Saturday, April 21, 2018
Business

Readers' comments on business news

Legislature pushes higher insurance rates, even as risk of 'insurance taxes' plummets April 3

Citizens customers paying for hypothetical disaster

After reading the article about Senate bill 1770, it is apparent that lawmakers are either in the pocket of the insurance lobby or oblivious to the hardship that Citizens premiums have caused Florida homeowners. To base legislation on a hypothetical natural disaster is absurd.

Did the insurance lobbyists falsely convince you that Hurricane Sandy bankrupted New Jersey and New York from the "Big One"? Are we also overdue for hail so we should double vehicle insurance premiums?

For the thousands of homeowners who were dropped by State Farm having no choice but to be saddled with the astronomical Citizens rates, there was a small amount of comfort knowing that the Legislature limited premium increases to 10 percent annually. The alternative companies that Citizens has offered cannot even prove it could withstand a large event, leaving very little choice but to stay with Citizens.

Instead of representing the people who put you in office, you have chosen to accept the word of Citizens CEO Barry Gilway, that Citizens is now on the road to correcting its grossly mismanaged organization.

Obviously, you are not one of the thousands of homeowners who are "underpriced" by 90 percent with the threat of your insurance premiums doubling. I doubt you would accept this overinflated "tough medicine" if it came out of your pocket!

Lyndee Lindsey Dolan, Dunedin

Lean Times | March 17

One-size-fits-all career path doesn't fit women or men

I read Robert Trigaux's column about Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In with particular interest. Many years ago, as a young college graduate, I was recruited into the Procter & Gamble Management Training program, straight out of Florida State University. Even though my hiring was certainly unique at the time (female, nonbusiness degree), I was treated the same as everyone else, meaning that I was expected to perform but I was also trained and prepared to do so.

It was the best and worst job — the most supportive management I've ever known, but terribly boring (to me, anyway). Still, all these years later, I hold those years sacred because they taught me how to compete by being prepared and knowledgeable.

For P&G, and for me, it was never about being a woman. I knew, and they knew, I was just as capable, and in some cases more capable, than the men I worked with. There were no women to worry about.

I have read countless business books over the years with similar or divergent themes. Sandberg has plenty of wisdom to share, but the one thing that I always come back to is exactly what happened to me at P&G. I grew to realize that I wasn't interested in corporate life. Not their fault; it just didn't fit me.

After a couple of more very good jobs with recognizable brands, at least one of which I probably should have been fired from for challenging authority, I realized I had changed my mind about what I wanted to be, and I changed course to sail my own ship.

I became a small-business owner, where my successes and failures would be mine to own. I made that decision based on what I thought was best for my family and me, not for "all women." I rejected the common notion of success, weighed the consequential risks and rewards, and opted for my version of freedom — of thought, time, style, work hour time frames, etc. — over a steady paycheck.

I am all in favor of what Sandberg espouses, but only if that is what a woman wants. And let's face it, it takes time, or a high-earning spouse, to be able to afford the private in-home care I had or the privileges she has, in terms of child care. That is certainly not available to most women, nor to some two income households either. It's what I call an undeniable factor.

My thinking is more aligned with that of Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman Brothers. Feminism means we get to choose. There is no "one way," and personally, I don't necessarily want to replicate men. We need the Alex Sinks of the world and, as she said, we need more women on powerful boards, too. But just because a woman chooses another direction, that does not mean she sold out, fell out or was tossed out. It just might well be her personal choice. And I'm pretty sure that's what Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and all those other trailblazing women who were just ahead of me were fighting for. That we be given the opportunities that allow us to choose.

The overriding lesson I have learned from all my years in the working world is that to be successful you should spend time on figuring out who you are, what you want from life, and what you are willing to risk and sacrifice. Standardized tests can't and will never be able to measure that. If you start out and haven't figured it out, but are bright and hard working, business wins and losses will help smooth the rough edges and you'll learn as you go, using the other available tools (mentoring, reading, risk taking, losing fear, etc.).

My point is that the will to lead or succeed is highly personal and not a one-size-fits-all formula for every person, women included. Some people dream of this job or that job, but the right job is the one you want and are the architect of. No one else. Don't let anyone try to sell you otherwise.

Lisa Brock, Tampa

Brock is a principal of the public relations and marketing firm Brock Communications in Tampa.

Advance nuke fees finally get hearings March 28

Residents shouldn't pay bill for Progress Energy Florida

Professional lending institutions will not trust Progress Energy Florida with the money to build a new nuclear power plant in Levy County (too risky), so why should Floridians? The official "nonbinding" cost has more than tripled already, and Progress' notoriously expensive mismanagement of its Crystal River nuke plant has been well-documented in the Tampa Bay Times by Ivan Penn.

Progress Energy Florida could operate far more efficiently and cost-effectively by installing utility-scale Vanadium Redox Batteries at the substation level. This would also provide the necessary infrastructure for a build-out of distributed solar power, which would diversify the fuel mix with an abundant and cost-free fuel.

Experience has shown nuclear power to be uneconomical, unclean, unsafe and unnecessary. That's why Germany is closing all of its nuclear plants while forging ahead with energy efficiency and renewable energy. Florida should do likewise.

Thomas Eppes, Thonotosassa

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18