Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blue Seas, Making The Papers

Ah, the saga at Blue Seas continues. Recently there have been several letters published in the local English language weekly, the PVMirror. Here are several of them and you can see the general theme is who has the rights to used the beach in front of the resort. Keep in mind that last year this area was open and primarily used by the fractional owners at Playa del Sol and was an amenity we all thought was included with our purchase. Also, beach chairs (paid for with our maintenance fees) were provided for free Now the area has been taken over by the Beach Club/Restaurant and you are requiring you to either pay $20 or purchase drinks or food for the right to sit there.

Dear Editor,

It is with interest that I have been reading
about the Playa del Sol saga now renamed
the Blue Seas by Ken Molinaro.

The last writer explained what the laws
of Puerto Vallarta (concessions) and the
national law of free beach are. However,
any law or regulation, if it is to work,
takes enforcement by the local officials,
and they have not seen fit to do this. The
Blue Seas are clearly way beyond their
‘legal limit’ in putting chairs clear down
to where the waves come up under the
chairs, making it uncomfortable if not
impossible to walk the beach, let alone
place your chairs there.

Today, the owners at Playa del Sol took
matters in their own hands and placed
their chairs and towels in the ‘national
free beach’ area, much to the consternation
of the restaurant. They, in turn, proceeded to
move their chairs and umbrellas up to
and touching and leaning on and over
the ‘owners’.

Unfortunately, I see this ending badly,
with tempers flaring & possibly someone
getting hurt. If nothing else, it sure hurts
the ambiance of the area and discourages
one from encouraging family and friends
from visiting Puerto Vallarta.

I’m wondering if this is what the “City
Fathers’ really want representing their city.

The ball is certainly in their court.

A Watcher

The letter that "A Watcher" was referring to was written by Germán Estrada Navarro , the author of a popular book, Mexico Magico, that tells you everything you need to know about Mexico.

Dear Editor,

In the last few editions of the PV Mirror, I
read several letters complaining about issues
in which Mr. Ken Molinaro is involved, as
well as his answers to those complaints. To
this I can only remember that old Mexican
saying that goes… “cuando el río suena, es
por que agua lleva” (when the river sounds,
is because it’s carrying water).

But in his “arguments” about the facts,
he states, and I quote… “The beach area
is ‘privately owned’…” And here, it seems
that el Señor Molinaro either does not
know anything about what the Mexican
Constitution says about the Federal Zone
regarding the beach, or he is simply lying
and trying to mislead your readers.

The area in which PV is located is within
what is known as the Restricted Zone. And
concerning the beach, up to twenty meters
(20) from the highest tide (preamar = in
normal conditions), it is Federal Zone that
“belongs” to the Nation. That means that
NOBODY, Mexicans or foreigners, can own
privately any centimeter within that area.
As we all well know, many hotels and
condominiums, as well as private residences,
have “invaded” that area and, for many, many
years, had free use of it. However, sometime
ago the federal and local governments
decided to put an end to this “free for all”,
and began collecting the fees due for the use
of the area that was invaded, and issuing
the corresponding concessions or permits
to those who paid.

It’s true that there are still many people,
especially in condominium buildings, hotels,
and developing areas, who have abused
-and keep doing it!- who put aside the law,
basing themselves on their experience …
the fact that the local authorities exercise
NO supervision whatsoever over what goes
on, and who is doing what with the beach
inside the Federal Zone, allowing them to
block the “Derecho de Paso para peatones”
(the right of passage for pedestrians.. (an
outright and flagrant violation of the law),
using as “excuse” the permit that was given
to them for the use of the Federal Zone where
their properties have been already built. In
other words, they just “extend” –using only
words— these Permits to cover whatever
purpose they want to use them for.

They all base their violations of the
law, in their belief, and almost certainty,
-which is not totally wrong- that most
Mexicans and tourists who go to the
beaches, do not know anything about the
law and, consequently, they operate as if
they “owned” the beaches in front of their
properties, or had the “right permit” to do
whatever they please.

I may add that some of these people do
obtain certain “concessions” (as may be
the case of the “beach-beds”), but one
would have to read each “permit”, for each
case, in order to be sure what is covered,
and what is not.

But, as another old Mexican saying goes,
“no tiene la culpa el indio, sino quien lo
hizo compadre” (in this case… let’s not
blame the abusers, but those who allow
them to do what they wish).

As long as Mexicans and foreign residents
and tourists alike, as long as nobody
complains to the so-called authorities,
they will not move a single finger to
correct …anything! They are all involved
in their grand “Macro Plans” –whatever
that means, forgetting that the “microproblems”,
the daily-ones, are those that,
if not solved, will prevent them from
carrying out their “dreams”…and, sooner
or later, will cause them problems.
Supposedly, they all want to bring more
tourists to PV, but none of them take the
necessary steps to protect them from the
always present bunch of vultures that will
surround them once they arrive here.

Germán Estrada Navarro

And, finally, the exchange of letters that Mr. Navarro was referring to:

Dear Editor,

To the government, citizens
and tourists of Puerto Vallarta:

The mayor’s office should quickly
investigate and rule on recent developments
at the south end of Playa Los Muertos. Most
residents and visitors in Puerto Vallarta
are probably aware of the existence of a
popular gay resort and beach area known
as The Blue Chairs which is located near
the south edge of Playa Los Muertos.
Recently, the developer and current
presumed owner of what has been known
as Playa del Sol Centro has converted
his building into a second gay resort and
has renamed the building The Blue Seas.
He has also appointed an individual to
manage a restaurant and beach area also
known as The Blue Seas.

While the Blue
Chairs Resort has a clientele
that is almost
exclusively gay, approximately
70% of
The Blue Seas owners are heterosexuals.

The gay and straight residents of Playa

del Sol have lived side by side, socialized
together and built friendships for almost ten
years. This relationship is now threatened
by the recent actions of the building owner
and restaurant manager. This past year
both gays and straights were affected
when the beach palapas and much of the
other beach equipment paid for with the
maintenance fees of both gay and straight
residents was removed to make way for
the new Blue Seas beach area. However,
straight owners were affected even more
when they began arriving for the new
season and were told by the manager of
The Blue Seas Restaurant and Spa that
their presence on his beach would be
considered “offensive “ to his gay patrons,
and that the beach was now a “gay beach”.

He did state, however, that we could sit in

his chairs for a $20 fee or food order, or
sit in a separate small location designated
for straights only. The contradiction did
not seem to bother him nor did the obvious
use of discrimination. Gays are not
strangers to discrimination, so why would
they now choose to practice it? One has to
wonder what Puerto Vallarta would be like
if gays had been told their presence was
“offensive” when they first started coming
to Vallarta or if establishmentsin town
began to designate
their establishments as

The issue here is not
one of gay versus straight.
is a question of managementversus owners
of apartments
in The Blue Seas. It is also an
issue of who should control
one of the most
beaches in all of Puerto Vallarta.

Businesses have a
right to obtain a concession
from the city governmen but the government
has an
obligation to insure that allpeople have
a right to use
the beach. Over the past few
years the Blue Chairs Resort and now the Blue Seas,
perhaps others, have pushed their areas to the
point where
the beach drops into the sea, denying
use of the beach in
front of their concession areas
by others.

Mexican nationals
have been effectively denied
the use of much of their ownbeach. While the
Blue Chairs
has always been recognized as
a gay resort, no one has ever heard them say
that straights
were not allowed or were
unwelcome there. In thatregard, The Blue Seas
set a new standard. They have also set a new
for questionable moralityby renting
out curtained
beds on Playa Los Muertos.

Morality, also, is not a gay
versus straight issue,
and the
use of beds on the beach forquestionable
activities should
be condemned by both gays
and straights.

Denying others the use ofa public beach
involves the
issue of fairness for everyone.
People can choose to patronizeor not patronize
The Blue Seas
using their own conscience.
Discrimination, however,cannot be justified
under any

And, Ken Molinaro's response (Mr. Molinaro is the primary owner of Blue Seas and with his wife owns the Beach Club and Restaurant).

Dear Editor,

Once again I find myself
having to “argue” the facts
in your publication.

I will keep this short: There
is now and never has been
any “discrimination against
straights” or gays or nationals
or anybody else by either
Blue Seas or the previous
owner, Playa del Sol.

The area set aside for
owners is for all Playa del
Sol (now Blue Seas) condo
owners, straight and gay, who
do not wish to consume a
minimum amount at the new
beach club.

The beach area is privately
owned, is not a part of the
condominiums and is used
by the condo owners under
contract between the HOA
and the owners of Blue Seas.
As to the “beach beds”: over
the last several years, the
concept has become quite
popular and can be seen on
beaches and by pools in most
likely hundreds of resorts

Once again, I ask your
readers to remember that just
because something is written
as fact (and this should apply
to both sides of any argument)
doesn’t necessarily make it
accurate or true.

Ken Molinaro

There are a few more letters on this topic that have been published and I will post them in a few days. For those of you interested in the goings on a Blue Seas, these will give you some idea.

I will say this though, Ken's statement "There is now and never has been any discrimination against straights or gays or nationals or anybody else by either Blue Seas or the previous owner, Playa del Sol." seems a bit misleading when you consider the following quote from their website:

"Exclusively for gay men, women, and their friends"

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