People say presidential summit costs could be well worth it

People say presidential summit costs could be well worth it

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - With President Obama back in Washington, some talk has turned to the weekend's price tag.

Supervisor John Benoit said the president's visit could cost Riverside County an estimated half a million dollars in additional law enforcement for security.
"Basically we are hosting this as a community and as a state and the taxpayers pay for this kind of service. Whether it's the president going to LA or here, the highway patrol has it budgeted as their overall budget - the sheriff's has a contingency," Benoit said.

Costs aside, people we talked to said the exposure for the Coachella Valley is priceless.

"It will bring in more tourism. It will put us in the spotlight on the national stage as a place to bring investment to improve our economy, to improve trade relations, to make sure American workers have a fair shot in the global market," Congressman Raul Ruiz said.
"It just brought notoriety to us. I think more people will be coming," Barry Marder said.

Not to mention how it's helped the local economy.

"I got a phone call from the Secret Service out of Riverside and they were looking for some rooms or their agents. At that point, I started looking at our reservations, and I realized we had a lot of chinese names in big groups and blocks," Holiday Inn Express general manager Peter Morales said.

Giving the secret service the last 50 rooms available, the Holiday Inn Express in Rancho Mirage sold out, a rarity this time of year.

"It was a great weekend. In June, it's usually very slow, so to have that surprise visit by the president and the president of China was a big plus for our economy," Morales said.

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