Page 8 - LifeInNaplesMagazineMay2019
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MAYOR’S


                                      CORNER











        I                                                          time in 1996 thru 2000, termed out in 2000 as Mayor’s
            MAYOR BILL BARNETT
              always have a difficult time writing an article that
              covers three months because my crystal ball doesn’t
                                                                   could only serve one four year term versus a Council person
                                                                   could serve two consecutive four year terms. I came back in
              show me too many events that are going to happen in
                                                                   2006 passed overwhelmingly allowing a Mayor to serve two
              June and July but I like the challenge!              2004 and served until 2012, a referendum by the voters in
        I never imagined in 1983 when I sold my Toyota-BMW         consecutive four year terms, which I did. In 2012 I ran and
        dealership to Germain that politics would play any part in my   was elected to City Council, and ran for Mayor in 2016 and
        life much less an important one. I still think back to the day   was elected to serve until 2020.
        when I was approached by a tennis playing friend of mine
        who told me that I should run for a seat on the Naples City   Now you are going to ask me why did I just write my complete
        Council. I remember asking him what it was as I didn’t even   political history and I’ll tell you. Somewhere in the last ten
        know we had a Mayor, and certainly no knowledge about      years I realized that what had started as a suggestion from a
        local government. I certainly had made many friends and had   friend had turned in to a career for me. A career that I have
        become involved with some local charities which I thoroughly   and still enjoy today as much if not more than I did the first
        enjoyed volunteering for and because our Naples community   time I was elected and that was 35 years ago. There is still
        was so small that we knew almost everyone that lived here.   a new challenge every day and the learning curve has never
        So being way too young to retire at 43 and learning about   stopped. When you read this article I will have officially
        what the City Council responsibilities entailed I decided that   announced that I will run for Mayor of the City of Naples in
        I would give it a try and see if I could get elected. Little did   the March City Council election of 2020 for my last eligible
        I know that I needed a platform, a campaign manager, and   term. I hope I have your support!
        money to run a campaign. Talk about the meaning of the
        word “novice”, I was that personified!                     We have a lot on our Council plates. From the Beach Club
                                                                   Hotel project to continue working with new technology to
        Well, I found a great campaign manager who had moved to    help keep our traffic moving. There are a myriad of new
        Naples from Chicago and took me under his wing. His name   projects that will keep our staff busy during the summer
        was Gil Weil and he was as tough as they came on the exterior   months and our City looking beautiful. Yesterday ( March
        and a softie on the inside. I didn’t see that inside for quite a   25th) I met with Senator Rick Scott and about twenty invited
        while. He had me knocking on doors and no matter how hard   guests of his at Rookery Bay for a roundtable discussion on
        I tried to convince him that I knew everyone in Naples he   the red tide, Lake O, blue-green algae, and solutions for all
        would have none of that. He taught and I learned and I ended   of them. Among those attending were officials from all over
        up getting elected  by beating an incumbent in 1984. Well one   the State of Florida. Senator Scott is going to do his best to
        year led to the next and I was fascinated with local politics   get Federal funds released to really put some teeth in projects
        and especially because Naples was growing and there was    that are on the drawing boards but because of lack of funds
        literally a new challenge and learning experience every day.   it’s been talk. I believe he will make a difference for us.

        I look back and am so thankful that my fellow Council      If you haven’t visited Baker Park you owe it to yourself to visit
        members became my mentors. Each one of them was retired    there. Phase one recently opened and it is spectacular, but it’s
        and had  finished their successful careers and were happy to   only the appetizer! The Grand Opening will be in October or
        share their visions and experiences with me. The learning   early November, very exciting stuff!
        curve from back then to today has never stopped for me. The
        next thing I knew it was 1987 and in 1988 there would be   Have safe travels wherever you’re heading and while you’re
        another Council election. I knew I wanted to continue as City   away we will continue working and making improvements to
        politics were getting in my blood and I was elected for another   keep Naples the award winning  City that she is .
        term from 1988 thru 1992. I was elected Mayor for the first
                                                                   I respond to e-mails at: mayorbill@naplesgov.com

     8                                                                                                  Life in Naples | May/June/July 2019
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