Business section changes
Decision wasn't 'world-class'
Please tell me how a "world-class" newspaper decides it does not need a dedicated business section. I have been fortunate to live in Dallas and Washington, D.C., and have always looked forward to reading the business section in the Morning News and the Post. I read your business section on a daily basis but am truly surprised it is now reduced in coverage and lost in some nondescript section of your paper. This is not an example of "Florida's Best Newspaper."
John Mullaney, St. Petersburg
Our main objection is the removal of the stock market and mutual fund listings. I understand that space is important, but in today's economic climate, it would be appreciated if you were to return to your prior practice of daily listings.
Your staff is to be complimented for its journalistic prowess. Your paper offers a concise and deliberate coverage of local and national events expressed in an understandable and relatively unbiased presentation.
Thank you for your dedication to your readers and their opinions.
James H. Fischer,
Sun City Center
I'll have to go to the Internet now
I have received and am disgusted with the new business section of your newspaper. It reduces the business section from a section of news to one page, and then goes into the obituary section. If this format continues for another day, then it will be the obituary of your paper in my driveway each morning.
Since you choose not to print a business section and send me to the Internet, then yes, I will read my morning news from the Internet and cancel my subscription. You are speeding up your demise.
Surge in storms could blow away insurers | May 20
I pay a top-rated mutual insurance company, AMICA, $1,873 for property insurance. I also pay a $319 assessment to the state to subsidize Citizens, its so-called insurance company. After reading this article, it is increasingly clear to me that my assessment could skyrocket (and yours, too, readers) if we were to have a repeat of the 2004-05 hurricane seasons.
The "positive note" that Citizens can take losses greater than those it paid out in '04-'05 ($10 billion) before "major" assessments would occur is not reassuring. Ten billion dollars is a pittance given the waterfront construction and the price appreciation that has occurred since '05. Plus, Citizens covers far more at-risk properties now than it did two years ago.
Bottom line: I love my house, but I wish I was a renter.
Dave Jonsson, Seminole
Does customer loyalty count?
I just received my automobile insurance renewal bill in the mail. I noticed that my premium had gone up about $30 for six months. Since nothing had changed about my coverage, I called my agent to ask him the reason for the increase. His reply to me was, "We are anticipating an increase in insurance fraud so we raised everyone's insurance premium by 8 percent." I reminded him that I had been a loyal customer for more than 40 years and have not even filed a claim for at least 15 years.
It had no effect. A little later that same day I saw a commercial on TV for my insurance company offering a $35 discount for "new" customers with good driving records. I fired off an e-mail to the company headquarters voicing my displeasure. I got a return "form"
e-mail stating I should check my policy to see if I qualified for any other "discounts." I guess customer loyalty means nothing these days.
David Dewitt, Largo
Airline to end local service May 14
Target demand from Europe
Why is it that upon reading of four new charter carriers from Scandinavia starting new service this year to Fort Lauderdale International Airport that it seems we are clearly not making any inroads in addressing new life to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport?
With the 30 percent drop recently announced from USA 3000 ceasing operations to the airport and no new service on the foreseeable horizon, any business, let alone one as vulnerable as the airline industry is today, would be critically impacted.
There is significant new service being introduced from Europe from lucrative markets taking advantage of record low U.S. dollar levels fueling significant growth and, most important, peaking demand when the area needs the infusion of tourism dollars the most: summer and fall.
I encourage readers to look at Sanford International Airport's volume of travelers despite difficult competition from Orlando International Airport itself and see the significant variance — and diverse mix of European airlines from Europe as well as even Icelandair. Yet even with only one carrier serving Europe direct from our region — British Airways from Tampa International Airport — while others are successful in attracting the new demand, nothing is happening here.
Robert Tilley, St. Petersburg
Do firms want good workers?
I have been looking for a job for a few months.
I go to interviews and the minute the recruiter introduces himself or herself, I already know that I have no chance of being considered for the job. First I get the look from toe to head, then I go through the questioning process. I do not ever feel nervous, therefore I answer with confidence. I do have questions such as benefit package, about the company, and I do not bring up the pay until the recruiter mentions it. I let them know that I am interested in the position. Then, I am told how I could be a good asset to the team and never hear from the recruiter again.
Of course, I send the followup letters. Then I call as requested to do so. The job went to an ex-employee or the position is still being interviewed for. I am a fairly intelligent person, and I wonder what is going on. I refuse to go the color of my skin stereotype, but I begin to wonder. Or, if not that, is it because I present myself too well and do not seem like the "yes sir, yes ma'am" type? Are employers really looking for good workers?
I used to think most people did not want to work. Now I realize that if you seem intelligent, confident and sure of yourself, there is no way in hell you will be hired.
Josette Gumbs, St. Petersburg
Coke jobs might leave | May 14
Coca-Cola values Tampa Bay area
Recent news reports have questioned Coca-Cola Enterprises' commitment to the local Tampa community, and we would like to provide the facts related to this situation.
Early last year, we announced that in order to successfully compete in a rapidly changing marketplace, we needed to restructure some areas of our company. Given the competitive nature of our business, we are examining ways to become more efficient and effective and to continue our long-standing commitment to the Tampa area. Part of these efforts includes looking at how to better standardize some of our finance processes, like accounts payable and collections, in our shared services organization in Brandon. We are in the initial phase of our assessment, and we believe this is the right step for our company.
The Tampa area is important to our business. We have a long-term commitment to the area and employ more than 2,400 people locally — second only to Atlanta, our company's headquarters. In addition to our operations in Brandon, our employees at our Tampa customer development center handle more than 3.3-million customer calls annually. Additionally, people in our sales centers in Tampa and St. Petersburg produce and deliver more than 22-million cases of our products each year. As one of the largest employers in the area, we remain dedicated to the Tampa-St. Petersburg community and are committed to serving our local customers for many years to come.
Bill Johnson, Brandon
Brandon Shared Services,
Boycotting Coke isn't right approach
It is a little too late to attempt to boycott Coke unless you are a Pepsi person.
Our government sold us down the river many years ago while you people were having a good time and taking things for granted. We have very few companies left manufacturing products, including outsourcing of jobs.
Now you can do something. We need to elect all new people to government positions. With the least experience they have, the more good they can do. We see what experience does for us. You can boycott Coke if you want, but unless you take action on the politicians, there won't be any changes.
John Berton, Spring Hill
Cash-strapped shoppers resort to portion control | May 16
Manufacturers are in control, not the consumers
There is an interesting choice of words used in your headline.
This headline gives readers the impression that shoppers are controlling portion size, which is not the case. It is the manufacturers that control portion size, and they are doing so as the result of rising prices.
When prices soar out of control, shoppers have little control over costs except to buy less, use less and compare retail shelf costs with competitive products. This control has always existed.
But, manufacturers must resort to other ways to save costs. Among these, they can reduce portion size. You can expect smaller portions of many consumer products to eventually be priced at the same cost to consumers as what was previously charged for the larger size. It is certainly not controlled by "cash-strapped shoppers."