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San Diego And Tijuana Sign Renewed Cooperation Agreement

Above: Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum, left, and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer hold up their freshly signed memorandum of understanding, March 13, 2017.

Aired 3/14/17 on KPBS News.

The mayors of San Diego and Tijuana have signed an updated memorandum of understanding that pledges closer cross-border cooperation. The news comes as President Donald Trump is moving forward with plans to build a border wall — something both mayors have spoken against.

The mayors of San Diego and Tijuana signed a memorandum of understanding Monday pledging to strengthen cooperation between the two cities.

The agreement calls on the heads of various city departments to meet with their cross-border counterparts to maintain a close working relationship.

The last time the two cities signed a similar agreement was in 2014. Since then, Tijuana has elected a new mayor — and Americans have elected Donald Trump as president.

Evening Edition

Trump is moving forward with plans to build a border wall and has vowed to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement, which laid the groundwork for much cross-border cooperation. But the two mayors studiously avoided speaking directly about Trump at a press conference on the agreement, instead focusing on their two local governments working more closely together on infrastructure, public safety and the environment.

RELATED: San Diego Companies Wait To Bid On Trump’s Border Wall

"We do cooperate, we do collaborate and we do come together," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "And since our cities signed the agreement in 2014, we have seen many positive results."


San Diego-Tijuana MOU

San Diego-Tijuana MOU

A memorandum of understanding between the governments of San Diego and Tijuana calls for greater cross-border cooperation.

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Faulconer, like Trump, is a Republican. He has carefully avoided open conflict with the president, instead opting to put forward the San Diego-Tijuana relationship as a counterexample to Trump's narrative of Mexicans murdering Americans or stealing their jobs.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum made a thinly-veiled mention of Trump in his remarks during the press conference, saying: "While some are thinking of walls, we will continue building bridges of understanding."

But speaking during a mixer event after the news conference, Gastélum insisted the timing of their press conference was not political.

"We have to make things happen," he told KPBS. "And we can't stop on political issues."

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