A round-up of Sunday's newspaper editorials

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Gov. Rick Scott is smart to be scrutinizing a list of construction projects for universities and community colleges included in next year’s state budget. But as the governor considers how best to use his line-item veto power for the first time, he would be wise to focus more on the merit of individual projects rather than broader questions about the state’s debt load. Florida should continue to invest in higher education, even in tough economic times.

Daytona Beach News-Journal –Aging beachside facilities pose challenge
Ted Doran, the new chairman of the Halifax Area Advertising Authority, used an eye-catching number to highlight his concerns about the state of the beachfront in Daytona Beach.
Doran is thinking in broader terms than traditional tourism promotion. In an interview with The News-Journal, Doran said he was examining the “results” achieved in the tourism industry over the past couple of decades. “If you drive up and down the beach, what you find are a number of very high-quality products: hotels, lodging facilities,” he said. “But you also find a very large number of properties that are dilipidated, in disrepair, old, worn out. We haven’t had, as best as I can find out, a new hotel built on the beach in more than 25 years. That’s a long time.”
Florida Times-Union –Our next mayor has long road ahead

It’s a huge job leading one of America’s largest cities in land area, one with a history of progressive leadership.

The voters have spoken. It’s now Alvin Brown’s turn to make some history.

Florida Today –Privatization pitfalls
Florida lawmakers took a risky step toward fixing the state? broken Medicaid system this month, voting to push almost all beneficiaries into managed care plans.
The privatization is an attempt to rein in costs and improve care for the 2.9 million elderly, poor and disabled Floridians who rely on Medicaid, including more than 63,000 Brevard residents.
The federal indictments of 14 people early this year in what officials call a mortgage-fraud conspiracy were an important step in addressing the abuses that contributed to the inflation and collapse of Southwest Florida’s real estate market ?but only a step.
Federal investigators, and those in Sarasota, where the arrests were made Feb. 25, suggest that further indictments are possible. That would be helpful because the 14 arrested so far included many minor investors and relatively minor charges. Investigators say there was widespread fraud involving not only the real estate industry but lending institutions and attorneys.
Miami Herald –Justice on Wall Street?
The conviction of billionaire Wall Street tycoon Raj Rajaratnam by a New York federal jury this month may be a welcome and overdue sign that the criminal justice system can still hold major white collar criminals accountable. But if the founder of Galleon Group hedge fund turns out to be just a sacrificial lamb, his conviction won? do much to win back the public? trust.

The advance billing for the new president ofAve Maria University, Jim Towey, is that of change agent.
Towey, named in February to replace Nicholas Healey and coming aboard now rather than July as first planned, follows through on his goal of fiscal self-sufficiency by cutting the budget by 10 percent. That means fewer sports programs and fewer staff members.
Here is the key, in our opinion. Towey says university founderTom Monaghan ?also the founder of Domino? Pizza, which he has sold ?has said he will no longer subsidize Ave Maria beyond the next three years.
While that may sound challenging, Towey points to the rest of the story: Ave Maria will not be taken seriously in the world of academia until that takes place.
Collier County SheriffKevin Rambosk, the public needs more information.
We need to know what? going on with the resignation of a long-time narcotics sergeant ?only a month after a shooting at his Immokalee tomato building and just days after a drug raid uncovered cocaine there.

For years this editorial board has encouraged and applauded the development of Orlando’s Medical City atLake Nona. We believe its success is critical to building a broader, stronger economy in Central Florida ?an economy that goes beyond tourism and construction.So we can’t help but be drawn to a proposal to locate a newUniversity of Central Florida College of Dental Medicine at the Medical City. The proposal, to be considered this week by UCF’s Board of Trustees, calls for a dental school that would open in 2014 and graduate about 100 dentists a year.

Pensacola News Journal –Another fine county mess
We have no doubt that Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino is genuinely interested in seeing that his aide, Dean Kirschner, is fairly compensated for the work he does for the commissioner. Obviously, in pushing for a big raise for Kirschner, he’s pleased with his aide’s work.
But what does Valentino not get about what is going on?
Sarasota Herald-Tribune –Wrong way on oil
As gasoline prices hovered around $4 a gallon in recent weeks, Congress and the White House sprang into action and ran off in all directions ?except the right one.
The Republican-controlled House passed a series of bills designed to expand and accelerate oil and gas development offshore and on land.
Hypocrisy might be a bit strong, but one has to wonder why theFlorida Legislature, which seemed so insistent on new measurements for teachers, government employees and state agencies, turned around and severely weakened the one agency that measures the work of lawmakers.

Republican legislative leaders now call the shots at the state Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability, the Legislature’s independent research arm and watchdog agency. OPPAGA, as it is referred to in Tallahassee, is comparable to the federal General Accounting Office. Instead of relying on a dedicated funding source in the state budget, which insures autonomy, OPPAGA now depends on the leadership’s discretionary spending.

What is the best kind of government?

Is it government that works behind the scenes and provides the public with limited details about its operations?

Or is it government that keeps citizens informed ?from start to finish ?about projects that have the potential to impact local communities?

One has to wonder considering the bizarre case of the often-stealthy Florida Inland Navigation District, which taxes residents up and down the east coast of the state to maintain navigation in the Intracoastal Waterway.

The United States has hit its debt limit of $14.29 trillion. If Congress doesn’t authorize more borrowing by early August, parts of the government must shut down and confidence in U.S. creditworthiness will be shaken.

The ceiling Congress set for its own spending has become a symbolic battlefield. The size of the number is not really important. The significance is that this is the place Republicans have become immovable in demands for big spending cuts and major social reforms. Approaching are the seemingly unstoppable demands for more money for entitlement programs, the military and countless other smaller federal needs.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.