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Date of Issue: July 23, 2008

Great ideas

The history of man’s great innovations is lengthy, but the Internet must be right up there on the list. It provides all manner of history’s greats. And worsts. In fact, we found a 100 worst ideas list published originally in Time magazine.

No. 1 is Prohibition. On our list it would be the Florida Department of Transportation’s planned closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge to motor vehicle traffic in October and November.

No. 2 on Time’s list: Suntans. No problem. Fewer folks will come to the beach to bask, dine and shop on Anna Maria Island during the bridge closure, which is timed by the DOT to occur just as the new season’s visitors start to trickle to our shore.

No. 3 is leisure suits. Some business folks might check their closets, because while the bridge is closed they will surely experience extra leisure time and a lime green suit might be just the attraction needed.

No. 4 and more, Michael Jackson's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, new math, the blacklist, comeback tours, asbestos, the designated-hitter rule, Barney, Crystal Pepsi and New Coke.

Also on Time’s list: DDT, Smell-O-Vision, spray-on hair, kudzu, aerosol cheese and Flowbee.

More? Psychic hotlines, the DeLorean, plus-size Spandex apparel, Astroturf, mood rings, and, yes, the Edsel.

The DOT doesn’t need to drive a fleet of Edsels to shoot to the top of our worst decision-makers list.

At a gathering of Island business owners last week, the No. 1 worst decision made was that the DOT did not send a representative. While the spokesperson for the ongoing rehab of the AMI Bridge said “someone” from DOT would attend, she said at the end of the meeting that she is not the DOT. And the bridge project administrator present at the meeting also is not the DOT. They both work “on contract” for the DOT.

This may sound like splitting hairs, but the spokesperson told business owners in attendance - some 30-35 people - that after sharing their heart-felt, sincere, logical reasons to change the timing of the bridge they should write down their comments or provide minutes of the meeting to send to the DOT.

Maybe they were contracted to manage us, too.

“What?” was the cry from the room. “Aren’t you here to listen to us? Aren’t you here for the DOT?” The message from the attendees was to close the bridge sooner, not later - and several claimed the DOT duped us by saying 45 days starting in September and then setting the closure date for Sept. 29, which really amounts to October and November.

Maybe we were “talking to the hand.”

It was the first time, admittedly, we all got together on our knees and begged to be heard.

We could keep trying, but soon we’ll run out of time. And bad timing could send some businesses the way of disco and aerosol cheese - to the forgotten list.

Your input on closing the bridge in the slowest time for business and visitor is needed.

Please, send your comments to news@islander.org. We promise to share them with the DOT. We just can’t promise you’ll be tops on their list.

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