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TOURISM - Travel Tips on Baja

3 Tips to RVers when driving on Baja California
By Dan y Lisa Goy
Source: Baja Amigos RV Caravan Tours

(1) Never, never drive at night! You are not familiar with the road and there are no street lights. More importantly there is very little livestock fencing outside of towns and villages. Many animals gravitate to the highway at night and you will never see them in time. Having a cow in your grill will ruin your Snowbird experience for sure. In the event of a breakdown you do not want to be on the highway (there is usually no where to pull off) when a bus or semi comes along which drive all night. Another good reason to drive only during the day are the Green Angels who patrol the entire highway in the morning and afternoon. They are the equivalent of AAA paid for the government looking to assist tourists and travelers. We have never experienced a Bandito in 26 years since our first camping trip in Mexico, perhaps they are out at night, we really can't say!

(2) Travel with a friend or fellow RVer in the event you do have a flat or mechanical problem on the road. That leaves someone with the RV while you look for help and direct traffic safely around your broken down vehicle. We provide everyone with a mechanical checklist prior to joining one of our tours, Mexicans can fix anything but if you can avoid this experience with a change of some belts and hoses, why not? Having a few spare parts never hurts either.

(3) Slow Down! Whats the hurry? The roads are often narrow, without shoulders frequented by large but scrawny farm animals or broken down Mexican mobiles. If you have folks behind you let them pass when it is safe to do so. Put on your left turn signal and slow down as they go by, particularly the buses and tractor trailers. Only pass when it is very safe to do so yourself, not much of a margin for error. On most of Hwy 1 we drive 80 km or 50 miles and hour.

NEWS - Mexico & Italy join to combat crime

Mexico & Italy join to combat criminal organizations

ROME – Mexican and Italian authorities signed two bilateral agreements Thursday in order to combat criminal organizations, reported Notimex.

The treaties work to speed up the extradition processes and increase the exchange of information and contact between the two countries.

Italy’s Secretary of Justice Nitto Francesco Palma and Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales signed the treaties on behalf of their countries.

“The extradition treaty we signed today modernizes and the improves the agreement the two countries have shared since 1899,” she said. “Both of the treaties come in a timely fashion as Mexico is determined to combat organized crime which is an area in which Italy has lots of experience,” Morales noted.

The treaties facilitate an increased use of technology such as video conferencing to conduct investigations as well as an exchange program where officials from both countries will visit and review the other’s judicial system.

Signing the treaties was Palma’s first act as Italy’s justice secretary as he was sworn into office only two hours prior to the signing.

“It is significant that my first act as justice secretary is to sign treaties to combat organized crime. Crime is not defeated by bureaucracy,” Palma said.

“In a world which has no borders or boundaries, it is necessary to strengthen partnerships with other countries, especially with Mexico,” he concluded.

NEWS & POLITICS - Magnitude 6.0 earthquake off Baja California, Mexico: USGS

(Reuters) - A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, 60 miles east of La Paz, Mexico, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Tuesday.

The quake occurred at 11:44 a.m. local time (1744 GMT) at a depth of 3.1 miles. There were no immediate reports of damage.

PEOPLE & VOICES - Dispatch from Ensenada, Mexico: The band plays on

By Christopher Reynolds Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

7:15 a.m. CDT, July 26, 2011
The drug trade and drug wars continue in northern Baja California and the rest of Mexico, as this week’s series in the Los Angeles Times abundantly shows. And the U.S. State Department is still warning travelers about the risks of visiting Mexico. But the rest of life continues too, as I found during on my trip across the border this past weekend.

-- 9:20 a.m. Saturday, July 23: I join a group of friends on a chartered bus trip from San Diego. The destination: Ensenada, 95 miles south of San Diego and about 75 miles south of Tijuana. We pass through the border at San Ysidro with minimum delay and make one snack and bathroom stop.

Entering Ensenada, we find the music throbbing as usual at Papas & Beer and Mango Mango, two loud bars that stand across from each other at the busy corner of Primera and Ruiz, drawing a clientele of thrill-seeking, hard-drinking young Americans.

Along Lopez Mateos, the nearby main drag, the sun is shining and merchants are relieved to see us. Some of them say business has fallen 30% or more in the last year here as cruise ships have cut back port calls, car traffic has slowed and tour buses have stopped coming.

Except the bus I rode in on, of course.

There are 27 of us aboard, some in their late teens, some in their 70s, most in between, on a mission to honor a fallen friend by listening to a few dozen of his favorite mariachi songs at Hussong’s Cantina.

Probably you’ve heard of Hussong’s. It goes back to the 1890s, has sawdust on the floor and has long been beloved by many old hands in Baja.

The crowds these days may not match the glory days of decades past, but the musicians remain. And bartender Martin Fria tells me that business is actually up in the last year, in large part because the saloon has been cultivating more Mexican customers. About 80% of customers now are Mexican, he says.

In the space of about three hours, I see two wedding parties, fancy outfits and all, come sweeping in for a few rounds between their ceremonies and later festivities. A little after 4:30, we pile back into the bus, having heard many favorites: "Guadalajara." "Viva Mexico." "Paloma Negra."

Besides our bar tab and musician bill -- about a dollar per player per song -- we had lunches in a handful of restaurants nearby (good mole at El Charro on Lopez Mateos), spent a bit on arts and crafts, and paused a minute to marvel at the young woman drinking from a funnel and hose on the Mango Mango patio.

Then we're rolling, cheering as a pod of whales spouts offshore, then cheering again as our driver, Ramiro, artfully dodges a car ahead of us when it suffers a blowout and veers across our lane.

-- About 6:30 p.m.: The day-trip’s crowning event comes right at the San Ysidro border crossing. Partially, it's because of thin Saturday evening traffic, which we’ve been hoping for. Partially, it's because we're in the bus lane. And who knows what other variables enter the equation? But the result is no wait. No delay at all. No time for any vendor to attempt to sell us anything.

We roll right up to the line, hop off the bus as directed to pass through U.S. Immigration, then hop back on the bus. Besides the usual three toll booths along the toll road, we passed one checkpoint with armed officers -- par for the course in recent years.

In 13 years of driving, says Ramiro, he’s only once before had it this easy. In about 30 years of visits, I’ve never seen a border crossing so smooth, nor have any of the other travelers.

Somebody should write a song about it.

FEATURE: The Sinking of the Erik

The Sinking of the Erik
by Karri Moser, Baja Good Life Club

For a close-knit group of anglers from northern California, the early morning of July 3, 2011 will be etched in their minds forever, at least the minds of those who survived. At approximately 2:30 am, a freak storm known and dreaded by natives of Baja, called an “El Torito”, or little bull, managed to bring down the 115 ft. fishing vessel that was caught in its path. For this particular voyage on the Erik, there were 43 people total on board, 27 American fishermen, and 16 crewmembers. The annual tour was a much-anticipated 4-night trip for the men to fish, laugh, eat like kings, and tell tall tales of the high sea. Only, the tale the survivors are left with is a story they wish they had never been a part of, a story that ended with one of them washed up lifeless on a sandy beach and the fate of seven others still unknown.

According to survivor reports, the trip began typically enough, just with a slight delay. They had a fantastic meal while waiting; which was always a given when the guys took a trip on the Erik. When the Erik, operated by Baja Sportfishing Inc., did finally venture out, it was immediately called back to dock by the Federales. While unusual, no one seemed alarmed. Speculation has swirled that the authorities were warning the Captain of an impending storm. Some accounts now surface speculating the Captain chose to ignore whatever warning the Federales were imposing on him out of impatience to get the already late trip started. Again, this dismissive attitude and contents of the actual conversation are all speculation by a few survivors. Aside from this out of the ordinary start to the trip, there was no reason for anyone on board to expect anything other than the great time the group had been enjoying for several years together.

According to documented reports, the storm came fast and hard. The winds blew steady at over 50 knots for hours. The waves were epic. Moreover, according to survivors Gary Hanson and Jerry Garcia when they publically told their tale of survival, the Captain made one very huge mistake at the helm. Reports say he drove away from the overpowering and relentless waves instead of into them, which maritime school of thought says would have been easier for the ship to weather. Published official reports say a rogue wave overtook the vessel; but the American survivors and families have come forward with a story that lets the El Torito off the hook as the sole reason seven men never made it home.

As the boat took on water and the bashing of its sides became worse, the Americans began to wake. Chaos was already unleashed as the crew was scrambling to save the ship. Oddly enough, every member of the crew was already fitted with life jackets. Within minutes, the California tourists knew they were in serious trouble. Dave Levine summed up the moment to local papers as pure “pandemonium”. Darkness, confusion and a boat that was quickly losing its battle against the little bull resulted in a mad dash by the men to find life jackets on their own get their bearings straight and try to save themselves. Survivors who saw the Captain in those final moments aboard the Erik describe him as paralyzed with fear and looking “bug-eyed”. The crew and Americans together were all washed overboard by one final epic wave, sending them flying, and gurgling seawater as they were scattered into the dark, deep ocean. Bob Higgins and Steve Sloneker were amazed by the final wave and felt like they were being shot out of a canon. Large ice chests meant to hold the catch of the lifetime for these experienced anglers were now bobbing all around the boat. Men struggled to grasp onto the coolers and the lights went out as the sea swallowed the massive vessel quicker than any witness still could ever believe possible. Some survivors contend the entire ordeal was over in about 3 minutes. The men who made it off the boat went from nervous sleep due to excessive waves crashing while they tried to get comfortable in bunks to getting continuously smacked by the sea while hanging onto coolers dotting the now empty horizon all in a matter moments. Yells to find each other and struggles to stay above the waves soon led to silence as the men realized the gravity of what had happened. They assessed who was last seen where and who was no longer right beside them. They also realized no distress call, no May Day, no SOS, no flares, no tracking device was on board and no call for help was sent. Therefore, no help was coming, only they never would have believed no help at all would come for over 15 hours.

As the men huddled around coolers and debris, the sun rose and started its slow burn into their flesh. Because they had been sleeping, most were in underwear and exposed to the harsh ball of sunlight overhead. Sharks were seen, but luckily none felt. Thirst, delusion, despair, and thankfulness that at least the 85-degree water was comfortable set in as the hours passed. Luckily, for the men, Michael Kalicki would soon know of their plight. Kalicki knew the storm had been fierce the night before; but would find out how fierce when a skipper from the Erik who actually was a neighbor of his came running up from the beach. He swam until making landfall and came ashore right in front of Kalicki’s house. As the skipper desperately conveyed the story of boat sinking and the people still out there needing help, Kalicki quickly verified what he was being told. Using a satellite phone, he was able to alert the Mexican consulate, the U.S. consulate, and military authorities in the area. Kalicki could have left his contribution at that; but that just is not his nature. He knew people out there needed help so he and his father took his 18ft skiff boat out immediately and headed straight toward where they were needed.

Once Kalicki spotted the debris field, he called in the latitude and longitude to help authorities get there quicker. Soon after finding debris, they found the first American to be pulled out of the water. Kalicki says, “He was hallucinating, incoherent and crying ‘thank you God’” .Ross Anderson was severely sunburned and in need of water. Looking for survivors, helping to pull people aboard and directing panga fishermen and rescue boats to pick up survivors he could not fit was how Kalicki spent his day. He says, “We didn’t know what to expect out there. We were zigzagging. It was surreal and we didn’t have time to think.” He was given body bags to have ready in case he needed them. Luckily, he says everyone he found was alive and he feels that was the way it was meant to be. Kalicki swears he never had to steer his boat toward anyone. He says, “They were all right in front of us. We came across survivors quickly and moved on to the next group. It was divine intervention.” He had the distinction of picking up the first survivor and he found himself back out at night steering towards the last American who would be plucked from the sea. Kalicki found Dennis Ledec hanging on to an ice chest and patiently waiting to be rescued. He declared the water fine and said he was just out fishing. Kalicki says he felt an instant camaraderie and soon realized this survivor was more lucid and in a light-hearted mood compared to the others because he was bobbing along with clothes on to protect him from the sun and his life-saving cooler was filled with all the bottled water he could possibly need. As Kalicki drove back with Ledec safely on board, he says he felt an overwhelming sense of peace and knew “We found everybody that was alive that day.” Only after realizing there were seven men still missing did Kalicki question if he had done enough, as anyone would in that situation. When asked if he felt like a hero who saved fellow Americans, Kalicki believes he was just doing what anyone would do. He says all you can do is help when needed and “hope to hell that somebody is there for you to give you a hand up” if you ever need it.

While the survivors gathered calling family and recounting their ordeal, some staying overnight at Kalicki’s house and others being flown out, the extensive search and rescue was underway for those still unaccounted for. Don Lee, Russ Bautista, Mark Dorland, Brain Wong, Al Mein, Gene J. Leong, Shawn Chaddock and Leslie Yee were not picked up by rescuers. Leslie Yee died after trying to swim for shore and was found on a remote beach. The others still have not made it home. Families were grateful for the cooperative and extensive searches by both Mexican and American officials. Even after an extension, the official search was called off on July 15. This left families waiting for a search and recovery mission that meant divers would hopefully enter the remnants of the Erik and bring remains of loved ones. The dive never came. The recovery is stalled. Mexican officials contend they do not have the necessary equipment and gave full permission for the U.S. to recover the ship. The U.S. contends it does not have the financial resources to conduct a recovery. Bureaucratic red tape, unanswered questions about the facts of the sinking, and unanswered pleas for help is what the families of the missing have been left with.

Don Lee, 62, was central to the group and is still out there with his fishing buddies. He knew every one of the passengers and made the voyage annually with a mix of some of these guys. His family and the families of others have been very vocal in their anger over the aftermath. The survivors tell of not enough life jackets, a lack of adequate communication gear, Captain error, and what some have deemed as gross negligence. The families want accountability and want to ensure no other fishing venture ends in tragedy. They all question the safety of the boat, the warning of a storm, the ridiculous amount of time the men waited for rescue and why the crew was outfitted in life vests before any attempt was made to wake and prepare the fishermen. Mourning what they know is the loss of their husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends is difficult beyond words; but for the families the lack of remains and lack of answers is becoming unbearable. Frederick Han, Don Lee’s son-in-law, has created an internet campaign to tell the world about Don, raise awareness of the efforts to bring him home, and raise funds to finance a private dive to do so. Han says Lee would want his friends brought home. If Lee had survived, he would not have given up until all of his friends were home too. Lee was passionate about his fishing trips and the friends he shared them with each year. Han says, “He loved sharing videos and meeting people. He would have more pictures of people than fish. He was looking forward to taking his grandsons out there someday.” To make the Lee family ordeal even more difficult, Don Lee’s mother passed away after a long illness while the search was still going on. She never knew the fate of her son. This compounded loss makes Han and his in-laws even more determined to find Lee. While the Lee family is strong and dealing with the double loss, Han says they are determined to “make sure no one goes through this again. In our downtime we are asking ‘what can we do?’”. Han’s blog about his father-in-law has helped reconnect those who loved him and reminded everyone of what a generous and warm soul was lost in the Sea of Cortez that night. Don Lee’s legendary meals and disarming demeanor will leave a hole in the family; but has propelled them to fight for the truth and take action to fund the dive.

A petition to get the government to fund the dive and resources to raise the funds independently has been coordinated through the site Family members of the missing point out that two of the missing were veterans; therefore, the American government has no excuse to leave them behind because of the cost of a dive. The estimated cost to bring the seven men home is $300,000. This amount would bring answers, closure, and ability of the families and countless friends to mourn and move on. The group also wants the Mexican government and Baja Sportfishing Inc. to account for discrepancies and investigate whether true negligence led to the deaths of these men. Currently, Find Our Fathers has established several active fundraisers in Livermore to raise the money and help pressure the government for answers. Fundraisers will be held at Melo’s Pizza, Rodrigue Molyneaux Estate Vineyard and Winery, Rigatonis and Casa Orozco. Don Lee’s daughter Mandi Lee-Han has also enlisted the help of the Valley Montessori School she works at.

Frederick Han says after he first had dinner with Don Lee, as a young man courting his daughter, he walked in nervous and walked out hours later thinking “I couldn’t wait to come back.” Don Lee embraced the world around him. He wanted to know everyone, make everyone smile and make sure everyone always had enough on their plates. He and his friends are still out there, more than likely still trapped in the remnants of the boat he loved to spend time on. His family wants him home along with the men he cared so deeply for. They are pleading with anyone who may be able to help make that happen to step forward and donate to . While the survivors are all extremely grateful to the gracious people of San Felipe and Baja as a whole for the care they received, they too want the truth told and to make sure this never happens again.

While safety standards differ between the U.S. and Mexico when it comes to the chartered fishing tours that are so popular between the two countries, certain standards should be held across the board. Certain procedures, training, and knowledge should be part of every chartered fishing trip. Each of these men left behind loved ones and a full life to have a great couple of days together and it ended in tragedy. Whether that tragedy was an unavoidable act of God or a combination of that, human error and disregard for safety remains to be told. Either way, the survivors of the sinking of the Erik and the families of the men who are still lost are not giving up on finding those answers anytime soon.

Photo Credit: Survivors of the capsized fishing vessel, the Erik, and representatives of the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, pose for photos before returning to the US, in San Felipe, Mexico, Thursday July 7, 2011. Seven U.S. tourists are still missing four days after their boat capsized near this town as the Mexican navy and the U.S. Coast Guard expand their search in the Gulf of California. Most of the 27 passengers on board the ship were Northern California men who traveled to the gulf for an annual Independence Day fishing trip. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

BGLC DISCOUNT - Hotel Mar de Cortez

BGLC DISCOUNT - Hotel Mar de Cortez
Cabo San Lucas, BCS Mexico

The Hotel Mar de Cortez was among the first three hotels in Cabo San Lucas when it was a quaint fishing village. The architecture of its rooms and suites reflect the charming Mexican flavor of southern Baja and each year the hotel upgrades various aspects of the facilities. Each is attractively appointed and very popular. Many of the accommodations open up to the pool area, others to the courtyard.

During July & August you can get the FREE upgrade AND the SUMMER DISCOUNT when using your CURRENT BAJA GOOD LIFE DISCOUNT CARD.

Contact Hotel Mar de Cortez - CLICK HERE

Join today and SAVE Big on Baja! BGLC Discount Mex Auto Insurance - Policies STARTING at $78.03.

TIJUANA - New U.S. consulate opens in Tijuana

TIJUANA — Long lines of visa applicants have for years been a fixture outside the offices of the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, hub of one of the busiest American consular districts in the world. This week, the lines have suddenly vanished, even if the activity hasn’t.

After 47 years in the same location near the Caliente Racetrack, the U.S. government has moved across town, on Monday opening offices in a $120 million gated compound built near the Otay Mesa border crossing. The imposing stone structures — with more than 100,000 square feet of space in the main building — are intended to offer both greater efficiency and tighter security at a time when the consulate’s role has grown increasingly complex.

“We’re not a traditional consulate that you might have thought of ten or 20 years ago,” said Steven Kashkett, the consul general, a 53-year-old career diplomat who oversees a staff of 50 Americans and 100 Mexicans operating out of the Tijuana facility. “We are now basically a mini-embassy representing the U.S. government in this part of Mexico.”

High-volume consulateSome average annual numbers from the Tijuana consulate, which serves the Baja California peninsula.

-- Visas processed annually: 190,000

-- U.S. population (est.): 250,000

-- U.S. citizens arrested annually: 2,000

-- U.S. deaths reported: About one death a day, most of natural causes

Source: U.S. consulate
Issuing visas and providing services to American citizens abroad are the stock-and-trade of consular offices worldwide. Kashkett said much of the work at the Tijuana consulate now also involves reporting on regional counternarcotics efforts, as well as political and economic issues on the border. The consulate, he said, “is much more of a facilitator between the two governments than it was in the past.”

While the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City serves as the State Department’s main representation in Mexico, the U.S. government also maintains nine consulates across the country, with Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez being the largest and busiest. In Tijuana in recent years, growing numbers of U.S. agencies have begun operating out of the consulate’s office, and now include Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Commerce.

“Clearly in a country like Mexico, where U.S. interests are so multi-faceted, in a city like Tijuana that is such an important element of the national fabric, the consulate assumes a role that a consulate in Lyon, France, might not,” said Jeffrey Davidow, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

The Tijuana consulate had long ago outgrown its rented facilities in the city’s upscale Hipódromo neighborhood, and in recent years found itself forced to open a visa annex a few miles away in the city’s Río Zone, where lines of applicants carrying documents could be seen standing outside throughout the day as they waited for appointments.

The new facility commands a sweeping view of the city, and sits surrounded by vacant land on a large plot known as La Pechuga, so-named because its shape resembles a chicken breast. The setting and structure meet U.S. State Department security standards for diplomatic facilities worldwide established following 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that claimed 220 lives.

Though less centrally located than the old facilities, the opening of the new consulate consolidates all of the operations in one location. Shaded areas with benches inside the compound allow for a more comfortable wait.

The central atrium of the newly opened U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana. — Nelvin C. Cepeda The Tijuana consular district, which oversees U.S. government affairs in Baja California and Baja California Sur, has an estimated 250,000 U.S. citizens living within its jurisdiction, a figure that does not include the millions of others who cross each year for tourism, jobs, family, and business.

More people are arrested here than in any other U.S. consular district, about 2,000 annually, according to consular figures; drug and weapons charges are among the most common. At any given moment 250 U.S. citizens are behind bars, though any definitive tallies are difficult because some may hold dual citizenship and not identify themselves as U.S. citizens.

On average, one U.S. citizen dies each day in the district, in the majority of cases of natural causes, the consulate reports. While most of last year’s 66 non-natural deaths were homicides, they also included car accidents, drownings and seven suicides.

“We are the highest volume, most complex American citizen services post in the world,” said Kashkett, whose previous posts have included Halifax, Port-au-Prince, Beirut and Jerusalem.

While the consulate can help those who lose their passports, are victims of crime, and recommend attorneys to those who face charges, “Americans need to understand that they live in a foreign country, the laws of the foreign country apply,” Kashkett said.

Some find the help invaluable.

A recent high-profile case brought consular staff to San Felipe earlier this month after the sinking of a charter fishing vessel in the Gulf of California with 27 U.S. citizens aboard. David Levine of Bodega Bay, said the 19 survivors had lost everything, including passports, drivers’ licenses and medications. Consular staff, “went out of their way to do whatever they could for all of us down there,” Levine said. “They made sure we got back across the border without passports, that we were OK to drive.”

Source: SignOn San Diego • (619) 293-1716 • Twitter @sandradibble

SAN FELIPE - Ceviche Tasting

Saturday July 30th , 2011
Malecon, San Felipe, Baja California
Ceviche Tasting
Live music, PopRock, DJ's and Northern Music
12:00 p.m to 1:00 a.m

Event Rules

■ Anyone over 18 can enter the contest and restaurant Owners
■ Each participant will put 35 kilos of ceviche for tasting.
■ Fish and seafood used must be from the Sea of Cortes.
■ There will be a cash prize for the first place winner of 5000 pesos and recognition for second and third place
■ Booths will be free for restaurants who introduce themselves with ceviche tasting and sales.
■ For those who just want to sell and not enter the contest booths will cost 1500 pesos.

The event, being the first, will only be on Saturday July 30. Starting at 12 pm in the Malecon area
■ The tasting will be from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the afternoon.
■ At 12:00 p.m Staff will weigh the ceviche to check if it meets the rule of 35 kilos.
■ From 8:00 to 12:00 you can proceed to leave things to the event, thereafter the doors will be closed and no cars will be allowed to take things off at the stands.

NEWS - Americans Moving to Mexico in Droves

by Michael Zenn -
June 29, 2011

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Recent reports strongly indicate that the highly televised Mexican drug war has not stopped most Americans from traveling or moving South of the Border. In fact, according to an ABC News report, of the 5.25 million Americans living in other countries, the vast majority (over 1 million) live in Mexico, and many more may be on their way. A number of Mexican communities now virtually look like U.S. suburbs and in some cases American and Canadian property owners outnumber locals.

No Fear Here
In areas far from US border towns, such as Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Mexico’s drug war is a distant and far away place. In fact, when surveyed, most Americans living here feel that they are much safer than in cities like L.A., New York, Chicago, Atlanta or Miami. Indeed, recent statistics prove them to be right.

According to a report last year by the LA Times, tourist areas in Mexico are 12 times safer than Tampa or Honolulu, 17 times safer than Dallas or West Palm Beach, 26 times safer than Orlando or Houston and a whopping 39 times safer than the U.S. capital, Washington D.C., and Americans and Canadians are coming in droves.

Why Here, Why Now?
Americans and Canadians are sneaking South of the Boarder for all the usual suspects: tropical weather, pristine property, tree-lined beaches, white-sand, warm turquoise water, crystalline coastlines, the beckoning beach lifestyle, and a litany of other adjectives. But perhaps this time they are descending on magical Mexico for a compelling new impetus altogether.

When the global recession hit, many retirees and investors were driven south where life is cheap and the living is easy. A dollar down here buys roughly 30% more, taxes are negotiable, and the economy is rebounding at a rapid pace. Personal debt and the credit crisis are virtually non-existent since Mexicans do not generally use credit to buy things.

Surging Economy
That could explain why the Mexican economy is surging (not sputtering) out of the global recession, recording a 4.3% growth rate in the first quarter of 2010 alone (much faster than the U.S.) And if you had invested $10,000 here in 2000 you would have witnessed a 232% gain in your bank account.

Perhaps the biggest bonus for retirees and investors in Mexico has been their opportunistic purchases of homes, condos and real estate property. In key areas, real estate in Mexico is far outpacing growth in other countries. For example, Playa del Carmen was named the fastest growing area in the world just a few years ago and Tulum, just to the south, is poised to grow even faster in the next 5 years.

Healthcare Heaven
The other goldmine that Americans and Canadians are getting in Mexico is the veritable healthcare jackpot they enjoy that includes full medical, dental and vision coverage for about $600 a year. This government run healthcare plan (IMSS) was created for Mexican employees but is also open to legal foreigners. Imagine a healthcare-fantasy world where there are no deductibles, no co-pays, no limits, no prescriptions to pay for and even pre-existing conditions are covered after 1-2 years. No small reason to make your way to Mexico.

There are now over 18,000 major American companies currently investing and operating in Mexico and it is estimated that over 1 million Americans are buying, building and or retiring here. In truth, no one knows exactly how many American or Canadian retirees, entrepreneurs, and families are now traveling or making plans to relocate to Mexico.
One thing’s for sure, it’s not a few, it’s not slowing down, and there seems to be no end in sight. And for those who might doubt it, just ask the Mexican locals and they will quickly remind you “they’re moving in all around us!”

Dental Work for Baja California Orphanages

July 16, 2011, San Felipe, BC - Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of Cuba Gooding Sr., Dr. Jason Arias Corpus, and the community of San Felipe, the first 19 children from two orphanages will begin receiving much needed dental care.

On June 18, the Baja Good Life Club produced a musical fundraiser in San Felipe. The sold-out event featured a night of music by Cuba Gooding Sr., the lead singer of “The Main Ingredient”, best known for their 1972 smash "Everybody Plays the Fool". The event was a fundraiser for two orphanages, Casa de Fe in San Felipe and El Oasis in Valle de Trinidad. It was held at the Pavilion in El Dorado Ranch, and the proceeds raised will pay for the dental work needed by the 55 children of both homes.

Dr. Jason Arias has significantly reduced the dental fees, in addition to closing his office during the children’s visits, so that he can focus on them. The children will be broken into smaller groups and brought to his office, so that he can provide all of the children with personal quality dental care.

Dr. Jason Arias will begin examining the children next week. The first 15 children from El Oasis on Friday, July 22nd and the first 4 girls from Casa de Fe will be seen on Sat. July 23rd. Dr. Arias will clean and examine all the children, identifying those with the greatest or most urgent needs.

The Baja Good Life Club and Casa de Fe work together to support the needs of children throughout Baja. Their next fundraiser is the Baja Love Ride, being held in La Paz, Baja California Sur March 21-24, 2012. The Baja Love Ride is a 4-day, 230-mile bicycle tour from La Paz around the cape and back to La Paz, during the 6th Annual Festival de Arte y Cultura.

Casa de Fe is a home for children in San Felipe. More information on Casa de Fe is available on their website

Baja Good Life Club is a discount, travel and retirement club for Baja. More information on BGL Club is available at

Thanks to the generosity of the people of Baja these children will be given the care they need.

BORDER UPDATES - Border grants announced

Communities in Texas, New Mexico and Baja California, Mexico, will split just more than $5 million in U.S. federal grants for environmental-related projects, the San Antonio-based North American Development Bank announced Wednesday.

The Border Environment Infrastructure Fund grants come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and are administered by the NADBank.

Rio Grande City will receive a $448,522 grant for sewage collection service to 27 households on Water Street, which now rely on failing septic systems.

Anthony, N.M., will receive $2.8 million to improve water quality and water supply. The project's total cost is $8.8 million.

Tijuana, Mexico, will receive two grants totaling $1.9 million for the expansion of sewage collection systems.

All projects will receive additional technical assistance grants from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission to assist with final design.


NEWS - Search Called Off for Missing Fishermen

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy have called off the search for the seven fishermen missing since last week after their boat sank in the northern Baja during a storm.

"Despite the thorough search of the region by Mexican and U.S. search teams no signs of the missing men were found," said Rear Adm. Joseph "Pepe" Castillo, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard's 11th District in a statement on Tuesday. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families of the missing men."

Two Sonoma County men are among the missing following a July 4th fishing trip that went horribly wrong. Now relatives are struggle with the agonizing wait, each day receiving a call from the U.S. Consulate telling them the same thing: "We have no news."

Many had placed their hopes on divers who were supposed to explore the sunken boat on Sunday. But so far the dive has not occurred and no one knows when it will happen.

A phone call and email to the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, was not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the family of Petaluma resident Shawn Chaddock has been on edge.

"I don’t want them to leave the families wondering," said Shawn Chaddock's brother, Darryl. "If they are down there, the families will at least have closure. We need answers."

Penngrove resident Russell Bautista, 60, is also among the missing.

The U.S. Coast Guard has conducted 10 search flights since last Monday, covering a total of 7,000 square miles of land and water with no trace of the fishermen.


TRAVEL - Why Choose an RV Caravan to See Baja?

Traveling with any RV Caravan Tour on your 1st driving trip into Baja minimizes stress and anxiety and provides built in camaraderie.

There are eight (8) RV Caravan Tours operating on Baja at many different price points, offering a diverse array of features. The major benefits of a Baja Amigos RV Caravan include traveling with experience, no planning required, 1000 km of hosted on-tour van excursions, ability to drop off and pick up again, built in camaraderie and the added benefit building the confidence to return to Baja on your own or with friends in the future. Our guests have told us we take 5 years off the learning curve of RVing in Mexico. We really focus on maximizing the enjoyment of your RV camping experience, ensures you visit the important sites, provides reserved and paid camping, takes you to excellent locations to shop & eat; every day we share our experience and knowledge of camping in Mexico and Baja.
Our priority is personal service and delivering a superior experience at a competitive price. That is why our caravans include all Mexico camping fees, pre-paid FFMs (Tourist Cards), and are limited to 14 people maximum and much more; check out Our Tour Information page. That can be 7 RVs including the WagonMasters with 2 persons each or can be more RVs with singles or less RVs with families. We utilize a 14 passenger van for included optional hosted on-tour excursions which are specifically designed to let everyone in the caravan relax and enjoy what Baja has to offer once we reach our destination. These excursions ensure everyone can sight see, have fun and are a big part of providing you with the tools necessary to comfortably drive, camp and explore Baja on your own in the future.
Believe us when we say, traveling with a group of 14 is very different experience then traveling with a group of 20, 30 or 40 people. We have heard from many RVer’s on Baja who have complained about their experience with other RV Caravans; to many people, felt like they were always waiting to fuel up or line up to park in a campground, or felt rushed . We understand we are not the cheapest nor are we the most expensive; we are an exceptional value, consistently exceed expectations and always ask our guests to extensively evaluate every aspect of our tours on completion to ensure we are delivering what people want and expect. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Believe us, we are a bargain when you compare our tour to our competitors!

Your Friend Steven “Dogman” Forman Passed Away

Our Friend Steven “Dogman” Forman passed away July 13, 2011

7/14/2011, San Felipe, BC - With a deeply saddened heart, I write this letter to let you know that Sgt. Garcia of the Imperial County Coroner’s office called and inform Rachel and I, that our dear friend Steven “Dogman” Forman passed away yesterday at the age of 65, in El Centro while at the post office. At this time, we are notifying people close to Steven and getting his dogs care and shelter.

We will be posting updates on the passing of Steven and of his organization ZAPP on his blog, as they become available. Steven was very special to us, many of you, and to the Dogs of San Felipe. He will be DEEPLY MISSED! There will be a celebration of Steven’s life on Wednesday, Oct 5 at the Pavilion at El Dorado Ranch. - John & Rachel Pack

MONEY - Huge Investments in Mexico

Submitted by: Ken Bell

The travel industry reveals huge investments in Mexico… signaling a brighter future.

The smart money is banking on Mexico’s future… a future that will arrive with truth-telling about what is going on in Baja, by the people of Baja. We, the foreign residents have already made the investment corporations are making… we believed before that “smart money” came along.

Keep up the good work friends… Say something good about Baja every day!

BAJA - People & Voices

We want to hear YOU! Do you either live in Baja currently or have visited within the last year. We appreciate
your support in promoting the truth about safety in Baja. TELL US...This is what people told us:

(posts from facebook)

Chet Cannon Baja Rocks Baby!

Merry Collins I live in Los Cabos...VERY safe! ;)

Susan K Beard Yes, I feel safe. I have been traveling the Baja road for 15 years and live there from November to May. Wonderful places, beautiful people!
Karina Ehrenberg I am from La Paz and lived in Cabo for the last 10 years and never had any problem.
Shawnee Bowden Absolutley! Safer than in my hometown Santa Cruz

La Sangria Tapas Bar I've been robbed, carjacked , shot at....all in Los Angeles... not here.
Candy Hunter I have been coming to San Felipe since 1989 and have lived here full time since 2004. I feel safer here than in the States for sure. People look out for each other here unlike anyplace I have ever lived.
MaryLou Austin Gun pulled on me on an LA Freeway, caught in crossfire of 2 cars shooting at each other in Glendale, etc. San Felipe? Safe, quiet, tranquil, community where like Candy says, people help each other. Friendly and quite wonderful.
Robert Castaneda
People ask me if Im scared travelin to Mexico, I say yes from Oregon to L.A, to the border, i'm scared and feel danger. Then I cross the border into Mexico and I feel safe all the way to San Felipe. Got a flat once on the way and had help within minutes. People are friendly and helpful here. We don't have car jackings and high speed chases. We dont have armed robberies. We just have a peacful interactive community! The Baja is awsome!!!


Linie Sherrod I feel safer than in L.A. tsk tsk

Richard Rivera I would feel safe in San Felipe.. :-)

Susan Gardenier Rodgers I feel very safe in San Felipe, but take standard precautions that would ANYWHERE.

Gene Pisasale I felt safe dining on fresh shrimp tacos right there on the edge of the beach in San Felipe...but that was 20 years ago... May have changed a bit since then...
Linda Martinez I feel safer here than anywhere I've lived.

Christina Jonine Winston I have never felt safer than I do in Mexico !! San Felipe and Ensenada are two of the safest towns I have ever lived in ...
Patti Haynes Krall ‎30+ horror stories.....drove Fri night after work to get to the house, what else can I say?

Lloyd Sizemore I spent 37 years in the U.S. Army and lived all over the world. I have never lived in a place that I have felt safer. I have a motor home sitting on my property and have never had a problem even when I have been away for months. The police have always been fair and helpful as well as everyone I have met there.
Gene Pisasale Well, that's it. I'm 20 years overdue for a freshly grilled shrimp taco right on the beach. San Felipe, here I come!!!!!!!!
Walter Sonnenberg I feel very safe coming down for 15 years 4to5 a time

Linda Gordon I went the first time in 1968. In some ways it is still the same, although very different population wise. Last year was the first time in the 25 years we have had our house we had a problem when my quad was stolen. I still go by myself several times a year and tell my friends how safe I feel.
Susan Young We love living in San Felipe. Was in Sacramento last month... didn't feel safe there... too much going on in the neighborhood.
Candy Hunter I have been coming to San Felipe since 1989 and have lived here full time since 2004. I feel safer here than in the States for sure. People look out for each other here unlike anyplace I have ever lived.
Chuck Lundy I'm in San Felipe right now. This is my first trip and I'm with 2 other Dad's and 3 little boys. Safety is obviously not a concern here, it's quiet and peaceful. We are more concerned with not being able to rent a couple jet skis.
Gene Pisasale
I was down there around 1990...drove my 1983 Honda Accord down from San Diego and had the bright idea to bring it out onto the beach. Not good. Blew out my clutch trying to get out. I got stuck- and a guy who called himself "Tricky Dick" had a tow truck, pulled me off the sand and all the way into town, up the side of a mountain where we found a few young hungry mechanics. They put in a new clutch for $90!! That was my one close-call adventure in San Felipe... the other times have all been more fun...
Gene Pisasale By the way, if anyone knows Tricky Dick (very nice gentleman), please give him my best... He saved me from a possibly very negative outcome...and set me back, straight on course... Thanks Dick!!!!
Donna Roberts
I am 71y/o female and have lived by myself for 11 years here in S.F.I have never had a problem and never have I found people who will help you at all times. I also travel all over by myself and have never had a problem . When I had a flat in the Desert two Mexican men worked for over a hour to fix it and would not take a penny for helping me I walk all over at night and again I feel very safe. I suggest people come and see for themselves how wonderful S.F. is
Dina Lucero
I just had this conversation with a friend of mine. He swears Mexico is unsafe and that he would never come visit because of the drug cartel problems in Mexico. I tried to tell him till I was blue in the face that San Felipe is safe, and that I feel much safer there then in Sacramento. Some people just don't get it. I love San Felipe! We visit every chance we get. My in-laws live there full time and have for many years and have never had a problem there or at the border. my hubby and I will retire and live there half 6 years. Looking so forward to it.
Derek Wille San Felipe is 500% safer than Washington DC, where me and my wife are from. We had 2 murders within 100 yards of our house in DC. No murders in our neighborhood down here. I don't worry about my wife walking around our neighborhood at night down here, forget it in the states. America just got tired of all the people fleeing the states and bringing their money down here.

NEWS: Petition to US News Agencies

The reputation and image of Mexico is under attack by a negative corporate media campaign focusing almost exclusively on drug violence and US immigration issues. Relentless coverage of these problems is only increasing xenophobia, stoking racism, polarizing politicians, ruining international commerce, and imperiling the relationship between the US and Mexico. The world needs to hear the positive news of Mexico --which vastly eclipses the negative in relevance but not in coverage--to inspire these countries to work together to solve their mutual problems.

So I signed a petition to Roger Ailes, President of the Fox News Channel, Ken Jautz, President of CNN (Cable News Network), Phil Griffin, Presidents of MSNBC and Anne Sweeney, President of ABC News, which says:

"Moderate the US media's sensationalistic and damaging reporting on Mexico to promote a healthier relationship between these important neighboring countries."

Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name:

ROSARITO BEACH - Casting Call!

A film will start the 29 of August and we need to hire people we before August 15. The Castings will be held every day (except Sundays)

  • Starting: Saturday 16 of July to the 3 of August
  • From: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • In the facilities of Baja Studios, Tijuana – Ensenada km 32.8. Rosarito # 22710, Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, México.

We need to recreate an American town at the studios, so we are looking for People of Caucasian origin or European appearance of both sexes and "ALL" ages!

They will be paying 70 dlls per day.

They don't need experience, and we can accommodate the dates of those who can only work some days.

It would be of great help if you could tell me how can I invite everyone, because I need at least 300 people.

Barbarella Pardo - Casting Director/Producer

Coordinadora de Rentas de equipo para cine:

BajaFilms Rentals Tijuana

661-203-6833 Cel - Nextel:152*138615*1


U.S. Consulate General Tijuana will be closed from July 8 - 15 in order to move to a new building. The Section will only provide emergency American Citizens Services during this time. We will reopen on Friday, July 15, for some routine American Citizen and Visa Services. As of July 11, the Consulate General will have a new phone number: +52 664 977 2000. Please make a note of it. The new Consulate building is located at Paseo de Las Culturas and Camino al Aeropuerto in Mesa de Otay. For further information click on: US CONSULATE - TIJUANA-MEXICO
For further information click on: US CONSULATE - TIJUANA-MEXICO

VIDEO - Mexican Wine and Food

See a Mexican dinner party filled with beautiful Mexican wine and food – your mouth will water as you watch this video.

SAN QUINTIN - 1st Tomato & Wine Fiesta in San Quintin

1st Tomato & Wine Fiesta in San Quintin

The best restaurant owners and chefs from the region: San Vicente, Colonet, Camalu, Vicente Guerrero, San Quintin & El Rosario
Cooking with a touch of tomato. Sushi, Pastas, Soups and Paella.
All of the wineries in the region have the right of tasting all the different Dishes, Cake and Coffee.

Inauguration: 12:00 pm
Begins: 6:00 pm

Tickets: $200 pesos- Adults, $50 pesos- Kids.
Date: Sunday July 31st
Place: Salon JM located at the Lazaro Cardenas Suburb
Info: Office 616-166-5754 Cell. 044-616-112-1070

ANNOUNCEMENT - Baja Good Life Club

The Baja Good Life Club is making some exciting changes and additions to our publishing and services. As always our goal is to provide our members with The information and saving to make living the Baja Good Life easy and it’s to this goal that we are making these improvements.

Baja Good Life Club will begin publishing annual community guides for 10 Baja communities; the first being San Felipe, followed by Rosarito and Ensenada, all due out by October 2011. These guides will provide up-to-date information on each community as well as comprehensive directories. These books will be available to members at a special low rate of 30% or more. These books will also be customizable, so that hotels, vacation rental companies, real estate companies and the like, can personalize editions just for their business.

As of this edition, Baja California Magazine will begin publishing quarterly with special summer, winter, spring, and fall editions. Our goal as stated is to provide useful information to visitor and expats, and provided a limited page count edition of the magazine monthly is not efficient, it’s costly to print and because of that the page count must remain low. By reducing the frequency of the editions, we can greatly increase the content of quarterly editions.

Lastly, in an effort to As of July 1, we are no longer requiring Baja businesses to be BGLC members in order to offer our members discounts. This means that any business can offer discounts to our members, thus greatly increasing the number of discounts available. Our goal is to double our member discounts by years end. Baja Good Life Club membership is your premiere Baja retirement and travel club.

ENSENADA - Help find a Horse!

Last seen being led by man on the Tecate Road

Early Tuesday evening, June 5. a rancher discovered that a prized reddish Mustang was missing from the fenced pasture near the free road and below the Cibola (San Miguel) hill. Investigation of the fence showed the fence had been cut with bolt cutters . The police immediately came to view the crime scene and put out a search alert.

By following the hoof prints, it was determined that the horse had been taken along the free road to the side of Hwy 1 to the Tecate Road as far as the Santa Anita ranch area. The trail was lost there as the hoof prints went into the brush and surrounding hills.

It has been determined that the thief roped the horse and cut the fence and led it away before the sun went down. The owner and helper discovered this when they went to bring fresh water to their horses.

There are some witnesses who saw a man leading the horse along the highways, but did not know that it was a stolen horse. Some can identify the horse thief. The owner and many ranchers and the police are searching for the horse and contacting all the ranchers about this theft.

Brownie is a four year old reddish brown Mustang who is trained and had recently been performing in the local rodeos of the ranchers. All the ranchers know this horse and will recognize him. If anyone sees this horse, please contact the owner, Celso Mancilla at 044-646 119-2238, any rancher, and/or the El Sauzal police department.


New race Sept. 9-11
SCORE sets Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions desert race to be held in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
Insurance issues cause SCORE to move Primm race South of the Border
LOS ANGELES—SCORE International confirmed today that the next race of five-race 2011 SCORE Desert Series will be the new Tecate SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions to be held Sept. 9-11 in San Felipe, Baja, California, Mexico. The race replaces the Primm 300 race that was cancelled this year because of insurmountable insurance issues.
The new race, for 17 Pro and 2 Sportsman classes for cars and trucks, will run over the same course that was recently used for this year’s MasterCraft Safety Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 in March of approximately 250 miles.
After executing the event agreement today in Baja California with SCORE President/CEO Sal Fish, Francisco Perez Tejada Padilla, Mayor of Mexicali stated that, "The cities of Mexicali and San Felipe are pleased to announce that SCORE has decided to continue supporting Baja California by adding another race to their calendar in Mexico. This shows the great communication achieved by the Federal, State and Municipal authorities with Sal Fish. We are pleased that SCORE recognizes our previous hard work and continues to have confidence in our support. This new race will become the epicenter of desert racing during the month of September."
Fish stated that, "While SCORE regrets ending a 16 year relationship with the Primm Valley Resorts and Las Vegas Events, we are pleased to open a new door with Mexicali and San Felipe and provide our participants with an exciting Baja racing challenge in the friendly, relaxing and scenic city of San Felipe."
Elaborating on the cancellation of this year’s Primm 300, Fish confirmed that, "The sole reason for the decision was due to insurance requirements and cost. The Primm entities dramatically increased the liability insurance requirements for the event, which made conducting the event cost prohibitive."
For more information, contact SCORE at its Los Angeles headquarters 818.225.8402 or visit the official website of the 2011 SCORE Desert Series at

NEWS - Mexico extends search for missing US tourists

The Associated Press
Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

Mexican authorities said Thursday they will continue searching for seven U.S. men missing since a tourist fishing boat capsized and sank off Mexico's coast, pushing the effort past the standard 96 hours.

Baja California state and Navy officials have decided to extend the rescue efforts "with the same intensity and personnel," despite the Mexican Navy's usual protocol to search for survivors for no more than four days, the state government said in a statement.

Rescuers were coordinating with officials in the state of Sonora across the Gulf of California in case tides have swept victims or survivors there.

Corey Bordenkecher of the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, across from San Diego, said the United States has offered to send deep-water divers, but the offer has yet to be accepted by Mexican authorities.

U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board officials will assist Mexican authorities in their investigation, Bordenkecher said.

Sixteen of the 19 tourists who were rescued returned to the United States in their own vehicles on Thursday.

Three brothers, Gary, Craig and Glen Wong, stayed behind to await news of their brother Brian, who was missing.

A sudden storm struck early Sunday, capsizing the 105-foot (32-meter) vessel, the Erik. The crew and the fishermen clung to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for more than 16 hours.

The navy and other fishing boats pulled 19 fishermen and all 16 crew members from the water late Sunday. The vessel sank about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of San Felipe.

Most of the 27 U.S. tourists on board the ship were Northern California men who traveled to the gulf for an annual Independence Day fishing trip.

LOS BARRILES - Music Night Retrospective

submitted by: Bob Farmer

Here's a short slide show featuring open music night at the The Roadrunner Cafe in Los Barriles. I wish I had photos of all the musicians who have come but I don't. If you want to email me photos (, I would really appreciate it. Thanks to all who came. There's bonus photo at the end.

NEWS - Missing Tourists in San Felipe

Dear Friends in San Felipe,
I am an author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm reaching out to you because my brother-in-law, Don Lee, and others who were onboard the Erik are still missing in San Felipe.
We're doing our best to keep the story upfront and center with the Mexican and U.S. authorities, the media, as well as local folks in the San Felipe surrounding areas. Please help to spread the word. A Facebook page has been created titled: Find our Fathers
If you're a member of the media and would like to interview families of the missing, please get in contact with me. Thanks for your support and assistance.
Peace & Blessings,

OFFROAD - SCORE mourns death of Ted Johnson

SCORE’s Sal Fish mourns loss of long-time friend and
former SCORE International Vice-President Ted Johnson
Johnson was vital part of the SCORE organization for over 30 years.
LOS ANGELES—SCORE International, the world’s foremost desert racing sanctioning body and race organizer, lost one of its founding members recently when former Vice-President for business affairs, Ted Johnson, passed away on June 18, 2011.
Born January 23, 1919 in North Freedom, Wisc., Johnson, 92 passed away near his long-time California home in Woodland Hills, Calif. from the lingering affects of the serious stroke he suffered over one year ago.
“Ted was the financial administration backbone of SCORE International from the days Mickey Thompson founded the company in 1973 until the last few years when he stepped back from an active role in the company, but he has been and will always be with us in spirit,” remembered Sal Fish, SCORE CEO/President recently. “Ted was a dear, dear friend and a true financial genius when it came to handling the financial end of SCORE International and several other companies that he was involved with over the many decades of his professional career. While we certainly have missed his wisdom and business acumen since he stepped down from the company a few years ago, we will miss even more his friendship and the amazing counsel he so graciously gave to me for nearly 40 years.”
Born Theodore Albert Johnson graduated from the University of Wisconsin, served four years in the U.S. Army during World War II, primarily in Italy and received a purple heart. After the war, he helped start the Department of Veteran Affairs at the University of Wisconsin.
Prior to moving to California in the late 1940s, Johnson worked for Youngstown Steel Products as an accountant.
His professional career included time as the vice-president of Schieffer Manufacturing as well as handling the finances for all of Mickey Thompson’s companies. He also assisted Keith Black company for several years and was an active partner with Sal Fish with SCORE until the early 2000s.
Ted Johnson and his wife Betty of 45 years (who passed away in 1990) had three daughters, Christine, Nancy and Sue.
Sue Johnson is a long time SCORE employee and has been the administrative director for the company for over 20 years.
Extremely found of cats, donations are being accepted in Ted Johnson’s name at the Humane Society.
Following is the internet address for donations: to_ give/donations.html.

NEWS - Wall of dust plows across Phoenix

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

La Paz - La Paz officials visit Redondo beach

by Michael Hixon
(Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 4:57 PM PDT)

Reports of widespread violence in Mexico instigated a visit from officials from La Paz, Redondo Beach’s sister city, and other Mexican officials to emphasize that the Baja California Sur city is one of the safest in North America and will soon be one of the country’s flourishing tourist destinations.

Redondo and La Paz have been sister cities for more than five decades, and the recently formed La Paz Tourism Board and local city officials used the city’s historic library overlooking the Pacific on Tuesday to launch an awareness campaign, named “La Paz: City of Peace and Abundance on the Sea of Cortez,” highlighting La Paz’s safety and the $1 billion in environmentally sensitive developments that will take place over the next five years. According to stats from 2009 recently released by the Irvine-based Competitive Analytics, with a population of more than 220,000, La Paz would rank third, behind Murrieta and Mission Viejo and just above Huntington Beach, in comparable California cities with a population between 100,000 and 500,000, as the third safest in murder and

Newly elected La Paz Mayor Esthela Ponce said through an interpreter that anyone who visits the city would become “addicted to our natural wonders.”

“I have been in power for only two months and I have four and a half years to go with a lot of work to do to have the tourist infrastructure and the security needed to become the new Mexican tourist destination,” Ponce said.

La Paz Mayor Esthela Ponce, Rubin Reachi Lugo, secretary of tourism for Baja California Sur, and Augustin Olachea, president of the La Paz Tourism Board, came to Redondo beach to promote Redondo’s sister city. (photo by Chris Miller)

Augustin Olachea, president of the La Paz Tourism Board, said that hotel occupancy has been steady and tourism hasn’t suffered much in La Paz despite negative press. This is mainly because currently tourism isn’t the largest attraction to the city.

“We don’t have anything related to what’s happening and what we’re seeing on the news about Mexico,” Olachea said.

Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin touted the long relationship and the similarities between the two cities.

“Here in Redondo Beach we are very environmentally sensitive in protecting our oceans. Eco-tourism is a big industry as well,” Gin said. “There are so many wonderful parallels that we are here to celebrate. As we move forward, we will continue to strengthen our relationship and to look for ways to promote greater exchanges.”

Gentil Smith, president of Redondo Beach’s Sister City Committee, expressed the importance of the organization as a conduit for teens through its youth exchange program with La Paz. Teens from Redondo Union High School who were youth ambassadors in 2006 “got this spark” by visiting La Paz and have traveled to other parts of the world, including Bogot‡, Beijing and Costa Rica, to do “good work,” she added.

“They’re going into the community doing good work visiting the orphanages, going to the schools and interacting with the people of La Paz, which is really what this is all about for us, people to people,” Smith said. “Reaching through the children is really one of the greatest things I think we can do as part of this organization.”