Que Pasa in Baja?

October 19, 2015
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

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Ensenada Museum Open. Although the Caracol Museum in Ensenada hasn’t been officially inaugurated, two temporary exhibits are already open or visitors. The exhibits come as a nice surprise since the museum has been trying to open its doors for many years now but were unable to secure the funding. Museum officials haven’t released a date for the official opening of the museum but feel free to visit these  parts: –Poles in danger and The Totoaba: A giant of the California gulf- Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 2:00pm and from 4:00 to 6:00pm and Saturdays 9:00 to 1:00pm.

Throwing money in the streets. The federal communications and transport agency just announced an investment of $30 million USD on the Chapultepec-Maneadero road (the part from Estero Beach to a little after Baja Country) for 2016. This section of the road has been traditionally called the death stretch because of the numerous deadly accidents occurring there. The investment is supposed to make the stretch a lot safer which is a good thing for all our expat friends living out near the Punta Banda area, and especially the ones who like to drink and drive.

New Baja Lottery. Baja just became the first state in Mexico to have its own lottery. Although state lotteries are very popular in the US, Mexico only had a federal lottery until last month when the federal office of games and lotteries authorized the permit for Baja’s lottery. The project, which has been heavily pushed by our state governor, is set to support construction of classrooms as well as dry out centers for addicts of one sort or another. How about the sort of addicts who are addicted to gambling? Can they go to the head of the line? The first tickets don’t go on sale until next year.

The lottery has been controversial since Mexico hasn’t exactly had a squeaky clean record regarding lotteries. Three years ago government lottery officials scammed the melate lottery where they staged a supposedly live drawing of the winning numbers.  But it was proven that the drawing was recorded. Of course the tickets were bought by the family of the crooked officials. The lottery scam brought $ 10 million USD in prizes. The federal government was able to snatch the money back as the fraud was discovered before the loot got very far. But it did blow the credibility of the national lottery system.

And the new state lottery is going to be any cleaner? Oh, please, what turnip truck did you just fall off?

No travel warning. The head of the state tourism office, Oscar Escobedo, informed us  they were recently in Washington, D.C. sucking up to US officials to have Baja California eliminated from the Travel Warnings the US issues.

The next travel warnings will be published in November and Baja asked for a fair assessment before they willy nilly pass out judgements on our public safety system.

Escobedo said that in statistical terms more tourists suffer crime related incidents in California than foreign visitors in Baja. Well, we all know that our government pulls their statistics right out of their ass, so who knows?

Remittance increase. Mexico’s remittances received from the US in 2014 grew by 7.8% from 2013. This is probably boosted by a better economy in the US. A total of $23.6 billion was sent from Mexican workers in the US to their families in Mexico and an interesting thing is that the majority of this money is now being transferred through the banking system. Historically, it was almost exclusively sent by money orders, so it seems the Mexicans in the US are getting more sophisticated. $619 million of that money was sent to Baja.

We are the fourth highest remittance country from the US just after the Philippines, China and India.

Now, does anybody still think it’s not the government’s official policy to send as many Mexicans to the US as they can? Remittances, along with oil and tourism, share the top spot for earned foreign capital. Each of the three are about 20 to 25 billion dollars a year.

Pemex toll road access on its way. The Pemex access road off the toll road, which has been under construction for a couple of months now, is at the half way point, and authorities say there is no delay with the project as the word on the street says there is.  The $4.8 million build, which is located at the north entrance to Rosarito, is going to facilitate the access to downtown Rosarito. 

Rumors started flying because it often looks like just a few men are working on such a big project, but authorities tell us it was just a matter of perception, that lotsa guys were working on the foundation of the access and the guys couldn’t be seen.  It’s still going to be several months before we’ll be bailing off the toll road at the north end.

More water leaks. The Rosarito-La Mision water line that we’re using to bring more water to Ensenada has proven to be a really bone head idea. As we wrote about this before, (pay attention!) the idea was to use the water line that was already there, reversing the flow and to bring water to Ensenada. The problem is the line was so old that it’s leaking like a sieve with very little water actually reaching people from Primo Tapia and La Mision, who are without water for days at a time. Maybe it would have been better to install a new pipe from the beginning. Duh.

High season rides into the sunset. We have officially fallen into the low tourist season, although the heat has persisted and the hot beach weather still brings tourists our way. We had a great high season, the best we’ve seen and enjoyed since 2007. Rosarito was the clear winner in state tourism with an incredible 30% increase in visitors compared to last year. Ives Lelevier, from the state tourism office, said in the remaining three months of this year we are still expecting a steady influx of tourism, which will make 2015 one of the greatest years for tourism in the entire decade.

Crime down in Rosarito. Joaquin Antonio Olea, head of public security in Rosarito, said the crime rate was 14% lower overall this year than in 2014. God knows what dark hole they pulled that statistic out of, we’re just passing it on.

This sets a good precedent, he said, especially now that our state authorities are sucking up to the powers in Washington DC to get us off the travel warning list. The next one comes out next month.  If that isn’t pressure to dig deep in that dark hole for these stats, I would be surprised. Olea did concede the business robberies have increased “a bit” and that they are focusing their efforts on strategies to fix this.