Politics and Potpourri August 2014

Politicsby Councilman Bill Barnett

At our final Council meeting in June prior to our summer vacation break, I smiled when the Mayor says “adjourned, have a good vacation”. Although unspoken I sense a vast feeling of relief from the City staff that they will have some much deserved peace and quiet until we reconvene in August. Please don’t misunderstand me, they continue to work 24-7 on the many projects that we leave them with, plus their everyday tasks which are monumental. There is never a day that goes by that no matter
where we are that we don’t receive correspondence from our City or assistant City manager keeping us totally updated.

Nobody likes to be taken advantage of, and when it happens to me and is “in my face blatant,” it haunts me for a long time. Last November my wife Chris and I decided it was time to downsize and sell our home that we had built and lived in for the last fourteen years. It was not an easy decision, and we debated long and hard before we decided to do it.

So keeping that in mind and prior to listing the house we decided to do the smart thing and pay for a complete home inspection from a local company that we knew to be honest and had an excellent reputation. They did a thorough job and we ended up with a fix-it list that was extensive, but nothing major, and we completed the list before we put the house up for sale.

The home inspection company we hired uses a nationally known pest control company that has a Naples office to do all their inspections for termites etc. and they signed off on the report that we had passed their inspection with some minor fixes, no problem. Five months later we received an offer on the house which we accepted, and we had approximately six weeks to get ready for closing, and the buyers had two weeks from the contract date to do their due diligence. We provided the prospective buyers with a copy of our inspection report and the work we had done.

During their two week due diligence period they hired their own company to do a home inspection, as I would have done as well. The deadline day arrived and I received a call from my realtor saying he received a copy of the buyers inspection report and the words from him that I definitely didn’t want to hear were, “you have termites.” He went on to tell me that the buyers had accepted the contract with some minor adjustments but we would be responsible for paying for the treatment to get rid of the termites which meant tenting the house. I have lived in Naples for 41 years and if you live in Florida the word termites are not that scary especially the kind that we had, and I agreed we would of course do that. As you can imagine I went ballistic because this nationally known supposedly reputable company had given us a clean bill of health, after all I had a copy of the report that they signed off on. I called them immediately, and after getting the third degree of why I wanted to speak with the manager I was told he would call me back as he was busy. No call back that day so I called the next day and finally connected with him. I calmly explained the issue and asked him what the next step was for me to have his company reimburse me for my expenses or at least a portion of them for their not finding the termites. He then condescendingly asked me if I had read their contract that his inspector had signed off on. I said no, only the part that said there were no termites. He then told me to read the small print where it said that the contract that I had received a copy of was only good for that day, and that it was very possible that the termites came in after they had done the report and therefore they weren’t responsible. I explained that the buyers company who found the termites had said that the termites that had been located were found in a very tough to get to spot and they had been there for well over a year.

The manager then went on a tirade that nobody in the world could make that statement and there was no way possible for anyone to tell how long termites had been in
place, and that was basically the end of our conversation, I knew I had been ripped off. Following that I did a lot of research and became somewhat of a termite expert. I
learned that a good pest control company can certainly get a very good idea of whether termites were new arrivals or not, and especially if they had been there for a considerable amount of time. Plain and simple they missed them and used their contract to bail. If there is one thing I can guarantee you it would be that the home inspection company I used will never use this National company again, nor will anyone else I speak to about it. Any decent pest control company and we have a lot of them in Naples, that cares about their reputation would have handled this in a totally different way. Talk to the inspector, ask him if he actually went to the spot where the termites were located (I know he didn’t) and if they missed locating them then step up to the plate and help make it right. Moral of this story, use local companies when you can, I do.

On the bright side Cambier Park has been a favorite of so many of us for so many years. It is a wonderful park in the heart of our City and continues to be a very popular park to visit whether it’s for the great Arthur Allen tennis facility, the Norris Center, or the band shell that hosts so many wonderful concerts and other events. It serves as a place of worship on Sunday mornings, and our War Memorial has a home there as well. The Cambier playground which I was so integrally involved in during the late nineties when we did a community rebuild remains a place of laughter and joy for children as well as adults, with lots of memories as well. Our Mayor and Council graciously asked me if I would chair another rebuild which was sorely needed for the playground. I said of course and we have allocated the funds to have the same company who did the last rebuild do this one as well, which is slated for this August.

It will be called our Next Generation Cambier Park Playground and will be awesome when finished. There were pickets that surrounded the old playground, and each picket had been donated in the memory of a loved one, dear friend etc. Over the years Mother Nature had worn the pickets out. They had deteriorated to the point that they had to be removed, and the new ones that will be placed in our rebuilt playground will be weather resistant.

All pickets will be paid for by individual donations and they are selling for $100.00 each. Each picket sold will be personalized with a name you designate to be engraved on it! Please help us!

Any questions about the pickets or the playground project can be answered by Jennifer Fox at 239.213.3054. I saw a new television spot about drunk driving for the first time last night, and it said it all. “If you get hammered when driving drunk, you will get nailed.” Kudos to the individual who wrote that!

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

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