March 2015 Politics and Potpourri

Bill Barnettby Councilman Bill Barnett

Last month I made the statement that I was going to try and run my eighth consecutive Naples Daily News Half Marathon on January 18th. I exuded a lot of confidence in that article, but I sure didn’t feel much of it on race day. It was a beautiful morning, 63 degrees, and over 2300 runners competing.

I was running with two very good friends of mine, Patrick O’Connor, a local realtor who does this race with me every year and every year I tell him not to wait for me because he is much faster than I am. His answer is always the same, “Bill, I enjoy your company don’t worry about it.”

My other friend David Fralick who works for the City decided three weeks before the race that he was going to do it and texted me and asked me if he could run with me that day. Long story short he had never run a half marathon before; he is not a runner, and everyone he told that he was going to do it told him the same thing, “No way David, you’ll never finish.”

His determination won out and on race day the three of us started together. At the three-mile marker Patrick and I thought David was finished as he stopped at the first rest station and told us he would catch up to us. He did, and at the eleven-mile marker I was running out of steam and knew that the next two miles were going to be a challenge for me to finish. Patrick was chatting away and he knew I was struggling, but he remained optimistic and encouraging as he is in his daily life. I glanced over at David who was clearly feeling a lot worse than I thought I was, and seeing him with that look of pure perseverance I knew we were going to finish and we did. Two hours, forty-five minutes and 32 seconds later I was done for another year. The good news is that next year I will be in the 75-79 age bracket, and I’m sure I will try it again with my goal being to finish it in under three hours which is when they close the course. As for Patrick and David who were so
inspirational to me I hope they are up for another challenge with me next year!

I like to cook and many years ago I bought some All-Clad cookware which has a lifetime warranty provided that the proper care is given to it. A few weeks ago, my wife Chris asked me if I spilled something on the stovetop and I answered no. It turned out that the All-Clad teapot was leaking. Well, we like that old teapot so I went online, found their website and sent them an e-mail explaining the problem and asking what I should do. They responded and sent me a shipping label for the teapot explaining that they would look at it and determine if they would fix it under warranty or they would advise me if I needed to pay for it and how much it would be. A few weeks went by and you can imagine my
surprise when a package from All-Clad arrived on a Friday and when we opened it there was a brand new oven thermometer in the box which of course I didn’t order. On Saturday morning I e-mailed them and explained the situation and said someone else must be waiting for their oven thermometer and how would they like to proceed. That afternoon my phone rang and it was a representative from All-Clad who  thanked me and said my teapot was fixed and shipped at no charge, and we could keep the thermometer. How many businesses would go to that extreme on the same day an e-mail was received and call from a customer on a Saturday? Not too many that I know of! It’s nice to see there are still some firstclass companies out there. As for the shiny new oven thermometer it will go to a charity for them to put in a silent auction!

I have written about retiring from Council when my current term expires in February of 2016. Although it’s a year out, and the more I think about it the more I realize that retirement is not something I want to do. After all, I love what I do on a daily basis. I enjoy corresponding and representing my constituents and City Council is always challenging. I still have my mental and physical capabilities and my sense of humor! My wife Chris has always been a great sounding board for me throughout my entire political career, and although we differ on many issues her advice has always been prudent for me. One of the reasons for even considering retirement was because of Chris and because I thought that was something she wanted me to do. A few weeks ago as we sat down to dinner there was an article next to my dinner plate that had been taken from the newspaper and written by a professor at a major university about retiring before you were ready. It simply stated exactly what I said above. I looked over at Chris as she watched me read the article and she smiled and said, “I know you’re not ready to retire, you deeply care about what you do and you’re good at it. I’m happy to support you for one more term, so go for it.” So, I’m shelving retirement and I officially filed to run for one more term. Of course there is no guarantee that I’ll get re-elected but I’ll give it my best shot.

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