NAPLES Potpourri by Bill Barnett

I find myself in a bit of a quandary as I write this November article, and it’s one that I have dealt with before but always on the other side. Today is September 24th, and I have plans to drive my car back to Naples from Buffalo. I’ll leave this Tuesday, drive to Washington D.C. and stay overnight, then take the Auto Train which goes from Lorton, Virginia and ends up in Sanford, Florida. This way I’m back in Naples on Thursday. Sounds like a good plan except for the fact that there is an impending Hurricane named Ian that is heading for Florida and more importantly our area. I’m not so upset with Ian wreaking havoc on my plans, although I am extremely annoyed. I hope and pray that he decides to take a turn and go somewhere else, because I’ve had enough hurricane experiences as the former Mayor to last three lifetimes. I can vividly remember each one starting with Andrew, Charley, Wilma, and Irma and a few no name storms to boot. Of course, when you read this it will be in November and I can add to this story in a future article. At this time, they still aren’t sure it’s even going to hit us, but a State of Emergency has been issued for Florida and that’s enough for me. So, I’m going to move my trip back one week and as they say, bite the bullet and hope that I can still get the same arrangements.

Speaking of the Auto Train, I have talked with many people who have tried it and don’t like it for a myriad of reasons. For some it’s too bumpy, noisy, claustrophobic, late on arrival and departure and more. I will share with you that I have used it for many years and have found all of the above reasons valid, but I still like it as do many others. It’s kind of a mixed bag. It does save 900 miles of driving if you’re heading North or South. Unfortunately, no pets for obvious reasons. Finally, they offer a limited number of sleeping rooms with a bathroom. I get on that train, go to my cabin, unload the snacks I brought on with me, which include the mini liquor bottles, fill the ice bucket, hook up my computer and iPad and I’m good to go. I always download movies and TV shows and a few good books so I’m all set. They have a dining
car, and you are assigned a time to dine and the food is respectable. Although it’s a little tough to go to sleep because you do get a bit shaken up when the train gets rolling and makes some of those banked turns in the middle of the night, I look out of the window as the train speeds through the night and the small towns are just a blur as you pass them.

Last year I took my iPhone and put the GPS on and lo and behold it picked up where we were, and it was amazing to see the names of the towns and where we were on the map. No, I am not getting paid to promote the Auto Train. If you want a snapshot of what it’s really like, watch the movie Cocoon. I can get away with saying that cause I fill that age bracket!

Well, latest news is the Miami Dolphin fans are one happy group after defeating my Buffalo Bills today — it was a really good game, they earned it.

I have said before I do pay attention to the City of Naples political scene, but I don’t say much because if I criticize something I see and don’t like it gets perceived as my having sour grapes because I lost the Mayor election two plus years ago. That’s so not true, but it’s okay, eventually it will stop. Speaking about City Council I watched a workshop they had about a week ago and the subject matter was the Naples Municipal Airport and it turned into something that wasn’t advertised for discussion and a Council member said after about 30 minutes of conversation, hey, we shouldn’t be talking about this. Of course, the damage had been done and the general public will hear about it, no doubt. They discussed noise, moving the airport, how to stop taking Federal Grant money, and how to switch the takeoff and landing paths.

What they didn’t realize was that most of the above items they had no jurisdiction over, but they will find out.


BILL BARNETT, Former Mayor


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