Wow! Did You See That Giant In Ensenada?

The largest cruise ship in the Norwegian line dropped anchor in Ensenada’s bay for the first time on Saturday, October 6. It did look big, from wherever you viewed it.

the Norwegian Bliss will set sail from the Port of Los Angeles for a few week long voyages to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, before squeezing through the Panama Canal to ply the Caribbean route for the winter season.

This past summer it sailed between Seattle Washington and Alaska. It had to wait for low tied to go under the Lions Gate bridge on arrival in Vancouver British Columbia.

The newly built Bliss is Norwegian’s largest cruise ship, and has an onboard go-kart race course, a water park, Broadway theater shows, and a very cool sounding laser tag arena. Some people don’t like such big cruise ships, so there is a separate upscale section, called The Haven that offers quieter, more luxurious accommodations. Away from the unwashed masses, one would presume. Well, we presume.

The big boat can take up to 4,900 passengers, mostly in 170 square foot balcony rooms, but there are 2206 rooms total, in 42 categories on 11 decks. Altogether there are 20 decks It takes about 1700 crew to keep it all organized. Top speed is about 26 miles an hour, and the $920 million ship gets about 3,000 gallons an hour.  That’s 3000 gallons to move the ship 26 miles down the road. Sounds expensive, but with 4000 passengers, that’s only about three quarters of a gallon per person per hour.

Photo by Enrique Botello

Baja 1000 Temporarily Suspended: Score International Fined $27K by PROFEPA

Score International was hit with a fine of around $27,000 USD and in order to guarantee the payment of the fine, the permits for the coming Baja 1000 race where suspended.

PROFEPA (The federal agency for the protection of the environment) was the one to fine Score because, they say, the race last year passed through unauthorized protected areas in the “Valle de los Cirios” (That’s the valley south of the city of Ensenada that has huge cacti everywhere).

Valle de los Cirios in Ensenada, a natural protected area.

The agency says race participants destroyed several specimens of protected cacti from the lophocerus schotti species.

Due to this violations, PROFEPA issued a temporary suspension of activities to Score International S. de R.L. de C.V., which effectively suspends their right to do the race until they pay the fine.

In November of 2014, PROFEPA announced that it was fining the Baja 1000 race organizers for about $162,000 USD for the same violations, although there is no public knowledge about the fine being paid or not, since it was contested in court.

 

With information from El Vigia

130 Federales Arrive In Baja


Just last week 130 elements of the Federal Police of the “Gendarmerie” Division, were deployed here in Baja mainly in Tijuana and San Quintin.

Juan Carlos Moran, head of the federal police in Baja, stated that the deployment of this group of police was in response to the increased requests from local authorities and the private sector regarding the increasing drug crime problems that have been going on.

Moran said that the Federal Police has been the only one in the country that has been able to increase their perception of trustworthiness and credibility between the population.

The Gendarmerie Division was created in 2014 by president Peña Nieto as part of his security strategy to combat organized crime in Mexico.

It has been widely seen as an effective police force by the general population since these officers are better prepared and better paid than almost all other police forces. In order to be accepted to the force, a candidate needs to have completed a bachelor’s degree.

Here is a promotional video of the Gendarmeria, we placed English subtitles in there for you this time, you’re welcome.

Watch Out For Those Mosquitoes

State health authorities, headed by Guillermo Trejo, warned citizens to be aware of possible breeding places for mosquitoes that can transmit dengue fever, zika and chikingunya.

David Ibarra, head of the vectors control program for Baja, stated that all actions taken are merely preventive, as no cases of any of these diseases have been reported yet in the current year.

He did say that because of the present climate change, temperature and humidity has become ideal for the proliferation of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which has already increased its population by 30%, although they haven’t been found to carry the diseases.

“It’s important to remember that tires, flower pots and any containers that contain water, are ideal for the proliferation of the mosquito, since it looks for clean water to deposit its eggs”, said Ibarra.

Ibarra also stated that his office has already installed 6,692 mosquito traps around the state and invited everyone to pitch in by not leaving any open containers with water around the house.

What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police

Although not every policeman is corrupt around here, there are definitely many bad apples in the group.

People! Do not feed these thieves, you only make it worse for yourself and for everyone else. If nobody gives them money, they will stop asking.

If you are stopped, and you have actually made a boo boo, ask for a ticket and go down to the police station later on or the next day, or even the next week, and pay it. They will take your driver’s license to insure that you show up, and that’s OK. They do not want your license, and there is nothing they can do with it. You will get it back.

If you have not broken any law, just keep asking for a ticket. “Dar may un teeket por favor”. Be polite but be firm.

If they threaten you or get nasty, write down their name, or if they are not wearing their name badge, (mandatory, but still it’s common for them to stick it in their pocket), then haul out your phone and take their picture. That’s like holding a mirror up to a vampire, and they will jump in their car and scurry away like cockroaches when you turn on the light. They will let you go with some face saving mumble like, “just a warning this time”.

It’s extremely rare for them to write a ticket, and for sure they will not cite you when you haven’t done anything wrong. And, if you have broken a law, the ticket is ridiculously small. Man up and go down and pay it, don’t take the cowardly/lazy way out and throw money at the officer.

OK, once more now, altogether, “dar may un teeket”

This police extortion would stop in a week if everyone would grow a back bone and stand up to them. If it doesn’t stop, then it’s your own fault.

UPDATE: We heard that the police are now using the new “tinted windows law” to shake down foreigners. It is in fact illegal to have your windows tinted if they are dark enough that you can’t see inside of the vehicle. The law says that the officer should give you a chance to remove the film of the windows right then and there and you will not get a ticket, if you get the ticket you will have to remove it to get your license back anyway. If it’s too dark get rid of it! Better to comply with the law than to support corruption every week.,

Second Smoke-free Beach In Mexico Will Be In Ensenada

Ensenada city council has unanimously approved yesterday a new rule that will start a procedure to make Playa Hermosa the second tobacco smoke-free beach in Mexico. The first one was San Martin beach in Cozumel but the project is now abandoned in there.

ZOFEMAT (the ones in charge of the federal zone in the beach), will be in charge of certifying the beach before the COFEPRIS (The federal commission for protection against sanitary risks). COFEPRIS is the only authority that can certify a place as “smoke-free”.

Jorge Martinez, local councilman, stated that they will help organize, coordinate and implement the necessary infrastructure for this to happen. He said that signs will be installed on the beach and that a surveillance committee will be formed to enforce the new rule and get the federal certification.

The announcement comes just a few hours after Terra Peninsular stated that in their recent cleaning efforts of local beaches, they were able to gather almost a ton of trash which included 1,495 cigarette butts in just over half a mile of beach. And this wasn’t even in Playa Hermosa, which is the most visited beach in the city. These are the complete results of their cleanup (Yes, we know it’s in spanish, this has little icons so you should be ok):

Hopefully authorities around here will keep the designation longer than San Martin in Cozumel, where now, after only 4 years, people are mostly unaware of it’s smoke-free designation because no one bothered to replace the decaying signs or have anyone in there to enforce the non-smoking rule.

Que Pasa In Baja?

Rosarito desalination plant update. Congressman Miguel Osuna sent a formal request for information regarding the new Rosarito desalt plant that was supposed to be under construction but isn’t yet, to which the state government responded by saying that the construction plan will be reanalyzed since a lot has changed since its start.

The state government said that they were mostly reviewing the finances of the project, which if concluded, will be the largest desalination plant in Latin America.

“The project has been delayed because of all the bureaucratic procedures that a project of this size requires, the amount of money being invested is considerable and that it has to be analyzed. Of course, the changes coming in the federal government are another factor”, said Ricardo Cisneros, head of the state water commission.

Pest beetles attack Baja. Ensenada municipal government announced that a plague of insects called “Ambrosia Beetles” have been found in Doña Petra Canyon and in Revolución Park.

The plague is known to affect crops so measures to cut down affected trees are being taken in an effort to contain the insects.

About 60 trees are going to be cut down in the Canyon and one more in the municipal park, stated Gabriela Sampedro, from the ecology office in Ensenada.

The beetle is originally from Asia and until recently it was only found in the USA and Israel outside of its habitat.

In 2015 it was detected in Tijuana, and just last year Rosarito and Ensenada where also affected by it.

The Rosarito Tourism and Conventions Commitee (COTUCO) has launched a new campaign to prevent car break-ins from downtown Rosarito all the way to Popotla.

Don’t leave the laptop in the car! Car break-ins have been a problem for years all along the free road, with most of the victims being tourists that forget that it’s not safe to leave your valuable belongings in sight inside your car.

Edgar Orozco, head of COTUCO, said that the campaign consists of several signs that are being installed along the Benito Juarez and Popotla Boulevards, informing people to double check their cars before leaving them unattended.

The tourism police said they would pitch in by doing more patrolling around the area. Incredibly enough, the chief of tourism police stated that “It’s important for business owners to remind their patrons to not leave their valuable stuff in their cars because opportunity makes the thief”.

Are we in or are we out? After much speculation about Ensenada being left out of the newly defined border zone that will cut taxes in half, the new Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) stated that he will review the situation.

Jorge Cortes, head of the coordinated businesses council in Ensenada (CCEE), Mario Zepeda, president of the Baja California Citizens Council and federal congressman Armando Reyes, talked at different times with AMLO regarding placing Ensenada into the tax-reduced zone and they all agreed that he was open about the idea but said that he had to review the matter thoroughly.

Although this seems like a win for Ensenada, who wants to be part of the tax-reduced area, no commitment was made by AMLO to include Ensenada in the border zone, which is comprised of every city that is within 19 miles from the border.

One of them did say that AMLO was analyzing the possibility of including Ensenada in the Border Zone in a second stage of the process.

Jorge Cortes, from CCEE, said that he delivered a letter signed by all the business councils in Ensenada that will be directly affected by the change if it goes through on December 1st, the day he starts his term.

Jacobo Zepeda stated that he delivered another letter to AMLO and about 4,000 signatures of concerned citizens.

Rosarito, on the other hand, has already secured a place in the new border zone, granting them the tax cuts for next year.

Hell in the sky. That’s what passengers from Volaris flight 423 travelling from Guadalajara to Tijuana experienced last week after suffering major “turbulence”, scaring the bejesus out of the 165 passengers and 5 crew members in there.

Sandra Sanchez, one of the passengers in the flight stated: “This definitely felt more than regular turbulence, it felt more like an impact that lasted for around 2 seconds. After that we still had to fly for more than an hour to get to Tijuana. I’m definitely thankful that we’re alive”.

Volaris stated that the plane “Experimented a clear air turbulence during it’s flight”.

Clear air turbulence (CAT) is dangerous as it happens in clear skies and cannot be detected with conventional radar equipment, although it can cause severe damage to the aircraft and injuries to passengers and crew.

Many videos of the aftermath are circulating online, in one of them a passenger is seen laying on the corridor while others shout for a doctor on board.

Several people were hurt, with 12 of them requiring medical attention in Tijuana hospitals.

At the time of writing 2 crew members were still recovering from their injuries, while the other passengers where all discharged from local hospitals.

Public Safety Enhanced By Drones

Ensenada’s experience with CAPE’s crusaders in the sky

 

As we reported last year, the City of Ensenada had enhanced its police protection with the collaboration of a state-of-the-art technology company based in Redwood City, California.

This collaboration, which utilized the services of a network of drones, was initiated by Mayor Marco Novelo on a trial basis to determine how much the company’s assistance could improve public safety in regards to crisis management and crime prevention.

The result was a significant reduction in crime since the inception of the program in October of 2017, as reported by Mayor Novelo as late as June 2018.

The Mayor reported that as of that time, 513 arrests had been made as a result of patrols, and that management of crisis situations were greatly enhanced by drone surveillance. By the time the program ended, over 1,000 arrests had been made as a result of drone intervention and guidance!

That Bay Area company is called Cape, which provided Ensenada with a network of drones that gave emergency services here unprecedented and incomparable coverage of the entirety of its large geographical area.

In order to appreciate the level of sophistication that Cape provided to the police and other emergency services, Gerardo Cervantes, Operations Manager at Cape, who also has an office locally, said that a drone could be deployed to within a 5km radius of a 911 call in less than three minutes!

Once the drone arrived at its assigned destination, its “eyes” on the situation provided critical information  to the drone operator, revealing instantly what resources were necessary for adequate management of the emergency; for example, were fire trucks, ambulances or utility company’s services necessary, and, if so, what kind and how many of each? That information, rapidly communicated by dispatchers, could make the difference between life and death in critical situations.

Hector Elias is an Ensenada native who works with Cape locally. He explained that the drones are so sophisticated that they can operate independently of an operator, i.e., if for some reason the operator is disconnected from the unit (which so far has never happened in a practical application), it will automatically return “home” – its original launching point – and land itself safely!

Cape drones have shown that they are indispensable allies to the local police department. They are also valuable assets to the military, private industry, large agricultural concerns, and private security companies.

Hector demonstrated one of the most desirable traits of Cape drones: They can  be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world. As he stood at his test site at Playa Hermosa, he pointed to a drone that was coming in for a landing; that drone was being piloted by a Cape operator in Redwood City!

In the U.S., Cape is currently partnering with the city of San Diego for the UAS Pilot Integration Program, providing Cape-enabled drones to assist in emergency response support, offering the incomparable crime fighting and crisis management services that only a highly sophisticated squadron of drones can provide.

According to Mr Cervantes, the FAA’s flight pattern restrictions in the United States offer challenges  more restrictive than those in Mexico, such as “line of sight,” but he is certain that Cape will be able to offer solutions to any challenge posed by that federal agency, noting that the restriction could be lifted once the FAA is convinced that Cape’s drones can be operated remotely – and safely – from anywhere in the world.

As he says, with justifiable confidence, “There is no competition.”

There Is Hope For Ensenada

After much speculation about Ensenada being left out of the newly defined border zone that will cut taxes to half, the new Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) stated that he will review the situation.

Jorge Cortes, head of the coordinated businesses council in Ensenada (CCEE), Mario Zepeda, president of the Baja California Citizens Council and federal congressman Armando Reyes, talked at different times with AMLO regarding placing Ensenada into the tax-reduced zone and they all agreed that he was open about the idea but said that he had to review the matter thoroughly.

Although this seems like a win for Ensenada, who wants to be part of the tax-reduced area, no commitment was made by AMLO to include Ensenada in the border zone, which is comprised of every city that is within 19 miles from the border.

One of them did say that AMLO was analyzing the possibility of including Ensenada in the Border Zone  in a second stage of the process.

Jorge Cortes, from CCEE, said that he delivered a letter signed by all the business councils in Ensenada that will be directly affected by the change if it goes through on December 1st, the day he gets starts his term.

Jacobo Zepeda stated that he delivered another letter to AMLO and about 4,000 signatures of concerned citizens.

 

With information from elvigia.net

24 Beaches Being Cleaned This Weekend, And You Can Help!

More than 50 non-profits, schools, businesses & authorities from the state and city levels are working together to clean 24 local beaches as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Movement started by Ocean Conservancy more than 30 years ago.

This is the first time that an alliance is formed with different organizations in order to cover more beaches and pickup the biggest amount of trash possible and create awareness in the community about keeping our beaches and oceans clean.

Each organization will be in charge of cleaning squads that will start the cleanup on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23 in several beaches around Ensenada and all the way to Baja Sur.

All the trash collected from the cleanup will be organized by type (Ex. cigarette butts, plastic bottles, cans, etc), weight and all the information will be put in a database which will allow authorities and non-profits to know what kind of trash is more often found in particular places. With this information campaigns can be made to address specific trash problems in certain areas.

The results from the ocean cleanups all around the world will be published in Ocean Conservancy’s website www.oceanconservancy.org and will also be available at the next Expo Environment, organized by the local Environmental Protection Office, in a booth that will show visitors the quantity of trash collected and exhibit the most weird objects found in the beach.

You can help by attending any of these cleanups, they start at 8:00AM and end at 1:00PM. Volunteers should bring a hat, comfortable closed shoes, sunscreen, water (in a reusable container), fruit and gloves. They are stressing out to not bring any water in disposable plastic bottles.

The locations available are:

Saturday, September 22, 2018- Ensenada and Baja Sur

  1. San Miguel
  2. Stacks
  3. Tres Emes
  4. El Mosquito
  5. Playa Hermosa
  6. Conalep
  7. Pacifica
  8. La Mision
  9. Villa Jesus Maria
  10. Bahia de Los Angeles
  11. Isla de Cedros
  12. Guerrero Negro
  13. Laguna San Ignacio

Sunday, September 23, 2018 – San Quintin

  1. Arroyo Santo Domingo
  2. Playa San Ramón
  3. Laguna Figueroa
  4. Chapala
  5. Playa Santa María
  6. La Chorera
  7. Humedal El Arco
  8. Punta Azufre
  9. Punta Mazo and Monte Ceniza Natural Reserves

We have no news of organized efforts being made in Rosarito and Tijuana but you can always show up at your local beach and do your part to help out, better yet take some friends over and help even more!

Fore more information visit the Facebook event “Limpieza Internacional Costera“.

 

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