Politics and Potpourri – January 2015

Councilman Bill Barnett

Councilman Bill Barnett

by Councilman Bill Barnett

2015 is here and quite candidly I haven’t the slightest clue of where 2014 went. It seems as if Naples’ lifestyle has had that effect on me for as long as I can remember, and 2015 also means that I’ll have lived in Naples for 42 years.

As I approach my last full year of being an elected official for the City of Naples, I have many questions that I don’t have any answers for. The predominant question is what am I going to do when I retire in early 2016. Although I have friends that would never miss an episode of their daily favorite soaps that gives them something to look forward to every day; I know I’m not going to become a soap opera fan.

My brother-in-law watches all the Judges shows everyday from Judge Joe Brown to Judge Judy including the reruns, but he lives in Buffalo and it’s a long winter up there. I would probably do the same if I lived there. I can’t go to the beach anymore because I did too much of that in my earlier years and my dermatologist has proven to me time and time again by freezing off pre-cancer spots on my face and body that any extended time in the sun will be detrimental to my health. I would love to become a professional poker player and play tournaments all over the world but first of all I’m not good enough and more importantly I couldn’t afford it unless I hit the lottery which is doubtful and my wife Chris certainly wouldn’t sign on to that program.

I certainly know a lot of people in Naples and have frequented the vast majority of restaurants in our area so maybe I could become a maitre d’ in one of them. And for years I have talked with the powers that be at the Ritz Carlton of becoming a concierge there. I know I would be good at that job; it would be fun and fulfilling helping clients to enjoy Naples and all we have to offer. Each day I come up with more brilliant ideas but realistically I know for sure that my last year of serving my constituents will be a good one. I will work as hard as ever to finish my 24 year political career that started in 1984 and has been running non-non-consecutively for 23 years. I also know that something will come along most likely in the volunteer department that I will enjoy doing as I always have, so I’m not losing any sleep about what the future will hold for me after my Council days have ended.

Last month I briefly wrote about the Fred W. Coyle Freedom Memorial Park that so desperately needs to be finished. It will be a Naples Community effort and one that I would hope we would all participate in to bring this great project to completion. When finished, it will make us all proud to have been a part of it. The date will be Friday, February 20th, 2015 and will be held at the Freedom Park. It will start with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. and dinner will be at 6:45 p.m. Our max limit will be 400 people, and I am anticipating that we will sell out. For more information, go to FreedomMemorialFoundationOfNaples.org. Even if you can’t attend your donations will go a long way towards helping us reach our goal.

My New Year’s advice for the upcoming season, which remains the same every year: Allow an extra 15 minutes to get where you’re going.

Practice deep breathing when you see cars cutting across three lanes of traffic to make a turn without using any directional signals. Try and keep your blood pressure from rising when all three lanes of traffic have cars going 20 mph in a 45 mph zone. If you care about your car try your best to park it as far away from the store that you are going to and walk the few extra steps thus avoiding door dings and cart scratches.

When in your favorite grocery store, be mindful that you have cart drivers from all states participating on who can get to the checkout counter first regardless of who might be in their way.

This is a good time to think about your upcoming yoga class and be calm! Make your restaurant reservations as far out in advance as you possibly can or you will be disappointed when you are told, “I am sorry we are booked solid for that evening.” Even if the maitre d’ is your best friend they can’t manufacture tables that they don’t have. And on a final note, have a great New Year and remember that your Mayor and City Council along with all of our great employees in the City of Naples will do everything in our power to make sure your time in Naples is
enjoyable whether it’s for a day, a month or 42 years like me!

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