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By Times Staff
Published March 2, 2008


"Too pretty to fly?" Feb. 28

It's hard to feel women's pain

Here are some tips for the young ladies who deemed themselves too pretty to fly, albeit from a sexagenarian never accused as such.

First, don't lie across rows of seats while the airplane's still boarding; it's rude. Second, if someone takes exceptionally long in the restroom, politely ask the flight attendant if they might check to ensure the passenger's well-being; never impatiently knock. (If you did and the occupant answered, did you apologize? I thought not.)

Third, and most important - and I hope this doesn't shock the acrylic nails and hair extensions off - it's fine if doting grandparents, parents and avid boyfriends insist that you are too pretty, but it's never - repeat, never - all right for you, yourselves, to tell the whole world that you are, indeed, too pretty and were the only decent-looking people on the plane. We average folks may have trouble feeling your pain.

Rhonda Stavis Foster, Seminole

Teen fliers don't deserve notoriety

How can a class newspaper be so stupid to write one line of this absurdity? It is embarrassing to see them get any notoriety by your newspaper. I cannot believe you published their picture and made such a big deal over two spoiled brats creating a situation for their own gain. Southwest does not deserve this hit below the belt. Get a life over there.

Robert Bakker, Tampa

Flight attendants deserve respect

My daughter lives out of state, and I fly several times a year to visit. I have flown with American, Delta, United and Southwest. I must say I find the young ladies' comments a little hard to believe. The flight attendants have always been pleasant and eager to make the trip as comfortable as possible. On my most recent trip, I recall thinking how patient these attendants were in meeting all the needs of the passengers. Some passengers refused a beverage and when all drinks were served, they changed their minds and were served without reservation. There were some rude passengers who didn't want to comply with placing their massive purses in the overhead, but the attendants were firm yet pleasant, explaining the safety issues. There were also some very pretty passengers on board who were treated quite well. I think Southwest is a great airline and my first choice when flying.

Maryrose Babino, Spring Hill

A higher education on how to get ahead, column Feb. 24

Education isn't everything

I graduated from high school in 1973, and my mother did not feel it worth her while and money to send me to college or even keep me at home. I tried for a year to support myself and go to school. That lasted a year. Over the years I have probably accumulated an additional year of college credits, but they probably do not count for much.

Many employers do not count my 35 years in the working world but will gladly hire someone out of college for two, three or four times what I earn.

While I admit there are some careers that require specialized education, I am at a loss as to why a company looking for a receptionist, secretary, administrative assistant (one went further and demanded a degree from a "top-tier" school) or office manager demand a four-year degree. Is this some sort of elitism or just silliness? Management requires common sense, social skills, critical thinking, honesty and integrity. These are skills that seem to be lacking in some of the most brilliantly educated. Look at Enron, HealthSouth and Countrywide ... the list goes on and on. It seems greed and ambition are desired, though I would argue one does not need to go to college to learn those skills.

It is depressing to feel I am relegated to the bottom rung of life. Universal health care is not the only thing this country needs. Many countries offer free higher education to those who qualify. The "greatest country in the world" is sliding backward faster and faster.

Lisa Shaw, St. Petersburg

It's hard to get into the top fifth

The statistics around those people born into the top fifth of earners - with 23 percent managing to stay there even if they don't go to college - is amazing compared to how hard someone has to work to get to that top fifth if they start from the bottom. It is interesting to me both as a professional who works with companies to hire top talent nationwide and as a father of a 2-year-old girl who will face a much different educational environment than I did years ago.

Brian P. Murphy, Tampa

President, ReliaQuest LLC

What's happened to all the flea markets? Feb. 24

Variety serves markets well

A flea market's variety is in itself a part of its strength. Unique but useful is always in demand. Price is paramount. A flea market's clout is bargains to buy. Knowing how to cater to the working class will render flea markets viable on a large scale even though slowdowns will occur with overall economic circumstances.

Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Gas prices: Bad to worse Feb. 22

Oil market uses the U.S. dollar

Of the causal factors, did you consider that the entire oil market is run by using the U.S. dollar as the currency of record? When our dollar was devalued, the price of oil rose. It takes more dollars to trade a gallon of petroleum and protect the profit of the seller. This is an economic certainty and it should be included in the causal factors of the phenomenal rise in the price of oil. Another ill-conceived Bush action. Your article was well-written and interesting.

Tom Weigand, Palm Harbor

State Farm loss covered Feb. 26

Crist doesn't understand risk

State Farm, Allstate and other large insurance companies are not favored in Florida, but Florida needs them. Our state should not be in the insurance business, especially with incompetent politicians attempting to be insurance savvy. Hopefully, the management of state-operated Citizens has taken "Insurance 101," which teaches the basics of "spreading the risk." It's obvious that Gov. Charlie Crist has no knowledge of risk in insurance. However, he does a great marketing job for Citizens. He just chases the stable insurance companies out of the state.

The governor's solution to State Farm discontinuing writing new business is to just place this business in the newly formed startup companies. They can handle the inland risks and place the all the beach risks in Citizens. Well, a couple of years ago, former Tampa Mayor William Poe had a startup company, and the people of Florida are still paying millions in claims from his improperly funded company. Further, Charlie, "Insurance 101" also teaches that property on or near beaches that are exposed to hurricanes are really bad risks.

Perhaps, if former insurance commissioner and current U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson had not allowed the national insurance companies to form independent Florida subsidiaries to limit their liability, we would not be faced with the current insurance mess. Sen. Nelson has never received his due credit for his involvement. However, Gov. Crist probably will when we experience a real storm season. And it will happen.

Robert K. Reader, Clearwater

Risk too much for Nationwide

The line about Nationwide that states "they'll insure properties they already have, but no more" does not ring true. After 21 years, no claims and a $2,600 premium increase, I received a cancellation notice 30 days after the second half of my premium was paid.

I guess living in a no-flood, nonevacuation zone and in a concrete block house with shutters is still too much of a risk for them.

P. Treadwell, St. Petersburg

Insurance fix a form of socialism

The article says, "any State Farm policies not picked up by other private insurers would be assumed by Citizens Property." It seems to me that many of these "conservatives" who are more than happy to accept government support for their home insurance are the same individuals who decry government support for medical insurance for the poor. Somehow they don't recognize that the Citizens Property insurance concept is nothing more and nothing less than socialized home insurance.

Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo

In home foreclosure, if it's not nailed down Feb. 19

Article didn't include all facts

Why would the St. Petersburg Times write an article condemning someone without checking out the facts? This article is full of lies and inconsistencies from someone who is out for vengeance against a landlady.

First of all, tenant Mike Burgur was never at the condo when the move took place. Foreclosure took place on Jan. 15 (he was at the courthouse that day). He was well aware of what transpired and he knew the owner had 10 days to remove furniture and belongings with a deadline of Jan. 25. The landlady told the tenants well in advance so they had plenty of time to find a place to live. So why did they still live there after everything was moved and the power was turned off? According to his partner, they had no money and he was waiting for a settlement claim from an accident. It was the same excuse for not paying their rent, which added up to over $6,000.

Burgur never mentioned that he and his partner were living in a totally furnished condo including bedding, towels, dishes, silverware, pots and pans, coffeepot, lamps, TVs, VCR, etc. Everything belonged to the landlady. She did not take anything that did not belong to her.

Burgur claims that it was a break-in, but in fact it was agreed upon that she could come on the 25th to remove everything. Upon arrival, the landlady was not allowed in. The police had to be called and they stayed the entire time of the move. There was no vandalism. The refrigerator, stackable washer and dryer and the fans were removed (after she received legal advice) but capped the wires and they were not left dangling.

How come Burgur never mentioned how many months behind in rent they were? Or how many times their checks bounced or they canceled them? The landlady was told repeatedly to just evict them. She would give them written notices, but they ignored them. She didn't follow through, so shame on her for that, but she kept saying, "I feel bad for them. They have no money and no credit." It sure doesn't look like they feel very sorry for her now.

There are many pictures of the condo before they moved in and there are pictures of damage, animals in cages and the damage after they moved out. Look at the photo the Times took after the landlady moved everything out. Isn't it funny the microwave is still there? So are all the knobs on the cabinets. They are not there now, so what happened to them? As you can see, they were still living there from the time the picture was taken, so why didn't the Times notice the inconsistencies? Maybe the Times needs to get the facts first before damaging someone's reputation. This article did not deserve front-page coverage.

Dorothy Stupansky, Clearwater

Editor's note: Stupansky is the sister of the landlady mentioned in this story.

[Last modified February 29, 2008, 21:21:46]

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