update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by jakewills @, Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 13:02 (98 days ago)

After an uneventful first month here (we are new full time residents), today we got our first real talking-to about walking our dog on La Ropa in the morning. We've been making sure we were off the beach by 8:30, and until today had only had one guy nicely ask us to be careful of turtle nests. Our dog is always on leash and we carry bags to pick up after him.

Today near La Perla we were approached by several guys in DIRECCIÓN DE ECOLOGÍA uniforms. They were polite, but firm, and we kept the conversation civil. When we said the Blue Flag beach ended around the Thompson, they said that changed for 2022 and is now the whole beach. We pointed out the map showed something else, and they said it was not up to date. It sounded like they were citing the department of ecologica, so maybe they are trying to distinguish the regulation from the blue flag thing? (Our Spanish is just ok, and one of them spoke a little English, but it was not all perfectly clear.) They said there were "a large number" of reports of dogs attacking turtles, which I find very hard to believe based on the dogs I have seen on the beach that were not strays.

We asked where we could find the current regulations, and all they said was it was on the ecologica website. I have not been able to find anything like that... all I found with a calendar from 2019 and an announcement about Playa Madera getting blue flag certified on Aug 8, 2022. https://zihuatanejodeazueta.gob.mx/transparencia/ecologia

Does anyone know of another website for the department of ecologica? We are going to lay low for a day, then likely go back earlier in the morning and see if we can fly under the radar. But if approached again, I want to be prepared with what the published regulations are, if any. I'm not looking to cause any trouble, but I also won't be pushed around by phantom regulations when my dog is obviously not causing any problems. If the regs are real, then we'll re-evaluate how to deal with them and express our opinions as residents of Zihua.

update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by D-Loco, Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 16:14 (98 days ago) @ jakewills

I only vacation in Z twice a year but I can tell you as a resident of Mexico the people that don't know the laws are the ones enforcing it.

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What The Law Says

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 18:57 (98 days ago) @ jakewills

After an uneventful first month here (we are new full time residents), today we got our first real talking-to about walking our dog on La Ropa in the morning. We've been making sure we were off the beach by 8:30, and until today had only had one guy nicely ask us to be careful of turtle nests. Our dog is always on leash and we carry bags to pick up after him.

Today near La Perla we were approached by several guys in DIRECCIÓN DE ECOLOGÍA uniforms. They were polite, but firm, and we kept the conversation civil. When we said the Blue Flag beach ended around the Thompson, they said that changed for 2022 and is now the whole beach. We pointed out the map showed something else, and they said it was not up to date. It sounded like they were citing the department of ecologica, so maybe they are trying to distinguish the regulation from the blue flag thing? (Our Spanish is just ok, and one of them spoke a little English, but it was not all perfectly clear.) They said there were "a large number" of reports of dogs attacking turtles, which I find very hard to believe based on the dogs I have seen on the beach that were not strays.

We asked where we could find the current regulations, and all they said was it was on the ecologica website. I have not been able to find anything like that... all I found with a calendar from 2019 and an announcement about Playa Madera getting blue flag certified on Aug 8, 2022. https://zihuatanejodeazueta.gob.mx/transparencia/ecologia

Does anyone know of another website for the department of ecologica? We are going to lay low for a day, then likely go back earlier in the morning and see if we can fly under the radar. But if approached again, I want to be prepared with what the published regulations are, if any. I'm not looking to cause any trouble, but I also won't be pushed around by phantom regulations when my dog is obviously not causing any problems. If the regs are real, then we'll re-evaluate how to deal with them and express our opinions as residents of Zihua.

What were there? FOUR CITY THUGS?! Not a tourist in sight nor anyone else on the beach, and what do these goons do? Harass the ONLY PEOPLE on the beach for using the beach with their furry family member!

May I use your video? The audio isn't great, but the image of four government goons, two looking threatening with their ropes, and not one who knows the actual law or anything about it, is priceless.

More than ever we need to up our game and be sure we're attracting visitors and residents with the purchasing power our community needs to survive and hopefully prosper. You two are the spitting image of people whom we should be making to FEEL WELCOME here, not HARASSING on the beach. But for 2 people with beachfront restaurants on La Ropa, no one at La Ropa would support what the city is doing there.

I urge you to throw the laws they don't know back in their face and to print out what the law actually DOES say. Blue Flag isn't a law and it has no business being applied to any beaches here in Mexico that doesn't receive a large number of Europeans, more than non-Europeans, to justify running off other people such as you all and inconveniencing the locals who should be able to enjoy our own beaches. It's a POLICY of the local government, it is NOT a law.

Now you can see why I urge anyone who thinks they want to spend any time here to first dominate the language so you can't be taken advantage of by folks like these city goons collecting their paychecks in unnecessary jobs that only serve to pay POLITICAL FAVORS.

You have every right to walk with your furry family member along the beaches and the Zona Federal. What one of the goons was trying to tell you was that you apply for a permit to have your dog declared necessary for health reasons like a seeing eye dog or emotional trauma. I understand they are trying hard not to issue any of these permits.

First you need to understand a couple of concepts.

¿Qué es la Zona Federal?
La Zona Federal Marítimo Terrestre es la franja de veinte metros de ancho de tierra firme, transitable y contigua a la playa.
https://www.gob.mx/profepa/acciones-y-programas/que-es-la-zona-federal-maritimo-terrestre-56672

Here's the law that governs the use of the Zona Federal: https://www.profepa.gob.mx/innovaportal/file/3668/1/reglamento__zofemat.pdf

Notice in Cap. II Sec. I it prohibits any construction on the beach, something the local government has done with impunity. It also states that everyone may use the beach without restriction. The use of vehicles has been forbidden on beaches since this law was written.

The Zona Federal is the area where the government can lease its use, such as to a beach restaurant to put their beach chairs on Playa La Ropa.

You cannot be denied ACCESS to the beach itself, thanks to a decree by the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (this decree also appears on the final page of the Ley General de Bienes Nacionales linked below):
DECRETO por el que se adicionan diversas disposiciones a la Ley General de Bienes Nacionales, para garantizar el libre acceso y tránsito en las playas.
https://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5603240&fecha=21/10/2020#gsc.tab=0

What DOES the law say? The law says that BEACHES are public property for common use. See Art. 7 and Art. 154 of the LEY GENERAL DE BIENES NACIONALES

The Blue Flag BS is just that: BS! It's a scam used by the municipal government to pay political favors (i.e. give jobs and favors to folks who helped in campaigns or who otherwise curry favor with the local king, I mean mayor). It also makes them look like they're doing more than simulating their duties.

Print out and highlight THE LAW and watch their jaws drop and see them start stuttering and sputtering when you actually wave it in their face. I'd love to see THAT filmed. Feel free to mention my name ROBERT WHITEHEAD - ORGULLOSAMENTE CIUDADANO MEXICANO (PROUD MEXICAN CITIZEN).

Oh, and here's the Blue Flag scam: https://www.blueflag.global/

What The Law Says

by jakewills @, Thursday, September 01, 2022, 16:32 (97 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Thanks, Rob! Appreciate the links and will definitely familiarize ourselves with those and practice being able to communicate them. We are working hard on our Spanish (my partner more than me, to be honest)... we're not horrible, but it gets harder when we get flustered.

I started down the rabbit hole of Blue Flag research... all the things that are out of compliance here, where are the boundaries, etc. But I think that is a red herring based on the federal law you provided. Simpler to stick to that and move on, avoiding confrontation debating the BS. But if it happens, you'll get more videos, believe me.

I do want to be clear that they were polite and we did not feel threatened in any way. I agree the disinformation to manipulate people is deplorable, but we definitely don't want to play the scared gringo card --- that was not the case.

I know you have a lot more history and background on this than we do, and that probably adds to the severity from your perspective. We understand and believe you, but someone will have to do a lot more than that to intimidate us. We'll be back out on the beach with RayRay in the morning, armed with information. ;-)

What The Law Says

by jakewills @, Friday, September 02, 2022, 16:43 (96 days ago) @ jakewills

Today a different guy approached me, took off his shoes so he could get in the water to physically get in my way, and berated me. My practiced lines about the Zona Federal seemed to piss him off, which I guess is to be expected. He threatened to call the police tomorrow as I walked away.

Note that I was below the water line (in ankle deep water) to avoid any turtle nest concerns and carrying a bag of poop.

Related/unrelated, I have started photographing blue flag requirements out of compliance, such as lack of trash cans and handicap accessibility. Still undecided what I will do with those, but I have some ideas.

What The Law Says

by Casa Juan @, Friday, September 02, 2022, 17:07 (96 days ago) @ jakewills

God willing and the creek don t rise, if I make it back in November, I would be willing to join you for a beach walk at La Ropa with my pooch if you are still a free man! Keep up the good fight!

What The Law Says

by Zihuateco @, Friday, September 02, 2022, 17:39 (96 days ago) @ Casa Juan

Y yo tambien! Llegamos 12/10/2022 and I have been informed that I speak some pretty good darn good formal Spanish.

What The Law Says

by jakewills @, Friday, September 02, 2022, 19:32 (96 days ago) @ Zihuateco

Thank you both! Hit me up when you get here and we'll either go trolling the beach or you can bring me a care package in the slammer. :-D

What The Law Says

by Zihuateco @, Saturday, September 03, 2022, 07:27 (95 days ago) @ jakewills

...”in the slammer”...if so, I will buy the first “BLUE” dog hammock you make. :o)

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What The Law Says

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Friday, September 02, 2022, 17:20 (96 days ago) @ jakewills

What time were you out there? Did you get a picture of him?

We were berated by a guy in May, a runner, who threatened, in English, us with the police, the sanitary police and immigration. He yelled at us both directions on his run.

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What The Law Says

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Friday, September 02, 2022, 17:43 (96 days ago) @ Talley Ho

What time were you out there? Did you get a picture of him?

We were berated by a guy in May, a runner, who threatened, in English, us with the police, the sanitary police and immigration. He yelled at us both directions on his run.

Yeah, none of those people have jurisdiction to do anything to you. It's not a law, so you aren't breaking any laws. Nothing for the police or anyone to do. Sanitary police? Hilarious! There's no such thing. Immigration couldn't care less and they certainly have no jurisdiction to apply Blue Flag policies. See, it's this big bluff. Now, if you try walking off the beach with a big piece of coral or some live sea critter, then there are laws and punishments, but not for walking on the beach with your leashed pets taking care to clean up after them. They can't fine you. They can't arrest you. They can't deport you. And if anyone touches you call a lawyer. They'll pay you to drop the charges (because otherwise, they might end up in jail awaiting first just to be charged and later to be tried, people can spend years in jail with no charges, no trial). ;-)

What The Law Says

by jakewills @, Friday, September 02, 2022, 19:34 (96 days ago) @ Talley Ho

A little before 8am. He was definitely a "white shirt" worker... by the turtle incubator and wearing jeans. I have a picture, but I am not to the point of public shaming. Yet.

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What The Law Says - reloaded

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Friday, September 02, 2022, 17:31 (96 days ago) @ jakewills

Today a different guy approached me, took off his shoes so he could get in the water to physically get in my way, and berated me. My practiced lines about the Zona Federal seemed to piss him off, which I guess is to be expected. He threatened to call the police tomorrow as I walked away.

Note that I was below the water line (in ankle deep water) to avoid any turtle nest concerns and carrying a bag of poop.

Related/unrelated, I have started photographing blue flag requirements out of compliance, such as lack of trash cans and handicap accessibility. Still undecided what I will do with those, but I have some ideas.

The guy in the photo is only a city worker. If only these folks spent as much time cleaning up the beach as harassing people that we need to want to come here. Meanwhile on the downtown beach where turtle egg poachers and drunks are a problem, NADA. Zero vigilance. Saw the Bomberos early last evening, then all night long nothing but drunks, poachers and vagos on the beach.

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What The Law Says

by hromero ⌂ @, Saturday, October 08, 2022, 14:11 (60 days ago) @ jakewills

I live here year around and currently am enjoying some free time in the mornings due to low season. If you want someone else, who is pretty fluent in spanish, to come along let me know. I would be happy to help protest and resiste these ridiculous regulations.

--
Humberto Romero
www.casaarcoiriszihuatanejo.com

What The Law Says

by jakewills @, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 09:12 (57 days ago) @ hromero

Thanks, Humberto! Our morning walks have been uneventful for a while, but I will take you up on that if things change. If you see a guy with a stocky black terrier on a blue lead, please wave us down -- we'd love to say hello.

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What The Law Says - followup

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Friday, September 02, 2022, 18:54 (96 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

Okay, just for clarification, there is a municipal code of regulations, and according to them people are not supposed to walk their animals anywhere, neither the public beaches nor the public parks or streets. If you peruse the Bando de Policía y Buen Gobierno, the first thing you can't help but notice is ALL the local regulations that are not enforced. It would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic. Bars that get away with opening any hours they want and disturbing the peace to their heart's content. Drunks living on the beaches and in the plazas, using the bathroom in front of children and tourists. Pick almost any section, any regulation, and you'll realize that many of them you'll see violated right in front of the police numerous times every day with zero consequences, and personally it made me laugh all the regs with absolutely NO attempt at enforcement. Every administration puts one of these out. This is one of the funniest yet for all the obvious CASES OF OMISSION.

So remember this saying because this is exactly why it exists: O TODOS COLUDOS O TODOS RABONES. It basically means that the same treatment goes for all. In this case, if the regulations apply to one then they apply to all, something notoriously incongruent in our municipal government.

Tell them to go harass a real criminal, and not the folks with high purchasing power we need here to sustain our community, people whom we should be welcoming here along WITH THEIR FURRY FAMILY MEMBERS.

update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by jakewills @, Saturday, September 03, 2022, 08:31 (95 days ago) @ jakewills

Nice walk on an almost empty beach this morning without incident. We did not go all the way down to the turtle center. There was a large group of people there... either a hatchling release or they called out the posse to wait for me. ;) RayRay and I decided discretion is the better part of valor and turned around. (We wouldn't get close to a release anyway.)

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update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by Talley Ho @, Playa la Ropa, Saturday, September 03, 2022, 11:18 (95 days ago) @ jakewills

Releases are held at dusk so that, in theory, the hatchlings have a bit of a chance of not being bird food.

Glad it was an uneventful morning.

update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by Carrie @, Tuesday, October 04, 2022, 23:59 (64 days ago) @ jakewills

Hi Jake-

My husband and I are here for a month as we consider moving here. This no dogs thing on La Ropa or Las Gatas or La Madera is a really big bummer! We can’t even sit in the sand and watch the sunset with our dog? She loves a great sunset! :-) We can’t even walk from La Ropa into town for a meal using the shortcut at the far end of the beach without breaking the rules by walking on the sand.

I have been doing my homework, and it seems that Blue Flag beaches can have a designated “bathing season” or even certain hours per day when the flag is flown. So La Ropa can be Blue Flag certified but still allow dogs at certain times of day or just during certain seasons. I am guessing making this reasonable compromise a reality may take quite a long time, but at least other communities have made it happen- so it is possible, which is hopeful. Perhaps you already discovered this, but sharing just in case:

https://www.con-telegraph.ie/2022/05/10/dogs-will-be-allowed-in-designated-areas-on-mayos-blue-flag-beaches/

https://www.fingal.ie/news/restrictions-re-dogs-11am-7pm-blue-flag-beaches-during-bathing-season

Hopefully we will see you out there one of these (very early) mornings with our dog!

-Carrie

update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by jakewills @, Wednesday, October 05, 2022, 09:09 (63 days ago) @ Carrie
edited by jakewills, Wednesday, October 05, 2022, 15:52

Hey Carrie, it is definitely a bummer. But in the past month I haven't had any new incidents like I described in this thread. A couple times the beach minders approached us, but they were polite and I have decided on those rare days to just walk elsewhere. I have never seen the guys in uniform again, and I have never seen the Dept of Ecologica guy in jeans again (who was the real jerk).

The thing I have realized is that no one who has said anything to me knows anything detailed about Blue Flag rules or the difference between Federal Zone and municipal laws -- or if they do, they don't acknowledge it. They certainly aren't going to have a logical discussion about it. All they will say is dogs are not allowed on the beach, period. That is the rule. It's on the website (it's not). No, no, you are wrong. Etc, etc. That was my mistake, trying to rationalize or prove something (in poor espanol) to someone in the moment whose only intent is to enforce their view. All that accomplishes is to get me worked up and ruin my day. So I have decided to either retreat and avoid, or just ignore them... depends on how I feel that day. And know that it will all be back to normal the next day.

Yes, Blue Flag rules can be flexible, and I would support an effort to get Zihua to consider that. I've also researched and know that Blue Flag rules are only supposed to apply when the flag is flying, which I have NEVER seen here. Probably because they do not consistently do all the other things they are supposed to in order to fly the flag, such as have lifeguards, post water quality numbers, have bathrooms open, and have trash/recycling cans out. From what I have heard, they only do those things when getting re-certified. Which tells me the Blue Flag thing is really a red herring... it might be the justification for the municipal rules they try to enforce, but it is not what they are really enforcing. Which also tells me that trying to get the Zihua Blue Flag rules relaxed is not likely to get real engagement. I would love to be proven wrong about that.

(edited from my original post) Feel free to message me for more details about how I've handled having a dog here in Zihua. Just know it is not an existential challenge. I doubt you will have any problems watching sunsets with your girl.

Will keep an eye out for you, but Ray Ray is a dog reactive rescue, so it might just be a wave at first and we can chat another time when he is not around. If you see a guy with a black dog turn around and walk away, or intensely trying to distract him, that is me. :)

update on dogs and La Ropa blue flag

by Carrie @, Wednesday, October 05, 2022, 11:05 (63 days ago) @ jakewills

Ha! We also have a rescue pup……so you will recognize me as the person trying to get the 4 kilo dog next to me (Lola) to listen to even one word I am saying. :)