Happy New Year!

I sincerely hope with all the turmoil that’s going on in our world that 2024 will be a better one than 2023 was!

I started to write this article and got halfway through it and just stopped short and went back and erased what I had written. What follows is something that I have wrestled mightily with but in the end I felt I needed to write it so here goes. I have lived in the City of Naples for fifty years. I really don’t like to be repetitive but sometimes it’s necessary. I was elected to City Council in 1984 and ended my political career in 2020 with a total of 28 years of service with the city, 12 on Council and 16 as Mayor. Of course, there was a nonconsecutive total of 8 years in between where I was out of office due to term limits. However, my career spanned a total of 36 years. This past year was the Centennial for the City of Naples. I was excited to hear that the mayor was going to head a committee to plan events throughout 2023 and culminate at the end of the year with some special fun events.

Well, to be honest with you I had some visions in my head that I would get a call when the planning started and hopefully be asked to participate in some of these events, maybe even chair one. After all, if anyone has a vested interest in our City which I love I say emphatically I do! Months passed and no call came my way. I heard from various sources that the committee was meeting and the mayor was calling all the shots. By September and into the month of October I realized that I was not going to get that call. Even though it meant a lot to me I wasn’t going to ask “Hey, did you forget me ?” I actually had a good friend on that committee who never said a word to me. The many events were published and in early December a letter appeared in my mailbox. I opened it and it was the Invitation to the Centennial Gala to be held at Baker Park. It was a standard well done invite explaining the event, and in magnifying glass print were the words Three Hundred Dollars a Plate. I suppose the old saying of the straw that broke the camel’s back came into play for me when I saw that. It was then that all my thoughts from when the Centennial was first announced flooded back to me. I can’t and probably never will forget being ignored after devoting all those years to the City. But the glaring omission to every single elected official that was still living, including former mayors, city managers, and former council members was that invitation. Each of those folks who were ignored should have received a personal invitation from the mayor inviting them as the City’s guest and thanking them for their years of dedicated service to the City. After all it was their hard work that made Naples what it is today.

Well, the political scene is definitely warming up in the City of Naples. Already there are false polls that are showing up on Google saying Teresa Heitman and Ted Blankenship who are running for mayor are very close in the mayoral race. What a bunch of baloney! It seems that a campaign manager of one of those candidates is putting that non-sense out with absolutely no knowledge at this stage of the game how anyone is doing. At the last City Council meeting the suggestion was made that all sitting council members and the mayor that are running for office in this upcoming election in March not put their campaign signs out until after the first of the year. The reason was a good one, why clutter up lawns with signs during the holidays, let’s keep Naples pretty with decorations, not campaign signs. There was dead silence in the room, one would think the mayor would have jumped all over it and supported it. She mumbled a few words about giving it some thought and that was the end of it. At the time of this writing I know that Ted Blankenship has his signs out.

I recently received a very special call from our State Attorney Amira Fox. She asked me if I would be interested in serving on the City of Naples Ethics Commission because one of her appointees moved up to the State of Florida and she needed to replace him. This was a real honor to have been asked by her. I gave it a lot of thought but respectfully declined because that commission is very restrictive in what one can and can’t do. One example is I wouldn’t be able to publicly support any candidate that was running for office in the City of Naples, nor would I be able to place a yard sign supporting a candidate. I would also have to resign from some boards involving the City and I just felt they were too important for me to give up.

February will be red hot with City Politics and I will devote my entire article in Life in Naples to it.

Happy New Year, be safe and be happy!
Bill Barnett, Former Mayor
I do respond to e-mails at:

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.