Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett

This was by far the warmest pre-summer season I can remember in years. When we saw 90s in April and a lot of May it was just too hot! Now that summer is here it is even hotter with the heat index in the 100s almost daily. I was doubtful about climate change being a reality, but I’m becoming more of a believer. As the years go by and just watching the weather across the country and abroad it is convincing me without a doubt that climate change is the real deal. Between devastating fires and tornados that are destroying peoples homes and lives almost on a weekly basis one has to wonder what next?

Our rebuilding of Naples and surrounding areas from Hurricane Ian is moving along, I still have friends that are not back in their homes yet and they still don’t have a move back in date. I have heard true stories about rebuild construction prices that are candidly shocking they are so expensive. Insurance companies have been an absolute nightmare to settle damages, and it’s no wonder that many TV commercials these days are from legal firms offering to take on the insurance companies on your behalf with settlement negotiations.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that it’s only going to get tougher to find good service companies as the workforce just can’t afford to live in Naples and the surrounding areas. If you want a great example of what I’m talking about, be on I-75 any weekday morning and watch or get caught in the traffic heading south. Bumper to bumper, accidents, and this is from North Fort Myers to Naples. Speaking of our workforce, we have a propane gas cooktop that the burners needed adjusting as it had been at least five years since it needed service. I called the company we had used and was told there would be a $150.00 service call charge but if after they looked at the problem and if it needed a part, they wouldn’t charge for a second service call.

What is the average homeowner supposed to do? Trust me, I’m an average homeowner, and we needed it fixed, so we had them fix it. I guess we were lucky because no parts were needed, and it took all of 10 minutes to adjust. No complaints at all with the service and the repairman. My point is and you know I’m right it isn’t going to get easier to find a good repair service and it sure isn’t going to be less expensive. I’ve had folks tell me some horror stories about hiring a company with no references, don’t make that mistake!

Because this is the last issue of Life in Naples for a few months I’m going to, as I usually do, write about our local politics. My opinion only, I think I’m well qualified after having served a total of 28 years on City Council both as Mayor and Council member. The current Council last week wrapped up for their summer vacation which runs until mid-August. Candidly I know the staff breathes a sigh of relief and will use the time to try and get caught up with what Council left them to do. Personally I say there is no way that will happen. Council’s meeting last week was perhaps one of the worst I have ever seen. The Mayor set an agenda with approximately 40 items on it which was virtually impossible to complete in one day. Sure enough it started at 8:30am and was still going at 8:30pm. This was not the first time this has happened this last session, it has been commonplace. Long arduous council meetings and a bevy of disagreements between some of the Council members. Any good CEO or business executive knows that 12 hour meetings just don’t work. The human body and mind just can’t deal efficiently after a certain amount of time. Yet, it continues. We have lost more good staff in the past year than ever in the history of the City of Naples. I can only say I’m glad that next year will be an election year for the Mayor and three Council members, there has to be a change. If you doubt what I say and want to see for yourself just go to and pull up the last City Council meeting on June 21st and see for yourself. If you don’t want to see all 12 hours just advance to the last hour of the meeting. I will continue to keep my readers informed as this process moves forward.

Finally, vacation time! The car is loaded, the cat is ready to travel, and I can’t wait for some cool weather, Buffalo wings, fresh corn, local vegetables and of course our favorite Tasty Treat Ice Cream stand that has at least 30 flavors to choose from. It has been in the same spot for at least 40 years, opens mid-May and closes mid-October. My nieces and nephews can’t wait for Chris and I to get there because they know that after dinner it’s a tradition to go there in the summer. I like it more than they do!

Be safe, and enjoy your summer and early fall.

Bill Barnett, Former Mayor

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