Annual Meeting Minutes

A.C.T.S. Annual Meeting

Casa de Ejidal, Todos Santos, BCS, MX

Saturday, March 24, 2018; 11 AM-12:20 PM

Attendees: 75+


Welcome & Recap Purpose of ACTS – Vickie Butler, Vice President

  • Legally recognized, Mexican, non-profit, volunteer organization.
  • Cannot be involved in politics, but can be involved in the health, environment, safety, security, and well-being of the community.
  • Recognition of other community org. contributions such as Palapa Society, Padrino,

Solo por Ayudar, Manos Magico, Vida y Prosperidad

Treasurer Report – Denise Steffenhagen, Treasurer

  • 2017: Jan. 1 – $21k pesos; Dec. 30 – $128k pesos
  • 2018: Mar. 23 – $54,189 pesos not earmarked
  • See Treasurer’s Report for details

Membership / PayPal – Denise

  • Join or pay membership dues online at
  • Set up PayPal to easily pay recurring membership dues

Phone Book – Wendy Rains

  • It’s available now, suggested donation of $150 pesos
  • All costs have been covered, thanks to advertising and minimum suggested donation
  • 100 additional phone books now being printed

Comfort Care – Wendy

  • Program grew out of last year’s ACTS conference on Death and Dying
  • Expert training sessions began in Spring of 2016 with Dan Hodul, followed by an intense 3-day workshop with Camille Adair, and a 1-day workshop with Frank Osteseski
  • Program now has a core group of over 30 volunteers, for 5 different departments (depending on need), such as bereavement counseling
  • Program activities include round table discussions, film screenings, a book club, plus on-going workshops and training
    • March 29 – Book club meeting for The 5 Invitations by Frank Osteseski
  • Next group meeting: April 3rd at Serendipity
  • Wendy Rains can be reached at
  • Visit the website and for more information

Security – ACTS President Eduardo Ochoa and Todos Santos Delegado (Mayor) Jesus Beltran

  • 20 days ago, Delegado Beltran met with Police, La Paz officials, and Ministerio Publico
  • There are 15 Marines (gray uniform), 3 Ministerio Publico investigators and 10 Militaries (green uniform) now patrolling Todos Santos area permanently–more than 2x the number of security previously assigned—in addition to the 7 police for every shift.
  • Important to focus on prevention.
  • If you are a victim of a crime, report it. Police phone numbers are on the website, and in the phonebook. Reach out to ACTS if you need assistance with this process.
  • You can re-apply to join the police Whats App group
  • Questions from audience:
    • Q: What is the prosecution rate of those caught?
      A: Unknown.
    • Q: How do we keep criminals in jail? Victims have to go to La Paz regularly to fight to keep the in jail.
      A: The Delegado has no power to change the law. We need to keep following the process of the current law, even though it is very difficult. Keep filing reports. Keep following up with officials in La Paz.
    • Q: How often will we see patrols? We’d like to see more.
      A: We need your participation. Communicate your needs, such as a request for increased patrolling, with the Delegado and police offices.
    • Q: What is the best way to communicate with the Delegado and Police?
      A: Phone. Start with the Delegado, and he can communicate with the Police and Fire Dept. See phone numbers in the phone book, and on the website.
    • Q: Can we get a smaller police station in the Otro Lado, such as Las Tunas?
      A: Plan has been presented. State dept is evaluating the plan, looking for property that government owns, and identifying funds.
    • Q: What about the recent burglaries in Las Brisas? Tools, gas.
      A: Police think they know who they are. Smaller, local individuals, likely drug related. Need more reports.
    • Q: Can we get more street lights, more patrols, in downtown, too?
      A: Yes, with our new resources. Come to the next meeting for more details.
    • Q: Can we have your phone number – text in Spanish
      A: Delegado Beltran: 612-161-3590
  • April 28th at Casa de Ejidal, 11am – Separate meeting focused on Security, with the head of police.

Cell tower – Delegado Beltran

  • He is against the cell tower, and says the one in the Las Brisas neighborhood will not be built.
  • Stay vigilent, notify the Delegado if you see any cell tower activity in Todos Santos.

Vecinos Vigilantes – John Callender

  • This is about neighbors helping neighbors.
  • Prevention is key. Reporting crimes is critical, even though it’s tough. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
  • Have the Delegado, Police and Fire dept phone numbers ready. Use the new map to describe the coordinates of where you are located.
  • Mobilize and share information. Exchange phone numbers with your neighbors. Get pro-active so that you’re ready in case of an incident.
  • Suggestions from attendee, post-meeting:
    • Install solar motion detector lights and deadbolt locks (available at Home Depot)
    • Add protective film for windows: Learn more by emailing

Trash / Recycle Programs – Jamie Stephens

  • Delegado has received funds to fix, clean and maintain the dump, including soil research.
  • Delegado will push the Federal office to clean up the trash left outside of the dump. It is not his jurisdiction.
  • Recycle: Alejandro Miro, of the Recycle center, asked the Delegado to be more involved in the recycle program. Possibly have home pick up. In the meantime, he encourages all to drop off recycling at Punta Verde, Miro’s recycle center.
  • Come to the meeting Monday 6:30 pm El Refugio restaurant to discuss ideas to get plastic out of the garbage and the dump.
  • Jamie initiated the highly successful Saturday trash truck pick-up on Playitas across from Cleo’s Restaurante.
  • Email Jamie Stephens if you want to purchase trash pick-up sticks, to keep areas around your house clean. (

Map Project – Tom Carroll & Eduardo

  • Almost finished, Bomberos/Delegado/Police have provided feedback.
  • Request for attendees to proofread it after the meeting, one last time.
  • Will be available online, as well as a printed version for purchase, soon.
  • Large oil-cloth copy to be provided for all first responders.

Audience acknowledgments/New Officer Recruitment/Project Ideas – Vickie

  • Introduction of Laurel D’Angelo, new ACTS Secretary.
  • Current officers will stay on ACTS Board, but it is time for replacements.
  • If anyone is interested, please sign-up or contact one of the current officers.
  • If you have ideas for programs, such as Pesticide Education, sign-up.

Meeting Adjourned: 12:20 PM


Casa Ejidal, Todos Santos, BCS, MX
Friday, April 7, 2017; 3:30-5 PM

MINUTES (Download in PDF)


ACTS’ (Asociacion de Colonias de Todos Santos) Vice President Vickie Butler welcomed the 70+ attendees and stated that ACTS is required to hold an Annual Meeting in order to maintain our non-profit status. Vickie also reviewed the ACTS Mission which is to facilitate the health, welfare and security of the entire Todos Santos Community and its environment. She emphasized that except for sporadic payments to one individual, ACTS is a totally volunteer organization that is dependent on the 500 pesos annual dues.

ACTS Board members and committee heads were then introduced: President Eduardo Ochoa, Secretary Judy Welch and Treasurer Denise Steffenhagen (not present); Wendy Rains (Phone Book/Newsletter Editor & Eco Com), John & Carin Jette (Vecino Vigilante), Anita Trammel (Map Project), and Nancy Naigle/Jamie Stephens (Trash). Later, Vickie thanked Laurie Bauer for her contributions to the website during the past years.

Vickie then reported on the following: 2016 FINANCIAL REPORT

January 1, 2016: Beginning Balance–$24, 634 pesos December 30, 2016: Ending Balance–$21, 019 pesos

Expenses included: monthly accountant fee, website domain/maintenance and printing. As of March 31th, the checking account balance was $37,129 pesos, of which $10,000 pesos were collected and earmarked for trash clean-up efforts and repair of a second community garbage truck.


Since its formation, ACTS has had 103 paid memberships. Attendees were encouraged to either join ACTS or renew membership at the table in the rear of the room or to go to the website.


Vickie stated that although instrumental in the organization of Vecino Vigilantes and the facilitation of on-going communication with Delegado Jesus Beltran and the local police, ACTS is not “a swat team” and cannot stop burglaries by itself. She did state

that ACTS definitely has the respect and “ear” of the local authorities and can, as in the past, write letters to the BCS Governor and spearhead a security petition drive. For example, five years ago during a rash of crime, within one week almost 2000 signatures were gathered, of which 75% were local Mexican citizens. Delegado Beltran has asked that ACTS give the local police additional time to deal with the recent burglaries before initiating a new petition drive.

There are currently 10 active Vecino Vigilante neighborhood watch groups, and each neighborhood is encouraged to organize one with the help of John & Carin, who can be contacted at In addition, everyone is reminded to lock doors/windows and to consider installing alarm systems. If there are any new security developments, those facts will be posted by Vecino Vigilante.

TODOS SANTOS MAP PROJECT—Anita Trammell and other committee members have been working on the map for 2 1⁄2 years. Each drivable street has been named and (hopefully) soon a map will be provided to all “first responders” in Todos Santos.

ACTS COMMUNITY PHONE BOOK – The 2017-18 phone book is being spearheaded by Editor Wendy Rains. If people want to be included in the phone book and haven’t already signed-up, they need to provide their info at, Business ads are being sold at a reasonable rate and commercial ads design help can be provided at $10 USD per hour. Publication of the phone book now is estimated to be in early fall.

HOSPICE TRAINING/COMFORT CARE–-Training is currently being offered to a broad-based group with the goal of providing comfort to those community members in ill-health without close family/friends. Initiated and organized by Wendy, info on this new program can be found at

ACTS DEATH & DYING SEMINAR – Go to for the important & pertinent information that was provided by Elena Moreno at the recent seminar attended by 130 individuals.

TRASH TRUCK–- The second garbage truck now is in LaPaz for repairs. Thank you to everyone who donated and to Que Rico & Tecolote for facilitating the donations at their stores.

TOPETE PAVING–-The Delegado recently asked for ACTS’ help in soliciting signatures on petitions that he could then present to La Paz government officials. Petition folders were left with various stores with 300 signatures collected.

PATROMONIO COMUNITARIO COMMISSION –- This is a newly formed organization that is a coalition of community groups, organizations and associations. PCC recognizes the shared wealth that the community enjoys and the need to preserve, protect and enhance our important assets. Efforts are being made to unite to promote orderly regional growth. During Easter weekend, there will be a project at

Punta Lobos promoting family activities that emphasize preservation and stewardship. Attendees were encouraged to donate and/or volunteer.

PRESIDENT EDUARDO OCHOA—Eduardo reported on information that he had received this morning from Delegado Beltran regarding the status of burglary investigations. He stated that two burglary suspects had been recently arrested, an amparo has been lifted on a “suspected” individual, and that there will be an increase in military and state support. In fact, the military unit stationed in Todos Santos helped block a road when police were involved in a recent car chase.

Eduardo emphasized that it is very important to report burglaries because this information can be sent to La Paz as justification for more security help.


John gave the history of the Programa Subregional de Desarrollo Urbano (PSDU), a document that took approximately six years to create from information provided by a Mexico City urban consulting firm. The firm conducted studies in the Agua Blanca, Todos Santos/Pescadero/Elias Calle/Sierra areas, resulting in the 600-page document that included the history, economic activities and general panoramas with the strengths and weaknesses.

Prior to the publication of the PSDU, informational workshops were conducted ending with answers and responses to “take” the social pulse of the local and foreign communities. PSDU motives are to protect the environment and populations and to keep mining at bay.

Completed in 2011 and put into force in August 2012, the PSDU is truly a law and does have the force of law; however, the burden is on local residents and foreigners to ensure enforcement. Authorities will not investigate PSDU violations on their own; complaints need to be filed. We all come to invest, to live and to enjoy our natural features. “There are two ways of looking at growth and the PSDU is the more conservative.”

John emphasized that foreigners have more influence than most realize and can speak up on almost 100% of issues within Mexico, except they cannot criticize politicians- for example, the Mexican President.

Please note: The PSDU is being translated and when completed will replace the existing summary that can currently be accessed at website.

Audience questions/John Moreno answers

Q There are rumors of development at Pastora. A investors are looking to buy, but it’s not clear.

Q Are there any threats of new developments?
A There is threat of development on the dunes in LaCachora North.

Q Is it a federal offense to build on a dune?
A Yes, if there is environmental impact; however, in this region building is illegal because of the PSDU. Some houses may have gotten permits before 2012 – permit are good for one year then extend for 180 days. Some fall through the cracks because people are not required to give photos of land when applying for a building permit. Authorities do check property, but this does not exempt individuals from complying with Fed requirements. It is a citizen’s obligation.

Q Was a process put into place to review or revise when the document was created?
A Yes, the PSDU is supposed to be reviewed every three years with each neighborhood designating a representative, and whenever any relevant project comes to the table, it needs to come to the board.





Have there been any attempts to change the document? There is a powerful group at La Cachora Norte

Is the proposed building on a dune? Yes.

Who enforces laws of compliance?
The governor, urban development for state and municipality–all authorities

Would we hire you if we want to file a complaint? You can hire any attorney or you can do it yourself.

administrative law suit can be filed and a permit can be annulled. A permit is considered lawful until a judge declares it is not. There is now a stop work order on the proposed cell tower near Sol II market. We are now in a period of time when the public can make a sufficient outcry or the building of the cell tower will happen.

Q Are there any restrictions on loud music?
A Yes, you can go file a complaint at the La Paz Municipal Building on the corner of Calle Colosio. They will need to inspect within ten days and you can ask that personal information be kept private.

Q The summary of the master plan briefly translated on the ACT website indicates that with conditional use there could be a hotel of 120 rooms and/or golf course.
A I need to look at that. There are urban study requirements, environmental studies, but hotels are permitted if the regulations are followed. The full 600-page document is in my office

What’s happening with the building of the cell tower near Sol ll?

That cell tower is on the border of RT where all industrial activity is prohibited in residential area. If people “take discovery” that is counter to the PSDU, an

Q How can I be proactive if I don’t know what is going on?
A Go to municipal offices, meet public representatives, express concerns and respond in writing.

Q If change gets made to La Cachora North, does this affect other dunes? A It will establish that change was made.

Q What about building in an arroyo?
A You can get a study from CONAGUA on arroyos.

Q What is the latest on the “dump” on the south end of town?
A It is illegal to dump and there is a procedure to fine; however, the owner of that property will not be required to remove the trash because he is intending to build on the property.

Q What about the dune construction at end of Mangos Calle?
A Currently, there is an administrative law suit in the BCS State Supreme Court because of a complaint filed with PROFEPA. We are waiting for a ruling. There are areas of conservation and protection in non-urban, dunes and beaches. When building behind a dune, a person is allowed to build 20 meters or more behind the 2nd dune. There was recently a top scientist from Ensenada who is an expert witness. She has declared this area as one single dune and not divided into separate dunes.

Q Will that scientist be able to assist with La Cachora?
A Perhaps. ———————————————————————————————————

5PM: Vickie thanked John for his informative presentation. She also thanked everyone for attending today’s ACTS Annual Meeting with the encouragement to join ACTS, to volunteer and to remember to go to website for much pertinent information. Meeting adjourned.

Minutes submitted by Judy Welch, ACTS Secretary

Meetings from previous A.C.T.S. Meetings: