San Pancho Sano – Easter 2024

March 30, 2024

Hola amigas, amigos, vecinas, vecinos y residentes de San Pancho, this is a message to update on what’s going on in our town. I hope you’re all well within the range of the possible! Today is Easter weekend and almost every resident has noticed that the beach and the town are pretty quiet today although the restaurants are pretty full, and there is a constant movement of beach goers from the Carretera to the Malecón.

Finally I am taking the time to write the March newsletter of San Pancho Sano; the month has sped by in part due to the very successful fundraisers of Entreamigos, La Tallerera and Circo de los Niños and the increasingly popular San Pancho Music Festival. While many of us contribute and participate in these specific fundraisers, others of us also contribute to the various town festivals for children, adults, and families, who do not receive the benefits of major NGO’s services. I want to acknowledge and thank those who contributed these past 12 months to the fiestas patronales of San Pancho, the celebration of the Mexican revolution, and the Christmas posadas and Xmas baskets for kids and their families which are the major public celebrations of San Pancho: Melissa McCann, Rob MacGregor, the Randalls, Jill Hampton, Jane Ann Fontento, Maryanne Leach, Kelly Dietzs, Tom Burke, the José Islas, the Lalo De Avilas. Muchísimas gracias to each and every person and family who have contributed funds, large and small, sustaining and one-time donors to the various community organizations serving the community! We all make San Pancho a vibrant community that invests in the long-term successes of its children regardless of socioeconomic level.

Many of you arrive to spend the Winter and Spring seasons creating the effervescence of social gatherings. Lalo and I love to experience the infusion of enthusiasm, human warmth and energy that envelops the town. It is awe inspiring to witness the breadth of creativity in San Pancho; so many artists (painters, sculptors, musicians, craftspeople, dancers, gymnasts, designers, chefs, etc.) live in town, some are the “yo soy de aquí” (I was born here.) locals, others are Mexicans from elsewhere, and there are those from around the world, mostly the Americas and Europe. It is no wonder that San Pancho is known as the cultural heart of the state of Nayarit. Makes us all proud and delighted! News of San Pancho and the municipality follow.

The majority of the town’s permanent residents have their own reality, a reality that affects us all who live, run businesses, and/or own or rent property in San Pancho. I have written about the mounting issue of garbage, for example, we all create it, and the volume of it continues to increase with each new construction that begins and is completed. Since last year GIRRSA, the national waste management company owned by the politico Juan Castro Almaguer and that has a 25-year contract as of 2007 with our county or municipality Bahía de Banderas, has been unable to provide adequate services to San Pancho and most other towns in the region. The garbage trucks do not pick-up in Costa Azul or Clavellinas, that leads to workers from these neighborhoods to drop their large filled black garbage bags in any corner they encounter close to town. Our delegado/mayor José Islas has been and continues to be the most articulate and vocal delegado of the municipio, monitoring the arrival and route of the GIRRSA trucks in SP and filing complaints with the presidenta of the municipio. Town residents upload daily the unsightly and smelly crowded garbage bags that end up being torn apart by dogs and rodents. José has been relentless in demanding better service, but GIRRSA’s internal management is in a state of chaos. José considers that the most viable option, in the long term, is for San Pancho to take care of its own garbage; this implies buying our own garbage truck, hiring the employees, and contracting through the municipality to allow our truck to dump its garbage in the municipal landfill or dumping ground, and charging all residents a fee for the service. But this will take time and an initial major fundraiser to purchase the initial equipment and permits. What are your thoughts about this idea?

Any other viable ideas? As I have mentioned previously various community groups are working on the garbage issue—1) education about composting, recycling, and reducing landfill garbage, 2) re-establishing the barrios as neighborhood entities with a volunteer or volunteers willing to be responsible to talk with neighbors about what assistance they need to maintain their block clean and orderly, conduct neighborhood clean-ups, and ensure that garbage is put on the street only when the garbage truck is scheduled to pick it up, 3) do a survey of all residents and owners to understand their challenges in disposing of their garbage appropriately. I will be sending the survey shortly, please do your best to answer all the questions and return it to me. I’ll just print each anonymous questionnaire and one committee will collect and organize the data in order to present it to the community. Your answers will help us focus on how to bring adequate solutions to the garbage problematic. Thank you!!!!

And on to the political scandal and ensuing chaos in the Bahía de Banderas municipality, our county. The presidenta of the municipality, Mirtha Villalvazo, was charged with corruption and stealing from the municipality’s coffers after the state of Nayarit’s Auditor General of Accounts (Auditoria Superior del Estado de Nayarit) conducted an audit in late February 2024. Ms. Villalvazo did not comply to appear at the prosecutor’s office for fear of being detained and subsequently went missing, according to the online newspaper La Many of her valuable real estate has been impounded and officers removed a large safe from her parents’ house. Lia Castro Díaz was appointed interim president of the municipality. Unfortunately the turmoil means that the towns and cities in the municipality will have to fend for themselves at many levels. And, surprisingly, Mirtha Villalvazo has communicated that she intends to run for a second term! So will Dr. Cuevas who was president twice before–it’s an endless cycle of sameness…FYI, Mexico’s general elections will be held on June 2nd, 2024. Offices up for election are: a new president to serve a 6-year term, all 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and all 128 members of the Senate, and the country’s state elections that include all officers, from Governor to Presidents of Municipalities.

As many of you know the water situation in San Pancho continues to be dire. The foreshortened rainy season last year has everyone concerned. As we know San Pancho has two community wells with a depth of about 60 meters. Tierra Tropical/La Patrona has 4 wells, the private water association of Costa Azul has its own well, and a number of private homes and boutique hotels dug their own wells. According to the data that José Islas has obtained most of the private wells mentioned have a depth of 100 meters. All of those entities, including the pipas (water trucks) that supply many residents in Barrio #1 (Costa Azul/Clavellinas), rely on pluvial surface water which fills the common aquifer. The growth of San Pancho has been exponential and more to come. The infrastructure of the water system of San Pancho has remained the same for the last 25 years. The town’s pumps right now work 15 hours a day to deliver water to all its subscribers as as those who refuse to pay their dues; during the summer, when the water supply gets very low, the pumps may work for 2 hours a day, alternating supply to the town. San Pancho needs to open a third well with capacity to provide potable water for the additional construction, homes, apartments, businesses and hotels for the next 10 years. The well site has been identified by a hydraulic engineer; it is located behind the secondary school, where the large parking lot is located; however the Nayarit state government has been very clear to Claudio Vázquez, the water council’s president, and to José Islas, the delegado/mayor of SP, that while they will carry out and cover the cost of a new well, Oromapas must be involved. There are other actors in the private sector who have approached our leaders offering to help finance such a project because it will benefit their own developments.

Consequently, there is a move to enter in negotiations with the director of the municipality’s water utility company known as Oromapas, which is semi-independent of the county government, but has been under the thumb of the previous presidenta Mirtha Villalvazo. What has been proposed by Oromapas is to take over the administration of the water system, its finances and fees’ collection, while the town users may elect San Pancho’s water council; it could be made up of the current members or/and new others. The employees, e.g., chief of operations, on-site administrator/bookkeeper, field workers, pump operators, etc. would become Oromapas employees yet accountable to the SP water council as the local oversight body. The Oromapas director has committed to obtain a SAT (Hacienda/Mexican IRS) registration under the San Pancho Water Council’s name under the sponsorship of Oromapas, Bahía de Banderas, and carry a San Pancho bank account such that monies accrued through payments of the users would be dedicated to improving San Pancho’s water system infrastructure and its expansion. Oromapas would provide technical expertise and, after review and approval, facilitate the requests for permits from public works and other agencies. While many ejidatarios (there are about 90 registered ejidatarios living in SP), their families, and some others oppose any involvement of Oromapas, it is likely that the greater postion of water users would support this idea. A town meeting would have to be called to elicit support for this type of negotiation.

And this is where the importance of reestablishing the power of the 9 current barrios comes in. If each barrio had an involved representative a town council could be created to represent the interests of the town in any negotiation whether with governmental offices or private organizations/corporation. The representatives could become the members of a new water council. It could be a powerful body. I for one would recommend that Barrio #1, should be split into two barrios (#1 and #10) : Costa Azul and Clavellinas. So, please complete the Barrio questionnaire you’ll be receiving and return it to me!

A piece of good news is that two of 4 lifeguard towers have been installed on the beach of San Pancho by the municipality, and the lifeguards have been hired and are in training before taking their posts. This is in response to a request to José Islas by some of SP residents, that the previous tower that was destroyed by the last hurricane be replaced and a new tower be installed. This major concern evolved after a number of drownings and almost-drownings have occurred on our beach.

Bon voyage to those who are returning to their homesteads. Happy Easter, Feliz Pascua to those who celebrate it. That is all for now. Be well, be safe, and enjoy the moment. I’ll keep you updated on what I know and hear, and, as always, I welcome corrections, additions, and suggestions. If you want to be taken off these mailings let me know. Saludos, patricia


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