$10.5B loss links airlines | April 24
Don't reward CEO
of faltering airline
The Times on Thursday reported that Northwest Airlines lost $4.1-billion in the first quarter. However, on Saturday, April 19, the following short article appeared in the Times on page 2D:
"Northwest Airlines Corp. is boosting the payout for chief executive Doug Steenland if he stays until the carrier combines with Delta Air Lines Inc. At current share prices, Steenland would get more than $11-million if he sticks around. That's up from almost $8-million he would have gotten under his old contract."
So when the airline he runs turns into a lead balloon, Northwest's CEO can bail out with his golden parachute and make a nice soft landing.
Lou A. Murphy, Kenneth City
Few doctors answer e-mails
from patients | April 24
Doctors are too busy for e-mail replies
I read with interest the article that featured a registered nurse from Glendale, Wis., complaining that doctors will not enter the Internet age and converse with their patients via e-mail. I would suggest that she search for employment in a firm that does not use telephones but e-mails only.
My stepson is a pediatric surgeon, taking care of patients in his office and in the operating room where he operates on children and newborns. He has a staff that responds to "ringing" telephones and informs him of any critical calls and those from patients who need his personal attention. He does not have time to sit in front of a computer, as does the nurse who has time to communicate with others via e-mail.
It is upsetting that she was able to gain attention to her self-centered article via the use of computer communications.
Van E. Vergetis, Holiday
PDAs for CEOs of the household April 21
Parents, focus on kids, not on your gadgets
Although I'm sure Mary Lorigan is a nice person, she appears to be a classic example of what is wrong with families today. There she is, pictured at her son's baseball game, concerned more about what's happening with her PDA than her son's game. Good thing I grew up in the '50s and '60s.
Nick Boyer, Tampa
Tampa job hunter doesn't take
'no' lightly | April 22
the point of case
The article mischaracterized and failed to focus on the real issue. As I am the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights and the EEOC in Atlanta, the story should have focused upon the fact that these defendants violated their fiduciary trust.
The real scandal is that they violated the very laws that were created to investigate and enforce on behalf of indigent people and members of the protected class. Instead, it focused upon me, the victim, and attempted to discredit my claim by stating I have "a novel reaction when someone turns him down for a job. He often sues them" and reported it was my "sixth such action against potential employers."
Is it novel to exercise my rights under the law, or should I allow the defendants to victimize me with impunity? The staff writer ignored what I told her that the defendants in some of those complaints entered into a settlement agreement with me. This would not have happened if there was no validity to my complaint. She failed to recognize a pattern and practice of failing to hire, possibly "blacklisting." As an applicant who was denied the position of equal opportunity coordinator, I obviously have knowledge of the practice of discrimination that would lend credibility to my complaint.
It is ironic that my story is misreported as the Times editorial for that day states: "Do the right thing: Ban discrimination."
With current massive layoffs in the nation, the elderly are more adversely affected than the rest of the work force. Attorneys are unwilling to accept these cases because of the hostile efforts of EEOC and the courts, leaving litigants to fend for themselves. The defendants in my complaint should have oversight by county and federal lawmakers. I applaud the Times for your editorial and urge you to run a series of them to place pressure on our elected officials to "do the right thing."
Frederick V. Nielsen, Tampa
About the rise in jobs for temps
Job security crucial
to companies' success
I wonder how the rise in temp jobs is a sign of hope. To me, it is a sign that full-time jobs are not coming in, or that they are going south. If one is looking for a temp job, okay. But not if one is looking for full-time employment, then it is not so good.
It is long overdue for management to understand that the job security of the employee is the foundation for a healthy, long-term existence of the company.
David H. Marshall, Odessa
Sink wants tougher rules
on annuities | April 18
Stop bad products from reaching market
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink wants to get tough on a few bad insurance agents who prey upon the elderly. While she's at it, why doesn't she get tough on a few bad insurance companies that bring bad products to market? The truth is that if the state's insurance department refused the sale of these inappropriate products, "bad insurance agents" couldn't sell them. While this may not solve the entire problem, it sure would help.
Peter Motzenbecker, St. Petersburg
Drive page | April 21
Ford should have been included
The April 21 Drive section went too far. In the article about SUVs, you mentioned two imports, but the Ford Escape, one of the best in fuel economy and price, was never mentioned, so I assume that you would rather have an import vehicle. Also, you ran a quarter-page review on a vehicle priced in excess of $100,000. Maybe this a vehicle you can afford, but it leaves the rest of us out in the cold. Thank you for letting me vent my anger.
Horst Goeller, Brooksville
'All or nothing' bill falls short of goals
A well-intended Senate Bill (SB 2860) contains a provision prohibiting Citizens Property Insurance Corp. from selling a "wind-only" policy to new applicants. Instead, it requires it to sell "all perils" like fire, theft, liability and more. This "all or nothing" approach will raise premiums and decrease coverages for thousands of coastal residents and businesses.
Unless SB 2860 by Sen. Jeff Atwater is amended to maintain current law with respect to Citizens' wind-only policy options, consumers will pay substantially more for substantially less. This must not happen.
Susan Polito, Palm Harbor
The Fessler Agency Inc., Clearwater
blame for crisis
Florida's state government has undertaken ambitious efforts, from increasing the state catastrophe pool to changing how insurers acquire reinsurance policies, to help bring down the state's high insurance rates. Those efforts have failed and rates in Florida remain among the nation's highest. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is now seeking to cover itself by shifting the blame to insurers, especially Allstate.
While the providers are not blameless, it is not fair to shift responsibility totally to insurers. Florida's insurance environment is hampered by excessive regulation that discourages new providers from entering the market. The state's aggressive stance alienates insurers and guarantees the insurance environment in Florida will remain unfriendly.
In a recently released study by the Heartland Institute, Florida ranks dead last among the 50 states in promoting a competitive insurance market. Given the state insurance regulator's current battles with Allstate, this should not be surprising.
Instead of politically pillorying Allstate, the state should be working to increase competition and minimize regulatory barriers, similar to efforts under way in Mississippi and Louisiana. Florida has a challenging and dynamic insurance market that could benefit from an infusion of new companies and innovative ideas.
Matthew Glans, Chicago
Legislative specialist, the Heartland Institute, a group that promotes free-market solutions to problems
Reward spenders with the rebates
The Fed is currently applying the tools of expansionary monetary policy to the problems in the U.S. economy. Since this has been unsuccessful, the Fed should not lower the federal funds rate any further.
A more expansionary fiscal policy is more likely to achieve growth in the economy than policies implemented thus far. The adoption of the Economic Stimulus Act, meant to increase GDP, will likely be disappointing as recipients will save this money rather than spend it in a perceived crisis. Congress should instead pass an act giving money back as a rebate payment for larger purchases on goods such as cars, houses and other commodities. By granting rebates, consumer confidence will increase as consumers feel more free to spend. Issuing the return payments to only those who are putting money back into the economy will ensure a better return on growth in GDP.
Congress should also increase expenditures by giving money back to the states to spend on a per capita basis. The states will be required to spend the money on current or future projects, therefore growing GDP while reducing further debt of the states. Using money on state projects will also increase the number of jobs and battle issues of unemployment.
Although this increase in government spending may lead to a slight increase in inflation, curbing the recession is currently more important. Once Congress begins to implement more fiscal policy, the economy will begin to see improvement. Later, if needed, the Fed can use contractionary monetary policy to stabilize inflation.
Emily Sterling, Ashton Vinson
and Emma Reynolds
Students at Florida Southern College, Lakeland
Paper or plastic? | April 13
She's doing her part by making handbags
Your timely article on paper or plastic bags is a serious subject and will be with us for a long time. I also suspect that someone will come up with a system to destroy the plastic permanently in the future.
My wife is doing her bit to keep plastic bags out of the landfills for a longer period of time. She makes women's hand bags from the plastic bags she gets from the grocer and elsewhere. She uses about 90 plastic bags cut in strips to crochet one handbag. It takes about 26 hours to do a bag.
While I realize this will not keep the plastic from the landfill forever, maybe a process will be invented by the time the handbags my wife makes are thrown away.
Frank G. Atwater, New Port Richey