diplomatic honors, the presidential suite at Cap'n Jack's...and if I time it right, it coincides with my 25th high school reunion.

Anyway, it seems unlikely to happen unless Swampscott specifically requests it, so if anyone reading this has some juice down at town hall, hit me via email..."Sis."

Meanwhile, I'm heading over the the Mayor's office. He's fairly new to the job, and therefore likely to believe me when I tell him I'm a native of Holland. See you August 20, Michigan.

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