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

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Tampa Bay Times – A recipe for mediocrity in higher ed

“The Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system, needs visionary members with varied backgrounds who come from throughout the state. But Gov. Rick Scott didn’t look much beyond his affluent Naples neighborhood or his simplistic views about running higher education on the cheap to appoint new members. It is a prescription for mediocrity when what the universities need is bold leadership and advocates for investing in their success.” 

Bradenton Herald – Lincoln, the Supreme Court, and the Reconstruction Revolution

“Could a film alter the course of Supreme Court history? If the justices take a trip to their local movie theaters to see “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s Golden Globe-nominated film just might. Rather than focusing mainly on the famous battles, famous generals, or even the Civil War itself, Lincoln showcases the hard-fought struggle over the Thirteenth Amendment and highlights some of the forgotten leaders who led the ratification fight. It is this focus on an essential — and essentially lost — part of our constitutional history that makes Spielberg’s film so perfectly timed and potentially significant. While “Lincoln” ends with its namesake’s tragic demise, Reconstruction’s forgotten heroes — Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and John Bingham, among others — went on to add two more historic amendments to our Constitution, amendments that apply directly to each of the civil rights issues facing the court this term.” 

The Daytona Beach News-Journal – Tax breaks in recent deal indicate reform is needed

“Some painful tax increases were averted when Congress and White House avoided the ‘fiscal cliff,’ but the tax issue is far from dead. Some of the tax breaks tucked into the overall bill that President Barack Obama signed benefited special interests, from algae producers to the International Speedway Corp., which owns the Daytona International Speedway and other racetracks.” 

The Florida Times-Union – Frank Denton: Tell Congress it’s time to pay the piper

“President Obama was looking the wrong direction last week when he warned Congressional Republicans that they must allow a rise in the national debt ceiling: “One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up.” Congress didn’t rack up our $16 trillion national debt. We did. Eighty years ago, led by a president far more “socialist” than the one we have now, we the people decided we wanted to work together to be sure our elderly people didn’t starve in the streets. So we created Social Security.” 

The Lakeland Ledger – Lakeland Public Records: Police Must Follow Law

“Florida is known as the Sunshine State. The reference, of course, is to the state’s bright, warm climate. However, Florida is known nationally for sunshine in another sense: open government — public access to governmental meetings and public records. Florida’s government in the sunshine goes back more than a century to the passage of the Public Records Law in 1909. Attorney General Pam Bondi summarizes open government this way: …” 

The Miami Herald – Making the investment  

“With South Florida’s economy moving forward after five tough years, 2013 will prove crucial for our political and civic leaders to invest in our community’s future. From a desperately needed billion-dollar sewer system to protect both Miami-Dade County residents’ health and our natural treasures, like Biscayne Bay, to what may seem to some like “touchy-feely” initiatives in early-childhood development, the investments our local and state leaders make today will pay huge dividends for this area’s economy and our quality of life. At the state level, Gov. Rick Scott, who campaigned on jobs, jobs, jobs, enters his third year in office with an opportunity to show voters he can push the Legislature to make the wise investments Florida needs to prosper. That will mean investing in education, health and the natural environment — protecting the Everglades and our lakes, rivers and sensitive lands.” 

Orlando Sentinel – Lobby limits welcome, but probe still needed

“Mayor Teresa Jacobs is right: Orange County’s textgate scandal never should have happened. The proposals Jacobs made this past week to crack down on stealth lobbying are belated but welcome, and should prevent similar scandals in the future. Their approval could be a strong step toward rebuilding confidence in county government. But the truth is still to be uncovered about what happened in the Sept. 11 meeting when the County Commission derailed a citizens group’s sick-leave initiative. Several county leaders exchanged texts that day on their personal cellphones with lobbyists or foes of the initiative but deleted the messages afterward.” 

Tampa Tribune – The enigma of the warmest year

“Last year was the hottest ever recorded in the lower 48 states, a full degree above the previous record of 1998. The warm year and unseasonably warm winter, slowly rising sea levels and the lack of a record cold month since 1983 are helping revive concerns about climate change. The debate is mostly between the fearful left, which demands that we dial back our energy use regardless of cost, and the skeptical right, which says turn up the air conditioner to resist any loss of freedom.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.