Ciao! Lazy, hazy days of summer

BILL KLAUBER

What ever happened to those lazy hazy days of summer?

What happened to the summers where locals enjoyed the empty restaurants, the uncrowded beaches, the lack of traffic, the open roads?

Well restaurants are as hungry for our business as we are hungry to eat there and they are making it easy with their extraordinary specials.

The beaches are tranquil and blankets or beach chairs can be spaced so that everyone has privacy.

The roads are open and other than being sure to stop on red, there is little to slow us down.

That’s the way it should be because summers are for relaxing and enjoying all of the amenities of the area without having to battle for a parking place or wait for a sales clerk or line up to get into a popular restaurant.

Sure we have the daily rainstorms, the high humidity, the relentless heat. In those regards we know it is summer.

But the customary lull in activities and normal relaxation are missing this summer. We have a number of issues and events interrupting the calm that usually makes our summers so carefree.

Instead what do we have?

We have controversy and disagreement in the matter of the Jackson Lab. Should residents subsidize an organization which, because of its nonprofit status, will pay no taxes?

Should county property owners be asked--perhaps mandated-- to pay higher property taxes, a possible surcharge on power and electric bills and maybe even an increase in the sales tax rate?

All of this, just incidentally, to attract a company that will bring 200 employees and possibly--no guarantees mind you-- attract other bio-med businesses to an area near Ave Maria, far away from most of the restaurants, stores and other businesses that would help pay to bring Jackson Lab here, and in turn be helped by their presence.

That issue remains as hot as the weather has been as our usually void-of-issues summer has been filled with meetings, forums and debates on the advisability of this venture which could end up being a fait accompli without a public vote.

This summer also has been dominated by the consequences of the BP Oil spill and its potential damage to our shorelines and beaches. We have seen on television the futility of the many attempts to stem the tide of this gusher well. We wait almost daily on tenterhooks to learn if the latest tries are successful.

And of course this summer we have the political races--everything from National and State to local politics.

On a local level we are faced with difficult choices because of the many issues that will be challenging the newly elected as well as the incumbents. We are fortunate to have a plethora of excellent candidates for each position. And all of the races are heating up just as the summer is.

In order to assist us in making our vote-casting decisions we have a had a steady stream of forums to fill our summer days and nights such as Politics in the Park and debates like the one the Naples Daily News recently hosted. These races are heating up as the temperatures heat up.

And let’s not forget national politics which are just beginning to simmer as we approach the primaries and November elections. And, interestingly enough, this isn’t even a Presidential election year.

Of course we are in the midst of a summer with a number of major National issues beyond just the elections.

Health care is still to be fully explained and implemented. The economy remains unsettled with many proposals being vetted. A Supreme Court Justice nominee is awaiting confirmation.

And of course we have had more than our share of tea parties, even for summer.

And this has been an unusually busy summer in the world of sports. While baseball--our summer past time-- still remains in the spotlight, it has had to share the summer stage with the quadrennial contest for soccer’s World Cup.

And not to be outdone, professional basketball had the sports focus for a couple of summer weeks as the unusual number of outstanding players who became free agents pursued unbelievable contracts.

And, fittingly enough for the summertime, the Heat got hotter as the big three free agents all signed with Miami which continues to stock its roster with other stars. It was almost unbelievable that LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade could collude--as long ago as three years-- to land with the same team without being accused of manipulating the system to their individual and collective advantage.

So much for the purpose and the spirit of the NBA draft in assuring that the worst teams can get better by strengthening their roster and developing those high draft choices.

And just think pro football’s summer training camps are just opening.

You call all of this relaxing? A fine summer this has been and there are still two months of it left. So try to relax, enjoy and keep cool until our Northern neighbors return to keep us occupied next season. Be sure to tell them how boring this summer has been.

Ciao!

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