Que Pasa in Baja?

BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Run for your life! Local hunting season began this past 21st of August and will continue until next February.  Around 6,200 square miles are available in Baja for hunting, and most of this land is in the Ensenada municipality. There are different permits depending on the species you wish to hunt but the most popular are quail and pheasant in the bird category and coyotes, bunnies and Bambies in the mammal category.

Around 800 foreign and 400 national hunters come to Baja each year in the legal season and the economic benefit for Baja is calculated at around $42 million USD. So screw the critters. Sigh.

More money from the US. Federal authorities have stated that remittances from the U.S. have grown about 6.1% from last year. Just in the month of June of this year, we received about $2.1 billion USD in money earned by Mexicans in the U.S. sent back to their families. Since the biggest increase was the number of transactions made and not the average of the transaction, this indicates more illegals are in the U.S. This, together with a strong dollar making for a good exchange rate, makes a big difference in pesos available to families dependent on these remittances.

Not everything is tourism. Baja’s industry sector has been growing steadily for the last couple years and just last month state authorities announced that we broke the biggest record for industrial growth we had achieved back in 2005. Baja California occupied fourth place for industrial growth among all the states of Mexico. The sectors that grew the most this year in Baja were construction, manufacturing and mining.

More love from California. More government officials from California visited Ensenada at the beginning of the month to attend a forum called “Two Nations, One Objective Towards a Cooperation Model and Local development”. The American committee was headed by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and represented 15 different cities in California.

Sanchez said it was very important to fight the misperception of Mexico and particularly Ensenada. “It’s a peaceful city, with lots of tourist attractions and with great potential in the commercial and wine sector”, she said.

The objective of this pow wow was to look for investment opportunities and commercial exchanges for Ensenada. Fernando Dutra, mayor of Whittier, also emphasized the possibility to generate an academic exchange between these Californian cities and Ensenada because of the high number of educational and research institutions in Ensenada.

We’re Famous! A crew from Television Azteca, the second biggest national TV station in Mexico, filmed a documentary of what Baja has to offer to the tourist. They were covering the most important attractions of the five municipalities with the help of the state tourism office in each of the cities visited. TV Azteca would not say when the program would be airing so keep your eyes peeled.

Throwing money on the streets. The Federal Transport and Communications Office just announced the investment of around $625,000 USD on Popotla Blvd. The work will be from the 7-eleven to Fox Studios. Rosarito has been very active in getting the federal government to pitch in for the improvement of federal roads, like the almost finished project called PEMEX node, just next to the Pabellon Rosarito mall. That work will improve circulation from the free and toll roads into Rosarito.

Watch out. Just last week three persons were going around town passing fake $20 dollar bills in various businesses in Rosarito. One of them was caught but the other two were able to escape. This is a common occurrence in the high tourist season in Baja. The bad guys take advantage of the extra influx of dollars in the local economy to pass their fake bills. Be on the lookout when accepting 20s.

The problem was usually related to $100 USD bills but since people now are more careful of those bills, they have started to use lower denomination bills that people don’t check so much.

Rosarito hunkers down. For the rainy season. Dudes from the public works office have been seen cleaning the streets, especially collecting old tires and plastics that are tossed out on the streets. Jorge Ramos, head of the public works office, explained that this is being done in order to prevent flooding when it starts raining. “We started last August 10th and we have picked up a lot of trash and around 2,000 tires that people just throw to the side of the streets when they change a tire or into river beds” said Ramos. The problem is, this trash gets washed into the sea when it rains, or worse, jams up the flood of water rushing to the sea, and then that water backs up, flooding the streets and neighborhoods.

As you may have already heard, Baja is preparing for an unusually long and wet rainy season that will start this year in autumn and will continue until the next year because of the El niño meteorological phenomenon.

U.S. Consul visits Rosarito. William Ostick, the newly appointed general consul for the U.S. in Tijuana, visited Rosarito last week to get acquainted with the American community here. He talked about the improvements he has seen in the area and the comments he has heard from other Americans who live here.

“People feel safe in Rosarito, I’ve heard comments about people who are living peacefully here”, said the Consul.

Rosarito Mayor, Silvana Abarca, took him to see some public works where Rosarito is involved, like the new tennis center and the arts center. The mayor said these public works will help strengthen the local economy and improve relations with the U.S. because of the tourism they will generate.

New Jr. Lifeguards. Around 76 little kids and teenagers from the Rosarito area finished a month long lifeguard program. The program is called junior lifeguard because it was aimed for kids and it’s mostly focused on prevention but the kids did learn how to help if someone is drowning. Yeah, throw your body at the problem and so there can be two statistics instead of one.

With the number of drownings rising every summer, especially of young people, it always helps to try to educate them about the dangers of the sea. The kids even got first aid tips from Cruz Roja personnel. And, it kept them off the streets and focused in a positive direction for a month.