The Baja Reporter 05-06-07

Thanks to Marshall Ellingson  

    A number of local tourist and business associations have invited our state governor Narciso Agundez Montano to form a common front to oppose the new fishing regulation NOM 029 which has been dubbed “the biggest threat to the state” because of its’ possible negative effects on the sports fishing and tourism sectors. They are worried that deficiencies in the bill could be exploited by commercial vessels to the disadvantage of sports fishing and coastal fishing vessels.

An initiative between government and business entitled “Los Cabos 2025 has as its goal preventing making our destination suffer from the same as other tourist attractions. Mayor Luis Armando Diaz praised the collaboration on projects that will guide future economic development under a plan that guarantees sustainable development and social infrastructure.

The Los Cabos Hotel Association is creating a proposal to be presented to our mayor in order for him to take specific road works and public safety measures. The road works issue is to ensure worn roads do not negatively affect our image and the urban image plan will involve participation of the Architects Association to guide development.

The Mexican Tourism Promotion Council will spend 296 million pesos in publicity to promote its tourist destinations inside and outside the country. The strategy abroad will be to attract high-income visitors who will remain longer and for domestic tourism the aim will be to create a travel culture to break the cyclical vacation periods marked by tradition or school calendars.

It looks like it will be easier for foreigners to stay longer in Mexico to promote tourism and business investment. Tourists would automatically get permission to stay for 180 days, and the process to get visas to stay for years would be fast-tracked. Under the present rules, most tourists are given up to 90 days to stay in Mexico and have to go to a special office to get that extended. “I’m convinced in tourism because it’s the economic activity that going to Mexico the most profit and generates the most jobs,” Mexican President Felipe Calderón has said.

There was Record nudity in Mexico City over the weekend as New York photographer Spencer Tunick, famous for rounding up people to pose naked in cities around the world, brought his artistic gimmick to Mexico. His goal was to persuade more than 7000 Mexicans in this very Catholic country to disrobe in front of God, each other, and a media army. Instead, a record of 18,000 people took off their clothes and smashed his record of 7000 volunteers set in 2003 in Barcelona, Spain.

* State & Local News – week of April 29th 2007 *

A proposal has been made for a new four-lane highway to run from San Jose to Cabo. Proposed by Eduardo Sanchez-Navarro, president of the development company Grupo Questro, the fourlane would run from 6 miles north of Cabo and cut through the mountains to San Jose where it would meet up with the airport toll road.

Eight newborn babies are registered on average each day in Cabo San Lucas resulting in 240 new residents each month. Five years ago the average was 100 babies per month, which speaks of our current population growth.

Local business groups and associations gave praise to our current municipal government for working for the people and investing in public works and infrastructure. Managing population growth and public safety will continue to be top priorities for City Hall.

The Los Cabos section of the Baja California Sur Architects Association will support City Hall in creating projects that will give an architectural image to Los Cabos. The group, along with the college association, will help to create a Guiding Plan for housing projects, buildings, and infrastructure.

State & Local News – week of April 22nd 2007

Seven stoplights are scheduled to be placed in the Fonatur roundabout in San Jose del Cabo by the end April, with another stoplight to be placed near the entrance of Puerto Paraiso mall in Cabo San Lucas. City Hall considered the matter urgent and quickly assigned the necessary funds because of continuous traffic problems and citizen protest, which included a recently held, peaceful demonstration.

And, Mayor Luis Armando Diaz has said that agreements reached with President Felipe Calderon on his recent visit will not be forgotten. Mayor Diaz spoke of the need for an alternative San Jose to the Cabo highway and continued paving of local streets.

Also, the main destinations for tourism in Baja California Sur for 2006 generated an economic turnover of 60 billion dollars, a 40% increase over 2005. The year closed with over 56 thousand flights that brought in over 3 million passengers to our state, with 3 quarters of that number coming to Los Cabos.

The signing of the official certificate that creates the civil association Kumi, which means “Get up” in Aramaic, has taken place. The association, with both private and public donations, has the objective of driving a series of projects to fight the issue of drug addiction in our state.

* State & Local News – week of April 15th 2007 *

Work continues on the Los Cabos International Airport with a new taxi lane that will nearly double the capacity of takeoffs and landings. Along with more housing for aircraft plus some remodeling and expansion, the airport will soon match our destination in quality.

The Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources has reported the birth of 455 whale calves in our state during this past whale season, an amount lower than in past years but not expected to impact the general population estimated to be more than 24 thousand. Another protected marine animal, Sea Lions, is doing well here, numbering 75 thousand in our state, sometimes competing with fishermen for the catch of the day.

The case regarding ownership of a 5000 square meter lot on Palmilla Beach has been presented to the local congress. The land, which was originally donated in 1978 by Manuel Gonzalez Canseco to be used by local residents, has in past years come into dispute.

Public works totaling 70 million pesos, mostly for paving of Los Cabos streets, was inaugurated this week. Mayor     Armando Diaz explained that Los Cabos has enough resources to solves its problems because people are paying their taxes and they are confident in the results of city programs for the community.

Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, made his first visit to our state this week. President Calderon met with tourist developers to learn of the “Los Cabos Model Destination” program and to inaugurate the Cabo San Lucas desalination plant.

It looks like it will be easier for foreigners to stay longer in Mexico to promote tourism and business investment. Tourists would automatically get permission to stay for 180 days, and the process to get visas to stay for years would be fast-tracked. Under the present rules, most tourists are given up to 90 days to stay in Mexico and have to go to a special office to get that extended. “I’m convinced in tourism because it’s the economic activity that going to Mexico the most profit and generates the most jobs,” Mexican President Felipe Calderón has said.

The deadly hemorrhagic form of dengue fever is increasing dramatically in Mexico, and experts predict a surge throughout Latin America fueled by climate change, migration and faltering mosquito-eradication efforts. Dengue cases have increased by more than 600 percent in Mexico since 2001, and worried officials are sending special teams to tourist resorts to spray pesticides and remove garbage and standing water where mosquitoes breed ahead of the peak Easter vacation season. Even classic dengue — known as “bone-break fever” — can cause severe flu-like symptoms, excruciating joint pain, high fever, nausea and rashes. More alarming is that a deadly hemorrhagic form of the disease, which adds internal and external bleeding to the symptoms — is becoming more common. It accounts for one in four cases in Mexico, compared with one in 50 cases seven years ago, according to Mexico’s Public Health Department.

The big box store chain Wal Mart will start the construction of their facility in Los Cabos after the last agreement was signed in the Municipal Hall in San José. In the presence of Mayor Luis Armando Diaz, Counselor Martha Margarita Diaz Jimenez and other authorities, Wal Mart de México’s Support and Development Director, Gerardo Cicero, signed on behalf of the company, informing that this week the first stone of the foundation will be laid and he expects the opening in November. The Company has fulfilled all the necessary federal and municipal permits and procedures and they have the commitment to build overpasses and bridges to have access for both vehicles and pedestrian totally finished 3 days before opening. Other commitments are to support local small business and state’s producers such as the organic farmers, the Valle de Santo Domingo dairy producers and the Santa Rosalía fishermen.

State & Local News – week of April 8th 2007

During the first rabies vaccination campaign that took place the last 2 weeks of March and the beginning of April, over 20 thousand vaccination doses were given to Los Cabos dogs. The slogan for the campaign was “love them and take them for vaccine and sterilization”.

Cabo Pulmo National Park will now be managed by both federal and local officials in the future. Collaboration agreements have been made to ensure the protection of the coral reefs and further projects include the Cabo San Lucas Bay and the Sierra de La Lagunas.

And, Los Cabos is ready to enter the Federal Beach Certification Program after being invited by government authorities. Having certified beaches will give Los Cabos a marketing advantage.

Also, you may have noticed the big surf this week in Los Cabos. Well, the National Meteorology Service issued a warning this week for sailing, fishing and water activities so be careful where you go swimming in the ocean.

State & Local News – week of March 18th 2007

The San Jose del Cabo Town Theater was inaugurated on March 18th during that city’s Traditional Celebrations after a 10 million peso renovation. The new space will have capacity for seven hundred people and will be used for national and local shows for the enjoyment of local families and tourists.

The Environmental Culture Coordination of the Federal Coastal Zone Direction has confirmed that the anti-graffiti brigade is ready to restore the rocks of the El Medano beach area and the famous Arch. The group received aid from the Federal Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources in order to use materials that would not harm the rocks.

Narciso Agundez Montaño, the Governor of Baja California Sur, delivered the second annual government report this week in La Paz to hundreds of spectators outside the State Government Building. Interviews with industry leaders and tourist developers from La Paz and Los Cabos agreed in pointing out that the works and actions carried out this year are positive for the growth of the state.

The new Cabo San Lucas General Hospital, which recently broke ground, will be ready by the end of this year with 40 functional hospital beds. Currently, the downtown health center in Cabo only offers first-level attention which does not cover the 70% of people who arrive with injuries from vehicle accidents so remember to drive defensively out there.

A thick fog caused by a cold air mass on the Northern United States rolled into Los Cabos this week, sparking amazement in the community and disorienting a sports fishing vehicle which run aground at Palmilla Beach. Speaking of beaches, the State Secretary of Health has declared the beaches of our state to be free of pollution and ready to be used and enjoyed during the upcoming Holy Week vacation period so get out there and experience the beauty that is Baja.

State & Local News – week of March 11th, 2007

Proceedings are underway for the purchase of 5 stoplights for the Fonatur roundabout in San Jose as an immediate measure to control traffic at this congested crossing where the Transpeninsular Highway meets the airport road. The stoplights are a temporary measure until a series of 7 underpasses are begun between San Jose and Cabo San Lucas in 2008.

Also, the Olive Ridley turtle protection season has begun in Los Cabos and the Turtle Protection Network’s Surveillance and Protection Committee has reported the first olive ridley turtle nesting in front of the Pueblo Bonito hotel. Currently, 21 hotels in our region protect around 100 turtle nests and contribute to the 30 000 offspring freed annually as part of the Los Cabos turtle protection program. Lastly, Mayor Luis Armando Diaz met this week with members of the

San Diego Natural History Museum regarding a planned environmental workshop for 4th to 8th grade public teachers entitled “Our Natural Heritage, Source of Pride for Baja California Sur”. The educators will be trained to show their students, through educational activities, the need to preserve their environment by setting goals.

* State & Local News – week of March 4th, 2007 *

According to the Department of Immigration, the number of people visiting our state of Baja California Sur went up last year to just over two million. Foreigners taking up permanent residence also went up to 18,000 with the majority of those coming from the United States and Canada.

Coastal authorities have begun inspections of beaches in Los Cabos to check their condition and to ensure access, a right guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution. This is being done in preparation for the large number of national tourists whom are expected to arrive for the upcoming Holy Week of Easter.

Telmex, Mexico’s biggest phone company, is set to invest 5.8 million dollars in our state for the expansion and strengthening of its technological infrastructure including modernizing phone and internet lines. Telmex was privatized in 1990 and is now owned by Mexico’s Carlos Slim, the world’s third richest man.

This week our state governor marked the start of the paving program for the El Medano area in Cabo San Lucas with a 6.5 million dollar investment. Details of the project include restoring the streets, sewage, underground wiring, sidewalks, and public lighting. Medano is the most visited beach in our state.

A three billion dollar eco-project has been announced for Loreto Bay that will eventually house 6 thousand permanent residents. The first green mega-project in Latin America will use pressed earth bricks, adobe homes, a 20-megawatt wind-powered plant, solar energy, a desalination plant and a wastewater treatment center.

State & Local News – week of February 25th 2007

The Governor of Southern Baja, Narciso Agundez Montaño, along with Los Cabos Mayor Luis Armando Diaz, laid the foundation stone for the new General Hospital in Cabo San Lucas this week. 90% of cases presently sent to La Paz will now be treated here, with specialties including general surgery, gynecology, pediatrics and internal medicine.

The Los Cabos City Hall has approved legislation for the inclusion of the words“organ donor” on driver’s licenses as well as an intense awareness campaign. Current legislation leaves the final decisions up to the next of kin.

Los Cabos had its first National Sister Cities Program meeting and reached agreements in several locations. Various communities within Los Cabos will be paired with the California USA cities of Newport Beach, Victorville, Long Beach, El Monte and Carpinteria plus the British Columbia, Canada city of Vernon.

The State Secretary of Tourism, Alberto Trevino, announced two new projects planned by Mexican Investment Groups for Los Cabos. One, In the area of Punta Gorda east of San Jose, will benefit from a $300 million peso project and another, for a hotel, will spend another $300 million pesos.

A demonstration was held at the Fonatur glorieta by the Mega in San Jose this past Thursday demanding solutions to the accident-prone highway. The group, numbering in the hundreds, included concerned local citizens, members of the press, and government officials including Mayor Diaz.

* State & Local News – week of February 4th 2007 *

The state of Baja California Sur received 1.47 millions tourist visits for 2006 and more are expected for 2007 considering increases in national and international airline flights. Most visits were to the chief tourist destinations of Los Cabos, La Paz, and Loreto.

Sign-ups have begun for the San Jose Traditional Celebrations’ beauty pageant. The winner will be crowned at 8 pm on March 11th in the downtown historical center. Interested contestants must be residents of San Jose, Mexican, single, between the age of 17 and 20 and at least five foot 3 inches tall. call 142-4823 to register or for more details.

From 2000 to 2004, The Los Cabos Airport received 568 million pesos in investment and has plans for another 200 million peso development to increase landing and take-off capacity by 50 percent. The airport, currently serviced by 20 airlines, grew by 24% in 2006 and moved half a million tourists.

Look for road travel to continue to improve in Southern Baja. 600 million pesos have been earmarked for improvements including the expansion of the La Paz to Cabo San Lucas highway to four lanes.

In San Jose, the fountains located at the end of Boulevard Mijares in the historic center were removed this week. Plans are underway to beautify the area and make it more user-friendly.

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