County supervisor Ron Roberts spent some quality time on the road last year, thanks to an arm of the Chinese government. According to his annual personal financial disclosure statement, filed March 20, Roberts was part of “a delegation to China at the invitation and sponsorship of the Shanghai Minhang District Government for meetings with Chinese government and industry leaders regarding opportunities for relations between the district and the San Diego county region, and presentations by San Diego area industry sectors including communications, transportation, health care, and life sciences.”
The total free tab, says the filing, was $6702 (“including business class airfare of $4602; hotel stays amounting to $2100. Meals provided.”) The tour ran from April 17 to April 21, according to the filing. A prior Roberts trip to China aroused controversy when it was partly paid for out of his taxpayer-supplied office budget.
Fellow Republican Greg Cox also grabbed some travel freebies, receiving a total of $3219 in “travel/lodging expenses” for attending board meetings of the California State Association of Counties — Finance Corp. Cox got an additional $636 in travel and lodging costs for going to board meetings of the Sacramento-based Institute for Local Government, a nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose its donors.
For his part, Democrat Dave Roberts tripped courtesy of the California counties association at a cost of $1174. The Los Angeles–based Metropolitan Water District, not always the most popular organization among San Diego politicos and development interests, hosted Roberts on $830 worth of travel, meal, and lodging expenses for “water tours.”