Trying to “gentrify” Ajijic with colored cement crosswalks seems to be so out of character with our village that I was surprised to learn that some Facebook chat groups are full of supportive chatter about the “improvements” initiated by the Chapala administration.
Just because they are paying taxes, their view should count, many say.
One thing expats should remember about our village is that we have basically made it impossible for a regular working-class Mexican to live here anymore. It’s economic apartheid. Another observation from my 25 years running Barbara’s is that in the end most of the expats leave here (health concerns or just ready to go back). They leave no family behind but may leave permanent changes to Ajijic. Some, of course, do leave an amazing legacy: Neill James, Ed Wilkes, etcetera.
We the expats (I include myself) have either bought up run-down properties and made them our homes, or torn them down and built multi-units. The result of this has been to slowly but surely push prices up out of the reach of the average Mexican born in this area.
Only four of my 13 employees own their own home here and that ownership is due to inheritance. The rest live out of Ajijic or rent from other Mexicans.
Another disturbing trend is to convert these little “Mexican” houses into Airbnb money makers for the expats. This puts more people on the streets who care nothing about our way of life without paying a dime in taxes to the village they are “selling” as a tourist destination. It’s not surprising the airbnb crowd might not like uneven cobblestones, but that is how it is in Ajijic. If the Mexicans here say no to concrete on their streets, I say we support them. Let’s allow something of the old Ajijic to remain for the natives and not force all our tastes on them.
The Thompson/Quirarte Family
In the May 25 issue of the Reporter, Dale Hoyt Palfrey wrote a front page article on the new (at last) Chapala regulations against excessive noise. She wrote: “The municipal police force ... is responsible for dealing with noise issues related to closed parties held on private property… officers have authority to grant rowdy noise makers a 30-minute window to tone down the din.” Why a 30-minute window when it takes ten seconds to turn the volume knob down on any apparatus? Do you really think that the patrulla will come back 30 minutes later to check on the noise when the police have such a large area to patrol? At the end of the article it read: “Report loud parties on private properties or at public spaces to the police headquarters switchboard, (376) 765-4444.” Aaaaahh!
One of our neighbors built a palapa on top of his house and turned it into a disco. Whether they use it for private parties or something else, on Saturday and Sunday nights (and sometimes Fridays) they blast so-called “music” at full volume until 2 or even 3 a.m. Myself, my wife and several others have called the police number numerous times on these nights. A neighbor complained that her children could not sleep when they had to go to school in the morning. The polite answer is always the same: “Yes I can hear the noise. We’ll send a patrulla.”
If the patrol car does show up, their only action is either to flash the police lights or sound a quick horn blast. Usually, the noise does come down to a bearable level. But when the patrulla leaves and is barely out of sight, the “music” is back at full volume.
According to your article, the anti-noise regulations are to be fully enforced starting in July. Not surprisingly, no precise date was given. I am not holding my breath in the anticipation of quiet weekend nights.
My question is: What in the world is the Chapala government waiting for before enforcing the regulations it voted on a couple of months ago? Maybe Ms. Palfrey could find out.
J.C. Tatinclaux, Ajijic