From the week of December 7, 2000

Customer Disservice

Claim jumper: A brand-new J.D. Power and Associates National Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Survey shows State Farm among the top three U.S. auto insurers and the only major national insurer in the top three. This high policyholder satisfaction rating is consistent with the fact that more State Farm customers are renewing their auto insurance policies than ever before.

Your November 16 article ("Snake Killer," Laura Laughlin) dredged up some old lawsuits and suggested that a few plaintiffs' trial lawyers know more about State Farm than its customers do. Your readers should consider that these attorneys have a vested interest in assuring that future jurors have negative feelings about insurers in general, and State Farm in particular.

Your story completely looked past the fact that State Farm is a mutual insurance company whose undivided loyalty is to its policyholders. There are no stockholders to please and no quarterly profit expectations to meet on Wall Street. Customer satisfaction is what we are about. You even acknowledged that one of the chief State Farm critics frequently quoted in your story remains a State Farm policyholder.

In the time it takes an average person to read this letter, State Farm professionals will have handled about a dozen auto insurance claims, helping our mutual policyholders recover from the unexpected. That comes to millions of claims each year.

Thousands of State Farm employees and agents work very hard, earning their well-deserved reputation for quality and fair service in one of the most highly regulated and scrutinized industries in the United States. Unfortunately, your story was essentially a trial lawyer's advocacy piece -- not a news report. It missed the mark.

Dave Gonzales, Regional Vice President
State Farm Insurance Companies

'Til Death Do Us Party

Murder, he wrought: I appreciate your coverage about Judi Eftenoff's death. I guess I should say her murder ("'Til Death Do Us Part," Paul Rubin, November 23 and November 30 ). I was very good friends with Judi for several years when she moved to Arizona. She was a wonderful friend and co-worker. It is pathetic that Judi has been portrayed in the media as just a drug-abusing woman who engaged in group sex with her husband. She was a good person who would have done anything for her friends and family. She was loyal, loving and caring. I was very close to her until she married Brian and tried to be the perfect wife. Brian presented her with a lifestyle and she bought into it. Too bad she had to take so many pills and drugs to stay thin -- even at her death she was 5'8" and weighed about 110 pounds. Apparently for Mr. Eftenoff, that was not thin enough. Too bad she had to take so much cocaine to deal with the verbal and extreme physical abuse from her husband. I guess she could not live up to his standards and ultimately got what every bad wife deserves: death. Maybe now Mr. Eftenoff will get what he deserves. I guess we will see. Do not rip on the prosecution's case. I know you are a liberal newspaper that wants to be fair to both sides, but she was murdered by her husband. Her family knows it, his sister knows it, her best friend knows it, the neighbors know it, and I know it.

Name withheld by request

Killer instinct: While visiting Phoenix this past Thanksgiving weekend I read the article "'Til Death Do Us Part." I found myself totally engrossed in this story. This guy not only looks like a snake and smells like a snake, but is a snake. I know this type of personality; he thinks he is God's gift to women, has no respect for women and any form of rejection or the loss of control of a woman brings out the psychotic side. That beautiful girl probably could have had any guy she wanted. Too bad she could not get away in time. I feel for her parents and family for all the dirty laundry that is coming out. I hope if this bastard is found guilty, he rots. You can just see the evil in his eyes. Well-written, and I doubt you are on this guy's list of favorites.

Overland Park, Kansas

Snuff said: We never read New Times. Last week, for some reason, we did. Your story about Brian Eftenoff was captivating. My girlfriend and I could not stop reading. We shared one paper and I read a page ahead of her. She kept nudging me and telling me to hurry. I did not blame her. We finished the article today at Long Wong's over hot wings and a couple of beers. The wings got cold and the beers got hot, but we had a great time finishing the story. Good job, bro. It was a hell of a story. We are looking forward to your next article. I think we will start reading New Times more often.

Tony Flood

Sicken Thoughts

Compassion pit: Never before have I read a story that had so many characters for whom I had no sympathy whatsoever ("Devils' Advocate," Amy Silverman, November 30). Suffice to say that the main character in this little drama probably needs some professional help. I mean, to equate the temporary loss of a loved one to incarceration with the death of a loved one shows how out of touch this guy really is. He at least still sees and talks to his lover, a far cry from someone whose loved one will never be seen or heard again in this life. I was going to be mad at him for his whining and his incomprehension at being manipulated and used by the dregs of society, but then I realized that deep down inside he probably is a compassionate person. Too bad it's misdirected. Now, as for his house and cat problem: He needs to get off his ass and clean that house himself, and take some of those animals to a no-kill shelter and donate some of that money he's giving to those losers in prison to the shelter. Sheesh. Doesn't anybody have a lick of sense anymore?

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