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Your opinions on Business stories

By Times Staff
Published June 17, 2007


Advanced billing for TECO passed June 13

Stockholders should foot TECO's bill

So TECO is going to be allowed to bill customers for a future power plant. The article says customers will be paying up front for "cost of design, licensing, construction and interest for a $1.5-billion plant." My question: Isn't that what the stockholders of TECO are responsible for? Do the customers become stockholders of TECO? If the customers are paying for the plant, they should own it! Is this a new accounting principle? My understanding is that stockholders are responsible for capital costs and then ratepayers are to repay the utility for plant costs via PSC-approved electric rates.

Alton Morisi, Hernando

TECO money is not a tax, it's a gift

What a world we live in when our elected governor signs legislation forcing private citizens to buy for-profit TECO Energy a new $1.5-billion with a B generating plant. It is not even a state tax; it is a gift, to be included on our monthly utility bills. Will we at least get a thank-you card from TECO?

I believe the employees of TECO are honorable people, and I agree that cleaner sources of electricity are needed. But just because the new clean technology costs 15 percent more than the old dirty technology doesn't mean ratepayers should have to foot the bill for the entire 100 percent, plus interest.

It is one thing when our tax dollars are used to fund waterproof doors for elevation-challenged nonprofit Tampa General Hospital. It is another entirely when the owners of TECO get to put the profits of our investment directly in their pockets. And who are those stockholders?

Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach

Looking for grub in all the wrong places, column June 11

Food is easy to find; the other stuff ...

I read with the greatest empathy poor Robert Trigaux's sad wanderings through the aisles of his local supermarket. I see many confused men wandering the aisles with shopping lists written on flowery pink notepaper.

As a trained chef, I have pretty much figured out where meat and veggies can be found. Most food items don't baffle me. I can even manage most household items if given brand, size and scent instructions.

But consider a new shopping dilemma that has completely stopped me in my tracks: I have recently joined a household that includes a teen daughter. This is an experience I was not trained for. Now my little pink list includes items for which I have "no clue" as to whether the item requested is animal, vegetable or mineral. Consider Oxy pads, Oreo Pop Tarts and Just For Red gel. These are challenges that culinary school did not adequately train me to complete. Further, there is no recipe to follow.

Now, look for me in the cosmetic aisle looking for Pop Tarts with a six-pack under my arm.

R.C. Perry, St. Petersburg

How about a little help, please?

Having experienced the frustration of a man shopping in the supermarket, I enjoyed reading your column. Every time I am in Publix walking up and down those aisles looking for an item on my shopping list, I feel I am wasting my time. And they are not trying to be helpful by scattering their products in different areas of the store with the intention, I assume, to bait me into purchasing more than what is on my list. While I am wandering back and forth in those aisles, I keep dreaming of the day when a big store like Publix could afford to hire someone to ride those aisles in a cart bearing the sign, "May I help you?" Or have a computer at the entrance with an index of the inventory and the aisle number at the push of a button. If Albertsons or Sweetbay would adopt this simple solution, I would leave Publix in a minute. I can dream, can't I?

Morris Grossman, Sun City Center

Our accountant sounds alarm June 12

Experienced workers have a lot to offer

Under your "Fast Facts" section in this article, it states: "Walker on Social Security: People should work longer before collecting."

First, we need the executives who run our companies in the United States to listen and read this article. I know from personal experience. Another person took over my position as director of purchasing, someone who was half my age with no purchasing experience whatsoever. My only option was to "retire" from the firm, or be answerable to him.

Management has to be aware there are a lot of men and women who are living much longer and can still be very productive in the workplace. The experience those people have accumulated can make their companies more profitable and help in the management arena.

Ronald T. Griffin, St. Petersburg

U.S. middle class is hardly on the endangered list, column June 12

Brace yourselves for the campaign

Who can this man be, Steven Pearlstein? He apparently writes for the left-leaning Washington Post, yet gives arguments that indicate that the gloom and doom we hear from the Democratic leaders and presidential candidates may not be realistic. Horrors! Are we to think there is some merit in the economic policies that have led to what some call prosperous years and a low unemployment rate? How interesting that (labor economist) Stephen Rose has given statistics adjusted for household size and ages of heads of households that show median income for a "typical American family" to be $63, 000. Mr. Pearlstein expresses the need to "call attention to the unmet needs of the poor and to demand a more equitable distribution of the gains from trade and productivity growth."

Brace yourselves. We face 16 or 17 months of presidential campaigning in which we will be battered by bad news until we will want to crawl under our beds and tremble with fear.

Betty Upson-Schmitz, Largo

TIA's dip in satisfaction surveys

Tampa airport is not below average

Interesting story about J.D. Power's ranking Tampa International Airport below average and ranking it 14th for medium-sized airports. I don't know which 13 airports are above TIA, but to knock it because of taxi problems - all airports do have road problems outside the terminal area, or problems after midnight hours - seems rather extreme.

I am a retired airline employee after 37 years with United Airlines in New York and Chicago. We now live in St. Petersburg but travel extensively via TIA. I have been to many airports in the country and almost all of United's more than 100 domestic cities.

It is my opinion, as well as those of many friends, that TIA is one of the best airports in the country in terms of easy access. You can usually go from your parked car to the shuttle area in less than 10 minutes. High marks also to its cleanliness, food concessions, shuttles to the satellites and, above all, the processing of people through the security stations.

Overall, I would strongly disagree with the "rating expert" J.D. Power. To be honest, I resent its implication of being below average.

Carl Hanson, St. Petersburg

Tapping into airport luxury June 7

Airport provides no service to limo companies

The limousine companies are already paying Hillsborough County thousands of dollars a year to be able to pick up at the airport; now the airport wants a piece of the cake, too?

What service does the airport provide to the limousine companies? Do we have a dispatcher on each side of the building? Do we have a parking area?

Regardless of that, the airport will be breaking a federal law (HR 2546, known as the Ride Act of 2002). As originally passed by both houses unanimously, the law was to protect limousine operators from the hassle of fees and regulation from a tangled web of state, local and interstate licensing or fee-charging agencies. In other words, if I pay license fees to Hillsborough County, the airport is not allowed to charge me again.

Moshe Leib, North Redington Beach

Owner, TB Limo Black Car Service

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[Last modified June 15, 2007, 20:41:42]

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