Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett

Well, I’m not used to walking out of the house to pick up the paper from the driveway and the temperature is 33 degrees as was the case this morning. I actually like it. I like to be able to put a jacket and a sweater on, I like walking and wearing gloves and covering my ears. But best of all I know that within the next three days the temperature will be back in the high 70s and the low 80s! I am definitely feeling the pain for our Northeast neighbors as they are getting blasted with brutal winter weather. A friend of mine e-mailed me this morning from Connecticut on his way out the door in 5 degree weather to get his snowblower and do his walk and driveway. I think I remember those days but it’s just a vague memory and not necessarily a pleasant one.

After giving up on my Buffalo Bills they made a great comeback and as most of you football aficionados know their game against Kansas City was probably one of the best games ever even though the Bills lost. Not because the Bills lost but in my humble opinion the NFL needs to change the overtime rule as it is just plain unfair. The way that rule is written the team that makes the correct call on the coin toss to see who gets the ball first during the overtime kickoff has a huge advantage because if they score a touchdown on the first series they win the game and the other team never gets a chance to touch the ball. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. Meanwhile kudos to the Kansas City Chiefs fans for not only being good sports but by donating to Buffalo’s Oishei Children’s Hospital which is where Quarterback Josh Allen has a foundation. Because the Bills lost with 13 seconds left in the game the Kansas City fans have donated over Four-Hundred Thousand Dollars in thirteen-dollar donations!

The City Council election is two days away and you won’t read this article until the results have long been tallied. I am annoyed
with this election which is my prerogative for many reasons which I don’t mind sharing. I have participated in seven non-consecutive
elections, the first started in 1984 and the last in 2016. This isn’t about me but I will share with you that this last election has been
one of the ugliest I have ever seen. Why? Well for one thing we didn’t have newspaper coverage during the campaign. Sure, there
were a series of questions the candidates answered and one other article, but it was all vanilla. There were no challenges to what
some of the candidates put in their campaign brochures and I can’t emphasize strongly enough there was information printed in
them that was bogus but yet there were no reporters to research and challenge, so it became gospel. The few forums that they had
were non-descript, the questions from the audiences were handpicked to be asked and in my opinion it certainly seemed to me
that some of the candidates knew the questions in advance. Again this is strictly my opinion but I do consider myself somewhat of
an expert when it comes to City campaigns. Perhaps the saddest of all was the bashing of former Councils and how they were going
to “fix” the errors that had been made. I can tell you that never during any of my campaigns did I or any other candidates make
a point of past Councils. They for the most part the candidates said what their goals were, not what had been done in good faith
by prior Councils. And finally, our City Charter clearly states that our city elections are non-partisan. Anyone who paid the least
bit of attention to this last election would have thought this was a political party slugfest. It was anything but non-partisan and it
really upset me to witness.

It’s hard to believe that March is here already, and Naples has had a great season. The problems we see are seen nationwide as
well and that’s the employee situation. I don’t see that getting better in the future. What concerns me is it is going to get tougher
and tougher to find good employees because the price of real estate is skyrocketing, and people can’t find places to live that they can
afford. A very good friend of mine who owns a towing service has been trying for months to find a good employee. The salary is
good, benefits included. He finally started looking out of state and had a few quality applicants that had families. The problem? Once
they came down and saw what it would cost them to live, they said no thanks. We need to seriously find solutions to this problem.
Since owning Bulldogs and subscribing to membership in the National Bulldog Club of America I dropped the treasurer a note
and said we lost our last Bulldog but would remain members of the club. I received a card back expressing their sorrow and for all
of you dog lovers there was a quote from the famous author Agnes Sligh Turnbull who said it best “Dogs lives are too short, their only
fault, really.”

Enjoy Naples and what we have to offer and count your blessings to be here.
Former Mayor,

Bill Barnett
I do respond to e-mails at:

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