As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Arizona Republic agreed to sit down and listen to the concerns of many about the articles appearing in the Republic earlier this week. The meeting was held last night between several major Puerto Peñasco developers, the Sonora Secretary of Tourism, several members of the Republic's editorial staff and the writer of the articles. I was invited to attend as an American developer working in Mexico and spoke on behalf of the developers in Las Conchas.
It was a productive meeting and gave our side of the table the opportunity to express our concern with how the article was written and to speak about its potentially far-reaching negative effects on the real estate market in Puerto Peñasco. We made it clear that it was an important article to write and that it was well researched, but that we felt it was irresponsibly written to broadly and incorrectly characterize Puerto Peñasco as a place in which it is not safe to invest. We indicated that a story written the way it was has the potential to actually cause more financial harm to the thousands of Arizonans with financial interests in Puerto Peñasco than any investment losses already incurred in North Beach. We also had the opportunity to further explain many of the positive development in Puerto Peñasco - such as new licensing rules for realtors, new commercial infrastructure such as the coastal highway and international airport, and new services such as flights between LAX and the current Puerto Peñasco airport. Finally, we had a chance to talk through all the protections that are currently available to buyers for their investments - such as the fideicomiso (bank trust), U.S. title insurance and U.S. mortgages. These safeguards have all been developed in cooperation between businesses and institutions on both sides of the border in order to allow Americans to safely invest in Puerto Peñasco and are now used almost universally (as opposed to the time when the problems in North Beach began).
For their part, the representatives of the Republic indicated that they are interested in the positive stories and that they have and will continue to report both the good and the bad when appropriate. They also indicated that they would consider printing a response from our groups in the reader response section of their newspaper. I will let you know when that is available. The writer of the article also separately expressed to me by email in advance of the meeting that in future articles about this topic, he would work to make more clear the distinctions between a problem area such as North Beach and the rest of Puerto Peñasco.
I think it was a good meeting in that it established some additional lines of communication between the Republic staff and representatives of Puerto Peñasco and Sonora. These contacts are important because Republic staffers will be able to more quickly and accurately vet future stories for accuracy. We were also invited to directly submit all of the good news about the market to them for consideration as articles.
Everyone agrees that the problems in North Beach reflect badly on the market and it is appropriate that the Republic reported on them. The important point to note about this whole episode is that these problems are isolated, have been known about for a long time and are easily avoidable by American condo and land buyers by following the appropriate steps. There are thousand and thousands of Americans who have invested safely, securely and profitably in Puerto Peñasco over the last 10 years and that number will continue to grow rapidly as the area matures into a world-class vacation destination.