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Your opinions on Business news

By Times Staff
Published December 23, 2007


Higher costs don't daunt nuclear backers Dec. 16

Nuclear power can be safe

This Times ran an excellent article by Asjylyn Loder about nuclear power. My only concern is the reference to a 1979 "accident" at Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. I can positively state there was no injury or death in the '70s at this site, since I was there. At that time, the operators had specialized ability and training, plus showed technical proficiency and skills. Your readers can be assured that, even 30 years ago, there were numerous safety precautions and redundant design features in a nuclear plant to protect the public.

Unfortunately, there is always concern, and to some of us, fear of the unknown. So nuclear technology was virtually abandoned in the United States for more than 30 years, while some foreign countries France and Japan lacking fossil resources used nuclear energy to generate electric power without any negative results. Floridians are fortunate that Gov. Charlie Crist and other leaders understand the need for a variety of electrical energy sources in a state with limited fossil availability and significant population growth.

We need more articles about energy supply sources by fine Times writers such as Ms. Loder to inform the public about this issue.

Harry J. Fisler, Oldsmar

Nuclear plants just too dangerous

Currently, nuclear power plants are too dangerous and expensive to be practical and proliferate.

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Consider benefits of solar power

I have read this article with interest and its reference to intermittent solar energy. It is quite evident to me that these individuals, including Gov. Crist, have their own agenda. If we continue to move forward with blinders on, nothing great can be accomplished.

To solve our energy problems, we need to think outside the box. In the "Sunshine State" we need to focus on solar. It is the most plentiful free resource this state has and it renews itself every day.

Instead of building the new nuclear plant mentioned in the article for $2-billion to $3-billion (or $6-billion by other estimates once the infrastructure is counted), Progress Energy should work with new and existing customers by placing stand-alone solar systems on their homes and businesses. Studies have shown that 57 percent of residential customers in Colorado would be interested in having solar power. Think about how many in the "Sunshine State" would go for it. The side benefits are many. Here are a few:

- One fewer target for terrorists.

- 3,000 acres in Levy County can be used for some other project. Maybe a biomass or hydrogen fuel cell plant.

- Absolutely no chance of a nuclear leak or accident.

- Think of the redundancy up to 100,000 possible backups in case of emergencies.

- "The Sunshine State" would be a world leader in solar power.

One way of getting customers to allow these would be as simple as offering considerable breaks on their electricity bill. This lost revenue would be made up from the selling of the excess capacity and no fuel costs that are now a big part of everyone's bill.

Kent Irving, Madeira Beach

Bank CDs

Read small print before investing

Think bank CD penalties are all the same? Well, think again. I recently tried to surrender a five-year certificate of deposit at Intervest National Bank in Clearwater. There were about nine months left until maturity, and the penalty for early withdrawal was 30 months. Beware. Take time to read the small print.

Joe D'Andrea, Elizabeth City, N.C.

Let's honor the year's esteemed zaniness, column Dec. 16

Your slogan not the only bland one

I thought you had a very good article. There is one item where we have you beat, though. Item 2: The (tourism) slogan. Charlotte, N.C., just spent $70,000 of taxpayers' money on our new city slogan, which is "Charlotte's got a lot." It might as well have had (...) at the end of it, because it lends itself to many answers at the end. Your zaniness happens everywhere.

Eric Helmer, Alexis, N.C.

Survey: Living here is not all rosy Dec. 15

Insurance drives another one away

Ah, yes, wonderful Florida. After living in Safety Harbor, Tampa and Brooksville for almost 18 years, I had to get away so I could actually live and not just exist.

I never had a claim in all those years, yet insurance on my manufactured home in Brooksville went from $478 a year to more than $1,600, then to more than $2,200. That, plus all the uncontrolled expansion - where county commissioners just rubber-stamped approval for virtually every project, with no consideration of how the infrastructure would take care of this rampant expansion.

I have a beautiful, three-bedroom, two-bath brick home with a Florida room and two-car garage in the Daniel Boone National Forest here in McKee, Ky., area that cost less than $130,000, with over 21/2 acres, low taxes, low home and auto insurance, much more friendly and honest people, fantastic views in the mountains and generally a much safer, slower pace, and a more peaceful life.

As much as I originally loved Florida when I moved there in 1989, I am amazed that I do not miss it at all.

Joseph Lukas, Sand Gap, Ky.

Home prices show big drop Dec. 15

Don't compare apples to oranges

Are you intentionally printing only the bad news about housing? You're comparing apples and oranges in this article. If the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors keeps track of only average prices instead of median prices, why not show the average prices from the Pinellas Realtor Organization, which shows both?

Pinellas' average single-family home price:

November 2006: $269,500

November 2007: $281,900

Change: up 4.6 percent

Pinellas' average condo price:

November 2006: $233,000

November 2007: $246,900

Change: up 6 percent

Why not headline the increase in Pinellas County home prices in the past year rather than joining the "doom and gloom" that's so prevalent in the press?

Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg

Shame on Toyota

Carmaker's new ad is offensive

The television ad depicts a desperate buyer dumping his Ford truck off a ferry or dropping an "I beam" on a Chevrolet truck. Is Toyota trying to attract prospects who lack the intelligence to trade in their vehicle or at least give the car to charity? Perhaps it's a not-so-subtle effort to tell the complacent American public that the United States is losing the auto-manufacturing war, or maybe this ad was written to promote insurance fraud and encourage prospective buyers to make their down payment with monies from an insurance claim? This ad is in poor taste and should be pulled, or retained with a running line, "Toyota believes there are plenty of stupid Americans who accept this ad and will still buy our cars and trucks!"

Ralph Moon, Tampa

Ads have taken over our lives, letter Dec. 16

Reading list gives valuable lessons

A letter asked whether advertising is out of control. Answer: Yes. Advertisers have for decades been turning us from citizens into consumers.

Expansionist economics forces us into this dehumanizing role, and the resistance to more forward-thinking ecological economics is jet-fueled by corporate and media wealth whose owners would rather expand the gap between the most wealthy and the shrinking middle class than support a sustainable economy for all people.

Readers interested in the latest "sneak attack" advertising techniques should read the book We Know What You Want - How They Change Your Mind by Martin Howard.

A concise lesson in the laws that enable corporations as "persons" to use their wealth to own shares in each other, beginning with one tipping point of corporate law, is in Culture Jam - How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge - and Why We Must by Kalle Lasn. And in this time of run-up to a presidential election, readers may also find interesting Robert W. McChesney's The Problem of the Media - U.S. Communication Politics in the 21st Century, which is not about political ads, but the skewing of U.S. laws to enable corporations to expose us to deceptive advertising.

People beginning major life transitions - new retirees, college freshmen, new drivers - are targeted by advertisers and often overwhelmed by the deluge of materials and pressured into unwise choices. This is a serious issue in the Tampa Bay community, with so many retirees, colleges/universities, and career changers trying to choose among the growing number of proprietary ("career") colleges in the area.

Trude K. Diamond, Lutz

Employers help snuff bad habit, Working Dec. 16

Big Business is bad for smoking

The St. Petersburg Times Business section is biased in favor of Big Business. It strokes readers who support it rather than say things that would upset your average company loyalist. Stories are often written in a way that justifies companies' bad behavior at the expense of the consumer or worker. The article is typical and read like it was edited by a cigarette company. Doesn't Big Business make choices about the things they want the common man to do? Why is it that Big Business never gets a bad rap for it? The blame always seems to land on the average Joe who used the products that Big Business induced him to use in the first place.

Howard Acosta, St. Petersburg

Editor's note: Acosta is an attorney who has been involved in extensive litigation against the tobacco industry.

Who's righter on global warming? Dec. 12

Paraphrased words were wrong

In the Business section on the Insider page and the New York Times columnOn the Web: Whoever wrote the piece paraphrasing Jim Manzi's articles on global warming can only be considered a liar.

The article on has Manzi saying it is no longer possible, scientifically or politically, to deny that human activities have very likely increased global temperatures. Manzi did not say that.

He said that it is probable (though not strictly scientifically proven) that human activities have increased global temperatures to date and will likely continue to do so.

In his article in National Review, Manzi did say that it is no longer possible, scientifically or politically, to deny that global warming is taking place. Aside from the fact that his latter statement turns logic on its head, the difference between the statement appearing in your newspaper and Manzi's words is astounding. Unfortunately, you have joined the New York Times in disseminating falsehoods.

Edmund A. Hamburger, Pinellas Park

HealthSouth, docs will settle claims Dec. 15

Good to see the company pay

What most people don't realize until it is usually too late is that once you are established as an inpatient at a HealthSouth facility, your family doctor no longer has much say in your treatment. HealthSouth provides its own physicians, and no other doctors outside of HealthSouth have privileges to enter the facility. To be examined by your own doctor, you must be transported to his or her office.

I am aware of this practice because almost three years ago, my mother spent 21 days recovering from a leg fracture at HealthSouth in Largo. Even though my mother was recovering from a fracture, the doctors at HealthSouth monitored her entire body and were eager to find many things wrong. As a result, the facility's own specialists were called in. I quickly put an end to that practice and told them to call my mother's doctors instead, which they did - but still wouldn't listen. The HealthSouth doctors march to the tune of their own drummer and aggressively changed the dosage of my mother's daily medication. It was months after her discharge before her lab results were where they should be.

In short, my mother's stay was one big nightmare for both of us. Nevertheless, I'm delighted to see that HealthSouth isn't getting away scot-free with their schemes and will be paying the piper - big time.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

Don't throw that away: 'Freecycle' it Dec. 16

Other options for freecycling

Laura Coffey apparently is not familiar enough with the free recycling movement to realize that, or the Freecycle Network Inc., is not the only game in town.

Two other sources for the exact same services are and Sharing is Giving, but these two organizations are not exclusive. does not knowingly allow a group to be listed anywhere except on the site under penalty of deletion from the organization.

Edward Schwarzmann, Mays Landing, N.J.

Share your opinions

MAIL: Business News Letters, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

FAX: (727) 893-8939

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[Last modified December 21, 2007, 20:57:52]

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