Que Pasa in Baja?

May 30, 2016 Edition
BY: OLIVER QUINTERO

Wine is food! At least that’s what the commission to promote the wine industry wants the Mexican IRS to believe. Wine is currently classified as a distilled beverage and because of that the tax burden on every bottle is about 42.5%. The commission is trying to get Hacienda to classify the beverage as food, since it’s not distilled, so the tax burden is a lot lower. This, they say, would promote consumption because they could sell their wine for a lot less money. Mexico consumes about 120 million bottles of wine annually but just about 24 million of that is produced here in the country, the rest is imported.

There has been a constant whine from wine producers that they cannot compete with some Chilean or Spanish wines because most of the cost of production of these wines is subsidized by their governments; what you pay for them is almost all taxes and profit.

If passed this new measure could really help some people with their alcohol problem, now they will just be over eaters!

Animals stranded everywhere. Well maybe not everywhere, but enough places. You might have heard from us that 27 pilot whales beached in south of Ensenada on the Sea of Cortez side, and although lots of people pitched in to shoo them back out to sea, only a few were persuaded. About 25 whales drank the Kool Aid.

Authorities said that pilot whales have a very strong social cohesion between them and that group strandings are common because if one prefers the beach for some reason, the others take to the beach as well. Like Marines, they leave no man, (whale), behind.

If that mass suicide wasn’t enough, just one day before that thousands of small lobster-like crustaceans were found in the shores of El Sauzal. This is a phenomenon that happens almost every year in some beaches along Baja and specialists think it’s related to changing water temperatures. They too, fling themselves up on the beach.

Smokey The Bear says Watch out! The heat always brings fires that spread rapidly in our state, so be careful out there, do your part and don’t leave any lit fire in the outdoors.

Alfredo Nolasco, head of the national forest fire protection office, stated recently that Baja was ready to combat any fires that come our way. Already 10 fires have taken out about 280 acres of land. Fortunately just about 70 were forests, the others were meadows with no great stand of trees on them.

Nolasco said that they are about 225 federal, state and city workers trained and strategically standing by to aid in the event of a forest fire.

PedWest entry to open soon. The new El Chaparral-San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing is set to begin operations on July 15 of this year. This new gateway to the U.S. will only work one-way at the beginning but authorities said it will be open to receive north to south traffic also on a later date, known to none but to God.

About 50,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians cross the border every day in both directions, making it the world’s most transited terrestrial border crossing.

Jason Wells, president of the San Ysidro chamber of commerce, said this new entry point would help alleviate the damage to local San Ysidro businesses caused by the rising dollar price. He said that since the dollar started climbing, about 50 businesses closed their doors because of the reduced spending by Mexicans.

Wine festivities almost here. More than 50,000 participants are expected to attend this year’s wine festivities. Provino, the organization in charge of the festivities, is advising visitors to reserve your hotel stay well in advance, as rooms are scarce on the party weekends. The official festivities start on the 5th of August with the “Wine samplings 2015” event and finish with the Paellas Festival on the 21st of August.

Tickets went on sale this past May 12th, you can buy tickets online for some events or find more information about them at www.provinoac.org. Warning: The site is only in Spanish so you better have a Mexican friend around.

Mexico promoting best land use. There is a real estate term, “highest and best use” It means is this the highest and best use of this particular chunk of land? It means don’t build a shack on oceanfront land. Got it? Good.

To encourage this, the federal government will kick in up to $2,000 dollars for a buyer to acquire a condo that is in a high rise. They are trying to curb urban sprawl here. This subsidy makes high rise living  more affordable and encourages developers to build vertically. There is one catch though; the property must not cost more than $22,000 and it must be outside of Mexico City. Shoot looks like this subsidy won’t help us buy that condo in the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

Baja manufacturing grows. The manufacturing industry in Baja grew a staggering 17.2% the first three months of 2016 compared to the same period last year. The information was provided by the Baja economic development office and they are saying that we are third place for the best performing states in manufacturing growth.

Manufacturing has been a controversial issue in Baja. Some say it is good for us because it brings lots of employment opportunities to people but others say these jobs are not well paid and are not enough to support a family. A maquila pays about $70-$90 USD per week to it’s low level employees, which are the majority of the workers. Although it may seem very little money for you, the legal minimum wage is just about $30 USD per week.

K9 Agents working in Baja. About 15 dog handlers are working with the state police in Baja, and officials say they are good at finding drugs, explosives and weapons. Labrador retriever, pitbull, Belgian shepherd, German shepherd and dutch shepherd are the breeds being trained for this from puppyhood.

Although officially we have 15 dog officers only 12 of them are active: 4 in Tijuana, 4 in Mexicali, 2 in Ensenada, 2 in Tecate and 3 puppies that are still being trained. To go on the papers? No! To sniff out drugs!

The dogs are trained in stress control, obstacle avoidance, hostage localization and others. Seems like my kids could benefit from some of that training.