NORTH NAPLES — In this political campaign season, much is made of the relationship of business and government.
Depending on your political persuasion, the nation needs more control over corporations big and small. Or less. Tax small business more. Or get out of their way and let them prosper.
Here's a local example of a business and a private entity finding common ground, about 140 feet in the air over Airport-Pulling Road in North Naples.
You know it when you see it, that towering American flag flying next to the Italian American Foundation building. It's also a cell phone tower, but you wouldn't notice that just driving by.
"We requested the flag back in 2001, because we did not want an ugly cellphone tower there," said Ren Morani, foundation treasurer.
"So the tower owner made a proposal to us and to the county and agreed to put up a flag. Towerco Assets owns it now. The company maintains the pole and the lighting and changes out the flag when needed. In return, we offered them a 30-year lease on the 50-by-50-foot plot of ground."
Cellphone tower owners learned a long time ago that it often pays to disguise the tools of their trade to look like something other than their unadorned selves. Around the world one can find cell towers that look like trees or huge statuary and of course flags. Some office buildings in major cities have cell towers that look like gargoyles clinging to corners of the structures. Somewhere there probably is a cell tower painted like a barber pole.
Here, we lucked out and got that giant flag.
"It's a landmark for us," Ren Morani said. "It reminds people where the foundation is located. The fact that it went up in May of 2001, just a few months before 9-11, makes it especially meaningful for us."
Morani said neighbors in that part of town take pride in the big flag too.
"When the flag gets tattered we get calls from those folks asking us to get a new flag. We report it to the owners and they are quick to see to it. We all take pride in it."
You can go see this hometown example of corporate-civic group cooperation at 7035 Airport-Pulling Road.
Don Farmer is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and CNN news anchor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.