In the 26 years I have lived here I don’t believe I have ever seen real category 1 hurricane force winds, until hurricane Newton that is. Hurricane Newton certainly wasn’t a hurricane Jimena, but it was close. Wind meters at Marina Real were reported to register gusts of 70 knots. I thought I was pretty good to go for this storm. Our mono hull was brought in from the bay and securely tied town to C dock at Marina San Carlos. Our panga was secure on J dock and I installed an automatic bilge pump switch the morning before the storm hit to keep the boat from sinking at the dock. Our trimaran was on it’s trailer at the Marina Seca work yard getting some serious repairs to it’s port hull. The boat was facing East and there in lied the problem. It was also the first boat in the yard and located right next to the arroyo. Surely a 70 knot gust of wind tipped it over on its trailer and that was that. The boat was ultimately stable as it lied on it’s port hull. I lost about two months of work on her and for good measure have some extra damage to repair. I consider myself lucky actually. Many boats did not do nearly as well as Windsplitter. Two long time San Carlos charter boats were blown off their mooring’s. Bravo one of the first steel live aboard dive charter boats in San Carlos, built and captained by Vicente Castro, broke loose and ended up crashing into a stone dock on the west side of the bay. It looks like it won’t be salvaged and will be a complete loss. Musicat, the custom catamaran that Bob Kuntz built here in San Carlos in the late 90’s ended up just north of Bravo. It remains to be seen whether the boat is repairable. The owner has not been seen in San Carlos for well over a year now.
There were about 15 boats that were knocked off their stands in the Marina Seca San Carlos. Several of them may be irreparable. There were far to many tangled masts, cracked hulls and complete dismastings for anyone’s liking. Marina Real also has plenty of carnage in their dry storage lot. It would appear there were 5 boats sunk at the Fonatur Marina Singlar in Guaymas and the most tragic of all an Ensenada Shrimp boat bound for Mazatlan tried to seek refuge from the storm in Cabo San Lucas but were apparently denied access to the API dock. The boat left port, capsized and all crew were reported dead. Two bodies washed up on the beach and three crew are still missing. One of the crew members was from Guaymas.
Electricity was restored to much San Carlos within 36 hours of the storm hitting but some in the Sector Bahia have endured much longer with out. Water has been another matter with some residents going up to 5 days or longer without water.
The toll on marine life is hard to judge. Many marine birds have died and at the moment we are trying to find someone to help us rehabilitate an injured pelican. At 2 a.m. in the morning I finally deemed it safe enough to drive down to the Marina San Carlos and double check all of our boats at the dock. It was then I saw the pelican huddled down in the middle of the road right in front of Hambone. By the morning the pelican had moved to the large puddle in front of Castaway Kids and as I type this out our feathery friend is in the back yard of a vacant house down the street from us. We are looking for someone preferably with a house on Manglares who might be interested in hosting the bird. Drop me an email if anyone out there has some spare time on their hands!! firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish I could have been out and about sooner and gotten a decent report out for everyone far quicker. Newton will not be forgotten easily.
It is summer time and it is hot as hell out there on the streets of Guaymas and San Carlos. It is about to get hotter and I don’t mean in the sense of temperature. As I have documented in the past residents of San Carlos are “MAD AS HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY LONGER” if you will; regarding the way in which our township or comisaria is governed. I wrote two recent articles within the last few months, one about a meeting between our new Comisario and the Pro Municpio 73 Comite and the other on an issue with the Comandante of San Carlos and how he illegally harassed a Costa del Mar resident. Both of these instances were addressed by the Comite Pro Municipio 73 in one form or another.
It appears that the comisario has recently resigned his post as comisario and that we have a new comandante. This coming week members of the Comite 73 will be trying to find out exactly what is going on with the comisario. Did he resign was he fired? No one really knows for sure but he is definitely not in the office anymore. Did it have anything to do with the fact that a member of the Comite 73 recorded the conversation during the meeting and published part of it on facebook?
While this is interesting and of great interest to San Carlos residents what will happen next is by far more important. I wrote in my last article on our most recent comsiario that he was chosen in an illegal manner. I have been informed by the Comite 73 that it will be unacceptable if the next comisario is chosen in the same way. What the Comite 73 plans on doing about that remains to be seen but it is clear that if Guaymas try’s to violate the rules on choosing a comisario lawsuits may be filed.
On the 15th of the month Guaymas is going to have its state of the city address. It is obvious to me and others that Guaymas is going to sugar coat the living shit out of what is going on within the municipio. So with that said the Comite Pro Municipio 73 is creating a legal document that will state what is the true state of the Comisaria of San Carlos. This as you can imagine will not be a sugar coated legal document. The document will include the illegal manner in which we are charged for water, the illegal manner in which we had the last comisario shoved down our throat, the illegal manner in which we are charged for public lighting yet the ranchitos has no public lighting. And then of course there are the other problems, trash pick up, endless extortion of the tourist population by the local police and what about any ideas from anyone esle?
I was asked to translate and Publish this letter for the English speaking community that was written by Juan Carlos Gonzales so here it is. If anyone would like to put in their two cents you can email Juan Carlos at the address at the end of the letter.
SAN CARLOS SONORA MEXICO GUAYMAS 1 August 2016
COMITE PRO MUNICIPIO 73/PRO TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE 73
CALLING OUT & INVITING: THE RESIDENTS OF THE TOWNSHIP OF SAN CARLOS AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN GENERAL TO PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY AND IN A WAY TO AGREE PACIFICALLY, BUT ABOVE ALL LEGITIMATELY AND LEGALLY IN THE NEED TO PREPARE A legal document that aims to prevent the current political SOCIATAL DETERIORATION we suffer as a group,
THIS DETERIORATION HAS ITS ROOTS AND IS LOCATED IN PRIMARY AUTHORITY, SUCH AUTHORITY IS GUAYMAS PRIMARY CITY HALL-21 CITY COUNCILMAN and mayor. They all proved an INABILITY TO RULE WITH EQUITY AND JUSTICE AND DUE TO AFFECT DIRECTLY TO CIVILIANS TO REFUSE AND NOT PROVIDE BASIC SERVICES IN SAN CARLOS THAT CITY LAW IS OBLIGED TO PROVIDE TO THE CIVILIAN POPULATION OF SAN CARLOS.
THAT IS WHY WE INVITE ANYONE TO DOCUMENT WITH AUDIO OR VIDEO OR PHOTO , that graphically AND ACCURATELY SHOWS ALL OF THE IRREGULARITIES AND OMISSIONS that OCCUR in San Carlos on a day by day, night after night BASIS.
BACKWARDNESS AND INJUSTICE are reflected in inefficient AND NON EXISISENT UTILITIES THAT DIRECTLY AFFECT OUR QUALITY OF LIFE AND TRANQUILITY EVERY DAY. THIS LEAVES US UNPROTECTED AND WE DECLARE unnecessarily A SITUATION OF INCREASINGLY HIGHER RISK.
WE KNOW THE BAD GOVERNMENT OF THE COMMISSARIO OF SAN CARLOS, AND THE MASTER MINDS BEHIND THE BAD GOVERNANCE OF GUAYMaS, THE city councilman and mayor. They have breached WHAT MAKES THE LAW IN ARTICLE 115 CONSTITUTIONAL AND HAVE DENIED THE RESIDENTS OF SAN CARLOS OUR RIGHTS AS MEXICANS WHICH ARE GIVEN TO US BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES. THE GOVERNMENT OF GUAYMAS ALSO BREACHES THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY ON HUMAN RIGHTS THAT FORCES AND MAKES RESPONSIBLE THE CITY GOVERNMENT TO give us BASIC SERVICES NEEDED FOR A HEALTHY LIVING TOGETHER. THE GOVERNMENT OF GUAYMAS DOES THIS BY MEANS OF OF CORRUPTION, OMISSION, and ineptitude INCURRED CONTEMPT AGAINST THE CITIZENSHIP OF SAN CARLOS.
THE MUNICIPALITY OF THE CITY COUNCIL IN GUAYMAS girders-21 aldermen-SINDICO- Mayor HAVE PROVEN FOR DECADES disinterest, ABANDONMENT, NEGLIGENCE AND ESPECIALLY IMPUNITY IN THEIR OBLIGATION TO OBEY THE MEXICAN LAW, AND TREATY’S IN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS.
WE THE PUBLIC HAVE BEEN DENIED VIA mismanagement FOR DECADES BASIC SERVICES BY PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS IN GUAYMAS.
THIS IS NOW UNACCEPTABLE BY THE PEOPLE, THE CITY COUNCIL HAS NOT TAKEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS LACK OF ATTENTION. WE HAVE BEEN DENIED THE RIGHT, AMONG OTHERS, TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTION OF OUR COMISSARIO.
WE HAVE BEEN DENIED, PUBLIC SAFETY, WE HAVE BEEN DENIED A FIRE DEPARTMENT, good Police, Paramedics.
SAN CARLOS HAS NO FIRE STATION! THAT IS GREATER recklessness.
STREET LIGHTING DOES NOT EXIST IN SECTORS LIKE LOS Ranchitos, YET WE PAY FOR THESE SERVICES IN OUR ELECTRIC BILLS EACH MONTH.
COMPLETE AND PARTIAL ABSENCE OF GARBAGE COLLECTION IN BEACHES AND OTHER SECTIONS OF SAN CARLOS.
SAN CARLSO SUFFERS FROM POOR DRAINAGE AND WATER AND SEWAGE TREATMENT.
IT IS WORTH REMEMBERING THAT for hours, days, weeks, months, WE ARE deprived us of the vital liquid WATER while still WE ARE PAYING FOR water bills that are 5 TIMES more than what is legal. This defies all logic and is A CRIME OF STATE. AND THAT WE ARE IN THE DESERT AND RECENTLY THE PRIVATIZATION FOR CUTTING OFF WATER SERVICES TO FAMILIES IN LOS RANCHITOS WHO ARE OVER CHARGED FOR THE SERVICE. ALL OF THIS IS GENERATING public health problems, THE WATER COMPANY IS justifying THEIR ACTIONS with ineptitude and CLAIM THAT SERVICES ARE CUT FOR LACK OF PAYMENTS, WHEN THEY FORGET THAT WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT ISSUE. AND THAT THE STATE BY LAW IS MANDATED TO give us our inalienable right stipulated in Article 4 of the Constitution.
WE HAVE BEEN EXCESSIVELY AND FRAUDULENTLY CHARGED LIKE THE FAMOUS DAP THAT EXISTS IN THE STREET LIGHTING AND ABUSES AND FINES IN THE WATER THAT ARE far from legitimate and legal.
THE CITY COUNCIL TO speculated RECOVERY OF INVESTMENT COLLAPSING property taxes.
STREETS ARE NOT PAVED IN SAN CARLOS YET THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN FUNDING FOR THIS, THESE ARE THE SO CALLED GHOST STREETS., ONLY THE BOULEVARD MANLIO FABIO BELTRONES IS PAVED, LEAVING THE REST OF SAN CARLOS WITHOUT THAT RIGHT.
THIS IS A PRIMARY NEED SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE PARTICIPATION OF ALL AND EVERY RESIDENTS OF SAN CARLOS. RESIDENTS OF SAN CARLOS HAVE THEIR LEGITIMATE RIGHT TO ACHIEVE OUR MORAL LAW LEGAL AND IMPROVE OUR QUALITY OF LIFE, as established by Article 39 CONSTITUTIONAL. THAT IS WHY WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THIS EFFORT OF THE BRAVE CITIZENS WHOSE PARTICIPATION IS TO CURB GOVERNMENT ABUSES AND RECOVER OUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND THE WELFARE OF OUR FAMILIES OF SAN CARLOS.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU ALL KNOW THAT WE HAVE 15 DAYS FROM THIS DATE TO COLLECT ALL INFORMATION THAT WE CAN TO SHOW AND TO PROVIDE AS A GROUP OF TO OUR ADVISERS AND LAWYERS WHO are working hard to make this initiative VIABLE.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION
JUAN CARLOS GONZALEZ.
SANCARLOSINDEPENDIENTE @ GMAIL.COM
There are several businesses in San Carlos that are essentially “cash businesses”. Much of the money from these establishments never make it into a bank. Owners who run these types of businesses will usually pay their bills in cash, which means there are days when they have a significant amount of cash in their pockets. Clearly a risky endeavor. Around a month ago a friend of mine was robbed at knife point while he had a significant amount of cash on him. This was an inside job, the robber knew my friend would have cash on them and knew when they would leave their house to get in their car to go pay the bills. The police were contacted and it was figured out fairly quickly who was responsible for the robbery. What happened after that is common here in Guaymas and in Mexico. The Ministerio Publico, Mexico’s version of the district attorney, refused to prosecute the case unless the victim paid a significant amount of cash to push the case through the judicial process. The victim decided to go to Hermosillo to see if they could get someone higher up the food chain to prosecute the case. The only thing the attorney general in Hermosillo was interested in was what was the name of the Ministero Publico who refused to move the case forward with out being bribed. The attorney general was not interested in the victim nor actually interested in bringing the armed robber to justice. He was interested in the corrupt official, which is something they should be interested in yet but does not mean the victim should be forgotten about and the criminal allowed to go unpunished?
The victim of the robbery has been left with many questions. Is the ministerio publico’s refusal to prosecute the case with out getting paid because the robber in question has protection from a local cartel and thus this in not just your simple run of the mill armed robbery. This was the fear of my friend who has since left town because he was worried about possible ramifications from their pursuit of justice. How is that for ya? A law abiding citizen is forced to leave San Carlos and their business in the hands of a relative because they were the victim of a crime.
Below is a copy of the letter in English written by Charlie Woehr describing the events of June 2nd, the day he was stopped just outside the gate to CDM by the Comandante. This letter in English has been slightly added to, Mexican Law has been sited, and translated into Spanish and has now been officially submitted to the Mayor of Guaymas, the Chief of Police of Guaymas, and the Comisario of San Carlos. The city officials have 5 working days to respond to the letter. If there is no response to the letter then the matter will be brought before the American Consulate in Hermosillo.
I believe it was Tuesday June 2 when I went to the Athletic Club San Carlos to work out. As I was returning home after working out I noticed that two Guaymas Municipal police trucks began to follow me starting from the glorieta by the Marina San Carlos and the Santa Fe supermarket. These two patrol trucks followed me all the way to the Costa del Mar, located by Algodones beach in San Carlos.
When I turned left from Manlio Fabio Beltrones Blvd. on to the road to Costa del Mar I noticed immediately that there was another Guaymas patrol vehicle that was parked on the side of the road. A person who I believe was the Comandante of San Carlos was standing in the middle of the road blocking my way and obviously waiting for me so I pulled over to the side of the road. So there was one patrol truck in front of my vehicle and two more police patrol trucks parked directly behind me at this point.
The Comandante walked up to my car and started shouting at me in Spanish. I do not speak spanish so I did not understand what he was saying to me. As the Comandante continued to shout in Spanish at me his body language was demonstrating aggression. I noticed just behind the Comandante several more police officers came into my view. There were two police officers in front of my car and I remember them clearly because they both had their hands on their weapons that were still in their holster. It was at this point that I noticed there were at least 6 perhaps 7 police officers in total standing around my vehicle.
Since I do not speak spanish I tried to ask the Comandante what was the problem but he did not acknowledged any of my repeated questions for why I was being stopped. After what seemed like for ever, perhaps 5 minutes another police officer came up to my vehicle who spoke a little bit of english. I said to this police officer can you please tell me what this is all about? Then he started to interpret what the Comandante was saying to me.
The only thing the police officer who spoke just a few words of English said to me is the following, “You are a Bully and we are here to fix that”. He said those exact same words, and only those words, perhaps 5 or 6 times. I continued to ask the police officer who spoke those words to me to please explain what this was all about. But he only repeated the same phrase. Eventually this same police officer who spoke the small amount of English then showed me a copy of an email that I had sent to my neighbor Pam Matthews. This email is 5 years old. In this email I had asked Pam to not park her car in my driveway.
While this was happening the current president of the Home Owners Association (HOA) of Costa del Mar, Hector Lopez drove out of the Costa del Mar entrance gate and pulled up across from my vehicle and got out of his car. Hector Lopez said, “I can help to interpret for you since the Comandante is a very good friend of mine”. At this point I was told I could now go but, the Comandante had a few last words for me and he told the interpreter in a very aggressive manner to say these final words to me to me. The police officer said, “This is a warning, I am not going to arrest you now, don’t let this happen again. We know you are a bully”. At that point I drove home. The president of the Costa del Mar (HOA), Hector Lopez, stayed behind to speak with his friend the Comandante.
The whole incident took approximately 20 minutes. At no time during this event was I ever shown any official piece of paper with my name on it to justify why I had been stopped. It was clear to me that the police were trying to intimidate me. It is clear to me that someone within the community of the Costa del Mar is the real bully here. It could very well be Kenneth Lee Unrein is the real bully hear. Mr Unrein happens to be the treasurer of the Costa del Mar and I was just recently informed by our new president of the HOA that Mr. Unrein has complete control of approximately 7 or 8 bank accounts in regards to Costa del Mar. Some of these bank accounts are in his name and his name only. Mr. Unrein is in control of all of the money from the Costa del Mar. The President of the Costa del Mar HOA recently told me he has no idea how much money the Costa del Mar has in all of these accounts. I recently attended a Costa del Mar home owners association meeting where there were approximately 25 members present. I was very critical of how Ken Unrein manages the money from The Costa del Mar. I was stopped and harassed by the Comandante just two weeks after this meeting. I believe there is a connection.
Here is the issue. Is this really a neighbor dispute or does this have something to do with the board of directors from the HOA trying to silence some one in the community who is speaking out against a lack of transparency by the HOA. The HOA has currently just lost a law suit on that very issue to another CDM resident. The CDM HOA meeting described in the above letter, from what I understand, was a meeting to vote for the new board of directors. CW claims that he was trying to run for president of the HOA but at the last minute his name was illegitimately taken from the list of candidates and that he would not be allowed to run for any position on the board of directors.
My problem with this and the reason I write this post is that regardless of HOA transparency and neighborhood bully’s, who ever they may be, the comandante completely violated the rights of an American citizen here in San Carlos with the way in which he handled the complaint against CW. And their in fact lies the real issue. It will be impossible really to prove if the HOA board of directors is really behind this or not. What is crystal clear though from our discussion with the comandante is that the original phone call to complain about the Bully CW came from the administrator from the Costa del Mar, Veronica Sandoval. This has been admitted to by the comandante himself and the administrator. I have sent emails to all those on the board of directors and to Pam herself to try to get their side of the story but as of now no one has responded to my request for more information.
So what that means if I am to believe the official story here is that the comandante, in his infinite wisdom, took all three of our official patrol cars out to Costa del Mar to give a warning to a local resident that he needs to stop being a bully. All three patrol cars and 6 or 7 cops to tell a guy he better not wright any more emails to his neighbor and grow up and stop being a bully. Am I really supposed to believe that story?
A friend who lives here can not even get the Ministerio Publico to prosecute an armed robbery at knife point that happens in broad daylight yet I am supposed to believe that the comandante is gonna take all this time and resources to give a warning to a supposed bully from the Costa del Mar? In Spanish an indignant person would utter the phrase “No Mammes” or loosely translated no fucking way! This defies logic. No one will ever be able to prove that the Comandante did or didn’t get an “extra incentive” to go out there and stop CW but after consulting with our good friend Victor Parra Maldonado on this case here is how the comandante should have handled this case.
In stead of the dramatic stop just out side the gate of the CDM, with three cop cars and plenty of guys in dark blue uniforms, a simple letter should have been delivered to the house of the Charlie Woehr. If Mr. Woehr was not at home the letter could have been left on his door step. That is it. Then CW could go make an appointment to go down to the comandantes office and speak about the issue directly in a civilized manner. That doesn’t seem to intimidating though does it? The comandante has no right was so ever to judge anyone’s guilt or innocence in any manner based on any report that has been phoned into his office. He is not a judge and of course in Mexico there is no such thing as a jury. They don’t exist. By law the comandante had to to serve CW with a signed statement and the fact that he didn’t do this by the book is what leads me to believe that there is more here than the official story.
This is why our good friend and local rights activist Victor Parra Maldonado has decided to involve himself in this case. It is a bad precedent to be set in San Carlos. People should realize that if this happened to CW then it can happen to you. I am forced to remind local residents that you are more likely to have your civil or even human rights abused by a Mexican cop than by just about any other official out there. Not with standing the endless extortion of local residents for supposed traffic violations. I think to often we believe that since we live in a tourist town close to the United States and that because we are American’s that what happens in other places in Mexico in regards to abuse by the police will not happen here. This case no matter how benign it may seem to be is important to be exposed to the light of day. Local cops should not be bully’s for hire and it may very well be that a HOA that has a reputation for bullying just hired the local cops to be their own personal bully. In the Spanish version of the letter CW has requested a face to face meeting with the Chief of Police and the Comandante. It will be interesting to see what the explanation will be as to why they violated the proper procedure on how this case should have been handled. Our study of Mexican civics continues………….
Victor Parra Maldonado, Liliana Miranda, Juan Carlos Gonzales and myself were interviewed on 90.1 F.M. last Tuesday on local talk show host Jorge Carrizales. Each person had a talking point. I discussed our proposal for a Marine Protected Area in San Carlos and also gave some history on the illegal dorado fishery. Guaymas is in a financial crisis at the moment which I pointed out and then compared that financial crisis in Guaymas to the crisis that we have going on right here in San Carlos and the greater Sea of Cortes. I will not dwell too much on this today in this post but San Carlos is experiencing it’s third year in a row for an unsuccessful breeding season of brown pelicans. I will publish the data at a latter date but brown pelicans are having a very rough time of it in San Carlos. This is the third year in a row where the brown pelican colony on Honey Moon Island has seen almost no pelican chicks make it
through to adolescence. Which means there is very little bait in the bay for them to eat. Not a good sign and I will post more on this later in the summer. It is not only San Carlos but all over the Sea of Cortes. I recently spoke with my friend and Enriqueta Velarde who is a seabird ecologist and been visiting Isla Rasa in the Mid Gulf for the last 25 years. This year is the third year in a row that Elegant Terns failed to nest successfully at Isla Rasa where incidentally 95% of the worlds Elegant Tern population nest each year. Climate change and continued over fishing of pelagic sardine stocks are to blame. Don’t tell that to the commercial sardine fishing plants in Guaymas. They are expanding. Guaymas at the moment has another commercial processing plant for sardines being constructed. At least this plant will treat it’s effluent before it is pumped back into the bay. It should be noted that one of the biggest polluters of the bay in Guaymas has been the commercial fishing industry.
Juan Carlos Gonzales spoke about the Mexican Constitution and specifically about article 39 which states that the power of any town lies within the people and that the people can change their form of government any time that they so desire. In other words Juan Carlos was trying to inspire people in Guaymas and San Carlos to no longer sit cynically on the sidelines and complain about all of the woes that face our city. It is time to act and be participants in government, not simply spectators.
Liliana Miranda discussed the numerous problems that face the Ranchitos Sector and it should be mentioned that Liliana has been one of the major actors in organizing residents. Lili has collected well over 50 water receipts from residents. Many aspects of the water issue in San Carlos were discussed.
San Carlos is over charged for it’s water
CEA does not respect senor discount cards from federal government
CEA looses 65% of its water due to failing infrstructure
CEA charges for sewage treatment yet there is none
At the end of the interview Victor Parra Maldonando left for Hermosillo to deliver the water receipts from San Carlos and a letter drafted by lawyers that documents all the ways in which Guaymas, and I do stress Guaymas illegally charges San Carlos for its water service. Remember Guaymas is unique in many ways, most cities charge and manage water. Guaymas is unique in that it only sets the price for water and charges for it, the state agency CEA administers it. This letter that Victor delivered starts an administrative paper trail that could very well could lead all the way to the supreme court of Mexico. The city of Guaymas constantly blames it problems on the state agency CEA and of course CEA turns around and blames the city, it is a vicious never ending circle of passing the buck . This has never been more so when you look at the case of Roman De La Rosi Tanori.
Roman has a legally issued seniors discount credential from the federal government of Mexico, SEDESOL. This card allows him to receive a federal discount on utilities such as water and electricity. He has been getting the run a round from CEA for months. Here is how they do it. He goes to Guaymas to ask for his discount and he is told by CEA in Guaymas that he has to pay his bill in San Carlos. So he goes to San Carlos to pay his bill and they tell him that they do not recognize his federal credentials and he will have to go back to Guaymas and discuss it with them. He goes back to Guaymas and the circle jerk starts all over again. He finally heard about Juan Carlos and Liliana and then came to them for help. So what was Roman doing wrong. Here is the screwed up system in Mexico. If you do not show up to a governmental office and document your complaint with a letter in writing then the complaint never happened. Of course the execs at CEA understand this completely. There are many poor ignorant souls, as I was, that had no idea that if you don’t get a letter signed and stamped your complaint never happened! So Roman with the help of a lawyer has written a letter to CEA. We hope to be there with a camera to document when that letter is delivered to CEA. The letter is written on behalf of all those who have senior discounts that are not being respected by CEA and CFE the electric company.
The experiment in Mexican Civics continues. Stay tuned!
On May 31, Tuesday afternoon a little after 12 o’clock high noon (the meeting was scheduled to start at 11 when – will we gringos ever learn) my self and members of, Independencia de San Carlos, the Comittee Pro Municipio 73 and Guaymas Tu Puerto, met with Jesus Susarrey Osuna, the new Comisario. We spoke for over an hour. It went well at the beginning. Señor Susarrey listened to our comments. He was informed from the beginning of the meeting that we were not interested in simply complaining about how San Carlos is but were really interested in helping San Carlos move forward on issues that everyone in the community agrees are important.
As a resident of San Carlos and business owner, Señor Susarrey owns serveral OXXO’s in San Carlos as well as the small shopping plaza next to Jax Snax where you can find the CEA/water company. He was also on the committee to over see Manlio Fabio Beltrones Boulevard and for several years worked in PROFECO, which could be considered similar to the better business bureau in the United States. Señor Susarrey informed us that he is well aware of the many problems that confront San Carlos. In the meeting he informed us that he was hand picked by Lorenzo Decima who is the new mayor of Guaymas, an important point that we will come back to later. Señor Susarrey told us that the moment that he is disillusioned with Lorenzo he will resign his post. Now just moments after telling us that he also informed us of how disillusioned he was to find out at the last minute that Guaymas gave a permit to the organizers of the recent, just last weekend, San Carlazo off road race/family event/concert on the beach next to the El Conquistador condos on playa San Francisco. He was not informed until the last minute about this event, which he stated clearly was a,
“Fracasado, or in english a failure!”
He as well as many here in San Carlos and everyone in the office at that moment agree that Guaymas uses San Carlos to generate tons of cash in the permitting of these types of events, sees no money from them and then the police and residents of San Carlos are left with tones of trash on the beach and drunk drivers all over town. Right now San Carlos only has three designated Patrol cars. Señor Susarrey lamented that back when Antonio Astiazarán Gutiérrez, was mayor of Guaymas, two and half administrations ago, that San Carlos had 7 patrol cars. Basically last weekend we were told by the Comisario that the police and their 3 measly patrol cars had their hands full trying to handle the 5,000 visitors that came for the weekend. I don’t doubt that at all of course. The Comisario wants to increase the number of Police Patrols back to 7.
We all agreed in the office that more security in San Carlos is a good thing but I am personally conflicted on the simple answer to the security question is that more police will give San Carlos more security. I would prefer to focus on at least two issues in the security question.
I would like to see security cameras set up in strategic places around town and have some of the cameras be mobile. In other words they can be moved around. Cameras are not that expensive now a days and a picture truly is with a 1000 words.
Increase the quality of all the Police Patrols in question. Quantity does not necessarily trump quality. And below I will describe a recent, perfect and never ending example of why more police in San Carlos is not necessarily a good thing for San Carlos, especially if the police are not going to be properly administrated and continue to extort tourists.
On Saturday afternoon one of my sailing students from Canada took his English bull dog to the beach for a walk. He was just east of the San Carlazo event site. As he pulled off the beach he was stopped by Guaymas’s finest and informed that he was violating some law by riding his ATV on the beach. His license was taken from him and he was told he would have to go to the comisario and pay the 200 pesos fine to get it back. Yesterday , June 1st I was informed of this and I pleaded with my student to not pay any fine at all and ask them for his license back. I even offered to go over there and talk to the comandante for him. Being a typically nice Canadian he thanked me for the offer and went off to deal with the comandante on his own. This morning I went to see my amiable Canadian buddy and he gave me the skinny on his meeting with the comandante.
Upon arrival at the office he was informed that his infraction would cost a little over 1,000 pesos. Far more than what he was told on the beach, wow there is a big surprise no? When he mentioned that to the comandante or who ever he negotiated with they said ok why don’t you just pay us 600 pesos. My amiable Canadian friend negotiated them down to 400 pesos and he was out the door. I found out about his ticket just yesterday. Less than 24 hours after I spoke with the comisario. Of course the extorted Canadian tourista was not given a written receipt for the so called crime of taking his dog to the beach on his ATV so the commandante’s office just scored another $400 pesos. I have always wondered how they divvied up the bribe money but that is another story for another time.
I explained to our comisario that as far as myself personally was concerned I was only in favor or more police in San Carlos under one condition.The police would stop extorting money from tourists with these bullshit stops that happen all over town.It is common knowledge that when some one commits some kind of moving violation in a vehicle they are often escorted right down the CI Banco automatic teller to pay their fine. I have seen it with my own eyes and I have even taken pictures of it. I have simply never posted those pictures online.
Something I failed to mention in our meeting but is a proven fact of life in Mexican and in San Carlos. The police are often the perpetrators of crime.Especially in San Carlos and especially in summer when many residents leave town. The police are patrolling the hood and they know who is out of town and who is in town. It is a piece of cake for the cops to rob houses themselves or set the house up with someone else. It is a documented fact in San Carlos. Our new comisario remained silent on this issue. The meeting spiraled down hill from there. After our discussion on the police we tacked to the subject of La Maldita CEA or the damn water company. As everyone knows who reads my ranting the water company is about as near and dear to my heart as a bloated tick might be on one of our family’s two rescue dogs.
I think one of the greatest crimes against nature here in San Carlos is not so much all the trash that is left on our beaches and in our desert canyons, but the fact that the water company looses 65% of the fresh water it pumps through the antiquated infrastructure in an area that receives only around 14 inches of rainfall a year.
We informed the comisario, as he well knows, that most foreign residents have no problem paying 5 times more for water in San Carlos than what Guaymas pays. But lets face it, drive around Los Ranchitos and you will see that for many of our less affluent residents 350 pesos a month for water can be a huge burden upon families who are minimum wage earners. Especially when the economically down trodden in Guaymas only pay 80 pesos a month for the same water. The other issue in Los Ranchitos is how the water company has hired a private business to cut the water supply to low income families who have been delinquent on their payments.
We asked Señor Susarrey if he would help us out on these water issues which would cost the comisario’s office absolutely no money, only some political will and a bit of empathy . We all know money is always tight in San Carlos because San Carlos only receives around 8 million pesos a year as it’s annual budget back from the 100 million pesos a year it pays in taxes. Señor Susarrey was happy to inform us at multiple times during the meeting that since San Carlos has no money there is very little he can do for San Carols. Well this an attitude that is completely disingenuous as far at the water issue goes. It takes no money what so ever to write a few letters to the governor and support a grass roots movement of people in a town that he is supposed to be representing. He refused to do anything regarding the water and didn’t seem to care at all that the 40 year old water pipes that constantly fail and leak 65% of our fresh water into the desert was even an issue that deserved attention. I have to say that we were all a bit dumbfounded by that attitude. Bottom line is Señor Susarrey doesn’t give a shit about poor people in San Carlos who are having a hard time paying their over inflated water bills or how much water leaks out of our crappy infrastructure. And of course why should he. He is not an elected official, remember he was appointed. We will get back to that soon because it is a very important part of this story.
When I walked in to the comisarios office for this meeting the first thing that struck me was the fact that there were two secretaries desks and two secretaries. The normal secretaries desk was in its normal spot but in front of that desk there was another. This was the personal secretary of Señor Susarrey. Which would seem to state that he is handling his personal business out of the comisario’s office. The one thing that Señor Susarrey was adamant about was that he was going to increase the number of patrols in San Carlos. What is interesting is the question of how was he going to do this if there was no money left in the 8 million peso’s San Carlos has already been budgeted for. The way the comisiaro wants to funds new patrols is really interesting actually and I have been having conversations with some of my friends up on the Caracol on just this subject recently (you know who you are) and it all comes down to unpaid property taxes.
Listen up gringos because this is how Mexican business men do things in regards to property taxes.
We all know that the municipality of Guaymas gets all the property tax dinero San Carlos pays. It is a rather large percentage of the total Guaymas budget. What is not so well known is that Mexican land owners will often purposely not pay their property taxes. They do this because they understand Mexican law. I was recently told by local political activist Victor Parra Maldonado, who was at the meeting, that legally the municipality cannot charge more than 5 years for back taxes owed on property at any one time. Think about that. You can purchase a property and if you hold it for more than 5 years you can only be legally obliged to pay the first 5 years you owe. On your next payment you can then catch up if you want or start to let it lapse again or if you understand the system and have some friends in the city here is what you do! Everything is negotiable in Mexico and here is what business men do when the time has come to write a check to government. Wealthy land owners are purposely not paying land taxes because the real estate market is down. As the market improves and it gets closer for the land owner to either sell the property or develop it he will need to pay his property taxes to get the permitting. The time for negotiation has arrived. Land owners then approach the municipality and negotiate a deal on owed back taxes. In other words now they are willing to negotiate to pay their back property taxes in cash if the city is willing to give them a discount. For a city like Guaymas that is seriously strapped for dinero because the last mayor left it not only broke but 700 million pesos in debt, you bet the city is willing to negotiate. Something is way better than nothing! Now if the business man is smart he will make sure that in this agreement that once he pays, then all of his property taxes are up to date. He could owe 10 years of property taxes and end up paying for just 5 years or less or who knows since nothing is done in a transparent manner here. It is all up for negotiation! This is were Señor Susarrey told us he is going to get the money for new patrols. He essentially told us that he will negotiate a “convenio” or an agreement with Lorenzo Decima the Guaymas Mayor for someone who owes back property taxes. He of course would not tell us who he was going to get to pay their back property taxes but he did say that he thought he could find 1.5 million pesos in back property taxes owed to the city and if the city agreed to put that money into more patrols for San Carlos he would try to make it happen.
Now what comes to my mind is who is gonna pay this back property tax and how much back property tax do they owe? Is it the Comisario himself? Is he using his post as comisario to benefit his own personal finances or is it a good friend of his who he is going to do business with. Could there be a huge conflict of interest going on here? As usual I generate more questions than the city of Guaymas would be willing to answer from this.
Would it be more important to have more police patrols or should San Carlos spend more money on our failing water infrastructure? Any body else got any ideas on what San Carlos needs? Well guess what? The new mayor of Guaymas and the new comisario of San Carlos don’t give a shit about any of your ideas on how to improve this town. What is clear is that the residents of San Carlos are left out of the loop of any meaningful debate on any subject of how their tax money should be used to improve the community.
Remember earlier in this article I mentioned that Señor Susarrey told us he was personally chosen by Lorenzo Decima to be the comisario. Well guess what? The Mayor of Guaymas does not have that kind of authority. He can not simply name who the comisario of San Carlos is going to be. The comisario by law is to be chosen from a list of candidates who meet an established criteria. And one of the most important requirements on this list is what is called a “Proyecto de Trabajo”. A Proyecto de Trabajo is basically a proposal on what kind of new projects and new ideas a comisario would work on to implement in the community. Not only is there a “Proyecto de Trabajo” but there is a budget that the candidate submits along with the project or plan. This is actually the major part of the requirements that any prospective candidate for comisario must have to even be considered for the position. Not only must the candidate for comisario put forth this “Proyecto de Trabjo”, he must also be voted into office by the cabildo, or city council and the city council is supposed to vote on at least three candidates. We did ask the comisario if he put forth a “Proyecto de Trabajo” and it took a few moments to get him to answer. This was actually probably one of the contentious moments of the whole meeting. After trying to dodge the question Andres Gonzales from Independencia de San Carlos just kept hounding Sussarey for an answer. In a high clearly agitated voice these were pretty close to his exact words,
No lo tengo por qué no lo ocupo!
The meeting at this point got a bit more confrontational and so someone, I think it was Victor Parra Maldonado from Guaymas Tu Puerto, asked Sussarey how much money he made as comisario. Believe it or not Sussarey answered that he didn’t know how much he, the comisiario made. He told us he thought it was between 18,000 and 20,000 pesos a month.
But here is the zinger. He said he is doing this for free, he is not charging the city for his services as comisario. Now officially on the books the comisario is paid according to the budget of San Carlos 13,478 pesos a month. Honestly I can’t believe based on our conversation that the comsisario is so altruistic in nature. He already told us he didn’t care about loosing 65% of our water leaking from antiquated infrastructure or helping poor people pay their excessively high water bills yet he is willing to be the comisiario for free? I am sorry, I don’t believe it and when something smells like bull shit it usually is. I believe the comisario is there for a reason that can not be explained by altruism. Sussarey is there not for selflessness. He is their for the influence and leverage his position carries as a business man in San Carlos. That in itself is worth way more than the measly 13,478 pesos a month salary. This whole situation has the stench of quid pro quo written all over it!
To the best of my knowledge San Carlos, since its inception, has never had a comisario who was not hand picked by the mayor. In Spanish that is called a “dedazo”. Dedo in Spanish means finger. And when someone is a “dedazo-ed” what this means is that he has been selected, fingered if you will, by who ever is in power to fill a political position. Think back on how for 70 years one political party, PRI to be exact, was allowed to choose who would be the next president of Mexico. Of course they always choose their own PRI candidate and it was not until Vicente Fox in the Mexican presidential election of 2000 finally broke the back of the “dedazo” and won the presidency of Mexico for the PAN party and ushered in a new Mexico that was more “democratic”.
Señor Susarrey is nothing more than just another “dedazo” in a long list of “dedazo’s” and he might just be the last one ever to be the comisario of San Carlos, and here is why. In Title Two of Chapter One and then Article 39 the Mexican constitution states , that the power of any town lies within the people and the people can change their form of government when ever they choose. All three of the Mexican citizens who were in that meeting with Señor Susarrey are all of the opinion that it is time to change the man that is supposed to be representing all of the people of San Carlos, not just the 1%. Considering that this comisario is nothing more than another “dedazo” and was illegitimately chosen in a manor that is not consistent with the legal process it seems there will be an experiment in Mexican civics coming to San Carlos very soon. If local activists mobilize a sufficient number of people here in San Carlos there might just be a Chubasco brewing on the horizon, after all it is summer time, global temperatures are rising and hurricane season is officially upon us.
I want to share an experience with the residents of San Carlso that I recently had with one of our local realtors named Maria Carmen Ordaz Aquiar, who is the owner of Star Realty. I think her company is still called Star Realty, I will double check on that. As many readers of my blog know I have written extensively on real estate fraud here in San Carlos. Real Estate fraud is essentially why this blog was started in the first place. Before I published my own blog I actively posted on the two forums in San Carlos. Of course what I found out was that more often than I could stand administrators of those forums would delete my posts. I thought that informing residents of fraudulent behavior was a community service that the local forums would welcome with open arms. Boy was I wrong. Anyway to make a long story short here on my own blog I am free to inform and so here goes!
On the 4th of April a police patrol showed up at my house at 9 p.m. in the evening and shined a spotlight through my front window. I of course got my lazy ass off the couch to investigate the bright light shining through my living room window. The officer was just about ready to knock on the door as I opened it. He attempted to serve me a summons.
As I was reviewing the summons I was informed by the cop that I was expected to appear before a judge the very next morning. Which was total bull shit and not how the process works. After several minutes of reviewing the document I realized that my name was spelled incorrectly on the summons. I refused to sign the document based on that, besides the fact that it is completely ridiculous to think that a cop would come to my house at that late hour and insist that I go before a judge in the morning. This is Mexico for crying out loud! Of course the officer would not tell me what it was all about and would not leave me a copy of the complaint that was against me.
I have to wonder if this police officer was not given some incentive by someone special to deliver those papers at such a late hour and then tell me a bold faced lie about how I had to present myself in front of a judge first thing in the morning.
What makes me think that something fishy was a foot is the cop was utterly pissed off when I refused to sign the paper. Why should he even give a shit? He is just doing his job like normal right? It should be irrelevant to him whether I sign or not. His attitude to me seemed suspicious and he walked away abruptly. That was the end of the event for that night. This summons was illegal, since he refused to give me an official copy of why I was being summoned for and I did not have to show up the next morning. I actually by law get to be summoned at least three times.
Two days later the police showed up in the morning at my house and harassed my daughter. I was out on the water teaching a sailing course. The police came back later that afternoon and finally caught me at home. This time they had a copy of all the laws I had supposedly violated, and here is where it gets really weird; the cops insisted that I come with them at that very moment to see the judge and that they would bring me back after I spoke with him. This sounded like a bad version of a Hollywood movie.
Sure officer I will get in your patrol car right now and march right down to the judge because you say so! The cop was adamant that everything would be just fine.
The officer said to me,
Don’t worry about a thing, this is the Juez Calificador, the reconciliation judge, and what ever he wants of you is no big deal.
I told the kind officer that he should not worry I will go down there to see the judge manana for sure!! And we all know what manana means don’t we. It is worth mentioning that this time the officer brought with him a copy of all the things I had supposedly done wrong. I asked him where was the paper I was supposed to sign and he told me I didn’t need to sign anything this time. I also asked him if he could leave me a copy of the summons so I could review it and he told me that I could not have a copy. I asked him if I could take a picture of it and he said yes so I did take a picture of it. That is when we started to go over the numerous things that I was supposedly guilty of. Now no where on this document did it say who was complaining about me. It was interesting to research all of my violations. They were basically domestic dispute issues that you might see between neighbors. For a while there I thought to myself that it was not unreasonable to assume that the reason I am being called down to the judges office could be because I forgot to pick up our dog shit from the street last week. I was essentially accused of many things, below are just a few. All of these articles are found in the Bando de Policia which is difficult to translate but is essentially a civil code of conduct among residents of a municipality.
Atriculo 13 fraccion I. (Causar o Provocar escandalo como la producción de sonidos y otros similares que perturben la tranquilidad de las personas); Making loud noises and disturbing the tranquility of people.
fracción VI. (Vertir o arrojar aqua y otros liquidos o substancias asi como cualquier objeto en las vias de libre transito); This one is weird, throwing water or other liquids on someone while they are on a public side walk or road.
fracción VIII. (incinerar objetos en cualquier lugar publico); Incinerating objects in public.
I thought I might go the next day and posted sarcastically on Facebook that I was going to the police station in Guaymas and if I was never seen again that the police station would be a good place to start the search for me. I decided not to go that next day but some friends of mine thought I was going and they went to the judges office to look for me at the designated time. And guess who showed up? Yes it was none other than Carmen Ordaz and one of her lawyers! I didn’t find out about that though until several days after I had already gone to see the judge on a different day!
When I finally showed up to speak with the judge we actually got lucky and were able to speak with his supervisor. Since I had taken a picture of the articles against me we showed up thinking that we could at least defend me based on what I was accused of. The supervisor then informed us that all the articles that were mentioned in my summons had nothing to do with why I was brought into the judge. I then cut to the chase and asked the judge,
Can you please tell me why I am here then?
As the words Carmen Ordaz rolled of his the judges lips we then finally knew what this was all about. It really was quite a relief!
Believe it or not the judge could not give me a copy of her complaint against me, so be it the loco systema in Mexico.
Now what everyone should understand is that the Juez Calficador, or as I translate it, a reconciliation judge has absolutely no power to do anything other than try to resolve some kind of dispute between two individuals. What the judge offered to me was that if I wanted he could set up a meeting between myself and Carmen Ordaz and then try to mediate any of the problems there were between us. I could accept the meeting or reject the meeting. And that was it. I mentioned to the judge that I might be interested in meeting Ordaz on one condition, that being that my camera would be rolling the whole time we were together. He told me that was not permitted. I don’t really have an issues with Carmen Ordaz so I doubt I will take the judge up on his offer to have a reconciliation meeting with her but one thing is certain.
My lawyers and I are going to file a formal complaint against the judges office. The manner in which they summoned me before the court and the fact that according to Mexican law the judge should have investigated the complaint against me before they summoned me to the court was completely illegal. There is no doubt of that what so ever. There are many many inconsistencies in how all this went down and we will take the opportunity to formally denounce the office of the judge for all the errors and illegalities that they committed.
Now the other thing is I really do have to thank Carmen. I had pretty much forgotten about her case. But now that she has reminded me I will see what I can dig up on the charges that she was accused of. It would seem the wheels of justice have been halted for a while but I promise I will try to find out what is up with the Costa Bella case. As many people remember one of the lawyers and friend of ours who was involved in just some of the Costa Bella law suits was Pedro Parasuelos. Pedro was murdered while coming out of church in Guaymas just a year ago.
So in the end what Carmen Ordaz did to me is what they have been doing for years to anyone that might get in their way. They use the corrupt Mexican judicial system to try to harass anyone who might speak or publish the truth about any of their legal problems in public. Going to the Juez Calficador is really just a cry for attention from Senora Ordaz. It definitely worked, she got my attention.
As I departed the judges office I had one last question for him. I asked him this,
The HOA has lost the lawsuit Francisco brought against them and the appeal as well so here in a nut shell is what that loss means.
The HOA must turn over all accounting records in detail to the Judge. Everything that Costa del Mar HOA has must now be turned over to a Judge. Invoices, receipts, you name it and the HOA has to turn it over. It is Francisco’s believe that this is the real reason that the HOA appealed the case since there was no way in hell they could win the appeal. The reason for appeal was not simply about paying lawyers fees, the HOA did not want to have to turn over all of its incomplete records to a Judge. They have lost and they must now do so.
The HOA has no right to an Amparo or injunction in this case.
The HOA will have to pay all lawyers expenses plus audit fees. This amount is still being calculated by attorneys but will certainly be some where between 200,000 and 300,000 pesos.
Because there is evidence of fraud the Judge will turn this case over to the Ministerio Publico who will then be looking at who was in charge of the HOA at the time. Criminal charges could be brought against former members of the board. These former members of the board could be deported from Mexico and their properties forfeited.
Mexico’s IRS, Hacienda can now be informed of the problems that the HOA has with their accounting and the fact that according to Mexican law a non profit can not hold money in saving’s accounts or CD’s and must return money that is not spend by the end of the year back to the residents in one form or another. Whether that be in the form or cash or credit on HOA fees. It seems clear that this has never been done in the history of the HOA. From what I recall the HOA has tens of thousands of dollars in their accounts. This may be legal in the U.S. but according to the lawyer for the plaintiff, who just kicked CDM’s ass, it is not legal.
The HOA could be dissolved at some point. This would mean that another HOA would have to be formed and then of course residents who live there can opt out of being involved in any form of HOA.
Maybe the board of directors at the CDM should have perhaps thought to take our advise of arbitration back in May of 2013. This might all of have been behind them if they had. I wonder if the home owners out there will start paying a bit more attention to this law suit now?
Lets face it, anyone who went to watch the beach volley ball tournament the last weekend of Semana Santa over on San Francisco beach had to be impressed. Even though I was teaching a sailing course and only got out to see the finals on Sunday I thought the players
were top notch and the event seemed well run. The only complaint that I could find was the announcer. He seemed a bit annoying to me in the way he called the matches. On Saturday, the day that I missed I was told by Ines and several others that the announcer was essentially in love with one of the Canandian players. La Brandy. Actually on Sunday the girls in our group started yelling out the name
of one of the men players from the Cuban team, Gonzalez, to counter act the announcers love for Brandy! It
was all in good fun but really a bit unprofessional on the announcer but all in all this event was great for San Carlos.
Now here is the not so great stuff. While I was sitting there listening to the announcer and several vociferous men in the crowd declare their undying love for the Canadian Brandy and the girls in our section screaming their support for the Cuban Gonzales, I thought to myself as I sipped a 20 peso tecate light:
I don’t remember the beach being so perfectly flat over here.
And guess what; it wasn’t, the sand dune area were they had the event was bull dozed. The city of Guaymas has now been formally charged by PROFEPA, Mexico’s version of the EPA for destroying the Sand Dune. It actually is worse than that since a confidential source of ours tells me that PROFEPA knew in advance that the City of Guaymas was preparing to bull doze the sand dune for the event. Because of a bribe PROFEPA agreed to look the other way while the bulldozer flattened the area with the full knowledge that the city would have a law suit filed against it for doing what they did after the event was completed. Who paid the bribe is a good question. Was it the city or the event organizers both or neither? That is something we will probably never know but we will continue to follow the law suit and find out how it ends. It will certainly end with the City of Guaymas paying some kind of fine.
A good view of the flattened area
root system that stablizes dune
Shadow cast by un bulldozed dune
Why didn’t Lorenzo De Cima, the mayor of Guaymas simply have the event over at Algodones Beach where there was already plenty of flat sand and no need to bring in a bulldozer and destroy a perfectly stabilized sand dune full of native plants? Only Lorenzo can answer that question and I don’t think anyone in the local Mex Media will be asking that soon but Megacable Noticias have reported that the city is planning on putting the sand back in place. Pushing a bunch of sand around will be relatively easy. What will not be so easy is replacing the native plants and bushes that stabilized that sand dune.
I have extensively covered water issue’s here in San Carlos. Certainly one of the things that chaps my hide more than anything is the way the water company screws over residents of San Carlos. In many ways CEA , La Comision Estatal de Aqua, has shown as much racism in the way it treats it foreign residents as Donald Trump showed Mexicans at the beginning of his campaign when he stated that,
“What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”
The Donald of course made a very calculated red meat statement to rile up the base and it worked well. He even got some Latinos to vote for him in the recent Nevada primary. I am not here to talk about Trump but it is important to understand though that CEA is no less racist than Donald Trump himself. Last year we documented how CEA has relentlessly committed fraud against consumers. The common denominators often being race combined with socioeconomic status. Many foreign residents pay their bills without really checking the amount. Knowing that fact, CEA purposely over charged foreign residents here by factors of almost 200%in some cases and then later blamed the over charges on faulty meters. Hundreds if not a thousand homes were overcharged on their water bill. If you didn’t see the video or read the posts you
can click on the links because what the water company has done should cost them dearly some day. And that some day may be soon upon them. Part of that cost may well be in the form of a lawsuit. And anyone familiar with this case knows that the guy behind the law suit is none other than Juan Carlos Gonzales.
While most of us in San Carlos pay around 350 pesos a month for our water bill I will remind readers that Juan Carlos is the guy in San Carlos who pays 80 pesos a month for his water bill and has do now for several years. The water company doesn’t like that. Juan Carlos pays what he believes is the legal amount that Guaymas can charge. What terrifies the water company is that more people are going to start to understand how they have been getting screwed and then their will be a mass uprising against CEA.
The water company also doesn’t like bad press and so when we published our video last year CEA backed off and continued to take the 80 pesos a month dolled out to them from Juan Carlos. Of course now we have a new administration and a new mayor and Juan Carlos is going to have to educate them once again on what is the law. Two weeks ago CEA discharged a shot across the bow of that was heard load and clear by Juan Carlos. Being a guy who doesn’t like to take shit from a corrupt governmental agency Juan Carlos decided it was time to go on the offense.
What happened was that two nicely groomed gentleman with beautiful new blue shirts with a lovely embroidered CEA logo on them showed up at JC’s house one day and politely informed him that they were here to cut off of his water supply. The truly interesting part about this is that the gentleman who showed up to cut his water do not work for CEA. It is a private company that is contracted to cut the water supply and they may even have a contract try to collect on past debts as well. Guess what? This might be illegal under the Sonoran constitution but as we all know when has something that has been illegal ever stopped a government official from doing what they want. What is also interesting is that the Uribe family, yes that is the Uribe family of the first PEMEX gas station in San Carlos fame, has the contract to cut people s water supply.
While the impeccably groomed guys in their pretty blue shirts were there trying to cut the water Juan Carlos made a quick phone call to CEA in Guaymas. Now what is also interesting is that our last Comisario Efraim Soto got a real nice job working for CEA in Guaymas. JC gets Efraim on the phone and tells him that they will be making a big mistake if they go through with cutting his water off and demands to have an interview with him. The boys in blue backed off and did not cut his water. Unfortunately that was not the case for other residents in the Ranchitos. I know of at least one recent case where a single mother was approached by the privatized CEA boys in the pretty blue shirts and not understanding what her rights were had her water promptly turned off by these heartless bastards, who are of course only doing their job. Guess what, in the Mexican constitution, Article 115 states that water is a human right and CEA has absolutely no business cutting someone off from one of their basic human rights when they have children in the house.
So what happened on Friday the 26 of February is of note. Juan Carlos formally delivered a letter to Roberto Romano Terrazas, the new head of CEA where he clearly states that he has serious questions that need to be answered about not only his water bill but the other services that are documented on all of our bills. It is clear in his mind and others that CEA is committing fraud on all water bills in San Carlos.
The devil lies in the details so let’s go over a standard water bill and for that I will put forth my very own bill.
The red arrow indicates what my consumption of water was for the last billing cycle and according to the boxes on the right I used a bit more water than last year. According to the text on the left side of the arrow I consumed 11 cubic meters of water. What is important to note is that at no time ever over the last year did I even get close to consuming 30 cubic meters of water which I will remind readers is what you are charged for. Please remember that they charge us ever month based on the idea that we are using 30 cubic meters of water. Whether we use any water or not we get charged the same amount.
So logically we have to ask why is that we even need a water meter if they are going to charge us no mater what our consumption is?
You would be surprised at how many lots and houses do not have water meters here in San Carlos and I can tell you from experience that the water meter has been used as a good excuse to over charge people for water consumption. The funny thing is that it doesn’t matter whether you have a meter or not. They will use your meter or your lack there of against you, the water company loves to double dip! Last year hundreds if not over a thousand water meters were replaced. The majority those meters had nothing wrong with them. Remember I spoke to the plumbers who changed them out. So CEA uses the water meter to screw people over by claiming there is something wrong with it. That is how they justified sending out water bills that were sometimes 200% more that what they should have been,
don’t forget that often times CEA is pumping air through the lines and that will make your meter spin faster than a political pundit in the 2016 GOP presidential election after a Donald Chump press conference.
Now what about if you use a small amount of water and your water meter shows that. And again it should be mentioned that CEA tried to double dip on that deal by saying that your meter is bad because your consumption was to low by their estimates, so you need to replace it. Selling water meters was very good business indeed, just ask Dorita over at Aqua Luz she will tell ya! They tried to get consumers coming and going on that but lets assume that your meter is ok and CEA acknowledges that.
Why should you be penalized and charged for 30 cubic meters of water consumption if you used considerably less?
Which is essentially what CEA does to so many of us in San Carlos. I used 11 cubic meters last month and I got charged for 30. Juan Carlos is the perfect example of this. Juan Carlos is a single guy who lives alone and is very frugal about his water consumption. Actually frugal might be an understatement, stingy might be a better word. He essentially uses exactly 1 cubic meter of water every month. It is important to note that the majority of San Carlos is on some type of septic tank system or leech field. The majority of the town does not have any type of sewage treatment system what so ever but yet when you check your bill you may find as I do that I am charged for what is called DESCARGA DE DRENAJE. this is denoted below by the red arrow. Translated DESCARGA DE DRENAJE means drainage discharge. CEA is charging many of us for a service they simply don’t provide.
Lets just completely forget about that pesky little “sewage treatment” charge and take a look at the meat and the bones of our water bill shall we. I really have no problema at all giving some money to the Bombers or the Red Cross as is stated on my bill above but lets take a close look at the base charge, which is 254.60 pesos.
This is the real problem and this is were the biggest part of the fraud lies for CEA and the Municipality of Guaymas since you have to understand that although the state my be in charge of running the water system here the city is in charge of charging for the service and they get to keep a percentage of what they bill for. Maybe that is why they like to over bill the shit out people!
It is here we must consult the Ley de ingresosor in English the “revenue act” for the municipality of Guaymas. I will remind everyone that even though San Carlos is called a Comisaria we do belong to Guaymas and we are in the municipality of Guaymas. If you click on the Ley de ingresos link and scroll down to page 17 you will find Article 35 which clearly states what the Municipality of Guaymas can charge for potable water. We will get to the potable water part of all this in just a few minutes! Belowis a screen shot from the link.
Lets focus on domestic use here and I have highlighted in yellow what the law says can be legally charged for domestic use of water in the municipality of Guaymas, which by the way is where we all live here in San Carlos!
Based on the above I should have only paid $54.22 pesos last month for the 11 cubic meters of water I used!
There is no other part of this document in the Ley de Ingresos that shows there is a special rate for San Carlos. CEA always contends, when they are questioned on this discrepancy, that San Carlos is a “zona turistico” (tourist zone) and thus we can be charged a higher rate. Of course all you have to do is drive around most of San Carlos and you will see that San Carlos is mostly a residential zone, but there are tourist zones in Guaymas like the boardwalk. I wonder if people in Guaymas who live next to the board walk are charged a tourist zone rate? I don’t think so! Take a drive into the Ranchitos and tell me how you can label that part of San Carlos a tourist zone? Regardless of that there is no where any where in the Ley de ingresos that states Guaymas can charge San Carlos residents 5 times more than the domestic rate in Guaymas.
Now lets talk about the potable water part of this scenario.
By law Guaymas must deliver potable water to its users.
And at this date we have not done a laboratory test of the water coming out of the pipes in San Carlos to see how potable it is but that is on the list of things to do. Many people are doubting the potability of the water that comes out of the pipes. I know for a fact that my taste buds are never excited at the prospect of sampling San Carlos tap water and that we personally at my home do not drink the water coming from the faucet.
It is important to note that I have not discussed the failing water infrastructure at all yet in San Carlos. We will get to that in just a moment. But to recap the case for fraud by the water company the main jist of the arguments are below.
San Carlos residents are overcharged for the domestic water rate.
San Carlos is being charged for services such as sewage treatment that are not provided.
San Carlos is being charged for potable water that may not be terribly potable.
San Carlos residents are now having their water shut off for lack of payment which is a denial of their constitutional right and thus an abuse of their human rights.
CEA has contracted a private company to shut off water services. It remains to be seen at this moment if that is even legal under the state constitution. At the moment San Carlos TV is attempting to get a copy of the agreement between the Water company and this private business.
Lets talk about the worst part of all of this. The sheer amount of water that Guaymas looses because of failing infrastructure. For that I turn to a man named Victor Parra Maldonado. Victor is a local Guaymas activist who was one of the central figures in stopping the state agency CEDES from constructing the zip lines over at the Estero del Soldado.
Victor is for all intense purposes a walking encyclopedia on Mexican law and I was able to sit down with him last Saturday and interview him “on camera” over a range of subjects. My big question for today’s piece was if he had a concrete study of how much water is chucked into the desert because of leaky pipes and failing infrastructure. Here is what Victor explained to me. For Guaymas to provide for all its water needs in a 24 hour period 640 liters of water per second needs to be pumped to the city. At the moment 1240 liters of water per second is being pumped to Guaymas and that amount is not satisfying the needs of Guaymas. That means that over half of the water getting pumped to Guaymas is being lost. We are still working on the exact amount of water lost between San Carlos and Guaymas but it is not unreasonable based on other studies we have analyzed in Sonora to expect the number to be around 50% or more.
The amount of water lost in the desert is the biggest shame of all here and I personally, almost that is, wouldn’t mind paying more for water than Guaymas if I knew that the money I was paying into the system was being used for more than just the padding of the pockets of the the executives who work in the upper echelons of CEA. I know for a fact that CEA employees get excellent wages and huge bonuses. If CEA took the all that extra money that they illegally charge us for and fixed the leaking pipes here we would have a hell of lot less to complain about and Juan Carlos Gonzales would have one less reason to sue them! It should be mentioned that La Independencia de San Carlos, the group that is actively involved in making San Carlos into it’s own municipality, will be using this fraud perpetuated by Guaymas and CEA as one of the rationals in it’s legal brief to the State of Sonora.
You win some and you lose some here in San Carlos. You take three steps forward and then two back but you have at le
ast moved forward non the less. After years of controversy the zip line towers that were installed by the last state Governor, and one of the most corrupt in decades we might add, Guillermo Padres have finally been brought down once and for all. With the help of the CF
E, Comision Federal de Electicidad and their crane the towers came down with remarkable speed, gracias CFE!
Unfortunately the good news kind of ends right there in certain respects. Just down the coast a few kilometers the dolphinarium that has been closed for years is slated to open soon with new dolphins and right across from the
estuary anyone who has driven the road out there will know that there is a huge industrial construction site that has leveled a large swath of land for non other than a convention center. It is a convention center that will have a killer view of San Carlos and the estuary that is for sure.
There is another disturbing rumor about the estuary that we are currently looking into. A very good source tells me that someone from Guaymas has some how obtained a liquor license that would allow them to sell alcohol inside the estuary at one of the two palapas that was constructed inside the estuary by the last state administration. Ya I know it sounds bat shit crazy but that is what we have heard and we will be looking into that as time goes on.