With reference to your article in the July 1995 issue of Florida Trend entitled "The Money Myth" by David Poppe, I must express concern for his lack of understanding of the differences between "local" governments.
Your review editor also seems to suffer from a similar lack of knowledge.
Your lead headline states, in part, "How Four Florida Municipalities Claim they Were Dupes in the Derivatives Game." Then the article goes on to detail their "problems." The "dupes" were Escambia County, Collier County, Palm Beach County's Sheriff's Office and the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority. Looks like counties and special taxing districts to me. Where are the municipalities? You further state, "a growing number of small municipalities, including several in Florida, claim they were dupes in the derivatives game." Municipalities? Where are they? Who are they?
My dictionary says a municipality is "a city or town, incorporated for local self-government." Further, I have been known to have represented "municipal government" interests over the past 36 years, and I have never heard a county government (or an authority or a sheriff's office) referred to as a municipality.
Municipalities are cities and towns in Florida, and they have specific investment requirements either through the state statutes, their own charter and ordinances or by their own policies and procedures. The recent Legislature clarified those options. The only exception outside the city's investment control are those fire and police pension funds regulated by state law, which has provided those specific employee-trustees with investment rights (inappropriately, in our opinion, since the city is still obliged to fund actuarial or expense shortfalls.)
We have watched the "derivative issue" closely. We are unaware of any city or town in Florida that has entered this thicket. We ask that you more closely identify your culprits before wielding your wide brush. Thank you.
Raymond C. Sittig
Florida League of Cities
In the July 1995 edition of Florida Trend, there were two letters questioning the appropriateness of your May 1995 cover of Cindy Crawford.
I certainly disagree with the authors of both of those letters. I assume they must not read their daily newspapers, which usually contain much more graphic and offensive photographs of women in various environments.
I do not feel you have done a grave injustice to women by printing the picture, or that the picture based on today's moral standards would be offensive to most of the adult population, or that it would prove offensive to children or parents.
I would not want Florida Trend to become a business Playboy magazine, but this particular photograph was used in the proper context with a look at Florida's film industry and did not violate any acceptable media standards in my opinion.
Jack L. McAbee
I was offended by the cover of your May 1995 issue. When I first saw it, I was in the company of three co-workers, all male. First we all saw the picture; then we all looked at the name of the publication. Then we all had raised eyebrows and negative comments. This was certainly unprofessional and in bad taste for a business magazine. You lost your sensitivity with this!
Sandra J. Reardon
The Gulf Economy
It was such a pleasure to read Mark Rosenberg's "Forgotten Gulf" article on the Gulf States Governors Conference and the opportunities for greater trade between Florida and Mexico. Before retiring from the Department of State about 18 months ago, I was the Department's Coordinator for U.S.-Mexico Border Affairs. Based on my successful experience with four annual Border Governors Conferences, I worked long hard hours with Diego Asencio, then head of Florida's International Relations Commission, and others in both countries along the Gulf to bring into being a Gulf States Governors Conference. I'm delighted that the first such conference has now taken place but am unhappy with the total lack of publicity given to such a potentially important event.
The other factor which seems to be a secret in Florida is the existence of Mexico as a latent major trading partner. The Florida business community, so long stifled within the limits of the Caribbean mini-economies, now has to be congratulated for its recent discovery of Brazil and Argentina. But the time has come to look seriously at Mexico, the source of tens of billions of dollars worth of trade with the United States each year. Although the peso collapsed last December, the Mexican economy is already on the way back. Imports from Mexico should be especially inexpensive over the short haul, and then, as it rebuilds its economy, Mexico will once again begin buying huge amounts of whatever the United States wants to export to it. Florida business should get into the act, sooner rather than later. Don't let a market of 90 million people so close go by the wayside.
Correction: Boca Raton-based Levitz Furniture Inc. was omitted from the list of top 250 public companies published in July by Florida Trend. Levitz should have ranked 20th with $1.05 billion in annual revenue.