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Water Watch 2022! Part 2

I stood on a hilltop with Cornelio Zapata, a 30 year resident of La Misión. We look down on the estuary and the la Misión River. He shakes his head and says with deep concern, “I have never seen the river so low. It use to run all the way out to the ocean and there were clear pure swimming places. Now it is green with algae.” His small comfortable home was once the only dwelling on the hill. He has had at one time a vast nearly 360 degree view of the ocean and all the way to the eastern mountains. Now it is surrounded by huge multilevel homes all needing water. He is experiencing for the first time a new water restriction.  Senor Zapata added that his good friend, who grew the sweetest white corn, can’t grow it this year; his pump can no longer reach the aquifer which is now too low. While La Misión has always had a natural supply of water from the mountain region and aquifers, it is being threatened. The major cities of Tijuana to Ensenada are impacted by the Colorado River allotment cutbacks which were reported in Part 1 of Water Watch 2022.  

Local Reports and Solutions for 2022 Historically people act when motivated to do so. The question is will we be forced into this new reality? Will it be a wakeup to learn we have outgrown Baja’s natural resources, as well as the Colorado River allotment of 1944? Senior Zapata is not the only one in La Misión with water issues. Several new mega houses were built next to his home and neither was given access to water by La Misión Water Company. These homes will rely on the water trucks to chug up the hill. It is reported that the truck owners have their own private wells where they fill up their trucks. Many of the easy sources dried up this year. 

John Stadelmann, The President of the Board of Directors for ten years of La Misión Water Company addresses this in his newly released video.  He is proud to announce that water delivery to the homes in La Misión has been “spectacular,” compared to CSPT delivery records in Tijuana and Ensenada. CSPT has frequent break downs and repairs, and “they just don’t have enough water to go around.” Mr. Stadelmann goes on to say that it is important to know the Water Board operates on a license with CONAGUA, the federal water board for all of Mexico. These licenses have 10 year duration, but La Misión’s expired in 2018. Given the fact that high powered lawyers have worked hard to resolve this, the license is still not renewed four years later. “There is a rumor, Stadelmann shared, “between water experts and lawyers that CONAGUA has an intent to close the small private wells to make it possible to give the big municipal suppliers like CSPT of Tijuana and Ensenada, more water volume to distribute.” The La Misión Water Company will fight to keep their water rights.

Mr. Stadelmann continued, “The second more immediate and larger threat comes from within our very community.” CONAGUA, dictates just how much water can be pump from the aquifer each year. Consider the fact that we are able to pump 10 million gallons per year! All the rules on usage per household are driven by this limit.” He said that in 2018 the community rarely used more than two-thirds of the total, and were safely within the limit. But in 2021 it shot up to 82%; at this rate the usage will exceed the license by 2024. Stadelmann warns, “If the abuses continue CONAGUA can shut down our well. It would be an utter catastrophe.” He points a finger directly at the issue of the increase in homes being built and the thoughtless chronic over users. The water is not for swimming pools, fountains, or landscapes. “These chronic over users could be the cause of our license to be repealed…The message is simple, the solutions are not. We all must use a whole lot less if we expect to continue to live here. It requires education, reeducation, some technology and lots of discipline. We are in it together.” These words apply to every coastal community in this state.

Local Reports and long time resident of Bajamar, Ruth Rockwell, says that they have had to close 9 holes of the golf course. Residents in Ensenada are out of city water for a week or more.  Punta Del Mar uses their gray water for landscaping. San Antonio Del Mar is attempting to put together a plan to become self-sufficient, and not rely on the government’s delivery system. John Stadelmann stresses that the water trucks will have to travel to the high plateau and fill from the catch basin which is meant to recharge the underground sources. The increase in rates can’t be far behind. It is skillful to question any new developers as to how they will address their own water and wastewater issues. It isn’t how beautiful the future home may appear, but will there be water to flush the toilet. 

Real Solutions should have begun two decades ago. Now it is a rush to catch up, if and when the issue seems real enough in people’s minds. Humanity along the Colorado River has literally drunk the once mighty Colorado dry. Drilling deeper and desal plants are future timelines with major issues. Be careful falling into false hope; be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  If there is a first most important step it would be to appreciate and develop gratitude for the water every time we use it. Realize how many times a day we need it. Appreciation can create the first abatement to our overuse. The next step, get serious about the water declines. We can act now from the comfort of our homes. Create appreciation by taking a few minutes to watch the two videos below. Educate yourself and look for personal solutions. Support the front line workers and begin to understand that we are all interdependent and share this extraordinary water network. 

Martina is a Freelance writer, see her ad for ordering her travel book, Dust In My Sandals

Contact Information:

Margarita Diaz Directora Proyecto Fronterizo

664-630-0590, Cell 664-188-62-36

[email protected]   www.pfea.org

John Stadelmann link for La Misión

Videos of our Water’s 86 mile journey to our homes

www.cea.gob.mx/arct.html

Water Watch 2022

Water Watch for 2022 is a portent of times to come. I first began writing about where the water for Baja California came from in 2007. There were warnings even then. It was said that the 21st century would be about water as the 20th century has been about oil. More recently you will find on the Gringo Gazette website a two part Water Watch, August for 2021: Part 1, “Our Water Supply is Not Unlimited,” informed the readers that 86% of our water comes from the Colorado River and the amazing feat of engineering that went into bringing the water down from the Colorado River. Part 2 of Water Watch warned of the cuts to our allotment from the Colorado River that would be coming in 2022. The cuts are here now. There is no report of any new progress to avert more shortages, and it would seem most people are still unaware of the critical facts.

In April of this year, San Antonio Del Mar held a community workshop on their issue of water and sewage treatment. While their main focus was the toxicity of the ocean waters that still take the run off wastewater from Tijuana, Margarita Diaz, the Directora Proyecto Fronterizo, was there to give a comprehensive overview of what is happening with the water for Baja. Her report was dismal.  The facts laid out in the first Water Watch articles last year have worsened today. These facts are based on the continuation of a 22-year drought, extreme heat in the west, agriculture usage, and over development. 

Margarita is a thirty year Water Protector veteran, cofounder of the nonprofit; Proyecto Fronterizo de Educación Ambiental A.C, PFEA, for awareness has had a rough go of it. She is a one woman visionary attempting to move a stagnate consciousness of the people. She has been met with a lack of interest; however, more recently, she is facing unfriendly and harsh resistance. She presented her facts with impassioned clarity to the small community turn out. Her opening statement that day was having heard from her colleagues in Utah. This is a state which is part of the Upper River Basin and it is a beneficiary of water from the once mighty river. It was a disconcerting laugh as she explained, “They are really stressed. And that made me think if they are stress up there, how stressed should I be?”  She held the microphone and pointed to the charts, “The cut are here now!” 

She reported that there is no longer any underground water for the Tecate Brewery which uses a huge amount of water in producing beer, and continued, “At this time due to the water cuts, Mexicali farmers are selling their water to Tijuana as the city’s population continues to grow. Margarita’s frustration level is pretty high when most recently she faced the men of CEPT and was told, “Don’t worry we have the Colorado and they have to give us the water.” And yet another insightful comment, “Don’t worry we have the ocean.” This fiery Mexicana rose up to her 5’ 4”stature and asked them point blank, “So, you are planning on drinking the ocean?” They had no response.

As Margarita pointed out, Lake Mead is a barometer for Baja’s water cuts. If the level should drop below a certain point, no water can be issued because there would not be enough water to turn the massive turbines that produce electricity at Hoover Dam; one of the largest hydropower plants in the United States. The 1944 treaty gave Baja an allotment of water, but was amended in 2017 dealing with the decline in US reservoirs. 2022 is the first year of the cuts and will automatically be reduced further for Arizona, Nevada, California and Baja. Whether or not you follow the Climate Change as a factor of life, you don’t have to be a scientist to know that if you leave a bowl of water out in the hot sun it will evaporate.  The Colorado River is like a big bowl of water that runs through the desert. The intensification of summer heat in the west creates a more rapid increase of evaporation. Rain and snow pack reductions each year are not filing the reservoirs and have not for a very long time. One spokes person said that it would take 4 years of rains and heavy winter snow packs to bring water levels back to sustainable. One of the reports Margarita shared came from the Utah Rivers Council who put it in laypersons terms. “The Colorado River is like a household income source and the reservoirs are like a huge savings account. For the last 20 years, the household’s income has declined and the residents of the house have been living off their savings. Yet some house residents don’t realize they have been slowly draining their savings account.” After Margarita finished telling us like it is, she apologized and wished she could give us some fast fix. Carol Clary, water activist and resident of San Antonio reported, “The reaction in the community to the workshop was total shock about the coming scarcity.” At this moment in time no one really knows what is going to turn this around locally, but waiting for Mexico to build a number of saltwater desal plants or being  “hopeful” that it rains is looking foolish in the face of the reality of the present situation.

A recent report in the New York Times announces a “formal declaration” of the water crisis…as hundreds of thousands more people have moved to the regions. After years of signs, finally a declaration! With groundwater rapidly depleting, California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought and it would seem Baja California doesn’t either.

Since there has been an unprecedented mistrust of the news media of late, some people use the words “conspiracy” or “fake news” for anything that makes them nervous or they disagree with. Facts are facts and how people process the facts is the real issue. In our case here in Baja, one only needs to look with their own eyes as levels in the reservoirs dropping or talk to the local farmers whose water pumps are not deep enough this year to reach the vanishing aquifers. Famiglietti went on to report that “parts of California have already depleted their primary reserves of groundwater and are now drilling deeper – tapping into prehistoric reserves that cannot be readily replaced. As these prehistoric aquifers are mined, they suffer irreversible structural damage.” Vance Kennedy, a retired research hydrologist for the Central Valley clearly states in a Mother Jones interview, “What I see going on is a future disaster…you are removing water that’s been there a long, long time. We are mining water that cannot be readily replaced.” 

 Man has never had much of a consideration for the Earth from which they extract their resources. Humanity learns the hard way about their planet that sustains them. In addressing Baja’s water allotment from the Colorado River, California is setting the precedence for cutting water to agriculture. Living in Baja we need to keep watch on what is happening north of us, because whatever happens up there will come down the pipeline to us, euphemistically speaking. It is unlikely we will hear anything about what is happening in Baja unless we do our research.  We don’t have easy access to local information from authorities as to what they are doing or not doing.  Margareta clearly spelled out that the local offices “are not talking to one another and the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” All along the coast south of Rosarito there are 11 new condo developments underway and Primo Tapia has two massive housing projects; one is clearing a whole mountain above Primo Tapia and another is actually attempting to build on sand dunes south of town. If we are questioning, we have to wonder where the water is coming from to provide these developers’ needs for water to build the cement and concrete blocks constructions. More importantly where is the sustainable water flow to the households once built? Nevertheless, development continues “as if” there will be water for thousands of new homes in the foreseeable future. Baja California is a passive player in how water will be allocated from the Colorado’s complicated system of delivery. At this time, if it gets rough, it appears that we are holding out our cups expecting to have our kind neighbors to the north share. Historically the United States does not have a good track record keeping its treaty agreements with its own Native Americans.  Should our spigots run dry, it is questionable that our 1944 Treaty with them is much of a safeguard. 

Take the Tour! Our Water’s Impressive 87-mile journey to our homes  

www.cea.gob.mx/arct.html

For Updated Water information and Group Presentation

Margarita Diaz Directora Proyecto Fronterizo

[email protected]

Editors Note: Martina is a freelance writer, journalist and author of Dust in My Sandals, Tales from a Baja Traveler. See our ad and order today!

Terra Peninsular: The Way of the Guardian

BY MARTINA DOBESH

A hawk flies from the Earth to the Moon! Yes, Really! In its ten to fifteen year lifespan the 

Red-tail Hawk will fly 238,855 miles, the distance from here to the Moon. How do we know that? As the saying goes it takes a village to create a better future. We tend to have an idea of what comprises a village or community, seeing it limited to family and neighbors. Today I’m meeting Mirna Borr to understand why it is actually important to know about the hawk and be amazed by the very idea of these airborne creatures as part of our village too. This interview with the Community Outreach Officer from Terra Peninsular will broaden our ideas about how we are interconnected to everything we encounter as we travel the wonder of Baja California.

Terra Peninsular is a non-profit organization in Ensenada committed to conserving the natural beauty of Baja California since 2001. It has been faithfully led by Executive Director, Cesar Guerrero. The volunteers are vision-holders who work tirelessly to educate communities in the importance of protecting and managing the natural resources. The non-profit group focuses their passion on sustainability and compatibility with the ecological system that has been in perfect balance since the peninsula fractured off from mainland Mexico and rose from the sea millions of years ago. With the growing human population it is important to understand why we need to care.

Mirna Borr, Community Outreach Officer at Terra Peninsular

I wave to Mirna across the shaded patio. She is a beautiful woman with thick dark hair and eyes that hold a vision of hope. We order our espresso and cappuccino, catching up since we last saw one another. I wanted to hear of her latest travels to San Quintin where much of the conservation focus is at this time. I asked her to explain why it is important for us to know how far the Red-tail Hawk flies in a lifetime. “It’s a long story,” she said. “When I started working with Terra Peninsular in my first year I was sent to Alaska to learn how to organize for our Annual Bird Festival here. It was there I learned about how that community was very connected and cared about the richness of their land. I saw that in San Quintin people don’t have an idea about the greatness of the land. It was in Alaska that I heard the story about the Red-tail Hawk. It was very shocking to me to realize that the birds I was seeing here in Alaska migrated to San Quintin, and I had actually followed them in my travels. I learned so much how to engage people and how to work with the community to connect them with the land and the birds. When I returned, I began to plan the 4th edition of our bird festival in San Quintin.” Mirna was clearly excited about her work, “I saw that the local people here had no interest in birds. They didn’t understand how important it is to learn about the habitat and how to protect it. The plants are part of this interconnection and without them the birds and many other rare species would not survive. It is so important to understand this.” Mirna rushes on to explain how their outreach program is working. “We have designed hiking trails so we do not trample the plants. We point out this red flower and say that it is special to the hummingbird that flies all the way from San Quintin to Alaska!” She grins and says, “They are amazed and exclaim, really?! She goes on to say that there are different kinds of hiking trails to explore the volcano area as well as the wetlands. It is deeply gratifying for all the members of Terra to see the changes in the community getting more involved.”

Mirna shares a perfect example of the power of understanding nature and its far reaching effects, “A mother shared her story with me. She noticed that her boys chased the birds, throwing rocks at them to watch them fly, and at times successfully hitting them. The family came to one of the Bird Festivals and was told how to watch and identify the birds.  Eight your old Santiago won the prize for his Bird Watching Marathon success. The prize was a pair of binoculars and a bird guide. Today he leads other children out for bird watching.” She goes on to say, “The women of the community can now recognize the birds by name and are excited to report seeing the especially rare ones.” Mirna points out, “People now understand that the special plants in the wetlands promote a healthy environment in which the birds flourish, sustain other animals, insect life while promoting clean air that is in perfect balance, if not interfered with.” Mirna expresses wonder, “We have created a whole new thing! We have a boom of recreational visitors to the area for hiking, kayaking, and surfing. The people have found this wonderful protected area. This is changing the attitude in the town, because it is bringing more visitors who go to the restaurants and more eating places are opening. The town is now participating in guiding people to treat the environment with care and being responsible.” Amused she continues, “It’s great and the guides are asking about how they can get their certification, because their clients want to know about the ecology and the names of the birds. Now we are starting workshops to educate the local guides.” 

I was curious about how Mirna found her way into this unique work. She has lived in Ensenada her whole life and was attracted to an education in research and mass communication in documentaries. This was well before anyone was interested in environmental sustainability. “I was so fortunate to have Professor Anna Sanchez, an amazing woman, and together we planned projects for public knowledge.” After graduation, Mirna’s first project was with the fisherman of LA Bay. I mentioned it must not have been an easy task to try and change the old fishing habits. Each job after graduation was a step towards her vision that led to the opportunities with Terra. I said, “So you are planning a trip back to Alaska? Do you feel like one of the migrating birds?” She exclaimed, “Yes, yes! I feel I am in the first step of my life’s journey and it is important that I acknowledge this, because just two years ago, I felt I had to go back to school and learn all the science to fully understand. But then I realized people don’t need to know all that. They don’t need the scientific name of the plants; they just need to know that the red color of a flower is important to the hummingbird and that hawks can fly to the moon.”

Near the end of our visit Mirna wanted to speak about Terra Peninsular, “Claudia is my boss and partner in crime, she is an amazing person and we are a great team. We gather all these ideas and have created art shows displaying the painting of the bird life. It makes me feel very connected.” Pride is heard in her voice, “The people of Terra Peninsular have the same passion that I have, and it is amazing for me to experience the trust we have for one another. This is not like a normal organization. It has a powerful force working with a lot of love, inspiration and hope which promises to keep the beauty of the reserve for future generations. It is very human.” As I watched her walk away, I knew that she was one of the Mexican young people who are the future of their country.

For more information you can go on line to Terra’s Mediterranews Magazine published every two months about their ongoing work. In part it will help the traveler begin to investigate this rich resource as a destination. There are two areas that are now federally certified for visitation. Punta Mazo and Monte Ceniza Reserves are at this time destinations for kayaking, surfing, hiking to the volcanoes in the 130,000 acres of reserve. Monte Ceniza has cabins for rent. Not to be missed is a virtual tour on YouTube. Wetlands Notas de campo (Field notes) Espisode #1 and #2, and Youtube.com/c/TerraPeninsular/videos. The photography is spectacular of this unique paradise. For reservations, [email protected] 

Around the world the wetlands are being reduced as they face threats of pollution, artificial filling for buildings and industrial waste. All this is loss of habitat which brings instability for all creatures including us, because we are all interconnected. Being informed is the turning point, like Santiago who no longer throws rocks at the birds, but now leads children to appreciate them, we can become a Guardian and Terra Peninsular can show the way.

Editor’s Note:

This was first printed in the Baja Bound.com March, 2022 bulletin where readers will find Martina’s column, The Baja StoryTeller and many other Baja writers sharing their experiences. See Martina’s book, Dust in My Sandals, Tales from a Baja Traveler, and an easy way to order her found in her ad in this edtion.

Save the Bees!

It’s spring in Baja California and the bees are loving the wild flowers and are happy in our gardens. We seldom pay attention to them, unless we get buzzed or one swoops in to join us for lunch. Rarely do we consider how important they are to our way of life. They go about their work in honey production, but as they do this they are also a major contributor to our healthy food systems. Without them the planet’s ecosystems would be dramatically altered.

We humans tend to care about things when we understand them. To appreciate bees more, a few fun facts are helpful. Did you know that the reason bees are so noisy is because they beat their wings 11,400 times in one minute! Honey bees love to dance and their moves are the way they communicate. Next time we put honey in our cereal we can thank the whole hive of bees for flying over 55,000 miles to make a 16 ounce jar for us. And to cover that kind of mileage they fly at 20 miles an hour. To keep us all in honey the queen has to lay 2,000 eggs per day.

Science is telling us that there is a noticeable and steady decline in the bee population. Both scientists and beekeepers believe there are a combination of factors which are mostly created by man; the loss of habitat and increased usage of pesticides are but a couple listed. Most recently, there have been studies about the effects of cell phone signals. The question that is being kicked around is that the phone signals whizzing around in space disorientates the flight of bees, causing confusion and low honey production. Research on behalf of the bees is not well funded, but there is enough evidence for the fact that it is harmful to humans. It is one simple step to suggest that the invisible signal disrupts the bees’ sensitivities. One study on humans stated, “EMF disrupts the chemical structures of tissue since a high degree of electromagnetic energy absorption can change the electric current in the body.”

National Library of Medicine  reports that the intensity of electromagnetic radiation in human environment is increasing and currently reaches astronomical levels that had never before been experienced on our planet. EMF impacts living organisms by direct tissue penetration. It isn’t a stretch to think the EMF symptoms for human such as disrupted sleep, headache, fatigue, lack of concentration and dizziness could make a hapless little bee fly in circles.

Is there a way to support the health and well being of ourselves and the bees? Some of the current thinking is to “Go Wild” and let your lawn grow without mowing. Bees love flowering weeds and grasses. Let some of the native plants thrive around your home is a good source of necture. Bees need water too; think about creating a bee pond in a shallow pan with pebbles, no need to clean it as bees love dirty water too. Support your local organic farmer. And it should go without saying, stop using toxic sprays. One of the most brilliant new ideas I am hearing is happening right here in Baja California.

Reagan White, a student from Escuela de Comunicación Transcultural  in Tijuana, contacted me. The school offers classes meant to look at how to build a business in a foreign country that can help people. He was looking for information for his school project using bees, honey and sustainable living, “We have a business project at our school, where we need to look for business opportunities in Tijuana. My teammates and I are researching bee-keeping for honey production and pollination of farms in Baja.” I suggested several names of people in Ensenada who were well versed in caring for the bee population. Several weeks later Reagan returned to report, “We are through our data-gathering phase of our project and have found the beekeeping community in Baja to be extremely welcoming and kind to us in this school project. We’re currently putting together a PowerPoint presentation for our panel of judges and would like to send that information over to you once it is completed.” I was thrilled with the idea of writing the story.

When the PowerPoint arrived, it was impressive and professionally done. Reagan and the team, Josiah, Elisabeth, Katie, Jacob, and Ruth had laid out clearly where the “gap in the honey market” was to be found. The point was to bring the raw unfiltered honey from the Baja beekeepers and to provide a more affordable and sustainable raw unfiltered honey to the higher purchasing markets of San Diego. In that city there is a high demand for raw unfiltered honey. This then creates jobs, benefits the farmers with higher crop yield due to the natural pollinators like bees with the added benefit that it helps the dwindling bee population. Since beekeeping is already aligned with Mexico’s direction there would be no issues of implementation. This is a win win for people, bees and the planet.

The students developed a three phase marketing plan based on a profit margin that has a “lean start up cost” because it is helpful to the farmers is a possibility of free or low rent. There is naturally lower labor and material cost, and the government has provided beekeeping subsidies.  The overall good news about this is there is a “high price point and consistent demand.” Their figures showed that by the fifth year there would be no need for further outside capital, thanks to nature’s amazing bees.

This business model is the wave of the future. It is a must that intelligent ideas include sustainability, health and wellbeing for humanity, the planet, and all its creatures.

With a delightful Mexican play on words, the English word honey is pronounced Hunnie in Spanish. They named the new product, Hey Hunnie!

BeeKeepers in Ensenada

Amado Abejas

52.646-127-7256

Dayan Amanda Moran Lugo

646-151-9110

A Bee Rescue Chat group

Roberto 646-141-6859

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In a Car Accident In Mexico?

Make sure you follow these 11 tips

BY JASON WAGNER

The Mexican Traffic Safety Research Center reports that Mexico registers 4 million car accidents every year, and the total cost of the accidents reaches over $10 billion dollars annually.

If you are involved in an accident in Mexico and no one is injured, it is always best to be prepared for the situation at hand. Discussed here are 11 essential tips that will help you at the scene of the accident and during the claim process. The laws and protocols when dealing with accidents in Mexico are different from other countries and to understand these laws and protocols will only help you, so you are better prepared. 

To avoid potential problems in the event of a car accident, having an active Mexico car insurance policy in hand is your first line of defense and will help keep you protected from the unexpected. Having the proper insurance in Mexico will help you deal with serious legal and financial consequences and will offer support when involved in an auto accident in Mexico.

TIP 1 – STAY CALM and FOCUSED: The first and most crucial action for you to consider is to stay calm and focused by protecting yourself, your family, third parties, and your property. Immediately after an accident, there will be many emotions to manage. However, it is highly recommended to remain as calm as possible and tend to any personal injuries you or your passengers may have sustained. In Mexico, it is important to remain at the scene of the accident until the proper authorities arrive, so the details of the accident are properly documented. There are of course exceptions to these rules if serious medical attention is required. 

TIP 2 – DOCUMENT: Take photos and video of the damage sustained to your vehicle and all other vehicles involved in the accident from multiple angles. Documenting any and all damage close and from afar of the entire scene is highly recommended. 

You can imagine that there will be a lot going on at this time, so collecting photos and video will help tell the story of the accident at a later time, when for example your insurance adjuster is involved and has requested to understand the full scope of the accident. 

It is recommended that taking photos and video of the other vehicle’s license plates, Mexico insurance policies, and drivers’ licenses are the fastest and easiest way to build your digital claim file. Also, if you or your passengers have sustained any injuries, be sure to document this just the same.

TIP 3 – CALL FOR HELP: Dial 911, the emergency hotline in Mexico, and make sure medical help is dispatched to tend to anyone with severe injuries and the police to make an accident report. Remember that the accident report is vital for you to file a claim to your Mexico insurance provider.

TIP 4 – READY THE ESSENTIALS: Prepare your essential identification documents to present to the police when they arrive at the scene. These include your passport, visa, driver’s license, valid registration, and an active Mexico auto insurance policy.

TIP 5 – CALL YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER and REPORT YOUR CLAIM: You are REQUIRED to Report your claim to your Mexico insurance carrier FROM MEXICO AND BEFORE YOU RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. Failure to report your claim before returning to the United States will result in your claim being denied as this is a requirement in the terms and conditions of your Mexico car insurance policy. I always recommend to my clients to call their Mexican car insurance provider as soon as possible and report the accident and file their formal claim. Request a field adjuster to come to the scene of the accident for assistance when dealing with Mexican authorities.

TIP 6 – AVOID GOING TO JAIL: In Mexico, “YOU’RE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.” Kind of scary if you are from the United States or Canada and not used to these types of Mexican laws. All involved in the accident will be taken into custody to identify who caused the accident and to make sure that the person at fault is capable to cover the expenses of the damages. 

If you have a valid and active Mexico car insurance policy, then feel assured that you have legal bond included and have met the requirements of Mexican law. 

Although there is no guarantee that the local officials will not detain you, knowing you have a Mexico car Insurance policy issued by West Coast Global Insurance Services will assure you have a reputable Mexico insurance carrier providing coverage and protection for your financial responsibility.

TIP 7 – DON’T SIGN ANYTHING: If you are handed any document at the scene of the accident and forced or asked to sign, DO NOT SIGN this agreement without knowing 100% what you are signing. Signing a settlement agreement or accepting payment from anyone involved in the accident will void your Mexico insurance policy. We strongly recommend consulting with your field adjuster assigned from your insurance company before you sign anything. You do not want to regret making a decision that may result in your claim being denied because you entered into your agreement which forces the Mexican insurance company from being able to be involved any further in the claim.

TIP 8 – KNOW THE RISKS: Remember that driving in Mexico without car insurance is illegal, and plain and simple, just NOT A GOOD IDEA. Additionally, there is a good chance you will land yourself in jail if you are unfortunately involved in an accident. However, with an active authorized Mexican car insurance policy, you will be protected from the unexpected and have the financial and legal strength of an “A” rated Mexico car insurance carrier by your side providing you peace of mind.

TIP 9 – KNOW YOUR POLICY: Not every Mexico car insurance policy is written the same.

Did you know that U.S. and Canadian vehicles are not insured with the same type of policy that a Mexico-registered vehicle is secured with? If after a claim, you find out that the policy written on your vehicle was issued with the wrong insurance program, meaning a Mexico registered vehicle was insured on a Tourist auto policy, or vice versa your claim will be denied for not having a valid policy. You will have wasted your hard-earned dineros and are now stuck with a bill to repair your car 100 percent out of pocket. Double check your policy declarations page to be sure your policy is written correctly.

TIP 10 – PERMISSION TO DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE: If you decide to hand your car keys over to a friend to drive your vehicle, it is essential to know that you are now handing over the insurability and decision making of your vehicle to that person. This means that if your vehicle is in an accident and your friend negotiates to have your vehicle fixed by a third party, then this will void your Mexico auto insurance policy. This person can negotiate on your behalf due to you permitting them to drive your vehicle; they now become the insured on the vehicle and have the authority to act on your behalf. Please note, as mentioned previously in the KNOW YOUR POLICY section, that some Mexico auto insurance policies written for U.S. and Canadian vehicles do not extend protection for Mexican Nationals when driving under these insurance policies.

TIP 11 – ASK YOUR AGENT: If you have any questions about your Mexico auto insurance policy, ask your licensed insurance agent to provide you the details of your policy. Request a copy of the policies terms and conditions, which should be provided to you in Spanish and a courtesy copy in English. Please note that the Spanish-written policy conditions will always prevail in Mexico.

IN-Closing: Driving in Mexico and especially in Baja can sometimes be a challenging experience, accidents & fender benders can occur in a blink of the eye and some say it’s best to be a defensive driver rather than an offensive driver. Always be aware of your surroundings, limit your driving at night and contact Jason Wagner of West Coast Global Insurance Services for ALL your Insurance needs in Mexico. With over 16 years of focused experience protecting our clients’ Assets & Health in Mexico, we assist our clients with the Best Coverages and Pricing available. 

When was your last Mexico Insurance Review? Purchasing Mexico car insurance has never been easier with our Quote and Apply online platform. Quote up to 5 Mexico car insurance carriers at the same time with flat deductible options, policies in English, and the ability to purchase and print your policy online securely in just a few easy steps.

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Call us at (818) 788-5353 Website – www.InsureMeWC.com 

Disclaimer: Review the policy conditions attached to your insurance policy in Mexico. Each Mexico insurance carrier and policy is written with unique terms and conditions. This article was written to provide an outline of what to expect when involved in an auto accident in Mexico. Details within this article are subject to change based on individual occurrences, companies and persons involved.

Amazing Guitar Player Jake Allen Coming to Baja

Sharing the stage with two renowned Baja veterans: Alex DePue & Miguel De Hoyos

With only two dates in Baja, Friday January 21st in Ensenada (La Marina Restaurant & Cantina) and January 23rd in Rosarito (Quinta Los Delfines), Jake Allen along with beloved artists Alex DePue & Miguel De Hoyos are planning to rock the coast.

Jake Allen crafts a kaleidoscopic sound that plunges the curious listener into a world of endless sonic possibilities, incorporating prog-pop, waves of ambient instrumentals, and complex musical layers. Allen showcases the guitar, harnessing every nuance of the instrument and transforming it into an ethereal, shape-shifting creature that bends both notes and time.

Allen explores numerous musical styles with his guitar wizardry, ranging from lullaby-like dreams to burgeoning anthems. A documentarian of sorts, Allen’s immersive storytelling and emotional vocal performance offer a multi-timbral journey through time and space. The constant groove of driving drums, bewitching guitar hooks, and the whisper of a longing voice spark wonder, evoking similarities to pop music’s golden ‘90s era. His fourth album, “Affirmation Day” provides a snapshot of shifting perspectives and personal growth through the means of signature fingerpicking, percussive guitar tapping, and lush musical arrangements.

Allen is heavily involved in every stage of the studio process, including writing, producing, and mixing his own albums, as well as performing each instrument. When translating to a live setting, Allen either synthesizes the components of his studio albums into an eclectic solo performance, or stays true to his lush productions with the Jake Allen Band. This dynamic approach allows the freedom to perform both alone and as a fully-outfitted collective, capable of rendering the full span of Allen’s recordings.

As a solo artist, Allen utilizes impeccably timed live looping to create a captivating one-man show. Steeped in years of live performance and well-versed in an array of instruments, Allen’s dexterity is only amplified when he wields a single guitar. In an almost hypnotic display, he explores every inch of the instrument with unwavering confidence and creativity. Strings dance as they are plucked awake from their resting tension; percussive rhythms echo; harmonics ring brightly; and intricate chords emerge from each warm strum.

Despite an endearing nomadic tendency that comes naturally with the territory of touring musicianship, Allen has a knack for finding his way back home to the peaceful refuge of Northern Michigan between travels.

Early on, Allen’s path was shaped by a musical upbringing and the tension that accompanies a life devoted to the arts. Spending a number of years wandering through the proverbial (and sometimes literal) wilderness of the music industry, Allen has released four albums, toured tirelessly across the country and overseas, and laid the kind of robust foundation capable of sustaining a long and flourishing career.

While continuing to evolve as a prolific artist, Allen’s work has garnered a loyal fanbase , resonating with both audiences and critics alike. Vents Magazine noted his “masterful guitar work” that “melts in your heart,” while Music Emissions praised his ability to “make traditional sounds relevant in the modern era.”

Allen has shared the stage with The Accidentals, Keller Williams, Mike Dawes, Andy McKee, and Guthrie Govan. His performances have included NAMM, Hoxeyville Music Festival, Blissfest, and Winnetka Music Festival. He is endorsed by Takamine Guitars and has traveled to Europe, China, Japan, and Russia as a clinician for the guitar company. He is also sponsored by ToneWoodAmp, Apex Strings, Rees Harps, and Wazinator Stomp Pads.

The first show will take place at La Marina Restaurant & Cantina in Punta Banda, south of Ensenada on January 21st. Tickets are just $25, and you can start your evening with a 5PM dinner at La Marina (not included on ticket price) just in time for the show at 6PM. Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.the-fiddler-llc.com or by paypal at [email protected]

The second show, at Quinta Los Delfines in Rosarito, will take place two days later on Sunday, January 23rd starting at 2:00PM. Tickets for this event will be $49.99 including three course meal and one drink. For reservations call David at (203) 982-3205 or email quintalosd[email protected]

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy a live show with such astonishing talent, get your tickets today as they are limited! ,

Santini Gallery Presents the Most Recent Work of Juan Angel Castillo

Giorgio Santini Gallery presents the most recent work of Master Juan Angel Castillo in an exposition titled “Quijote’s Panoply” which will take place on October, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. In this exposition a series of 21 works recently created by the artist.

Juan Angel Castillo is one of the most important and influential painters from Baja California, unique in his genre, that has won national and international recognition. His works can be found within important public and private collections.

Owner of a masterful technique acquired along more than 50 years of tireless and perseverant creativity, Castillo portrays 21 Quijotes that will be presented in the “Quijote’s Panoply” exhibit, which will be an impressive sample of his talent.

This free admission event, will be a unique opportunity to socialize with the artist and his work in the premises of the Giorgio Santini Gallery where the work of the best artists in Baja California is presented in a dignified and careful way.

The Giorgio Santini Gallery is located on Km 40 of the Rosarito – Ensenada free road, in the Santini Plaza. Call or WhatsApp (661) 126 5988 or email [email protected] for more information.

Tijuana Has a New Amazon Warehouse

So, as you may have heard, Amazon has built a 344,000 square foot warehouse distribution center in the heart of Tijuana, in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, even by Tijuana standards. The shiny white $21 million (US) structure overlooks Colonia Nueva Esperanza’s shacks of discarded wooden pallets, cardboard, tarps, and any material that can be used for escaping the elements. Needless to say there is neither running water nor electricity available to this neighborhood.

Tijuana’s Department of Economic Development intimated that living conditions could improve with the Center’s opening. This begs the question, would Bezos even consider parting with .000001% of his cash hoard to reconstruct these people’s homes, or relocate the affected patrons to a better area? Many officials don’t seem to care as this area is deemed an “illegal neighborhood.” One reporter told me it is because “they don’t pay property taxes.” I couldn’t tell if he was pulling my leg, or not. At this time there is no official plan to relocate those in this north east neighborhood, although they may be offered “more dignified living options” in the future, says Tijuana’s Mayor Karla Ruiz.

Mayor Ruiz believes that the installation of such a major corporation will improve the lives of the locals. “If you change an environment, it transforms the surrounding area.” Really? Or does this just mean that Amazon will “donate” a pallet of cardboard box material and packing tape to “improve” these Tijuana homes.

The eleventh in Amazon’s fleet of warehouse distribution centers, which was set to open in late September, will purportedly employ 250, but no word was mentioned of where these employees are being hired. Probably not to those staring at the gleaming structure in their front yard. This center will only serve customers of Mexico, so it was not a cheap land grab for SoCal Amazonians. Amazon promises same-day delivery to Tijuana and next-day delivery to the cities of Tecate, Rosarito, Mexicali, and Ensenada.

San Diego’s CBS channel 8 reports that a statement from Amazon informs that the company has created more than 15,000 jobs in Mexico, and with the 250 in Tijuana will provide an “industry-competitive salary and benefits for all our employees, such as health insurance, life insurance, saving fund, and food vouchers.” Where do I sign up?

Amazon’s warehouse distribution center may only be just the beginning. There are five other industrial buildings in the area, and Pedro Montejo Peterson, President of the Index Zona Costa hopes that more developers return to the area to build additional industrial buildings which would “invite” other companies to Tijuana.  There is a buzz that other companies are thinking about branching into Tijuana, for its close proximity to the United States. Enough positive change could really help the poorer residents, provided there is an active “trickle down” of advantages. The sad news is that even if the companies move to northern Baja, will they draw from the local workforce, or import workers from the southern United States. Sending the money north over the border will not help these areas at all.

This could mean that our roads will soon be jammed with large Amazon trucks going to and fro. Not a pleasant thought. Now it is no secret that I am an avid Amazon shopper. If I still lived in California I would probably have three or four shipments a week on my doorstep. However, living where I do, in a gated community, sometimes with no one at the gate to let delivery drivers (or anybody else) in, I would probably never use Amazon Mexico for purchases, even with next-day delivery. I performed a legitimate scientific poll of other Amazon users (everyone dining in a local restaurant patio) and all of the stated that they would continue to order their Amazon purchases shipped to their American postal or home addresses, and bring them over the border as they have always done.

Okay, so I sound like a bit of a downer, but I really want to see my local economy thrive. And we can start with those that have the least.

Giorgio Santini Art Gallery Brings Diversity to Rosarito

Art is a complicated endeavor, especially in Mexico where it’s not always easy for artists and collectors to find themselves, so it’s always a breath of fresh air to find out that someone is willing to risk his capital and reputation to represent renowned and new talents that come from our region, that is exactly what Aldo Santini is offering our community.

The Giorgio Santini Gallery of Fine Art was widely recognized in its previous stage, which lasted from 1999 to 2014, due to the high quality of its offer in works of art. Today in 2021 a new phase begins, preserving an elegant, neat, and professional proposal.

Aldo Santini, owner of the gallery, stated to this newspaper that his art gallery main goal is having a space in our area that supports artist by being able to showcase their art in a setting made specifically for contemplating it.

Since May 13, the Giorgio Santini Gallery of Fine Art reopened, now located in Santini Plaza, it returns and continues to offer art lovers and collectors the work of nationally and internationally renowned artists, including: Francisco Zúñiga , Juan Ángel Castillo, Enrique Avilez, Danielle Gallois, Hugo Crosthwaite, Jaime Carbó, Ernesto Azcarate.

Santini explained that the art his gallery sells is not only a great decoration for a house or business, but it could also be a great investment if you know what to buy: “Art has to be in the hands of collectors and museums in order to be valuable. That is what we are offering here, quality art that will increase its value over time if you ever want to sell it”, he stated.

Cristina Rendon, manager of the gallery, told us that while they do sell art in the gallery, that is not the only goal for them: “Promoting art has several benefits, and they are not always economical, society as a whole improves when they are exposed to art and this gallery helps with that, anyone can come in and appreciate the art even if they are not buying, we even offer workshops with master artists every once in a while.”

Among bronze and adobe sculptures by Azcárate and Avilez, between marinas and Quijotes by Juan Ángel Castillo, acrylic paintings by Danielle Gallois and Jaime Carbó, drawings by Francisco Zúñiga and Hugo Crosthwaite, Aldo Santini told us that his gallery is also an effort to show the world that Rosarito is a lot more than loud crowds on weekends and spring break.

If you want to know the Giorgio Santini Gallery of Fine Art and enjoy a close experience with the art that it promotes, you can visit its facilities located at km 40 of the Rosarito-Ensenada free highway, at 11 a.m. at 7 p.m., from Tuesday to Sunday, or by appointment at tel. (661) 126 59 88.

The Wine Country Under Siege, Part 2

BREAKING NEWS! Just as we were going to press, on September 28th, the wine growers filed a legal appeal before a District judge, to force the Municipal Government of Ensenada to apply the regulations to protect the conservation areas from further illegal land sales. Civil requests of the Municipal have been ignored for over two years. This action is one of two hopeful signs of a healthy direction for the Valle de Guadalupe’s future. That appeal has just been granted by a State judge.

 In part 1 of this story it was clearly stated the rapid growth in just the last five years in overdevelopment and illegal land sales is at critical level. It was shown that the Guadalupe Valley is at a crossroads and decisions need to be made about the course correction. Agriculture, development, community and water are all at risk and need protection. Rapid-growth tourism is a threat to grape production, posing issues for landscape and water usage. 

In the midst of this critical period for the Guadalupe Valley a historic event is taking place. Baja California has elected their very first women governor on June 5, 2021. Marina de Pilar Avila will be sworn in for a six year term November 1st.  She is young, beautiful and very smart as well as politically savvy from her years in Congress and holds a law degree. The first thing she did was call winemakers from the valley to accompany her to Napa, California wine region. The Governor-elect was already clear about one of her priorities to shepherd the wine industry into 2022. She told the press she wanted to be known as the Wine Governor. Being a good politician she knows it is important to align herself with the popular perception of what Baja California has to offer for sustainable tourism. While there are an infinite number of treasures in the unique landscape of the entire peninsula with its tallest mountains, unique desert landscapes and the seas surrounding it, it is the wine country which captures most of the press.

 In Part 1, Fernando Pérez Castro of Lomita Winery revealed many of the issues that threaten wine production. He was one of the vintners asked to travel with Governor-elect Marina to Napa, California in mid September. Fernando said, “Before she even took office, she wanted to see what a well developed wine region looked like. We were able to talk with Napa vintners, with Napa Green and many associated with the development and sustainability. We were surprised to find our own guidelines for self regulations were very aligned with what Napa has put into place.” 

Kicking off her campaign, the Governor-elect intends to keep Ensenada as the Capital of Mexican wine country. In terms of promotion and tourism she knows the importance of this acknowledgement. Fernando points out, “Now what we must do with her is for her to understand what it means in terms of sustainability. It is a tricky thing and an important issue is what is happening, especially considering that the land is not sold in a proper way. If you have the laws to protect the landscape and conservation this will attract a different kind of investor.” The infrastructure is also needed for all the people who call the valley their home. 

Fernando shared his vision, “We want to share with the world that we are the Mexican wine country. We have an opportunity to build a sustainable region, but if we continue to be complicit, looking the other way we will repeat history. The top priority on Marina’s agenda is setting new laws for the conservation areas. In doing this she will solve half the problem of the land sales in those areas in the first 90 days as governor.” Fernando paused and looked into the future, “This gives us a big message of hope.”

Fernando’s hard hitting message may be quite unpopular with some of the newer projects in the valley. “Right now we are making the best Mexican wines. We want the best hotels and Mexican restaurants that are on par with our wine. We don’t want cantinas, bars, Mixology, because it does not add to the value of the wine culture, it downgrades it. If you want those things, there are many places in Rosarito, Ensenada or TJ to find that entertainment. Simply put, if you want wine, you come to the wine region.” He stopped for a moment in his vision of the future and states, “When you mix the lack of vision and corruption of the authorities with the predatory instinct of bad developers it brings a huge mess. If the laws are not observed to create something unsustainable, we will have a lawless environment due to our complicity.” He paused and said, “And you can quote me on that!”

Finally Fernando speaks with the passion of the winemaker, “The Governor-elect has positioned people around her who understand what needs to be done to make the Valle de Guadalupe a globally recognized wine region.” Before they adjourned the conference Fernando told Marina, “The future of the wine region is in your hands. We are even willing to sacrifice our production to make the changes.” His closing statement was a wakeup, “We will know in six years for good or for ill that the destiny of the Valle de Guadalupe will be established.” 

Voices of Other Visionaries

Natalia Badan of Mogor Winery has lived her entire life in this valley. She has been an activist for conservation for decades.  In a 2017 interview I talked with Natalia about what she has seen since 2007. She smiled knowingly as she spoke, “Boom. Suddenly we are in fashion. This is good as it moves into the local economy. On the other hand we have to stay very conscious in order to keep the landscape pristine and beautiful. We have to watch for too much growth too fast that would contaminate what we really care about. If we grow too fast, we can’t go back.” She pointed to the hills, “Here we want slow growth and to keep this small and beautiful.” She punctuated, “Small IS beautiful. We can then be caregivers and invite harmonious groups to enjoy the whole afternoon. Here we watch the sunrise, the sunset, moon and stars and all of this care is part of producing wine.”

MSc Paula Pijoan, Masters in Science and Native Vegetation Consultant

“My vision is for people to understand that protecting the landscape means protecting ourselves. The common practice when people buy land, or prepare it to be sold, is to fence it and then clear it with heavy machinery (“limpiar” in Spanish, which means to clean).

The problem with the practice is that when the land is bulldozed its native vegetation is lost. This brings enormous problems such as:

The soil loses its ability to absorb and retain water from rains

If rains are strong, erosion and landslides happen

The bare soil creates constant dust in the air 

Plants harbor animals so clearing them leaves native animals without shelter and food, forcing them to migrate to ever smaller natural spaces.

Loss of landscape, beautiful vistas and the sounds of the nature.

What we propose:

Integrate the native vegetation to the project as native gardens, only clearing the areas where constructions will be built (this saves thousands of dollars!!!)

Incorporate patches or corridors of native vegetation on grape plantations: they help reduce erosion and control pests thanks to the beneficial insects present there. 

If native vegetation isn´t present anymore, attempt to restore it

Tom Hack of En’Kanto Winery

As small grape growers dedicated to regenerative farming and minimal intervention winemaking, our hope is that those in a position to set policy and execute enforcement will find both the will and ability to reign in the efforts of individuals who seek to exploit the region for excessive profits that undermine the agricultural base and culture that forms the foundation of Mexican Wine Country. For this agricultural base to survive, from which tourism is a byproduct, the crops, livestock and farming communities must have fair water allocation and priority especially over businesses that demand water consumption only to provide late night entertainment and unrelated activities that tax the fragile ecosystem that we depend on. Wine culture goes hand in hand, and businesses that detract from the agricultural life or the art and passion of winemaking must be strictly limited in wine country as they do not serve to grow the industry or the culture from which they seek to profit without adding value.

Gerard Zanzónico, Vinos Zanzónico  

Vinos Zanzónico was given the coveted Robert Parker 100 point award in 2013. Gerard is now consultant for MD Winery and produces his own label, Vinos Zanzónico . He began his passion for winemaking in the early years of Napa Valley.  “The Baja wine industry has grown into a world-wide destination. The beginning of this journey was founded on vision, deep passion and a desire to produce world class wines. With this foundation the winemakers and growers have attracted people from other wine regions to add a little spice to the wines of this region. Now, with new growth and a changing mix of world class wines and restaurants other destinations have been developed which confuses the theme. The question we should be asking ourselves is, “Who and What are we?”

“The wine industry of 2021 needs vision and a strong voice to clarify the direction that answers the necessary questions which will guide the future. As I see it, the next generation of visionaries will need to be clear of where they are going based on the vision of being a world class destination. The wines of Baja California are on the edge of worldwide recognition as a renowned region for the highest quality of wines. All of us in the Guadalupe Valley need strong leaders to be the future stewards of this land.”

Editor Note: Martina Dobesh is a freelance writer, journalist and author of two books. New on Amazon, Dust in My Sandals, Tales from a Baja Traveler, take a peek inside and look for our ad to find out what people are saying. 

If you missed Part 1, read it here…

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