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City Council approved hurricane relief to Sister City San José Del Cabo – but a lot more is needed there

From a press release

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, the Laguna Beach City Council agreed unanimously to grant $2,500 to the Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association (LBSCA) for relief in San José Del Cabo, their sister city, which was devastated by Hurricane Odile last month.

Laguna Beach Mayor Elizabeth Pearson and the council stated that Laguna Beach has had their own disaster experience [Firestorm, 1993], and it was only appropriate that they help their sister city. Councilman Kelly Boyd volunteered to be the council liaison and serve on the Hurricane Odile committee to evaluate the distribution of funds. Boyd also served with past Mayor Jane Egly on the LBSCA Future Sister Cities committee, which officially selected San José Del Cabo a Sister City and St. Ives a Friendship City, the latter which recently became their third Sister City.

With the $2,500 city donation (the residual amount left in the community assistance grant fund), monies raised to date total $10,500 to assist with the recovery efforts in San José del Cabo. The estimated insurance claims to date, not including small businesses and local homeowners, are approximately $900 million.

“The Category 3 hurricane destroyed homes, businesses and caused widespread damage throughout San José Del Cabo,” said Karyn Philippsen, president of LBSCA. “The citizens suffered a massive amount of destruction and it will take a long time for the recovery effort to be completed, which is why we are so grateful that the City Council approved granting these much needed funds.”

Local resident and horticulturist Ruben Flores, owner of Laguna Beach Nursery, has a residence down in San José Del Cabo, and visited there five days after the hurricane hit.

“It was quite unsettling. With the airport closed, we had to fly into La Paz two hours away and drive in and doing so, viewed so much devastation,” Flores said. “Close to Cabo, a military presence was there to help prevent looting. Once I got to my complex, I saw individual homes and buildings torn and trashed. What were incredible palm trees and gardens looked like matchsticks. 

“But I needed to see for myself. No lights were anywhere ... no electricity, no running water. We had quite a bit of damage, but not nearly as bad as some other locations. For me it was cathartic – to touch and feel what was the aftermath and to realize what was bearing down.

“Once I took in my own circumstances, I wanted to see how we could help the neighboring areas. There will be a contingency of hotels back up and running, although some may stay closed throughout the holidays. Most of the general populous is out of a home and out of a daily place to reside. These are the people we want to reach out to – those with a meager subsistence. That’s what Sister Cities is all about.”

Flores is spearheading a housing rebuilding effort in San José Del Cabo called Club Dust.

Item donations are still being accepted and can be delivered during business hours to Ruben Flores at Laguna Beach Nursery, 1370 S. Coast Highway. Call 494-5200. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. 

Items needed include: shoes, mosquito repellant, building tools and supplies such as wood, sheet metal for roofs and window glass. They are looking for people with private airplanes to assist in transporting items that have been donated. If you can assist in this effort, please contact Flores directly to make arrangements. 

Check donations (no cash, please) can be sent to LBSCA. Make checks payable to LBSCA (Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association), P.O. Box 1011, Laguna Beach, Calif. 92652. Please write Hurricane Odile 2014 in the Memo section of the check. Contributions are very much needed and appreciated.

Dia de los Muertos party planned at canyon studio for Nov 1

On Sat., Nov. 1, LBSCA will partner for the second year with local artist Sandra Jones Campbell for the Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos party at her studio at 2173 Laguna Canyon Road from 8:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. The evening’s festivities will include a taco cart, food buffet, wine, beer, dancing and a costume contest with prizes. Admission is $25 and LBSCA is requesting monetary donations (checks) to continue with the Hurricane Odile effort. 

“Los Cabos International Airport is now open and the cruise lines are operating again,” said Fabiola Kinder, chair of Future Cities and the LBSCA liaison to San José Del Cabo. She is a Resort Realtor for Keller Williams Real Estate and was part of a group of agents at their recent Keller Williams conference in Austin, TX, launching offices in Mexico when the hurricane hit. As a result, KW Cares, a Keller Williams Charity donated $100,000 to Los Cabos Hurricane Relief.

“The Mexican government showed a very good response to stabilize and bring in the necessary emergency workers and electricians,” Fabiola shared. “Now the focus is on the rebuilding and recovery to bring Los Cabos back to the flourishing tourism destination that it was before the hurricane.”

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