Que Pasa in Cabo?

November 16, 2015 Edition
BY: DAVID FLORES

Los Cabos on top. Mexico’s secretary of tourism Enrique de la Madrid, revealed last week that people stay here an average of  five nights per trip. Although de la Madrid did not provide figures, he also stated that Los Cabos has the second highest average room rate in the country.

The whales are here! And they are early, as they usually arrive about the third week of November. Whale sightings have been reported since mid-October near Los Cabos, said Joss Navarro, the federal agent in charge of the natural protected area of Cabo San Lucas. At least two reports of humpback whale sightings from water sports companies have been received. Humpback whales typically migrate up to 16,000 miles each year from Alaska to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter, and hundreds of them make our Southern Baja their favorite winter home. The official whale watching season begins December 15.

Chileno Bay improvements. Mayor Arturo de la Rosa announced with great fanfare that the Chileno Bay developers will begin improvements to the bay shortly, building a parking lot for 135 vehicles. The developers will also build an Olympic pool with grand stands and locker rooms in a barrio in Los Cabos, as part of their developers fees they were supposed to pay when they picked up the fourlane and moved it back from their development several years ago.

Cultural center up in smoke. To add to the rain damage endured by the Cabo Cultural Center,  a section of the Cultural Pavilion caught on fire last week. The fire department reported that the fire was behind curtains at the open air theater, and was caused by an electrical short circuit. The movie projection equipment was damaged.

Another new resort. The Ohana Real Estate Investors who will develop the Montage Los Cabos Hotel and Residences in Cabo San Lucas have announced they will break ground in December. The Irvine based Montage will open before the 2017-2018 fall and winter season, and will be 122 rooms, 52 residences and amenities including a two level, 20,000 square foot pool. It’s adjacent to the 39 acre residential project called Maravilla Los Cabos on Santa Maria Bay, some 15 minutes out of Cabo on the road to San Jose. Both are part of a 1,400 acre master planned community by Ohana, an investment group funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, which has offices in San Diego, Redwood City, California, and Honolulu.

“Our goal is to create a high-end resort of contemporary design,” said Alex Hill, executive vice president of Ohana, in a statement. Ohana previously owned the Montage Laguna Beach, which it sold earlier this year. Early efforts began on the Montage Los Cabos project several years ago but were suspended by the recession and hurricane Odile that hit Cabo San Lucas in September last year.

Library open in Todos Santos. The Todos Santos Library at the Palapa society is now open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Drop by and check out their vast collection of books and DVDs. Membership is only 250 pesos (about $15 bucks) for the whole family and there are always books for sale at a paltry sum and even free books out front. For information email info@palapasociety.org

Call for donations. The Palapa Society of Todos Santos will be holding its 7th annual tianguis on Saturday, November 28 from 10:00am to 1:00pm at the future site of the new Palapa Learning Center on the bypass road, Calle del Huerto, next to Aliser, across from the sailor base.

Find cast off treasures and snap up the baked goodies. Proceeds go to support the Beca scholarship program. Donations of housewares, clothing, children’s items, and anything that is in good condition to resell are welcome. Contact for more information email: info@palapasociety.org or look up www.palapasociety.org to see what the group is about.

Artists for La Paz. La Paz director of tourism Elizabeth Wayas has revealed that several international artists will be invited to spend a week in our state’s capitol city with the hope they will use their new knowledge to promote us in social media. Among the first artists are Marc Anthony (Jennifer Lopez’s cast off hubby), popular Spanish singer Miguel Bose, and Mexico’s Christian Castro.

Mardi Gras time again. At least that’s what the La Paz government thinks, as they are already planning the festivities that will run from February 4 to 9, at a cost of nearly $1 million. This year’s theme is“ The Muses of Joy” and will feature popular Mexican and Spanish artists like Shaila Durcal, Aleks Syntek, Jorge Muñiz, Samantha Rae and América Libertad.

New buses for La Paz. The state’s secretariat of transport is looking into the possibility of bringing brand new city buses to La Paz to improve public transportation services. The new buses would be owned and operated by the city government, eliminating the current contractors who use crappy vehicles and deliver crappy service.

Mining company in a snit.  Lawyers representing the Zapal development company, which has been attempting to get permits for the Los Cardones open pit gold mine in the Sierra de la Laguna, has sued the incoming La Paz city government for cancelling the change of zoning that the previous administration approved in a clandestine meeting just hours before leaving office.

Los Cardones has applied for a legal injunction that would reverse the current administration’s decision.

The mine has its advocates. Nearly 200 people who would like jobs in the mine, all  from the towns of San Antonio, El Triunfo and El Rosario located in the mountains between San Jose and La Paz, lined up along the new road from San Jose to Cabo while president Peña was cutting the inauguration ribbon to the highway.

The miners carried banners reading, “The San Antonio ejido favors the creation of jobs by Los Cardones,” “Mr. Governor, we want to work, not block roads,” and “In favor of the development of BCS (that’s our state, Bunky), Yes to responsible projects, Yes to Cardones.” Stay tuned.

Group against gays places ads. The Frente Ciudadano por la Familia Natural, or Citizen’s Front in Favor of the Natural Family, has been placing ads on La Paz streets, asking who wants to see gay rights in text books, or who agrees with gay couples adopting children. Eduardo de la Mora, president of the group, maintain they are not homophobic but disagree with a gay relationship being legally called marriage. Mora also said there have been polls in the states of Jalisco and Michoacan on mainland Mexico that shows people are against gay marriage.

A La Paz tortilla shop has been delivering tortillas packaged in a wrapper printed with anti gay statements. Both the activists and the tortilla shop have been accused of inciting violence against gays. Although that might be a toughie to prove since there has been no violence against gays.

We are loved. Mexico received 21.2 million tourists in the first eight months of this year, further consolidating its position as one of the world’s top 10 global tourist destinations, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced.

“Mexico ranked once again as one of the world’s 10 leading tourist destinations,” the president said during the inauguration of our new highway linking the cities of San Jose and Cabo San Lucas. The country received 8.4 percent more visitors between January and August than in the same eight month period of 2014, Peña Nieto noted, adding that the total number of tourist arrivals for the year will top 30 million if that trend continues.

No more forced resignations. The lower chamber of congress passed a law last week prohibiting companies from forcing employees to sign a blank resignation letter when they are hired.

Such has been a common practice by some employers in Mexico, in an attempt to get out of paying the severance that’s due an employee when fired. This settlement can add up to some serious money, as it amounts to 90 days of salary, Christmas bonus and vacation time.

This severance must be paid even if the employee is lazy, steals, shifty, or otherwise undesirable.  The only way to legally avoid this onerous payment is to carefully document all the missteps by the employee, and even then the labor board usually sides with the employee. The new law stipulates that employees who are forced to sign a blank resignation letter can file a report with the labor court, which will keep the grievance secret until or if the employee is fired and the document is deployed. The fine for forcing an employee to sign such a letter can be up to 10 grand.