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February - May 2006 News in San Felipe


Eng. Armando Ramos, President of the Developer's Association and owner of the San Felipe Marina Resort, announced today that the contract for private charter service was signed and San Felipe will have flights in and out of our little pueblo by the sea on June 16, 2006. There has been much speculation as to whether or not San Felipe will finally have air service, because we have an international airport (hello!!!). Sr. Ramos, along with his son, Arq. Armando Ramos Jr., were on hand today, hosting a beach party and showing of their new model homes. The pilot and the plane were also there. So this time, I think it's a go! The costs for the flight (round trip) will be approximately $250-275, not $400.00USD as previously reported. Sr. Ruben de la Peña of Cotuco (pictured on the left) announced a meeting next week, in which all developers, merchants and interested parties will be invited to attend. They will make a formal announcement at that time. Eng. Armando Ramos, Sr., Arq. Armando Ramos, Jr., and Señora Yolanda Tafoya (owner of Yet Mail) pose for a photo in the model home. Check out Kat's Korner for more photos of today's event.


Accident on the Malecon. A group of us were having dinner at Rositas on the Malecon last evening, watching the four wheelers zoom in and out of traffic, without regard to any pedestrians or cars, when a young man from one group (hereinafter referred to as the 4-wheeler gang), who had been around the Malécon twice before - at about 1,000 miles an hour, skid on the sand and flew off and onto his head. We ran over to him and he was unconsious and of all things, his buddies were taking off his shoes and putting them back on. Very strange. At any rate, after about five minutes, the police arrived and then the ambulance came. One very impatient cruiser, in an attempt to get around the ambulance, side swiped it and he was detained. One of the young girls in the gang actually stopped, looked at her buddy, took her helmet off; fixed her hair, put her helmet back on and sped off. I watched today for a short while as they sped back and forth in front of the Net. Grown men with their small children on the same 4-wheeler and no helmet on the little kid. Up the hill and down the dunes and as fast as the police could stop one, three or four more were zooming right past them. It would almost be comical if it weren't so tragic. After I find out the condition of the boy who was injured, I'll post a couple of photos. I don't believe there is any other place in the world, let alone Mexico, where people visit and leave their brains at the border as they do when they vist our little village by the sea. lg

A meeting was held in the Maria Bonita Salon to vote in a new President of Fidecomiso (Tourism). Sr. Jesus Olmos, pictured on the right and his assistant, Lic. Linda Garcia, have headed this committee for the past four years. Sr. Robert Islas (El Dorado Ranch, pictured on the left) and Lic. Arnulfo Zarate (General Manager of the San Felipe Marina Resort, is pictured next to Sr. Olmos of El Dorado Ranch) were the two incumbants. It was a very close vote, however, Señor Zarate will head the committee. The next meeting will be June 2. Details will be announced. lg


A commitment to sign the contracts for chartered flights from Long Beach or Carlsbad, to San Felipe was signed yesterday in Mexicali and after the contracts are signed, the first chartered flight is scheduled to begin June 16, 2006. The estimated cost per flight (round trip) will be approximately $400 USD. The commitment states that the Developer's Group of San Felipe, which includes north and south and in between developers, will agree to make up the difference if the flights are not full. This will mean a great boom to San Felipe, as gasoline costs in the United States are going out of this world. You now can fill up your tank in Mexico for half the cost in the U.S. Photos of the plane, the name of the company, ect., will be provided this afternoon. Stay tuned. La Gata

A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING WAS HELD TODAY (May 5, 2006) at the Canaco Offices located on the main drag, as you come into town. It is officially called "El Salon de Reuniones" or the meeting hall of the National Chamber of Commerce. Through a show of hands, 15 to 11, the proposal submitted to Mexicali to lease the building for a term of ten (10) years was passed. Part of the building is presently occupied by Canaco San Felipe (however, rarely used by them or open to the public over the past ten years) and the international development company has offered to finish the renovation of the building at their own expense and Canaco will maintain their office on the left side of the building.

Sunshine Rodriquez Peña, Delegado de Canaco San Felipe, Carolina Peña, Treasurer, led the very heated meeting and there was much discussion (and yelling), and at least half of the attendees agreed that it was the lack of notice given to the merchants here in San Felipe and the urgency in approving the lease. Evidently there was a time line imposed by the development company attempting to lease the building and make improvements to it and so Sunshine passed the resolution. This international developer is proposing to put his real estate offices in the huge space on one side of this building and invest $48,000 USD to finish it and use the space in back for public meetings, etc. A prominent real estate company/developer offered to write a check for $50,000 at that moment, but explained to the crowd that it would be the same thing - a conflict of interest if he were to put his real estate offices in the same building as the National Chamber of Commerce. The main irritation, this writer perceived, was the urgency in holding the vote at this meeting, where many prominent businessmen/women were not present. Some developers/merchants received only 3 days notice; others were not invited or only heard it "through the grape vine" so to speak. If written proposals were not on Sunshine's desk (even though most did not receive enough notice to prepare a response), Sushine said his "hands were tied" and he had to make the decision from the show of hands. I'm certain this is not the last we will hear of this. Photos to follow. Stay tuned!! La Gata

FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2006 - WE HAVE GAS (regular, premium and diesel) IN SAN FELIPE!!! - Regular 6.29 Pesos per Liter - $2.26 PER GALLON, mas o minus!! Diesel is $5.16 pesos or $1.78 per liter.


May 7, 2006 - Chypi Promotions Torneo de Pesca Deportiva - see our calendar of events; July 2 - there are spaces available on the Jose Andres - Tony Reyes' Sports Fishing trip of a life time! (see Fishing on our front page). Do your part; keep San Felipe clean!!

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching!!

If you haven't found a place to stay on our Accommodations page for this busy weekend, contact the Tourism Department for the telephone numbers of smaller hotel/motels in town that have vacancies. Remember, drinking and driving are illegal in Mexico, as well as dangerous. Please use the utmost caution when renting and riding the ATV's. We are waiting for an official written statement from the authorities regarding ATV's on Federal beaches and at that time, we will post whatever information we are given. La Gata

Stay tuned for photos of San Felipe Locals during Semana Santa!!

Sunday -- 16 April 2006

The crowds seem to be smaller this year but more affluent than we have seen in the past. All the prices for food, drink and lodging hit new highs for those dependent on local stores and markets. The Delegation Municipal posted notices to inform people that driving vehicles on the beaches, bringing glass bottles, leaving garbage and building fires are prohibited and can bring significant fines (10 to 500 times the minimum daily salary in Mexico city- which is about $5). These notices were universally ignored and the municipality probably lost an estimated $50-100 thousand by not having the police force to enforce the law.

The vehicular traffic on the beach is a major cause of erosion of the dunes and is a significant noise and safety problem for all the residents of the beach communities. The roar of the exhaust from 2-strokes in the middle of the night is a major problem in getting a good nights sleep, particularly at this time of year when it is so pleasant to try to sleep with the windows open.

San Felipe is at an important juncture in its development. Retirement living and the related real estate development and construction in the region is now by far the most important source of overall income of the municipality. This new segment is now running at around $100 million per year, which dwarfs the income to the town brought in by the traditional tourism ($10 million), fishing sectors ($5million) and activities such as the Baja 250 ($1-2 million) of the market. If San Felipe is to be made into a major location for the foreign retiree it must start to cater to the needs of these people with much better environmental, safety and security enforcement. Tourism can also benefit by emphasis on more ecologically friendly activities, rather than having people put life and limb at risk by endlessly roaring up and down the beaches. The Sea of Cortez is fundamental to the success of San Felipe and we must do everything possible to restore its health. Without the sea and pristine beaches, San Felipe would just be another desert town like Yuma or El Centro and it would have no advantage over such places in developing economically.

From an article in The Statesman (one of India's leading newspapers):

"Mostly scrub desert, Baja stretches for more than 800 miles. It is no more than 60 miles across at any given point. The Pacific runs from Tijuana down to the resort town of Cabo San Lucas and to the east, between the peninsula and the mainland of Mexico, flows the Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortes.
Up and down this finger of land, speculators from the USA and Canada are offering huge amounts of money to subsistence farmers and fishermen to buy vast tracts for development of the most unspoilt and rich coastal habitats in the world. "

Read the entire article and the issues being raised about the environmental effects and the future provision for the California Grey Whale. ej


Easter Week (Semana Santa) - If you haven't found a place to stay on our Accommodations page for this busy week, contact the Tourism Department for the telephone numbers of smaller motels in town that have vacancies. Remember, drinking and driving are illegal in Mexico, as well as dangerous. Please use the utmost caution when renting and riding the ATV's. La Gata

Presidente Samuel Ramos was in town this past weekend to participate in the San Felipe Marina's Ground Breaking Ceremony for San Felipe's second Campo de Golfo (golf course). Engineer Armando Ramos, President of Grupo Consructor Ram S.A. and the San Felipe Developer's Association, Arq. Armando Ramos, Jr., Lic. Milton Castellanos Everardo, former Governor of the State of Baja California, Patrick Butler, El Dorado Ranch and owner of "Las Caras de Mexico" golf course at La Ventana del Mar, Delegado Municipal Joaquin Sahagun, Victor Rodriguez Silva, President of Cotuco Mexicali, Rolando Ortiz Gomez De Silva, Subdelegado of the Secretary of Tourism, Fernando Gallegos, owner of the development, San Fernando, David La Bare, Mi Casa del Mar and the Developer's Group, Playa Paraiso, Vista del Mar, and many others joined in the celebration. Diamond Golf International, Inc. will build the Nicklaus Design 18 hole champion golf course, across the highway from the San Felipe Marina Resort and Spa. Muncipal Presidente Samuel Ramos hit the first ball. More photos on Kat's Korner of the great party afterwards. Click here for photos of the ceremony. La Gata


Football news - 19 March

Victory for Escuela Secundaria General No. 8 "El Tiburones" this past weekend! We beat the Gorilas and the next game is scheduled for Sunday, March 26 "TIBURONES VS BRONCOS" at 2:00 p.m. The field is located behind the Catholic School on the highway going south. As promised, here is the history of the conception of Escuela Secundaria General No. 8 "El Tiburones", which was translated by Juan Tapia. La Gata

A quiet Saturday morning on the beach (18 March 2006)

A lone spring break jogger heads off towards Punta Estrella as the first of a group of horses heads towards the Marina resort to give the tourists a ride. Spring break will be a quiet time in San Felipe this year as most tour organizers are concentrating on taking their customers to Rosarito Beach where there is more for college-age people to do.

With all the discussion in the U.S. over the past year on the function of spring break, the emphasis is changing to get participants to channel their energy into community projects and more socially redeeming work instead of perpetuating the image of the drunk gringo. Many spring break locations, such as Cancun and the New Orleans area are actively engaging the skills of spring breakers to help in reconstruction, restoration of the environment, retraining and educating of the local population. Back in 1997, when we were just starting the Net here in San Felipe, we did get a group of college people to come and help restore old computers and give lessons to the students in the local schools. Sadly, it was difficult to compete with the lure of unlimited alcohol for $20 per day.

Since there are now so many Hummers in San Felipe, we are being asked what is the next "status symbol" to drive around in. A little research has turned up this nice 5 seater Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Battle Tank that might be just what you are looking for. The Donk is getting very good reviews and can be extensively customized. The first impression is of "shock and awe". It could be just what you need when visiting the ATM at the bank. We hope that when you decide to buy one, you will use our Amazon.com link so that we get the commission. Your support of the Net is very much appreciated. Order now in time for Mothers Day! Note that the Donk does not qualify for Amazon free shipping. ej

Football news

San Felipe has it's own football team, not soccer, American football! Their names are El Tiburones, meaning "The Sharks". Pat Butler, owner of El Dorado Ranch, along with the help of the Rotary Club, The Net and others, has provided uniforms for the team, but they are in desperate need of equipment (American football equipment) and funds for the kids who can't afford expenses of being on the team, like the bus fare for out of town trips, protection devices, shoes, meals, etc. We are in the process of translating the history of the team, which was provided by Profra. Ana Maria Regalado Hernandez. March 19 is their next game, so let's all try and turn out and support our local football team. If you can help out monetarily or can bring equipment down with you, please contact Profra. Ana Maria here Email or drop it at The Net. If you are a developer or business person in town and would like to sponser a team member, please let us know that also. You can contact Kat at the Net if you're interested, unless you speak Spanish, and in that case, please email Profra. Ana Maria. American football is new to San Felipe and we should all support our team. La Gata

Escuela Secundaria General No. 8 "El Tiburones"

Here's the schedule of games:

4 MAR-06 AZTECASVS TIBURONES ------------------- (MXL)-------4:00 P.M.
12 MAR-06 TIBURONES VS AGUILAS MARINAS------(S.F.)--------12:30 P.M.
19 MAR-06 TIBURONES VS GORILAS-------------------- (S.F.)-------2:00 P.M.
26 MAR-06 TIBURONES VS BRONCOS------------------ (S.F.)-------2:00 P.M.
31 MAR-06 LOBOS VS TIBURONES ---------------------(MXL)--------7:00 P.M.
29 ABR-06 OSOS VS TIBURONES ------------------------(T.J.)--------2:00 P.M.

Saturday, March 11. The Tecate-Score San Felipe 250 is well underway. The quads took off at 6:00 a.m. and the trophy trucks and class I went off next at about 8:30 a.m. We'll post race results when we receive them. Of course we're rooting for our home town team, S.F.O.R. (San Felipe Off-Road, sponsored by Pat Butler of El Dorado Ranch), driven by the Dean and Dean race team. Awards are scheduled for 9:00 p.m. this evening. lg

Americans and Real Estate ownership in Mexico.

A recent article, Americans, Mexico and Real Estate, by Prof. Jorge A. Vargas, Professor in the University of San Diego School of Law, and a noted writer on foreign investment in Mexico, is worthwhile reading for all who intend to buy property in Mexico. One thing that most investors do not realize is the function of the Convenio, the Mexican implementation of the Calvo Clause (which prohibits the use of diplomatic intervention as a method of enforcing private claims before local remedies have been exhausted) in land disputes. In the case of an individual or corporate fideicomiso (bank trust) this means that the beneficiary, usually a foreign citizen, cannot appeal to his or her own government representatives for help in a dispute over the property. Instead they agree to be treated as a Mexican national regarding the real estate "...under penalty, in case of breaching the convenio, of forfeiting property to the benefit of the Mexican nation". This appears to be in contradiction to the terms of, for example, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which forbids any unequal or discriminatory treatment of foreign investors by Mexico. While all of this is somewhat "academic" it is worth knowing that there is a constitutional problem here, particularly if you are covered by some master fideicomiso in which you have no control in what disputes the holder of the fideicomiso may get involved. ej

We reproduce the article here as a "fair use, teachable moment" exception to DCMA

February 2006

Carnaval is celebrated in San Felipe the weekend 24-28 February. The program of events is here.

Pictures from Senior Sunday are here.

The "condominiumization" of San Felipe begins

The building boom continues. Now we have developers looking for existing apartment blocks, houses and villas that can be quickly turned into condominiums while the market is still hot. Here we see a venerable and much-visited block of fourteen tourist apartments on the beach at Las Palmas undergoing a renovation for conversion into individual condominiums. Clearly, with their prime location they will fetch top dollar. ej

Mexican National Holidays - a new federal law has gone into effect which moves the day on which many national holidays are observed to the nearest Monday. This will allow Mexicans to enjoy the same benefits that U.S. residents have had for many years - the "three day weekend". Particularly in the border region, this is expected to cause a significant influx of Mexican tourists to California and Arizona attractions. We witnessed the first implementation of the new law with the Dia de la Constitucion holiday which was observed on Monday 6 February, instead of Sunday 5 February. The next scheduled holiday, Natalicio de Benito Juarez, will be celebrated on the third Monday (20th) of March. (2/13/06 update)

Ah! Now we have the official word:

La Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social publica en el Diario Oficial de la Federación el decreto por el que se reforma el Artículo 74 de la Ley Federal del Trabajo, referente a los días de descanso obligatorio.
De acuerdo con el documento, emitido por el Congreso General de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, el Artículo 74 indica ahora que son días de descanso obligatorio: el 1 de enero; el primer lunes de febrero en conmemoración del 5 de febrero.
También el tercer lunes de marzo en conmemoración del día 21; el 1 de mayo; el 16 de septiembre; el tercer lunes de noviembre en conmemoración del día 20; el 1 de diciembre de cada seis años, cuando corresponda a la transmisión del Poder Ejecutivo Federal.
Así como el 25 de diciembre y el que determinen las leyes federales y locales electorales, en caso de elecciones ordinarias, para efectuar la jornada comicial.
El decreto, que entrará en vigor este 18 de enero, establece que por la conmemoración este 2006 del natalicio de Benito Juárez García, Benemérito de las Américas, la fracción referente al tercer lunes de marzo tendrá vigencia a partir de 2007. jt

Mexican Presidential Elections - will be held on Sunday 2nd. July so we can expect this to be a weekend free of alcohol in Mexico. ej


The new bank in town

Construction of the new branch of Banamex continues at a frantic pace. The old furniture shop at the junction of Calzada Chetumal and Av Mar Negro Sur has been taken over for a complete remodel. We were hoping for a January opening, maybe now a February opening. Everyone is so supportive of a little competition coming to our region. For as long as anyone can remember we have had to put up with a single bank here. (Yes, there was a brief instant when BBVA opened an office, only to then become consolidated with Bancomer a year later). The grossly overloaded facilities of Bancomer have meant that waits of one to two hours have been common in order to cash a check or deposit money. So many residents are waiting for the grand opening day when they will be able to sign up for service. (Update 20 March 2006 - The branch is definitely looking more complete and we would not be at all surprised to see it open by Easter.) ej


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San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
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