Garden Grove City Council members this week approved $27,000 in travel expenses for a cultural exchange trip to its sister city in South Korea and a tour of museums in Hawaii, which officials say will inform their plans for a future Vietnam War Museum.

The five council members, two staff, Miss California and two musicians will travel to Anyang, South Korea, for four days and three nights to take part in Anyang’s 40th anniversary celebration in October.

En route to Anyang, the council’s flight will stop in Hawaii, where council members will tour the USS Arizona Memorial and other memorials to gather information for a museum in Garden Grove on Harbor Boulevard.

The council will also visit the Korean War memorial museum in Seoul.

At the City Council meeting this week, one resident objected to the trip.“Twenty-seven thousand dollars to send you guys to Hawaii with Miss California? Forget it,” said Josh McIntosh. “If you want to go to Hawaii, pay for it yourself. Our tax dollars shouldn’t pay for a field trip.”

Mayor Bruce Broadwater, who first proposed the museum in 2009 and serves as president of the board of the Vietnam War Museum Foundation, responded: “The plane only stops in [Alaska] or Hawaii. We chose Hawaii.”

The City Council approved the expenditure without discussion.

Anyang will provide lodging, ground transportation, food and interpreters. Garden Grove will pay for airfare and any additional travel expenses in both Korea and Hawaii. Money for the trip will be drawn from this and next years’ contingency funds.

City officials said the trip will help strengthen their 25-year relationship with Anyang and might attract Korean business investment, especially given the growing Korean district in Garden Grove.

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