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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Dec. 31, 2004 15 years ago

Coffee Talk (Tampa edition)

This week's items: New Yearis resolutionsFlorida friendly to business, Good news for Florida.Heroes Among Us

Coffee Talk (Tampa edition)

New Yearis resolutions

Some New Yearis resolutions are shared by many: Eat healthier, exercise, lose weight, spend less and save more.

Others arenit so common.

Clearwater solo practitioner Robert Walkeris resolution involves something new. He and his wife are opening a high-end dog shop in February on South Fort Harrison, several blocks east of the Belleview Biltmore. iFluffy Puppies o A Place for Dogsi will sell items related to our four-legged friends, including fashion, home furnishings, toys and treats.

iThose weive spoken to are quite excited and enthusiastic because there is nothing like that in the immediate area,i Walker says. iIt wonit be a PetsMart or other volume pet store. It will be specialized and upscale. We might even have whine tastings. We are certainly going to be putting on the dog.i

The shop will also sell Walkeris photography, which includes shots of the Santa Fe River in North Florida where the couple has a vacation home.

As for his professional resolution, he says, iItis difficult to come up with something new after 24 years of doing this.i

But he managed.

iThe profession is taking hit after hit and one person canit change the publicis perception,i he says. iUnfortunately, the profusion of television and media advertising has cheapened the profession. So, I resolve to not ever be on the front or back of the phone book, to never erect a billboard, and to not appear on television and foist a panacea on the unsuspecting public.i

Walker also resolves to continue his work in educating the local business community iin the travails of ADA Title III litigation (as reported by GCBR), but that has proven to be an uphill battle.i He urges business owners to make their businesses compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act before theyire sued and stuck with attorneysi fees.

Top-notch criminal defense attorney Denis deVlaming made an unusual resolution, at least for an attorney in private practice. iMy New Yearis resolution is eto defend only the innocent!i i he says.

Hmm. Coffee Talks thinks deVlaming is kidding.

At the Clearwater Bar Association, Executive Director Karen France says she plans to continue the regular exercise program she started last year.

Her Tampa counterpart has a similar plan.

iMy personal resolution is to not break my New Yearis resolution of getting more exercise during the year,i says Connie Pruitt, executive director of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. iI usually break my personal resolutions. This year Iim so determined not to do that.i

Hillsborough County Attorney Renee Lee says, iI want to eat less and exercise more (I bought a membership to the YMCA, now I need to get there).i

Lee also plans to spend more time with her children. iI have also realized that my kids are teenagers with less remaining time at home than ever before so I intend to enjoy as much time with them as possible this year,i she says. iAnd my stretch goal of the year will be retirement planning and cutting back on expenses now so that I am comfortable in my senior years.i

Rhea Law, president of Fowler White Boggs Banker PA, says she doesnit make New Yearis resolutions. Instead, she and her husband do personal business plans which they update every Thanksgiving Day. iOur focus is on health, growth (professionally and spiritually) and family,i Law says.

Florida friendly to business

Good news for Florida.

A poll of 458 U.S. chief executives found that California and New York are the least attractive states for business, while Florida, Texas and Nevada are the most friendly to corporate interests.

Massachusetts, Washington and Hawaii rounded out the list of top five states viewed as unappealing in the new survey by Chief Executive Magazine. Taxation, labor laws and regulations were among factors considered, the survey found.

CEOs liked best Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the poll taken in December. Corporate leaders also said they are more upbeat about the economy after President George W. Bushis re-election. The magazineis CEO confidence index rose 6% in December, the first such survey since the Nov. 2 election.

U.S. corporate leaders polled in November by the Business Roundtable also said they were more optimistic about the economy. The outlook index, determined by a poll of 131 of the Washington-based Business Roundtableis members, was 98.9 for the fourth quarter, the second-highest mark after a record of 101.7 in the third quarter this year.

Heroes Among Us

The St. Petersburg Bar Foundation will honor three local lawyers at its Jan. 29 iHeroes Among Usi dinner at the Don Cesar Resort Beach Resort, King Charles Room.

Three lawyers o considered heroes by their peers o will be recognized.

Danell DeBerg spends at least six weeks each year tending to the medical needs of poor, sickly people in undeveloped countries. At home in St. Petersburg, she helps feed the homeless on a regular basis.

Jim Fischer, who died in August, was the kind of lawyer that helped even if there wasnit a penny in it for him. He represented a St. Petersburg police officer who lost both legs in a car wreck while responding to an emergency call. Fischer, known as iFish,i celebrated when he won enough from the city to buy her prosthetics, even though he wasnit compensated for his 1,000 hours of work on the case.

Louie Adcock Jr., a Korean War veteran, has served on the boards of numerous community organizations, including Bay Area Legal Services, the St. Petersburg Bar Association and the Florida Bar Board of Governors. He was chairman of the Bar committee that helped the Florida Legislature rewrite the probate laws in 1999 to benefit surviving spouses.

DeBerg, the late Jim Fischer and Adcock will be honored at the dinner to benefit the foundation, which provides free legal services to the indigent. Tickets are $100 each. Call (727) 823-7474 for more information. Reservations are required.

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