ISSUE #383: Nov. 28-Dec 3, 2011



Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have resales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

More and more, the content will be dominated by events of our new project, "El Dorado" for short. While the future is always uncertain, I again aim to tell it like it happens -the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that is what follows.

Brian Timmons
Residencias Los Jardines / https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com
Hacienda El Dorado / https://www.eldoradocostarica.com


Construction Log
Updates about Hacienda El Dorado

Rio Oro: BCR has found out about the development and wanted to present it to three of their preferred developers -BCR would fund, their builders would take on the commitment, and we would throw in the land for a joint venture. While these discussions are in the early stages and while they want to tie us up, we are also speaking with, a well known architect / developer in the area for whom the project would be a great fit as well. It's way too early to know what is going to happen but I believe something good with happen because it is a great piece of land, great location, and has permits. We've opened the discussions to a larger audience... we'll see.


Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Aguinaldo: This is the 13th. month payment due all employees and is to be paid by December 20. Of course our employees have visions of all types of things they will do with their annual bonus... they've worked hard and have always been there when needed by me or by any resident -and haven't complained nor missed a day's work.

Market Activity: We've had no calls or showings this week and no follow through from any of Chris Howard's tour people from last week.


Unit 106B: $159,000 for sale / Price Reduced by $10,000 See Unit
Unit 115: $205,000 for sale See unit
Unit 125: $140,000 for sale / Price reduced by $10,000 See unit


Site Plan-


UNIT #106B
FOR SALE $159,000
Price reduced by $10,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1270
Total area (Sq M): 115
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Ground
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two nits on the ground floor and two units on the 2nd. floor. Each unit is the same size 1,250sf) divided into 800 sf of interior space and 450 sf of covered front and back erraces. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5" oncrete slab prevent sound transference.


UNIT #115
FOR SALE $205,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1345
Total area (Sq M): 124
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,345 sf single floor home includes a 200 sf private terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6” solid concrete block wall which prevents sound transfer. This is an extremely well decorated home with lots of natural wood built ins.


UNIT #125
FOR SALE $140,000

Price reduced by $10,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + parking for one car and 33sf locker is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple —or investment property.




Our Lives

WEATHER: Summer seems to have arrived in a burst of wind and partly sunny skies... no rain, cool... the winds started Dec. 1 and are in full force... we're irrigating and those plants that like sun are beginning to get happy.

Water Works: AyA continues to plod along at installing a 30" main trunk line along our only access road. This has been ongoing for a month now -and there's no real end date in sight. They install a couple sections of pipe, disappear, and then reappear several days later. In the meantime, the road is a chaotic mess, dusty, and merchants are complaining of lost business. AyA doesn't care. Some time during this appearing and disappearing act, a 2nd. crew comes behind to pave the meter wide section -on a good day, they may finish 150'... during this time, a second traffic obstruction exists... I usually have to go through this obstacle course 20 times a day.

Observations: Despite the three articles below and those from previous weeks, people see opportunities:

In Pozos, one large commercial building is nearing completion and another one is just beginning. Near Santa Ana, what appears to be a decent sized commercial mall seems to be getting underway -of course there are no signs so... A new restaurant building is nearing completion. Kirebe continues to build out and to open new projects. The Forum II continues to build out and the hotel on that site is nearing completion. Three new commercial buildings around Multiplaza are either starting or building out. In addition, various singular small projects are underway in my sphere of travel.

More news culled from the week's news you may have missed:

Costa Rica 4th In Least Corrupt In Latin America

Note: sounds not so bad until you realize the group to which it is compared. On a world wide basis, or compared to successful nations, the results tell a very different story.

Without a doubt corruption is a way of life in Costa Rica and despite the latest study that Costa Ricans (Ticos) paid out last year more than ¢18 billion colones in bribes (Bribes "Seduce" Ticos), it is the fourth least corrupt country in Latin America, falling 9 positions in one year, according to Transparency International.

Worldwide, Costa Rica is ranked 50, while in Latin America it topped by Chile, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.

The reports notes that the image of Costa Rica has been affected by the political scandals and becoming part of the international drug trafficking route.

On the other side, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela are the most corrupt countries in Latin America, according to the report.

The index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest.

Two thirds of ranked countries score less than 5.

New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time), are last.

“2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people,” said Transparency International Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt.The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.

For 2011, Costa Rica, in 50th place with a score of 4.8, the highest score in Central America.

In Central America, Nicaragua is 134th overall with a score of 2.5, Panama 86th with 3.3, El Salvador 80th with 3.4, Honduras 129th with a 2.6 and Guatemala in 120th place with a 2.7. Belize, the smallest country in Central America was not included in the list.

In South America, Colombia ranked 80th overall with a score of 3.4, Venezuela 172nd with 1.9, Brazil 73rd with 3.8, Argentina 100th with 3 and Chile, the least corrupt of all Latin American.


And another article:

Costa Rica: Foreigners Will Be Required To Have ID Card For Banking

Note: perhaps I'm paranoid and cynical but the reasons given just ring a bit hollow for me. Somewhere, I think the USA's IRS is behind this and even though CR won't be able to manage it, the IRS will be right there taking care of what they consider to be their interests.

The new identification card for foreigners in Costa Rica, called DIMEX, will have greater control over bank accounts held by foreigners, avoiding scams and control money laundering that could occur in many banks.

Many foreigners in the country have reported to authorities of being scammed, saying that their identity was supplanted to make withdrawals, emptying out their accounts.

With the Costa Rica Foreign Resident ID card, an identification card similar to a cedula, that must be carried by all foreigners, banks and financial institutions will have real-time access to their foreign customer information through an electronic database established between Migración and Racsa and a strategic alliance with the banking sector.

Mario Zamora, ministro de Seguridad Publica (Security Minister) stressed that this electronic system will protect the foreigner and simultaneously controlling illegal activities in bank accounts.

"We hardly have any information on foreigners, most of the information is in physical documents, which we could not provide in a technical and agile manner to the banking system. Now a bank clerk can determine the identity of the person in front of them, to ensure there is no impersonation and leaving a bank account not belonging to them at zero. It is a protection for the foreigner and at the same time allows control over bank accounts by foreigners with ties to drug trafficking, allowing to track the real identity of the person who opened the account", said Zamora.

The DIMEX identity card holds "reliable" data on the identity of the person and the immigration status of the foreigner, all contained in the card's magnetic strip.

For his part, Mauricio Boraschi, Viceministro de la Presidencia y Comisionado Nacional Antidrogas (antidrug trafficking czar) stated that the use of the card in banking will help fight international drug trafficking in the country.

"What we are doing is strengthening all model systems to prevent and control money laundering and terrorist financing, we are also creating regulated economic activities, which may be poorly exploited by criminal organizations to launder money, such as in real estate, purchase and sale of jewelry, gems, art, new and used vehicles, and criminal organizations looking for any lawful business to get into", said Boraschi.

The plan also includes adding the SINPE* system operated by the Banco Central de Costa Rica (Central Bank) that will demand, as of January 2012, the ID.


And the Last of a depressing list:

Two-Thirds of Costa Rica's Laws "Irrelevant"

Sometimes what we call news is not surprising but confirms what we already strongly suspected. So it was with the State of the Nation report that about two-thirds of laws passed by the Legislative Assembly in the first year of its term were "irrelevant" to the average citizen.

The remainder (38%) included 32 legal reforms and 11 foreign treaties that may impact on residents eventually, if not necessarily immediately.

Of the 17 annual "State of the Nation" reports of experts in many fields, the review of 2010 was one of the most devastating. (See previous article.) It criticized government for several decades.

It not only blasted lawmakers for inaction during their first year in office but for the quality of what they accomplished. The writers' view was of elected representatives with a reluctance to make decisions and a certain (shall we say?) appetite for the irrelevant.

As La Nacion reported it, the "the remaining 70 laws were...meaningful only in a symbolic or diplomatic" sense. In other words, of 60 major bills in the hopper at the "Blue Castle" (Legislative Assembly seat on Central Avenue in San Jose) only 11 received attention.

One of those subjects classed as major, the raising of salaries for deputies in the Legislative Assembly, might be greeted with snorts of derision from the man on the street. One of the first items in May, 2010, that the lawmakers tried to put through was a mighty salary hike.

That was a major subject, to be sure--it was received with a major wave of public revulsion, coming so early in the session. It was a public relations equivalent of the 70 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It is no wonder they do not care to revisit it.

The other bills are sure to be hotly debated: traffic law revision, assigning 8% of Gross National Product for education, regulation of electric production and the pesky tax reform, the latter a political hot potato.

Only the education bill was passed. But even that may be one of those measures that find their way into law books but no farther. A previous, similar law, allotting a lesser minimum, was on the books for years, firmly ignored by budget makers.

But it is not only the current congress that received criticism in the report. The situation of legislative irrelevance has continued since the second year of President Oscar Arias' Administration (2006-10). report writers say.

Assembly president Juan Carlos Mendoza rejected the report's characterization of the lawmaker performance. "You can't characterized our agenda as light," (as in light beer) he said, citing the China free trade treaty, the education bill and the Central American electrification treaty.

But National Liberation party floor leader Luis Gerardo Villaneuva rather agrees with the experts. "There's only a consensus for moments of silence," he said, "When something important arises, differences and faction-ism also rises."

He blamed the fragmentation of a multitude of parties without leadership. "What we're experiencing is an excess of parties without heads," he said.

Mendoza, a member of the opposition coalition, demurred, citing lack of leadership of the President and her government. "To draw the line based on desire is one thing, to mount an efficient, concrete negotiation is another," he said.

By Rod Hughes, Fijatevos.com

Brian, Lita, Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, Chico II and Chica II

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