...Trouble In River City... the BS Never Ends!!!

ISSUE #623: Aug, 21-27, 2016


...Trouble In River City...
the BS Never Ends!!!

ISSUE #623: Aug, 21-27, 2016

Toronto: (416) 461-2203 // (647) -498-4266
Costa Rica: Land line: (506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101 // Cell: (506) 8305-3965

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly newsletter -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 re-sales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Developer / Property manager
Residencias Los Jardines

Web: https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com
Emails: info@residenciaslosjardines.com

rentals & sales

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser
Visit our website

Paradisus Condos - click to visit

Each of the units consists of two bedrooms / two bathrooms, and a large living/dining/kitchen area. The floor plan of each of these units has eliminated the optional "den / office" divider. The result is a larger area offering more flexible furniture arrangements while still maintaining the option of including an office area. At 105m2 plus two parking spots each and storage locker, they offer a great opportunity for someone seeking views, security, central location, and first class, all round living...

Semi furnished unit: For sale: $235,000
Fully furnished unit: For sale: $245,000
Floor 12 -west view

Since August 1st For rent $ 1,400 mo.

More Opportunities
rentals & sales

Condominio Santa Lucia, Tres Rios

Visit our website

Price reduction: $520,000 $549,000 (Appraised: $800,000)
6 bedrooms
5 bathrooms
610 m2 (6,500 sf)
2 Story
2 Car garage

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: One offer conditional for unit #107 at Los Jardines.

Rentals: Paradisus: Unit available for rent, $ 1,400 mo.
Los Jardines: Units #112, #113, #106A and #126 are available for rent.

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #107: $ 205,000 / Conditional offer / See Unit

Unit #106A: $ 1,200 mo. / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #112: $ 1,250 mo. / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #113: $ 1,250 mo. / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #126: $ 650 mo. / Immediately / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #106A

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units 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 terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5" concrete slab prevent sound transference.

UNIT #107
$205,000 / Conditional offer

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,716 sf. (plus parking for one car) two story, detached house, with three terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and upstairs master suite is a beautiful home. This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms (one on each floor) with en-suite bathrooms and a powder room, each with large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and ground floor bedroom ceilings as well as the master bedroom on the 2nd floor, provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are three TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the living room.) This is a beautiful home. There is a rough-in for a dishwasher in the kitchen area.

For rent

UNIT #106A
$1,200 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units 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 terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5” concrete slab prevent sound transference.

UNIT #112
$1,250 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

UNIT #113
$1,250 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.

UNIT #126
$650 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 530
Total area (Sq M): 50
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 1
Type: detached
Furnished: Yes

A small one bedroom with outside covered terrace with top of the line finishes (granite, stainless steel appliances, fine crafted wood cabinetry, +, +, +), with lots of well thought out storage...

Our Lives

Weather: Actually, we have not had much rain in the Santa Ana area... in Heredia and elsewhere yes... we need to water... and I can't remember when I last needed an umbrella...

...Trouble In River City... the BS Never Ends:

Car: On my way back from the Am. embassy, the radiator cap blew off... steam all over... off the road... fortunately right in front of a car parts place... I get a replacement rad cap and a gallon of coolant... I'm back in business.

The missing plastic bumper insert gets installed. The remote entry system is not working ALL the time... I could find myself locked out... o.k... replace that ($160); the AC stopped working... return to the AC man... yes, maybe he didn't connect things quite solidly (no charge but a 1/2 day); a plastic/rubber fender well guard is next to be installed... it never ends...

Driving: Had a showing at Tres Rios... probably 10-13 mi. one direction across town... Friday traffic... I encountered: 1 broken down truck, 1 broken down car, 1 car-car rear-end accident, 1 motor cycle-car accident (bad for the moto man), and 1 truck-car rear-end accident... in a total of 20-26 mi of driving... actually, this is normal...

Bank: Scotiabank is notorious for not being able to manage information. Another bank is now gaining on them... again I had supplied the requested information via the lawyer... a month later they say they don't have it... the lawyer sent it to them again with a notice saying it was harassment...

post script on Scotiabank's re-request for information... I returned to the bank with copies of what had been requested... insisted on a stamped initialed copied as receipt this time... they checked, yes they had it but now the request (not to loose face) had changed to a copy of my passport... yeah!! they had requested that and received in in Sept. / Oct... they have more copies in their files of this than I do...

Breach of Trust: Tres Rios... an investment group now owns this house... I am helping one of the lenders / now owner. After the property was not going anywhere because the condition it was in, I spent a month on fixing the cosmetics for better sale and waiting two months to get repaid (still owed some $$). I also picked up the marketing by default since no one else could / would do it... since there had been differing views on the list price, I made sure all were all on the same page re. this... $520,000... got agreement... proceeded to place ads and field calls and showings. I also received feedback that another / lower price was being advertised... I couldn't find the ad but I contacted the main group member for confirmation that they had not authorized this price (I suspected a rogue... no they had not... I again received feedback a month later that it was still being marketed at the lower price... I traced down the agent... spoke with him who said he was taking instruction from one of the group members... I confronted... ticos HATE confrontation... yelling, screaming, denials, wiggling... it is safe to say the working relationship is low right now... I am really upset

Passport Renewal: It expires tomorrow... two weeks ago I applied on line... took me 4 hours to learn my way through the system... submitted the application and was told to wait, I would be contacted with an appointment date and time, at which point I would bring 1, 2, 3 items... o.k The notice never came... I went to the embassy... it was closed... got a phone number... called... I needed to make an appointment???? wait a minute... wasn't I suppose to... no, I had to make it directly with the local embassy... o.k. next morning (fine)... filled out the same forms again (two requesting 95% the same information -ahhhh but one form was blue, the other was mustard), pay my $135, and now wait for two weeks... it's better than the tico cedula renewal -I am now 5 mo. into the wait... with no end in sight.

Wine Club Today: 38 people showing up at the Taj Mahal... and an appointment at 6pm this evening to install a new tenant into a friends condo at Paradisus... ugh!!!!! driving at night, after wine club... I don't like this scenario...

Thursday night saw a planned dinner on the terrace with Cdn. friends from Jaco. the only time recently I can remember a whole evening without Am. politics and hate speech... it was refreshing to know such conversations can still exist...

Contrast: After 30 years I became very concerned about the reliability of the hot water heating boiler in the Canadian house... I arranged to have a new one installed... contacted a company, they attended on site as per schedule and prepared two estimates... I accepted one... they sent an invoice for partial payment, I made it on line... they scheduled and did the work as scheduled, they sent me another partial payment invoice, I paid it... wow!!!!! how simple and effortless... total cost... $12K, total time 2 hrs... no accidents, no deception, no BS!!! but the weather sucks!!!

News Items of the Weeknews


1. Follow up on Red Taxi Strike: They lost public support... the government which ended the strike by promising to meet with them re. their concerns, cancelled the meeting, raised the fare structure, and said there is nothing they can do to stop Uber... talk about screwing yourself!!!! Now they are considering developing rival software to replicate Uber...

2. Ex President Acquitted: This was a foregone conclusion from the beginning...

3. Cell Phone Service: Regardless of carrier, and ICE / Kolbi seems to be the worst... it drops calls, all the time, even from stationary positions... cell phone towers cannot pick up moving signals... while I receive countless promotional messages to upgrade to 4G. they only provide 1/2 the speed promised / paid for...

4. LPG... The lower social economic group mostly cooks with 11 lb tanks of gas... see how badly they are being screwed by the government monopoly...

1. Cabbie threat to the president 'blood' if operation is not stopped Uber

Guild leader says not share tone of the message, but the driver's feelings towards the Government

President Luis Guillermo Solís reaffirmed that his government will act "firmly" to dispel any protest ride taxi drivers on the main roads of the country. Solis disowned the threats launched the guild.

A taxi driver threatens and insults the President of the Republic, Luis Guillermo Solis, in a video circulating on social networks.

Gilberth Urena, leader of the National Taxi Drivers Forum identified the driver as Ricardo Aguilar public service Sandí, whom he described as a "tireless worker wheel."

In the video, the taxi driver hanged himself in his profile of the social network Facebook, Aguilar Sandí criticizes the way the president has led the country since May 8, 2014 and states that leadership style will bill the Party Citizen action (PAC).

"Costa Rican who is listening to me? Do you work for 50% of his salary at the moment with debts incurred To be put to think and be conscious of what we are doing to us taxi drivers," says taxi driver in this video. (Capture video.)

Aguilar said that if the government returns to contain a demonstration of taxi drivers with the security forces, as happened last Tuesday, August 9, when they demonstrated against Uber, there will be blood in the streets.

"If you want to see blood, if you want to see a Costa Rican home mourning, going to see, because we are not playing. Now that threat passed, then, it will be your responsibility (...). This is a warning and I stand by the consequences of this video (...). You is looking for and will find. Remember me, "said taxi driver in a threatening tone.

The driver the president as "chollado" and "charlatan" addresses, among other epithets. Then the man said his income as a taxi driver have fallen by 50% because of the operation of Uber in the country.

"Costa Rican who is listening to me? Do you work for 50% of his salary at the moment with debts acquired to be made to think and be conscious of what we are suffering taxi drivers," concluded the driver.

Gilberth Urena said the movement of the taxi drivers do not share the tone nor the insults of Aguilar Sandí to President Luis Guillermo Solis, but fully their feelings of "despair, indignation and reproach to a government that protects illegality" in reference Uber the operation.

"(The video) is a personal matter of Ricardo (...) Like him there are 40,000 families who feel the same. I think the movement of taxi drivers has more respected much to His Excellency Mr. President. Rather, it was he who garrotear sent us in the last demonstration, "lamented Ureña.
On Wednesday, President Luis Guillermo Solis warned that his government would spare no police resources to dispel any future blockage caused by taxi drivers.

Solis criticized the guild by the tone and vocabulary used to warn about the extent of future events with terms like "war" and "violence".

"I think the Government of the Republic showed firmness against the chaos that some tried to produce. The return to show as often as necessary, but again, I think that those who are affected by these manifestations of irresponsible leaders are the taxi drivers themselves in their vast majority are hardworking and honorable people who are concerned about a situation that affects them and we have recognized that needs a definition of legal order, "said Solis, referring to the judicial proceedings on the operation of Uber in the Constitutional Chamber and the Administrative Court. Solis said his government rejects absolutely the threats of taxi drivers and reiterated its "firm and clear" that any protest guild "will be answered with rigor" and called for rationality the sector warning, while the courts decide if Uber may or may not operate in the country.

La Nacion asked a criterion of the Presidency on the content of the video.

Communications Minister, Mauricio Herrera, lamented what was said by the taxi driver.
"The driver of the video does not represent their union and causes damage to the large number of honest and law-abiding taxi drivers. We uphold respect for the laws and that includes red taxi drivers who work without blocking roads or violate the rights citizenship, "said Herrera.

2. Ex-president Rodríguez received final acquittal in Alcatel scandal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The declaration of innocence for former president Miguel Angel Rodríguez has been upheld in a Sala III appeal.

The former president has long maintained that he is innocent of corruption involving the Alcatel cell telephone deal. He was convicted once, and that trial court decision was overturned. He was declared innocent in a new trial, and prosecutors appealed that decision, but it was upheld. Then prosecutors appealed the case to the Sala Tercera, part of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

The United States prosecuted an Alcatel CIyT executive who pleaded guilty and admitted paying more than $2.5 million to Costa Rican government officials to obtain a cell telephone contract from the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. The former executive was Christian Sapsizian, a French citizen. He implicated others here.

Alcatel was awarded a $149 million mobile telephone contract in August 2001.

Rodríguez had to quit a prestigious job as secretary general of the Organization of American States to return to Costa Rica to defend himself from the criminal charges. He was not directly related to the bribes, but prosecutors contended that he was behind the process.

Another politician who was involved but not prosecuted is José María Figueres Olsen, another former president. He received about $900,000 from Alcatel as an adviser from 2000 to 2003. Figueres is a presidential candidate in the next election.

3. Costa Rica mobile carriers improve coverage, but not internet speed

Costa Rica’s mobile carriers perform well with their 2G and 3G networks, but they need improvements in coverage and quality of their 4G networks. These are some of the main findings of the latest quality evaluation conducted by the Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL).

During six months last year, the agency evaluated the performance of mobile and mobile Internet services of state-owned ICE-kölbi, Spanish carrier Telefónica, which operates here under its Movistar brand, and Claro, owned by Mexico’s América Móvil.

The evaluation included on-the-ground measurements of mobile coverage, network capacity to complete calls without interruptions, voice quality and transfer speeds of Internet data.

Call quality

The three carriers scored high with values ranging between 89 and 99 percent in coverage and voice quality over their 2G and 3G networks. Values, however, varied depending on each network’s national coverage.

Benchmarks for the 3G network, the most widely-used here, placed ICE-kölbi first with a national coverage of 93 percent. Claro was second with 81 percent and Movistar followed with 79 percent.

ICE also topped the evaluation for the 4G network with a national coverage of 89 percent. Claro and Movistar obtained 71 and 46 percent, respectively.

SUTEL’s report also states that the carriers scored high in their networks’ capacity to allow customers to complete phone calls without interruptions.

Claro got the top spot with only 5 percent of dropped calls. Only 10 percent of Movistar customers experienced interruptions during their conversations while 14 percent of ICE-Kölbi’s customers were unable to complete their calls.

Low speed benchmarks

The main differences among the carriers in SUTEL’s study are in the average speeds of their mobile Internet networks.

The study found that, on average, Claro offers the best data download speed on 3G networks, with 3,629kilobytes per second (kbps). Movistar is second with 2,620 kbps while ICE-Kölbi offers 1,244 kbps.

Overall, downloading data on mobile phones is slow in Costa Rica compared to many other countries.

London-based tech consultant OpenSignal recently released the results of its Global State of Mobile Networks, an evaluation of mobile data performance in 95 countries.

South Korea tops the list with an average speed of over 41,000 kbps while Costa Rica’s average of 2,550 kbps placed it only above Afghanistan.

Uruguay, at 10,200 kbps, ranks first in Latin America. OpenSignal’s study, however, only included 15 countries in the region.

Service compliance

SUTEL’s study found that all three carriers failed to comply with download speeds promised by their plans, reaching on average 72 percent of the promised download velocity.

Claro customers who signed a 5 Megabytes per second (Mbps) plan received, on average, actual speed of 3.6 Mbps.

Movistar customers got 2.6 Mbps on their 4 Mbps plans.

ICE-Kölbi customers who signed a 3 Mbps plan received 1.2 Mbps on average, making it the least compliant.

Claro offers the best mobile internet speed in 4G networks, with an average of 13.4 Mbps. ICE-Kölbi is second with 5.9 Mbps and Movistar is third at 5.7 Mbps.

SUTEL’s Fallas hopes the research can help consumers make a more informed decision when signing a mobile phone plan.

The agency conducted its research between June and December 2015 through on-the-ground tests along 31,393 kilometers across the country.

According to SUTEL, there were 7.5 million mobile phone lines in Costa Rica at the end of 2015, of which 5.4 million (72 percent) included mobile internet plans.

Internet data traffic in Costa Rica in the last two years has shown noticeable growth. Mobile internet users transferred 24.2 Terabytes of data in 2013. They transferred triple that amount last year.

4. Draft Bill Proposes 72% Reduction In Price of LPG; To End Monopoly

Otto Guevara says the tax on gas is highly regressive and hits directly the pockets of consumers

(QCOSTARICA) Being a product of mass consumption in Costa Rica households, legislators of the Movimiento Libertatio (ML) party presented a draft bill that aims to substantially reduce the price of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and end the monopoly for its import and distribution.

Spearheaded by ML party leader, Otto Guevara, the draft bill would reduce the “impuesto unico” (single tax) on gas, reducing the cost to the consumer from the current ¢141.55 colones per litre to ¢94.30 colones.

According to the Census 2011, it is estimated that LPG is used in 451,000 households across the country.

The Libertarians say, “the tax (on gas) is highly regressive and hits directly the pockets of consumers, which many of these are Costa Rican families trying to prepare meals more economically, considering the high prices of electricity.”

“RECOPE, since August 2011 does not refine a drop of oil, does not produce Liquefied Petroleum Gas and demonstrated that a monopoly has no incentive to be efficient in importing, storing, transporting and packaging LPG. For these reasons we present this bill, so that consumers benefit from a reduction in the final price”, said Guevara.


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+ 506) 8305-3965
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203

Web: https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com
Emails: info@residenciaslosjardines.com

Previous reports