Sunday, January 16, 2022

Letter to the Editor: In Memory of Mike and JW….



City Manager Roger Hemstadt visited our Rotary Club lunch and gave a fine speech. In the Q&A a hot topic was the issue over the Marriott expansion.

Frankly the sentiment seemed to be: Why is this even an issue? The Marriott plan would boost the local economy. So why pay attention to any spoilers?

Over the past few days I’ve chewed over the nature of the spoilers, points a, b & c.

a)     Always we have some Luddites, mad about innovations, more technology. They complain, “It’s too much traffic, tourist, etc.” I suppose these luddites are befuddled by the competence of the City and the Marriott.

b)    Egocentric judgmental. These people strive for authority, speak in patronizing and often express how offended. Most of us common folks know that running the Marriott is its own business. My response to all the offenses is, “So what?”

c)     Personal attention. I suppose most of the spoilers don’t have any decent hobbies like golf, fishing or (me) chess. For something to do they complain on issues, hoping they will appear to be important. OK, I’ll shake your hand, pat your back and explain how foolish your opinions.

Roger-&-WadeSo this morning I’m pondering and pecking on my iPad. As usual, settled in the lanai, gently rocking my lounge, sipping a good cup of coffee – no cream or sugar – observing the stars fade as the dawn resolves a new day. The little “pet” lizard pumps out its throat, not afraid at all. Now is the time to self-analyze my own emotions on Marco Island.

Two men have come to mind: Mike Minozzi and John Willard.

You probably know what a great hero was Mike Minozzi. For me Mike was mentor at Rotary and at city council taught me much of civic affairs.

My emotions were



somewhat different back in the ‘90s. After many attempts over the years, the City of Marco Island was established. I was against it from the git-go and tried to have a reverse vote. After all we’ve got enough government with federal, state and county, why the heck add on a city bureaucracy. Mike and I talked. Although we disagreed on policies, I admired Mike so much I always supported and voted for him in elections. On one Rotary service we picked up trash on Saturday morns and continued the debate.

After a few years I understood I was simply wrong on the City. And now looking back, the nature of Marco Island is so much better, thanks to Mike. For the Rotary Club and the City Council, you know, we really miss Mike Minozzi.

Now the other name is John Willard, nickname JW, who created much wealth on Marco Island.

How so?

Well, it was done by the economic revolution explained well by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776.

Mike-Minozzi-Simplified here’s the essence. In the hills of Scotland came the birth of industry. Yep, finally we were set free from the feudal system of the dark Middle Ages. Industry means all types of factories and services in which wealth is created. The revolutionary lightening bolts come from unknown, hopeful, dreaming entrepreneurs, most of which fail but a few succeed. Each enterprise has got to stay on his or her toes because always the threat of better competition with new innovations. And what has absolutely got to be done is keep the customers happy. What a neat deal!

John Willard was one of those lightening bolts, and the wealth he created splurged all over Marco Island.

Compare the pictures, then and now. About 50 years ago we



were a little fishing village not much going on. The community was short on groceries and various doctor types, no local police, drugs, etc. By golly (re Adam Smith) we need industry. But not messy factories, we don’t want that. We want good, clean, high profit industry. Voila…. tourism!

Our big time industry is of course the hotels. To create wealth – i.e. big payrolls, big city revenue, many supportive industries – we need happy tourist enjoying the whole area. Many nice tourists have fun, happily spend money, and plan their next visit. The very best understand the paradise on Marco and, you know what, they became us. And that is the big difference to Marco Island, thanks to the lightening bolts that built our industry. We should really honor and appreciate John Willard and many more.

I suppose my thoughts on Mike Minozzi and John Willard are because they were leaders, great examples of why our Marco Island now is so wonderful. Let’s keep these two in mind as we forge on to the future.

Both Willard and Minozzi have passed on. Mike left behind so many accomplishments and some tagalongs like me, finally appreciative on civic affairs. Willard left his son, Junior, in charge. Along the line a really effective captain of industry was sent to the Marco Marriott. You may have met Rick Medwedeff. Rick’s plan, along with Junior, is to provide Marco Island a really wonderful, outstanding top notch in our industry. I understand they call it the JW Marriott.

Oops, I see I didn’t jot down JW’s full name. You probably know. John Willard Marriott.

Many on Marco Island wonder if the spoilers amount to any at the City Council on June 2. Or will the council wisely and calmly come down on basic good sense.

In memory of Mike and JW, let’s just get it done. Amen.

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