We recently heard how poorly paid our local police are although I have failed to find anything written about it. The police need to be well trained and well paid when they have completed training. If we expect professionalism and integrity from them, they need to have pride in their work and be adequately rewarded. What can be done about ensuring training and increasing their pay? The current situation just encourages mordidas (bribes).
Bob Owen, Riviera Alta, Ajijic
FYI: According to Chapala City Hall’s personnel department, the take home pay for average line police officer is 3,024.40 pesos per quincena (two weeks), or 6,048.80 pesos per month (net figure, after taxes and deductions). At current exchange rates, that corresponds to a take home pay of around US$400 a month. Officers also get a 625-peso monthly tax free stipend to buy food/meals while on duty. Police officers work 24x24 shifts (24 hours on duty/24 hours off). Like other city employees, they and family members are entitled to basic health care services provided at the municipal clinic. We understand they do not have life insurance coverage.
In response to the letter from Marsha McCarthy that appeared in last week’s edition, we would like to clarify these points,
1. The market is called “Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market.”
2. The produce is organic. The prepared food is natural, meaning no pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, no GMOs and non-fluoridated salt.
3. The beef and lamb are pastured-grass fed – no pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and no GMOs. The chickens are free range, vegetarian fed.
The letter from Marsha McCarthy in your edition of May 16-24 was welcome and thought-provoking. Eating well is more and more a matter of concern to many people, and eating natural and (one hopes) organic food is at the top of the list. Marsha raised some good points.
Yes, the produce we buy at the Tuesday Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market, is, at some vendors’ booths, placed in plastic bags, if that is, you have not remembered to bring your own more natural, reusable shopping bag. Many of us make a point of doing that.
And regarding ingredient lists, well, there’s a story. In the 70’s I owned and operated a natural food store for seven years. In those days, we were considered to be among the lunatic fringe if we did so. Nevertheless, it went well, and I had a large and loyal clientele. They trusted me to procure the best, to tell them what it was they were buying, and to sell at a fair price. I did, and we were both pleased with the arrangement. There was neither time nor funds to produce printed ingredient lists. It was a small community (somewhat like lakeside), and we trusted each other.
I have spoken with the Farmer’s Market management team, I know these wonderful people quite well, and they run a tight ship with the vendors. I questioned why it was no longer called “the Organic Market.” Apparently it has not been for some time. The name change came because it is not always possible to secure organic ingredients. This is, I think, a very honest and forthright move. I also learned that the produce sold there is, indeed, organically grown.
As to what organic chickens and organic beef or organic lambs do, well, they do what they always did: roam free! That’s good enough for me. I wouldn’t necessarily trust a commercial “organic animal food,” anyway.
It’s a process, not an event. The reason the Farmer’s Market thrives and is such an exciting place to patronize is that the customers are truly interested in searching out what is healthy for them, and they talk to and trust the vendors. We can bet we won’t anytime soon see expensive ingredient labels along with what we buy. I know how much time and expense it takes, and I’m not sure we would be better served. Big-name North American food companies fooled us over many years; we trusted the label because we thought government was looking after the niceties.
If you want to learn more about what you are putting into your body, go to www.foodbabe.com. What you read there is guaranteed to be a wake-up call. In the meantime, let’s keep on talking, we all have something meaningful to say, and it’s important to us all to maximize our lives in Paradise!
Louraisha Shaw, on behalf of the Management Committee of the Lake Chapala Farmer’s Market, held at La Huerta Eventos, Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.