Politics & Potpourri

politicsIt’s hard to believe that today is July 3rd, and it seems as if our last Season just flew by. In my 40 years of living in Naples I have never seen so much rain so early. I can clearly remember the way the summer weather patterns used to be when I first moved to Naples. Every day around 4 p.m. the thunderstorms would roll in, it would rain for 15-20 minutes, and the sun would be out again. The weather we had in June almost seemed like the old days, but we had a lot more rain now. The weather patterns across the country might just make believers out of some non-believers when we think about global warming!

In mid-May my wife Chris and I packed up our car with the two cats and the bulldog and off we went to Lake Placid, New York where we spend the majority of our summer. It is a three day trip and we always stay in the same pet friendly places that our pets have gotten used to staying in over the years. Imagine my surprise the first day of travel when we pulled in to the Country Inn & Suites located right off of I-95 in Savannah, GA. They used to be a Clarion but were purchased last winter and I know they remained pet friendly because upon receiving an e-mail from them notifying me of the change I e-mailed the director of marketing and specifically asked, and the answer was a solid yes. I went to check in at the front desk and they had my reservation but wanted to know how much our Bulldog Zsa- Zsa weighed. I thought this was a little strange and asked why, stating we have been staying there every May and October for the past three years and it never mattered before. The front desk clerk said that they were no longer a pet friendly place and for those reservations that had been made in advance such as ours, their policy was no dog could stay there if they weighed over 30 pounds. All of a sudden our 42 pound Bulldog weighed in at slightly less than 30, and we proceeded to our room, stayed the night, and left early the next morning. We saw a few dogs there that night whose owners also had to do some quick thinking when they checked in because those dogs would have definitely tipped the scale well over thirty pounds! Nice of Country Inn and Suites to notify us in advance of their policy change. I am being sarcastic, they never bothered.

Computer technology is a wonderful thing and trying to stay current is always a challenge for me, but thankfully our kids and grandkids are very tech savvy and I can call one of them if I have a computer or an iPhone issue. With that being said we had a scary experience last week that I hope none of you ever experience. Long story made short, I flew from Fort Myers through JFK and into Burlington, Vermont. It was late afternoon when I arrived, the flights were on time, and Chris was there to pick me up. We stopped in Burlington for dinner, and then it was a two hour car ride to Lake Placid. We got on the road about 8 p.m., and after about an hour it was getting dark and I mentioned to Chris that I didn’t think our headlights came on, and they are set on auto on. No sooner did I say that and a warning message came on which said check low left beam, and then came on again and said check low right beam. I pulled over to the side of the road and sure enough no headlights. The outer running lights were on and the taillights, but that was it. We were on an unlit back country road with about 40 miles to go, and no headlights. Thankfully a Good Samaritan came by and we were able to follow him all the way into Lake Placid by going very slow and staying a few car lengths behind him. The next day I called the nearest dealership which was an hour away from us, I told the service rep what happened, and asked him if he had two headlamps in stock so I could bring the car in and get it fixed. He explained to me that they couldn’t keep those parts in stock because of the expense. Expense? Just a headlamp bulb or two, what expense? Little did I know that those days are long gone. I would have to bring the car in so they could computer analyze the car to find out what parts were needed, then they would order the parts, and I would have to bring the car back. Fortunately for us the car is still under warranty because if it was just the headlamps they are $300.00 each, and if it was the headlight housing it was $2000.00, and there was more on that list. I brought the car in and they informed me that it was the headlamps and something called igniters and they are now ordered. I’m not done with this saga but you will have to wait for the November article to find out why both beams went out at the same time with no warnings until after the damage was done. The dealer said he had never seen this happen before, and quite candidly neither did I. I know before the auto industry went hi-tech you just replaced the headlight with a bulb, and went on your way. I guess the real question is what if I needed to drive that car at night? I think the manufacturer has some explaining to do, and while we were indeed fortunate, there could have been some very dangerous scenarios that resulted from this incident.

About six years ago when I started running a friend of mine suggested that I go online and order from a company called Road ID.com, a super lightweight velcro wristband to wear when I run. The cost was about $19.00 and included up to five lines of engraving on it. Name, emergency contact person, etc, it was great and I never ran without it. I bought my next door neighbor one after she had been hit by a car and almost died and had no identification on her. Well, I noticed the letters were wearing off of it and I figured it was time to order a new one which I did. They sent a brief questionnaire when they received my order, and asked why I chose them, and why did I order the ID. I simply told them the reason and left it at that. Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from a representative of the company apologizing for the problem I had, and said in the e-mail that all of the road IDs come with a lifetime guarantee that the letters should never fade, and they credited me the full price and sent me a brand new one, free! I was totally impressed and sent a heartfelt thank you. After all in today’s world it’s nice to know there are people out there that are really sincere and honor a guarantee without having to file a thousand and one documents, etc. Check the company out, it was started and is still being run by a father and his son, it really is a good story of how they got the idea.

Although my articles are supposed to be Politics and Potpourri I really write a lot more Potpourri than Politics. However with that being said, our Council really stepped up to the plate when we bought the adjacent piece of property on the Gordon River to build a waterfront park. Politics were definitely involved since yours truly wrote a guest commentary solidly against purchasing it. On the day of the Council meeting that we were going to vote on purchasing that property I was still convinced going in that it was a bad idea. One of the greatest attributes that our Council has is the ability and willingness to listen to each others thoughts and ideas and be willing to compromise. That is exactly what happened that day with nobody on Council getting everything they wanted but at the end of that agenda item we all felt good about our decision to buy that property. The real winners that day were the Citizens of Naples, which is the way it’s supposed to be. We also made a promise to ourselves and to the public that we would expedite getting this park built as soon as possible.

If you have been fence sitting trying to make up your mind whether to buy property and live in Naples, or just buy it for investment, mark my words in indelible ink, buy it!

Happy travels and rest easy, Naples is in good shape!

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