Sister city

A delegation from Palmdale’s Sister City Association visited their counterparts in Poncitlán, Mexico last month, celebrating 45 years of friendship between the two communities. The trip included a visit to the family-run Los 19 Hermanos facility, which includes a dairy, bottling plant and bottle recycling and manufacturing factory.

City’s friendship with Poncitlán, Mexico, has lasted for 45 years

PALMDALE — Continuing a civic friendship that has lasted for 45 years, a delegation from Palmdale visited its sister city in Poncitlán, Mexico, last month.

The annual visit was arranged by the Palmdale Sister Cities Association, to meet with their counterparts across the border as the two cities have done since 1973 and officially since 1974.

“We have a huge portion of our constituency here in the city of Palmdale that is from that region in Jalisco state,” Mayor Steve Hofbauer said. “The thing that I find especially rewarding and insightful was the ability to get a better understanding for what the background is of our neighbors that are living here.”

The Palmdale delegation for the Sept. 24 to 29 visit included Palmdale Sister Cities Association President Lisa Poonoosamy, Vice President Carol Little, Secretary Sylvia Magallanes, Treasurer Lucia Figueroa, Mayor Steve Hofbauer, Barbara Hofbauer, Helen Acosta, Lisa Cortinas, Lorrena Medina, Michelle Tomoche, Juan Gonzalez, Patricia Gonzalez, Juan Moran, Michelle Pedomo, Omar Pedomo and Soledad Samidio.

Hofbauer commented on the “incredible entrepreneurship” the delegation saw during their visit.

Among their activities, the group toured the Montes candy factory, now run by the third generation of the family and employing hundreds of people in a highly-automated factory.

The group also visited the Los 19 Hermanos facilities. This family-run operation includes a dairy, bottling plant and bottle recycling and manufacturing, making their own plastic crates and bottles, among other goods.

The facility is one of the area’s largest employers, with more than 1,800 workers on three shifts at the factory alone.

“These guys have got an amazing operation,” Hofbauer said.

Hofbauer also met with Poncitlán Mayor Luis Miguel Nunez and Mayor Sergio Quesada of the neighboring city of Tototlán.

The delegation presented a special 45th anniversary plaque, made by Juan Moran, to the Poncitlán organization.

Palmdale officials first visited Poncitlán in 1973, then a year later, at the direction of Palmdale Mayor Robert St. Clair, Palmdale became of member of the U.S./Mexico Sister City Program and chose Poncitlán as its Sister City.

At the time, the two cities shared rural similarities, when Palmdale’s population was only 11,000 people, a far cry from today’s 160,000 population.

The Sister City Program was initiated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. The program works to develop one-on-one community relations with cities in other countries and provides Palmdale residents with the opportunity to visit Mexico or volunteer under the sister cities relationship.

The Palmdale Sister Cities Association will provide a presentation on the visit at a future City Council meeting.

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