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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cops on Quads

Finding the right balance between accommodating tourists and protecting the environment and economy is not always an easy job. There are currently several initiatives underway to achieve this in the local area.

La Policía Montada de San Felipe, our very own Mounties, have been re-activated to patrol the Malecon and the commercial-tourist section of town. You may have seen them briefly in the past, but the delegation budget ran short and they had to be put on hold.

Actually, the force is composed of four bilingual officers trained in the arts—that is, the martial arts—to handle unruly tourists who misbehave and to help assist the well-behaved ones, no matter where they fall.

They won't be galloping by on big, white horses, but will be mounted on all-terrain quad vehicles, ready to fight crime and wrongdoers, mainly on Mar de Cortés, el Malecón and the beach from El Machorro to the end of Hotel Row to the south.

Meanwhile, lengthy, difficult and complicated circumstances have impeded a final solution to the improvement of conditions at the bay and boardwalk, and authorities have been very respectful of people’s traditional feeling that the beach is free and theirs to use and frolic in.

Many people choose to ignore adequate beach safety and rules of reason. One such rule is that driving motor vehicles on the beach in the bay is only allowed for fishermen who must move their pangas about. Signs on accesses to the beach warn about this and several other restrictions that are seldom, if never, enforced, as the beaches in México are Federal Zones, where the municipal or state authorities have no jurisdiction, and the federales are too busy chasing drug runners.

All coco loco coaches will now be banned from cruising on the beach and instead will probably be assigned a parking space near where those beachgoers craving for coconuts and piña coladas can get to them.

The fishermen have long claimed the area for their traditional activity and, often times in the past, would clean their catch and feed the birds, while tourists were content to camp and mingle, enjoying the folklore and getting great fish at a bargain price.

The task at hand for the authorities is not an easy one. They still have to clean up the action, while preserving, protecting and allowing people their right to live and let live. Tourism and fishing are the two main revenue activities, especially for those establishments and vendors at the Malecón, and for the local economy in general.
The newly assigned and past administrations have worked on and will soon have a plan to accommodate all the activities traditionally enjoyed at the waterfront, while striving to improve, protect and modernize our beautiful little bay front.

Two Policías Turísticos, out of a total of four, will be patrolling the area from 6 in the morning till 10 pm., each on their quad vehicles. Comandante Martinez-Soto, San Felipe chief of police, soon to be confirmed in his post, with Delegado Hazael, Sierra's new administration, explained that he's had to use all of his men and equipment for crime prevention in the rest of the town, but he estimates that by the peak of the tourist season, they will have the tourist police on duty and hard at work around the Malecón, to serve and protect us all.