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  • What’s Going On With Our Electric Bill? (2018/02/22 12:09:41)

    They seem to be going bonkers with rates


    We all think we know a lot about solar. We know we should get more of our household energy from solar, and certainly less from filthy icky coal. But show of hands, who knows where our electricity in Southern Baja comes from? Thought so. Clueless. No, you in the back row who shouted out that it comes from the switch on the wall, that answer doesn’t count. We’re thinking deep, here, and we’re going to learn about our prospects for beating the hated electric utility, CFE.

    Baja is almost an island. The ferry comes over from the mainland of Mexico for much of what we consume, and the rest comes toddling town the peninsula, on the skinny two lane in big 18 wheelers.

    We are cut off from the grid the rest of Mexico is on. They’ve been talking about submerging a line under the Sea of Cortez, but that takes a big investment, and it seems CFE would rather just wring more money out of you and me then tie into the country’s electrical grid.

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    The people in La Paz are not too happy with this arrangement, as the generator spews out a lot of filth, and they feel that given the population of Los Cabos compared to the population of La Paz, we who are far from the apparatus get more of the benefit of the smoking, belching diesel plant. Now that you know we are on generator, you can imagine how the cost of our electricity is tied so closely with the price of oil. (Hint: It’s going up fast here in Mexico, but the reasons for that are a whole other story).

    So, why don’t we have more solar installations? They’re coming. Half a dozen solar “farms”, which are vast arrays of solar panels, are coming soon. Two already have their permits.

    What, you think you’re going to run an extension cord to the solar farms? No. They will not be selling to you and me. They will need to sell to your old nemesis, good old CFE. CFE will take this juice and then pump it out to your house, just as soon as they slap their profit on it. We are all still the sucker at the end of the electric cord.

    What can we do?

    Well, we can put solar panels on our house, and defy CFE. If you buy a solar system that jumps through CFE’s narrow parameters, you can generate so much solar power during the day that there will be enough excess power you’ve banked, that you can draw from CFE when the sun goes down. Turning the meter back like that is the holy grail of home solar systems.However, there’s a problem with that (there is always a problem with utilities). That generator system in La Paz only has capacity for 18 megawatts. If everyone, including, and especially including the big solar farms that are coming, feed into the La Paz plant, it can’t take it.

    For that reason, CFE is changing the rules on us. They are saying they will stop buying back our sun power just as soon as the plant reaches a capacity of 18 megawatts. The corollary to that problem is, nobody knows when that will be. CFE isn’t even telling us how close we are now. They are just giving us a warning that the time is coming. Tick tock. Time to put your own solar system in place now and be grandfathered in.

  • How's The City Doing? According To The Mayor, Just Fine (2017/12/11 12:52:27)

    Arturo de la Rosa, the mayor of Los Cabos, just celebrated two years in office. He commemorated the occasion with a “state of the city” speech touting what he’s achieved during his time in office. Here are some of the highlights:

    mayor.pngThe local police department was given an overhaul, starting with a bigger public security budget. At more than $15 million USD, which is double the last administration’s budget, it’s the department’s biggest budget yet. De la Rosa also reported that all police officers were evaluated in an effort to weed out the bad cops and ensure only trustworthy candidates were hired. The Navy has also stepped up to the plate, evaluating, hiring and training 400 officers in Mexico City who will be shipped over to Los Cabos.

    Road rehabilitation was also one of De la Rosa’s priorities. The city purchased 29 pieces of heavy equipment at a total cost of more than $7 million, along with four very expensive, top notch street sweepers. The sweepers were bought with the administration’s money and paid in full at a price of almost $2 million for all four. 29 garbage trucks and 22 public vehicles were also bought, making it the biggest purchase ever to be made in Los Cabos as far as public sanitation goes. Part of this purchase included uniforms, tools, and other supplies necessary for everyday maintenance.

    Government workers also benefited from this administration, with 100 percent of them working with a social security number, which is reportedly the first time this has ever happened. And the huge debt (more than $24 million) left by the last mayor has been paid off by De la Rosa’s administration.

    4,700 new hotel rooms are under construction in Los Cabos, which de la Rosa says is a sign that the government has inspired trust from the tourism sector. (Although the Hotel Ass, is screaming bloody murder and making threats for a better security force for the community). And finally, the unemployment rate is at 1.8 percent, which means that for every 100 residents in Los Cabos, 98 of them have a formal job. This is the second lowest unemployment rate in the country.

    But wait, there’s more! To see de la Rosa’s full list of accomplishments, click here.

  • Why Are They Tearing Up The La Paz Malecon? (2017/11/28 10:42:11)

    Earlier this year, state officials announced their plans for a massive renovation of the La Paz malecon, and the surrounding area, which will be carried out over the next four and a half years. Malecon is Spanish for the concrete boardwalk that goes along the beach front.

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    The project is currently in the initial phase, which will cost more than $8 million USD and is scheduled to be finished by this December. Work in this phase will include improvements to pedestrian areas, bike paths, sports and recreation areas, parks and new parking spaces. New signs for tourists will also be erected, along with more street lights.

    The first phase covers four different sections of streets: from Calle Márquez de León to Antonio Rosales; from Calle Antonio Rosales to Calle Cabezud; from Cabezud Street to 5 de Mayo Street; and from 5 de Mayo Street to Guadalupe Victoria Street.

    The real fun begins in later stages of the malecon project, which includes building roughly 20 to 30 yards of artificial beaches. The new beach space will be used as a recreational area, containing volleyball and beach soccer courts (with seating areas) and trampolines. The main attractions in this section will be the two Olympic-size swimming pools.

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    “It’s an ambitious project,” allowed Jose Soto, the director of Integral Port Administration in Baja California Sur. You think?

    The project hasn’t been without opposition. La Paz residents feel there are other, more important things the city could be fixing with that $33 million (the total cost of the project). More schools, improvement of state hospitals, more and better cops, and the list goes on. And despite announcing the renovations with great fanfare, the contractor began tearing up the streets on the opposite side of the ocean without any advance notice, which pissed off drivers and impacted business owners.

  • Los Cabos Film Festival Line Up (2017/11/09 19:52:28)

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    As we mentioned previously, the Los Cabos FIlm Festival is happening now. Movie screenings are running pretty much all day Friday and Saturday, and wraps up on Sunday. 

    And, unlike previous festivals that only showed Mexican films in Spanish, this year's line up actually includes some movies in English! Guess they finally remembered that whole "international" part of the festival.

    If you're looking for a screening schedule, click here. For a full list of movies playing and their synopses, keep on scrolling down the page.

    Jane Documentary. English. Drawing from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over 50 years, award-winning director Brett Morgen tells the story of JANE, a woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world.

    Beach Rats Drama. English. A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with.

    Una Mujer Fantastico (A Fantastic Woman) Drama. Spanish. A transgender singer faces scorn and discrimination after the sudden death of her older boyfriend.

    Give Me Future Documentary. English/Spanish. In the spring of 2016, global music sensation Major Lazer performed a free concert in Havana, Cuba for an unexpected audience of almost half a million people. A concert documentary evolves into an exploration of youth culture in a country on the precipice of change.

    Opus Zero Thriller. English. Paul, a composer, retreats to a remote village where his father recently passed away, looking for inspiration. A sudden obsession with the fate of a woman who disappeared 30 years ago will prove more dangerous than he ever imagined.

    Dina Documentary. English. Dina, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia, invites her fiancé Scott, a Walmart door greeter, to move in with her. A delicate story, deep and, at times, dark humor, about the love between two people on the spectrum of autism.

    Thank You For The Rain Documentary. English. Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer, uses his camera to capture the life of his family, his village and the damages of climate change.

    Angels Wear White Drama. Chinese. In a small seaside town, two schoolgirls are assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel. Mia, a teenager who was working on reception that night, is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she says nothing. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Wen, one of the victims, finds that her troubles have only just begun.

    I, Tonya Drama. English. Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

    Witkin & Witkin Documentary. English. An intimate story of identical twin artists who inhabit very different worlds: Joel-Peter, photographer & Jerome, painter.

    The Florida Project Drama. English. Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

    Last Flag Flying Drama. English. Thirty years after serving together in the Vietnam War, Larry "Doc" Shepherd, Sal Nealon and the Rev. Richard Mueller reunite for a different type of mission: to bury Doc's son, a young Marine killed in Iraq.

    On Body And Soul Drama/Romance. Hungarian. When a man and woman who meet at work begin to know each other, they discover that they have the same dreams at night, and they decide to make them come true.

    The Darkest Days Of Us Drama. Spanish. Ana's recollection of the day when her sister Julia died, is a fragmented and foggy image that has haunted her since childhood. Now, Ana has returned to Tijuana, her hometown, where she has to face the pain and the darkness of her memories.

    Luk'Luk'I Documentary. English. A portrait of five Vancouverites living on society's fringes during the 2010 Winter Olympics, "Luk'Luk'I" takes us into uncharted territory, falling somewhere between a fiction we need to see and a documentary we wish didn't have to exist.

    Song Of Granite Biography. Irish/English. cclaimed filmmaker Pat Collins brings the dramatic life story of legendary seannós singer Joe Heaney to the screen. With an approach that marries traditional narrative episodes with documentary footage, the film will celebrate the music Joe Heaney created while painting an unflinching portrait of Heaney, the man.

    Mobile Homes Drama. English. A young mother drifts from one motel to the next with her intoxicating boyfriend and her 8-year-old son. The makeshift family scrapes by, living one hustle at a time, until the discovery of a mobile home community offers an alternative life.

    Thelma Thriller/Romance. Norwegian. A young woman falls in love for the first time, with the woman. At the same time, she starts having seizures and discovers that she has supernatural powers.

    Downsizing Comedy/Drama. English. A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

    How To Talk To Girls At Parties Comedy. English. An alien touring the galaxy breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon.

    Molly's Game Drama. English. The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

    Western Drama. German/English. A group of German construction workers start a tough job at a remote site in the Bulgarian countryside. The stage is quickly set for a showdown when men begin to compete for recognition and favor from the local villagers.

    First Reformed Drama/Thriller. English. A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion.

    Golden Exits Drama. English. An intersectional narrative of two families in Brooklyn and the unraveling of unspoken unhappiness that occurs when a young foreign girl spending time abroad upsets the balance on both sides.

    Foxtrot Drama. Hebrew. A troubled family face the facts when something goes terribly wrong at their son's desolate military post.

    A Ghost Story Fantasy/Romance. English. In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.

    Lean On Pete Drama. English. A teenager gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.