Mayor’s Corner

Mayor Bill Barnett

It seems as if every two years when there are local candidate forums for Naples City Council seats the old adage “some things never change” are true. Many years ago and I’m talking late 1980’s right up till now, it was always interesting to watch the favoritism shown to some candidates. I should have said interesting unless you were one of those unfortunate candidates on the other end. I witnessed it first hand as that happened to me and I vowed from that day on that I would do everything I could to balance the scales so it was a fair process for all. From the seating arrangement order to the questions asked of the candidates there were glaring discrepancies.

Now I’m not saying every local candidate forum was jaded but two weeks ago I witnessed the following in two different forums that annoyed me and I’m still steaming. Each forum had a timekeeper and when your allotted speaking time is up the timekeeper who usually sits in the front row holds up a card letting the candidate know that his or her time has expired, or, that they have one minute left.

There are four candidates currently running for three council seats and the moderator told each candidate they
would have three minutes for opening remarks. Property owners associations host most of these local forums and
how convenient that the same candidate at these two different forums used almost fifteen minutes for opening
remarks at one of them and almost eight minutes at the other before the timekeeper held up the sign. Of course
none of the other participants would dare say anything for fear of being called whiners. It was totally abuse of the
system and certainly unfair to the other candidates.

Anyone who attends one of these forums goes with the intention of learning something about the candidates
and their thoughts and opinions on local issues. Imagine my surprise when a moderator asked the candidates two
questions on how they would have voted on two different issues that had already been voted on and resolved by the current city council. This was by far a total waste of their time since the issue was a dead one. It would be like
knowing the exact answers to the questions being asked prior to taking an exam. Bottom line is after this election, which is on February 6th, I will speak with the various property owner associations and share my concerns.

Hopefully I can make the process a better one. Moving right along is Baker Park, which will hopefully be under construction when you read this article. Also being built is our new Fire Station One, which will be able to withstand a category 5 hurricane which I pray will never happen. It will also serve as our emergency operations center. Our new city dock, if not already officially open, will be in March. The new Gulfshore Playhouse is well on its way and the preliminary plans of what it might look like are nothing short of phenomenal.

For those of you that are die hard Life in Naples followers and there are a lot of you, I can never say enough
about our dining opportunities in all of Naples and especially in our city. Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South are prime examples of what great restaurant choices we have in a short radius. From Pizza at Napoli on the Bay to superb Italian food at Barbatella, great French food at Bleu Provence, and a myriad of ethnic choices up and down Fifth Avenue South it just gets better and better. If someone asks me what my favorite restaurant is I absolutely can’t answer that question anymore. I have to ask what ethnicity before I answer and then I can rattle
off a bunch of them.

I am very proud of our city and the many awards we keep receiving. Our being one of the happiest, healthiest cities in the United States goes a long way! If you e-mail me at you will receive a response! Stay safe and remember to make dining reservations or you will more than likely get shut out. 🙁

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