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The outgoing Baja California state legislature voted 23-0 Friday to make San Quintín the sixth municipality in the state, Mexican media reported. The decision to break off a southern portion of Ensenada means that Ensenada no longer will be the largest municipality in land area in the country.
Although National Action Party legislators voted for the change, Tijuana PAN Deputy Ricardo Magaña Mosqueda said the vote was taken now to improve the chances of Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Fernando Castro Trenti in the July 7 election. The 25-member legislature is dominated by the PRI.
Fernando Figueroa Calderón, president of a committee that has been trying to gain municipality status for largely rural San Quintín, told Frontera newspaper that the new entity would have 120,000 residents.
Last year, Ensenada residents voted overwhelmingly to allow San Quintín to become the state's sixth municipality, but turnout was too low for their decision to become law.
Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo, a member of the PRI, had opposed breaking off San Quintín. El Vigia website said he and PAN Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán maintained silence about the vote. El Vigia said PAN legislator Lizbeth Mata Lozano of Ensenada, while ultimately backing the measure, also said the vote was taken now for electoral purposes, and lamented that certain procedures were not taken before the hurried vote.
El Vigia's editorial said it was hard to understand why the process for San Quintín to become a muncipality took 15 years. "Before there was too much foot-dragging, but today too much haste," it said. It added, "A wish has been fulfilled, but the most difficult is yet to come."
Mexicali legislator Nancy Sánchez, who has been at the forefront of efforts to damage the image of PAN gubernatorial candidate Francisco Vega, said, "Today we have given birth to a new child in Baja California."
Frontera said San Quintín would become a new municipality on Nov. 15. A founding council would take office on Jan. 6, 2014, but the first municipal council would not be elected until 2016 and not take office until Dec. 1, 2016, the paper said.
El Vigia said the following communities would be part of the new municipality: Camalú, Vicente Guerrero, San Quintín, El Rosario, El Mármol, Punta Prieta, Bahía de Los Ángeles and Villa de Jesús María.
Meanwhile, Rosarito began celebrating its 18th anniversary. It separated from Tijuana in 1995, but still has a boundary dispute with Ensenada. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
The document voted on, from El Vigia webpage.
El Mexicano cartoon (PDF) saying Ensenada won't be biggest municipality in Mexico anymore.
Update, July 1: Caravan celebrates legislature's vote to make San Quintín a municipality. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, July 7: Ensenada Business Coordination Council says legislature did virtually nothing for San Quintín over the last three years, then acts hastily in making it a municipality. Full-page ad, El Mexicano (PDF).