Que Pasa in Cabo?

May 30, 2016 Edition
BY: DAVID FLORES

Hospitals with closed signs. Last month it was big news when a half dozen hospitals catering to Americans had government closed signs nailed to their door. (You didn’t read about that? Pay attentions! We told you all about it at the time.)

So now most of them have been able to remove the scarlet signs, and most of them were for kind of small infractions. Kind of.

In one case it was lack of posted methods of obtaining deposited cash back, in another, because a brochure published a partial list of prices that said “plus tax” when the tax should have been included in the price.

Will we ever see a chart of prices here? Probably not. Nor will we see the American hospitals’ UCR amounts. (Usual, customary, and reasonable). That’s a charge for a medical service in a geographic area based on what providers in the area usually charge. UCR was first inserted into the American Social Security Act of 1965 so most Americans look for it.

But you’re not sick or injured in the United States, you are here and you have to deal with the Mexican system, which is what you Gringos might call the system of the wild and whooly West.

Big Brother turning up the heat. Calling it safe city surveillance, a camera company is coming to town with a big expo on how we can deploy more cameras around Los Cabos. The company is calling it “intelligent monitoring”  and will include software for automatic license plate recognition (ANPR), facial recognition, person or object tracking, object counting, and new technology in cameras

360 ° view. They’re saying they have already sold this system to such great cities as Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, and Memphis. Well, if it’s good enough for Memphis Tennessee, it’s got to be good enough for us.

Thank god our Keystone Kops will never be able to figure out how to use the equipment. We give it until a couple weeks after the installers leave before it just sits there unused.

Another hotel. Nobu Hotel is coming to the Pacific side.  It will be inside Diamante Japanese chef/hotel dude Nobu Matsuhisa is building this one.  It will be his first hotel in Mexico. It will be 200 rooms in a contemporary  style with a Japanese flare, whatever that means.  It will also have a spa, bars, shops and of course his signature Nobu restaurant. 

 Nobu Hospitality is a private company owned by Matsuhisa, a movie producer named Meir Teper and Robert DeNiro, partnering with RCD resorts.  It will be similar to sister properties in Ceasar’s Palace, Saudi Arabia, Chicago, and London. And of course, everyone’s vacation paradise, the Philippines.

Tourist building. Again. The construction of a Center for the Attention and Protection of Tourists, or CAPTA, broke ground last week with the presence of Governor Carlos Mendoza and several city and state officials. And the press. That would be us.

The new, $1.4 million building will be conveniently located about 20 yards from this rag’s worldwide corporate headquarters, and will be adjacent to the cultural pavilion in the Cabo marina, ocean side.

Tourists in distress will find legal counseling, help in filing a police report, as well as medical and psychological counseling for their trauma. An estimated 140 employees will be wasted on this project.  We say wasted because every time they’ve tried this before, the people in charge won’t help without obtaining a bribe. Several years ago, when they tried it again, the girl taking the complaints ran off with the first rich American man who walked in. He got her into the United States. She was packed in about 10 minutes. We all knew her, we all knew that’s what she was looking for. Wonder whatever happened to her.....This is the second CAPTA of this size in Mexico, following the first one that is currently operating in Acapulco. Which has like zero foreigners due to drug mayhem over there.

Gonna miss you, George. For a mere $100 million, Geo. Clooney sold his home inside El Dorado housing tract to Carlos Hank Rhon, a billionaire Mexican entrepreneur seems to always be under investigation for money laundering and many suspect he has links to the Tijuana-based drug cartel, the Arellano Felix Organization (AFO). His brother Jorge owns the Caliente Casino chain and the family is heavily involved in Tijuana politics.

The sale included Clooney’s friends Rande Gerber and his wife, Cindy Crawford’s home also. While it was previously reported that only George and his wife Amal were looking to sell, it seems they were offered a deal they couldn’t refuse.

The history of Casa Amigos goes way back. George and Rande discovered the oceanside lot while traveling together and began to envision the possibilities: Christmas vacations without booking a year in advance and a short enough flight to accommodate spontaneous weekend trips.  The two modern structures nestled in the oceanfront compound are breathtaking. The house was even featured in Architectural Digest. So where are you going, Geo? Aren’t we pretty any more?

Uniformed peddlers. The city government announced  the 698 authorized beach and street peddlers will be given a uniform, paid with our taxes, to easily identify them and to give government inspectors and police more control. The uniforms will be delivered “soon”.  Like, the cops couldn’t get out of their fancy pick up trucks to check their IDs they must wear?

For crying out loud.  Ten million big ones will be invested by the federal government, namely the ministry of communications and transport (SCT), to correct some issues on the new Leona Vicario and Constituyentes interchange.

That’s on the upper part of the Leona Vicario avenue where the new bridge to get on to the toll road to San Jose and the International airport was recently built. Access is kind of tricky, (actually, it’s a botched up mess), with no proper signage. We’re pretty disgusted with this 10 million expenditure cause they could have done it right the first time. Don’t they, like, draw the interchange out on a piece of paper first? Even a napkin? You can see right there it doesn’t work!

The SCT will also repair the service lane near El Tezal, just outside of Cabo San Lucas, that has had  potholes you can lose a Buick in for several months.

Four seasons in Los Cabos. More specifically, on the East Cape, at Costa Palmas in La Ribera on the East Cape. The 145 room resort is planned for a 2018 opening as part of the Costa Palmas community, which will also feature a private marina and members only beach and yacht club, all set along a two mile stretch of beach.

It’s all owned by Gary Jacobs, a former Laredo, Texas bank director. “Irongate, (the development company), has a tremendous vision for the Costa Palmas community and we are excited to work in partnership to create the region’s premier luxury destination,” gushed J. Allen Smith, President and CEO of  Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

The resort will feature a low-density layout spread across multiple buildings, and a collection of whole ownership oceanfront, marina side and golf side private residences, as well as single family homes.  On the drawing boards is a Robert Trent Jones golf course, but that will take a lot of people flushing their toilets in the hotel to produce enough reclaimed water. 

The adjacent marina will feature up to 200 slips to accommodate yachts up to 250 feet and its own ocean side marina village, with shops and restaurants.

We’re doing great! So said last week our state governor, Carlos Mendoza, when information from our national statistics agency (INEGI) revealed that our Southern Baja state economy is growing at a pace of 4.9% per year, almost double that of the country’s average, which is 2.5%.

In addition, just last March 138,861 new jobs were created. That itself is an increase of 5% compared with the previous year and month. However, be aware that most of those are low level poverty paying construction jobs that will evaporate as soon as the buildings are up. At that point we will need fewer new employees, with a little better education level to run the new hotels and residences.

City to the rescue! A special commission to work on the rehab of the precious water source and wildlife habitat of San Jose was formed last week. The president of the commission is councilman Celestino Atienzo, who also owns a tourist transportation company. Oofa. Does this “tourist transportation company” mean the crooked taxis, or the real transportation industry like our buses? We were not told.

New golf course  Ohana Real Estate Investors, LLC announced plans to build an 18 hole Fred Couples signature golf course and the Twin Dolphin golf club on the fourlane to San Jose, just a few miles from Cabo. Yes, where the grand old Twin Dolphin hotel sat for 50 years. Sniff, sob. Miss it terribly, it was real.

The new course is being built around the Maravilla development and the future Montage Los Cabos resort. Fred Couples will work with Todd Eckenrode de Origins Golf Design and it will be Couple’s first golf course in Los Cabos. Opening is scheduled for sometime in 2018, so you have time to learn the game. Fred Couples is too old to compete anymore on the PGA but he’s working the Old Folks Tour.

New food festival this month. Well, June. From June 12 to 19, the local Ass. of restaurants, known as Canirac, will hold a food fest titled Cabo Come Así, which translates as Cabo Eats This Way. And for the record, a food fest is way different than a food fight. Do not get these confused or you will just be disappointed.

The festival’s purpose is to increase restaurant sales during the slow, summer season, with many restaurants offering 30% discounts and special menus to locals. As of press time, 50 of the 150 restaurants belonging to Canirac have confirmed their participation. Here’s the list: Mi Casa, Milky Way Deli y Café, Silvano’s Kitchen, Sunset da Monalisa, Pan Di Bacco, María Corona, Baja Cantina Marina, La Pampa, Chiltepinos and La Pintada in Cabo San Lucas.

In San Jose, Mi Casa, La Galería, Fish & Grill, Spicy Tuna, Rock & Brews, La Forchetta, Jazz Tapas, Don Sánchez, Habaneros and Chiltepinos in San José. For a complete, updated list of restaurants and reservations, check the festival’s Facebook page Cabo Come Asi.

Big brother is watching API, the company that oversees the Cabo marina, has installed an additional eight video cameras to the existing eight, along the malecon. Two of these new ones are able to rubber neck 360 degrees.

The videos can be saved up to 45 days and the equipment is compatible with the city’s command center. And, very soon, API will erect a control tower, like those at airports, to spy on boats that go in and out of  our marina. It will be the first in Mexico, as we are the largest and busiest marina in Mexico. Right now a guy with binoculars sits out on a rock writing down the name of every boat that comes and goes. Boats are charged per movement.

Power to the sun!  Governor Carlos Mendoza tells us all the state government buildings in La Paz will soon run on solar, which, by investing $5 million, will save the state half a million per year. And lots of pollution, as our power plants run on diesel. The investment will be funded by the Global Environmental Facility and the Interamerican Development bank.

Does this mean they will never pay all the money the city owes to the power company, CFE? CFE has cut off the city for non payment of months and months of electricity, so the city hooked up generators to power the city. Whatever solar company gets the contract would be well advised to get payment up front.

Half Marathon in La Paz. This Sunday, June 5, La Paz will hold it’s Half Marathon PazLove (peace/love, Bunky), sponsored by the PazLove magazine and several other local businesses. There are cash prizes for a total of nearly $7,000 USD for those who run the 21 kilometer race, and live through it,  as well as a raffle of a Toyota Yaris for those who get to the finish line similarly alive. There will also be three additional races of 2.5, 5 and 8 kilometers. For additional information look up: http://www.rungdl.com/carrera/482.