December Politics and Potpourri

Politicsby Councilman Bill Barnett

Today is November 2nd, and as I write this December article for Life in Naples I find myself reflecting the many years that I have been writing articles month after month, year after year. As I finish each article and just before I hit the send button to send my article to the publisher, I always have that same apprehensive feeling; how will my article be perceived?

The most dreaded thought I have is that it will be perceived as boring and the reader will immediately turn the page and move on to the next article. I would imagine if that were the case I probably wouldn’t still be doing this and so maybe my apprehension is for naught.

We have all seen movies and T.V. shows of the writer sitting at the computer screen and looking at the cursor endlessly blinking and yet no words appear. If you haven’t ever been there, I can tell you it’s extremely frustrating and after I termed out as Mayor in 2012, I found this to be the case many times. After all, I can’t write comprehensive political articles about our City, that’s the Mayor’s job and he does it well. I can’t write about Naples Real Estate and how buyers are buying property almost as fast as they are listed at prices that are sometimes beyond belief, in every article, that would be boring and we read enough about that daily. I can’t write every month about how great our restaurants are, what a phenomenal season we are about to have, how beautiful our medians are, and the list goes on endlessly. However, with all of that being said, I still find myself looking forward to hitting that “send” button each month, and with approximately 16 months left before I’m done with my political career I still think I have some good articles to write!

Who knows maybe when my career is finished somebody might actually pay me to write something! (extremely doubtful) It is Flu season and the city of Naples always offers its employees free Flu shots, how could anyone pass that up? I got my shot last year and then the day before Thanksgiving I found myself feeling like I had been beaten up, plain and simple. I figured it was probably one of those 24 hour bugs that go around and I took some Excedrin and just took it easy for the rest of the day. Well, long story short this whatever it was lasted until two days after Christmas. I lost 8 pounds, went through a battery of tests, and they came back that it was viral and I would just have to ride it out, which I did, and finally I felt good again. Of course, I blamed it on the Flu shot and made a solemn oath that I would never get another one, no doubts about it. So when they were offered again in October I held my ground much to the objections of my wife and my family, but I wasn’t giving an inch and I didn’t take advantage of the City’s offer, I’d show them. Well, last week I flew to Lake Placid, New York to close up our summer place and the weather there had turned cold with temperatures in the low 40’s.

My wife Chris and I were watching television on a Saturday night when the nightly news came on and the broadcaster was talking about what a bad Flu season this season was going to be and it was going to be so bad that we would probably see an abundance of deaths caused from it.

I turned to my wife Chris and said “ I’ll go to our local pharmacy tomorrow morning and get a flu shot.” She just smiled at me and said “Good choice Barnett,” and never said another word about it. I did get my shot the next day, for $54.00, I didn’t like the alternative!

It was September 11th, 2014 and I was driving west on Golden Gate Parkway and I happened to glance to my right at the Naples Freedom Memorial now aptly named after County Commissioner Fred Coyle who started the project some years ago. There must be well over a hundred thousand people a year who drive by that park daily and never give it a thought that the beautiful Memorial has never been finished as it stands there being viewed by all as a stark piece of granite and stone jutting into the sky. I’m sure there are many who must wonder what it is.

We are in Naples Florida, and we are one of the if not the most giving communities in the world.

I decided at that moment and after working as a volunteer and doing charity auctions for so many wonderful organizations for the last 30 years in Naples, that it’s time to finish this Memorial! I approached our Fire Chief and ran the idea by him and told him I would like to help raise the money to help finish the project.

The idea was well received and at the same time I was sharing this with him, and unbeknownst to me, our Mayor John Sorey had a similar thought and we were similarly but separately pursuing the same end result. He started the ball rolling, and formed a sensational committee comprised of community people who don’t do projects for the name recognition, they do them because they care.

There will be a Gala event in February to raise the needed funds to finish this worthwhile project and I am proud that I will be the emcee that evening. This is one project that from school age children to senior citizens like me, we all have a stake in this to get it finished.

I’m not 100% sure at the time of this writing exactly how much needs to be raised, but I think it’s in the vicinity of one million five hundred thousand dollars and I am confident that our Naples Community can accomplish this. We have much to be thankful for so please help us raise the funds.

Happy, Healthy, Holidays to all and thanks for making Naples the special place that it is!

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