MAYOR’S CORNER Happy New Year!

At the end of a year I like to reflect on the past year and of course talk about New Year’s resolutions. Well this year no more New Year’s resolutions for me. I have made a conscious decision and have decided that from this point on I’m going to set attainable goals that I hope I can accomplish rather than resolutions that usually get forgotten within a week of making them. The only one that I have absolutely no control over but nonetheless falls into the long-term goal category is I want to become a centenarian! Now, that’s certainly worth a good laugh, and I smile when I set that goal because that’s 24 years away, but with today’s health technologies and healthy options coupled with wonderful programs such as The Blue Zones Concept, I have many resources to choose from and so do you! So next year when I write my New Year’s article in Life In Naples I’ll let you know how that’s going. (Hopefully)

Reflecting back on 2016, I sure can’t say, “Hohum it was just another boring year.” It had many bright spots and some dark spots and certainly from September 15th, 2015, when I announced that I was going to run for Mayor again to March 15th, 2016 when I was elected it was an emotional roller coaster that ended up as a huge bright spot! Of course our eight grandchildren are all certainly bright spots! Four of them in college, one who is 16-years-old is full-time with the Boston Ballet. The youngest is a freshman in high school, one is a going to Veterinarian tech school and one is a licensed fishing captain and they keep us busy!

Moving forward throughout the 2016 year there was certainly the incredible sadness that is felt as some dear friends and some of my long-time associates passed away. After living in the city of Naples for 44 years it seems to become more difficult daily to read the obituaries in the local paper and not know someone whose name is in there. A not so memorable experience occurred about a month ago that I would like to share with you. With all the daily media reports about credit card theft and scams, my wife Chris and I are very careful to check our credit card statements both online and received in the mail almost daily. A few weeks ago she gave me her GAP card statement that had just arrived that day. She asked me to look at it because she had paid her last month’s bill, which was $16.84, and the statement reflected they had received it and credited it. However there was now a balance of $17.84 and she hadn’t used the card since paying the bill. I looked at it, took a deep breath, and called the customer service number listed on the statement. After holding for about 30 minutes and having pushed about 20 numbers to get there I finally had a live person to talk with on the line. I explained our issue to her and she immediately responded in a condescending tone and said that unfortunately our check was one day late and a late fee was automatically assessed. I agreed with her that this was definitely a serious issue, (tongue in cheek) but even a 30 percent late charge fee would have been $5.04 and how did they get to the $17.84 number? Well, of course she had no idea and finally after consulting with the powers that be she came back on the line and begrudgingly waived the late fee and never offered an explanation. The moral of this story is in today’s world you just can’t be too careful. I can’t begin to imagine how often we get taken advantage of because we don’t pay close enough attention to detail and it unknowingly costs us plenty.

I have received quite a few positive e-mails about my mentioning mom and pop businesses in Naples and will continue to do so in my articles. Kudos to all of them! Koenig Art Emporium on Central Avenue gets this month’s special shout out. Not only have they endured the Central Avenue construction, but weathered the economic ups and downs and have been a family Art and Framing owned business for over thirty years. The Walbert family has recently welcomed their daughter Kim who has become a member in the business. Next month it’s back to City business with updates on Baker Park and other great events going on in our City. I do respond to e-mails at
I hope that 2017 turns out to be the best year ever for you!

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