Round-up of Sunday editorials from Florida's leading newspapers

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Tampa Bay Times – Rein in Obama’s power on drone strikes

“This week’s confirmation hearing of John Brennan, the president’s current counterterrorism adviser, to be the next CIA director focused needed attention on the administration’s targeted killing of Americans suspected of terrorism. The hearing comes after the release of a disturbing Justice Department document that tries to legally justify giving President Barack Obama virtual carte blanche when using drone strikes against Americans suspected of being al-Qaida operatives. Obama may be careful in carrying out these killings, but this is too much discretion in the hands of the nation’s president.” 

Tampa Bay Times – Slow death of bookstores is heartbreaking

“’Bookstores, like libraries, are the physical manifestation of the wide world’s longest, most thrilling conversation.’ — Richard Russo, novelist… The world I love and enjoy most is shrinking. Corporate or independent or public or whatever, I don’t care. Show me a bookstore and I’ll find a dozen reasons to love it and spend a few or a lot of dollars. My world is shrinking because each year, bookstores are shutting down without being replaced.”

Bradenton Herald – Florida’s pre-K program in need of retooling

“The state of Florida gives every 4-year-old the opportunity for a free voluntary pre-kindergarten education, a vital pathway to success in math and reading in higher grades. The state boasts the highest enrollment nationwide for the pre-K program with 76 percent of children attending, a study last year noted. The National Institute for Early Education Research awarded Florida the nation’s No. 1 ranking for access to pre-K. Yet the organization’s study ranked the Sunshine State last in quality and sharply criticized the state for not requiring a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for pre-K teachers — an education level that has proven critically important to student success. Plus, state funding per child is far below the national average.”

The Daytona Beach News-Journal – ERAU’s space venture can lift the region

“The ERAU program will help bolster job seekers in space-related management jobs, flight planning, space policy and laws, and operations and safety.”

The Lakeland Ledger – Florida Public Records: Openness Aids All

“Government is nothing if not records. In Florida, it starts with the state constitution. The constitution establishes the three branches of state government — legislative, executive and judicial — and lays out their roles and restrictions. Famously, in Florida, records are assumed to be open — although there are exceptions.”

The Miami Herald – Keep Citizens affordable, legislators

“The annual legislative session in Tallahassee is nearly upon us and lawmakers are once again devising schemes to “reform” Citizens Property Insurance. You know what that means: Hold on to your wallets! The latest plan shares a common feature with so many other flawed efforts to remake Citizens: It attempts to lure private insurers into the state to take policies out of the public realm and thus reduce the risk to the public treasury if (when) a massive storm hits the state. That’s a worthwhile goal, but it’s been tried before and failed to succeed, for good reasons.”

Orlando Sentinel – Goal for Fla. lawmakers: Aim higher on education

“If Florida’s 12 public universities were students, they might be considered underachievers. Only one, the University of Florida, cracks the nation’s top 50. Yet high-quality higher education in Florida is essential to turn out the talent that will attract investment, create high-wage jobs, and build a better economy and future for the Sunshine State. And state leaders, who have neglected this imperative for years, finally seem ready to give it the attention it needs. Here are some of the issues lawmakers must confront in their upcoming session if they’re serious about improving the quality of the state’s universities — colleges, too — while keeping costs for students under control…”

Tampa Tribune – Melting pot needs settlers, not permanent foreigners

To repair and update an immigration system that has trapped millions of workers in second-class isolation, Congress must accommodate several contradictory goals. The loudest dissonance is economic. Some employers need lower-cost workers, especially in the fields and groves; others need the world’s brightest minds in the laboratories and design studios. At the same time, the native workforce needs more and better-paying jobs, and legal workers resent the presence of desperate, foreign competition. A goal of the new immigration law must be to make the economy stronger for everyone, whatever else it accomplishes in political, public safety and humanitarian areas. 

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.