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Business letters: Bills soar as Progress boss' salary rises

Jeff Lyash, Progress Energy Florida’s president and chief executive officer, received a 66 percent raise in 2007, according to documents the utility’s parent company filed this month. That’s an increase of $1-million over his 2006 compensation.


Jeff Lyash, Progress Energy Florida’s president and chief executive officer, received a 66 percent raise in 2007, according to documents the utility’s parent company filed this month. That’s an increase of $1-million over his 2006 compensation.

Progress boss Lyash's pay jumps by $1-million | April 4

Bills are too high; so is CEO's salary

Several months ago, I read in the St. Petersburg Times that Progress Energy was going to have to rebate customers because they were using the wrong coal. I never saw any more about this and, of course, no rebate. From the above article I can see where the money went: to the CEO and directors of Progress Energy. Why should anyone making $1.54-million get an increase of $1-million to $2.56-million, especially when the consumer's electrical bills are so high? In my household, our bill is extraordinarily high for a family of two, even after a "Progress Energy Check" where recommendations were made and put into effect. It's no wonder this country is so one-sided.

William G. Mansfield,
Land O'Lakes

Consumers pay as utility profits

I have a question for Progress Energy: I'm not going be alive to use any power from your new plants. So why do you think I should pay for it now?

This is so wrong in so many ways. First, you maintain all ownership while you want me to invest in your future. Where is my return? Second, you get 100 percent of the profits with no investment. It is yours, and your investors should pay. Third, in a strapped economy you unnecessarily put yet another burden on people for a necessity. Fourth, you collect any and all interest on our money and share nothing with us. Fifth, you bloat your already-excessive paychecks. Plus the moral issues that arise. Thank you, Tallahassee, for yet another kick in the wallet.

I can buy more class in Mexico for $2 than you all will ever have. You are pigs at the trough and you make me sick.

James R. Hogentogler, Clearwater

Every dollar counts | April 14

Don't compare CVS, Dollar Tree

This article, written to persuade readers to buy economically, emphasized numerous times that CVS is more expensive than the Dollar Tree. This is inappropriate for two reasons. First, the two stores are completely different as to the value of the store, both in the financial and customer service aspects. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Second, the comparisons are inappropriate to emphasize CVS is higher-priced. A better way would be to say that retail stores are higher priced in general. The emphasis on the higher prices of CVS seemed to make the article read more like a commercial for Dollar Tree, as well as put Walgreens (the main competitor of CVS) in a good light.

James Vasile, Dunedin

Make public Enterprise Florida's corporate deals

Let taxpayers in on biotech deals

Biotech jobs take five to 10 years to show a profit. Since the Oldsmar Nielsen institute got money to relocate, then sent jobs somewhere else (like India) after four years, why are we cutting the budget drastically and then throwing money at all these rich people's companies?

If Gov. Charlie Crist wanted transparency, then make Enterprise Florida's money deals open to the public. He sat on the board while money was going out the door. We can't have a tax base that has normal Floridians being last, and lets business deals slide under the table with payouts no one knows about. It's not Christmas. Crist is supposed to be governor — a GOP governor, at that. Will someone tell him "no" to this spending spree?

Peggy Arvanitas, Seminole

Retailers' pricing

Do stores think prices fool us?

Am I the only person who thinks today's product pricing is idiotic? I looked at the Sears flier in last week's Sunday paper, and they have 177 items whose prices end in 99 cents. They also have 11 items where the prices are less than 99 cents. Do these merchants really believe that people will rush to buy a big-screen TV listed at $1,799.99 and will stay away in droves if listed at $1,800.00? The Best Buy supplement is also prone to the 99-cents theory. Maybe 100 years ago when J.C. Penney introduced this concept it was a good marketing strategy. But in today's economy, 99 cent pricing in my opinion is really dumb.

Martin Schuller, Dunedin

A big stink over bad meat
April 17

Worth a trip to store to buy meat

Until I got a knock on the door years ago, I never knew I had an "I don't buy meat from door-to-door salesmen" rule, but apparently I do. Now it turns out that's a good thing. Who knew?

Drew Suarez, Lutz

Paper or plastic? | April 13

Try bags made of recycled material

Sunday's Money section featured a debate on which shopping bags, paper or plastic, are preferable to consumers and retailers, and which are best for the environment. I would like to add a few more ideas to the mix.

How about reusing paper bags at the checkout stand? I bring mine back to the grocer's each week to be filled again and again, and they are quite long-lasting and durable. There is really no reason to double-bag with paper, either; when in doubt of its strength just hold the bag from the bottom. It's easier than recycling, costs nothing to do and is environmentally sensitive.

Purchasing reusable totes is becoming more common, but how about taking that one step further? Use a bag made out of recycled materials. I recently found and purchased a tote (called "reShopper") that is made out of recycled plastic bottles. It is quite well-made and seems to be made out of heavy canvas. We should all consider aiding the recycling effort by creating a demand for recycled objects by buying "new" items that were once a tire, a bottle, a ream of paper, etc.

Susan Sanford, St. Petersburg

Dreams about retiring wither | April 9

Others won't fund your golden years

What planet do these people live on? Do they do any planning for a phase of life that requires a lot of forward planning, particularly today with the rising cost of living, financial markets in turmoil and health care costs that show no signs of abating?

I worked in a full-time job for 30 years after wartime military service and had both a pension plan and a 401(k) plan. Nonetheless, I did not feel comfortable when considering that I would have 33 more years to live if I survived as long as my parents. So I started a small consulting business, which I ran for 14 years until age 71. During this phase I was able to get by without touching my savings or IRA. Today, I am 79 and would absolutely do the same thing over again and recommend it to others as a life plan.

Bill Allen, Homosassa

Continued economic
bad news

More sacrifices needed in future

Here are some selected headlines from the April 16th business section on the MSNBC Web site.

1. Fed: Economy worsened in early spring

2. Oil tops $115 amid worries about gas supplies

3. U.S. dollar hits record lows against the euro

4. Housing construction fell sharply in March

5. JPMorgan Chase profits slump

6. Intel first-quarter profit declines by 12 percent

7. WaMu loses more than $1-billion in first quarter

Check the Business section any day. The vast majority of stories are about the free-falling U.S. economy. Some of this is probably inevitable, given the fact that we are truly in a global economy. However, many of these problems are systemic, and are exacerbated by our wrongheaded involvement in Iraq.

I am coming to the conclusion that the American public, and hence our political leaders, are not willing to face up to the myriad problems we face. Thus, I only see further decline over the coming years, because we won't face reality and make the tough sacrifices that will be required to leave future generations a sound working economy. My generation (baby boomers) has enjoyed an excess of material goods for too long, with too little sacrifice, all to the exclusion of a sense of shared community. If we are to regain a more stable economy, we'll need more sacrifice, in terms of taxes and spending for human needs, not guns and bombs. Although I'd love to be proved wrong in the future, I doubt that we'll succeed.

Mark W. Brandt, Dunedin

Stop rewarding redefined recession makers

Outsourcing causes stagnancy

Current definitions for a recession are in terms of two or three quarters or six to nine months of negative output for GNP.

This is because extended negative GNP leads to loss of jobs, which leads to a recession. However, today we have a loss of jobs with positive GNP. This is caused by outsourcing jobs overseas, which means fewer U.S. jobs. While fundamentally sound for the company (same quality of work for less pay, higher profits due to lower labor costs), the U.S. jobs are gone. This also sounds like a "recession" caused by those companies outsourcing jobs overseas. Many of those same companies receive large government subsidies.

Eliminating all government subsidies from those companies that outsource jobs overseas would make this less cost beneficial, and thus less attractive to companies. This would really address our "recession."

Jim Smith, Tierra Verde

More litigation-wary docs:
Sign here first | April 6

Patient pacts
are 'bullying'

I happen to be have been a patient of Tampa Bay Women's Care since 1993. They delivered my two beautiful children successfully. Before my annual visit I, too, received the same arbitration agreement packet of information that had to be signed by me to be seen by my physician. A friend of mine is a lawyer, so I decided to ask for his professional opinion on this practice, since it was new to me. He and I both agreed that this was an unethical practice, that I should seek another physician, and that there are plenty of physicians out there that don't take this type of approach.

I did go for my annual visit with my Tampa Bay Women's Care physician. But I can tell you that contrary to Dr. Robert Yelverton's (CEO of TBWC) belief that "very few patients have objected," I signed that agreement only to be seen since I had made the appointment months before and was due for my exam. I will find another physician who doesn't require patients to agree to this type of "bullying" — one whose only concern is their patients' well-being.

Stephanie Varao, Tampa

Deals clear docs of consequences

My wife is in the position of having to make the choice of whether she signs this agreement or go elsewhere. I am very upset that doctors will be able to practice medicine with impunity and without consequence.

The Legislature capped lawsuits so the insurance costs would come down. So why are they pulling this scam now? Is this also a way to bury doctor malpractice information from public scrutiny? The binding arbitration agreement applies to all treatment in the past and also prevents the patient's family from seeking redress in the courts.

Daryl Watkins, Valrico

Workers' compensation law

Injured workers' burden is unfair

The current workers' compensation bill that was passed in 2003 has radically changed everything for Floridians injured while working. Unless you've been injured yourself, while on the job, you probably are not aware of Senate Bill 50A.

In 2004, I was working in a factory and my hands were crushed by a machine. My hands had to be amputated. Because of Senate Bill 50A, the benefits that we, the injured workers, receive have been drastically reduced. In addition, my insurance company also denied providing me with assistance with my daily activities, called attendant care, for 17 months.

I cannot cook for my young children. I can't brush their hair. I have a hard time helping my children with many things and I have trouble attending to my personal needs. My young children take on way too much responsibility.

Senate Bill 50A needs to be changed, or more Floridians will have to go through what I'm going through.

Legna Ramos,
Altamonte Springs

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Business letters: Bills soar as Progress boss' salary rises 04/19/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2008 8:55am]
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