Round-up of Sunday newspaper editorials

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St. Petersburg Times – Protecting Florida’s most vulnerable
Gangrene, starvation, burns and drug overdoses. Those preventable causes of death claimed the lives of at least 70 vulnerable Floridians in the past decade, all of them living in assisted living facilities. More than 200 other residents also died under questionable circumstances. Yet, even as those deaths were occurring, Tallahassee regulators scaled back their enforcement on assisted living facilities and state legislators further reduced government oversight.
Homosexuality always has been a taboo topic in the locker room of professional sports. So the Tampa Bay Rays, led by manager Joe Maddon, are to be applauded for joining the “It Gets Better” nationwide campaign to provide hope and comfort to teens victimized by anti-gay bullying. Just as significantly, the Rays participation sends a message to all their fans that bullying is not okay.
In most cities, voters pick their city council members. But, in Jacksonville, council members also pick their voters.
It started when city planners presented the Reapportionment Committee with a proposal on how to redraw the city’s council district and at-large boundaries – a process that takes place, by federal law, every 10 years.
As soon as it was presented, council members began meeting in small groups, “tweaking” the plan to add and subtract blocs of constituents.
A “supercommittee,” charged with finding $1.5 trillion in additional debt reduction by Nov. 23, gained its six Republican members Wednesday. The GOP’s three senators and three representatives joined three Democratic senators already appointed. The Democratic representatives are due to be appointed by Tuesday.
Shamefully, the committee has been poisoned by the Republican Party’s decision to choose all its appointees from members of Congress who have signed pledges not to increase taxes.
Miami Herald – Trouble in North Miami
North Miami residents have every right to wonder who’s watching over their hard-earned tax money in the city’s coffers. They also should have some questions about the quality of leadership coming from City Hall and the administration.
There are too many question marks, too many reasons to ask whether the city is moving in the right direction, or whether its revenue and the power of elected office are being abused for personal satisfaction.
Everyone knows what the legislators who run Tallahassee generally want: lower taxes, fewer regulations, weaker unions and a state that leans right on social issues like abortion and immigration.

How they get there is another story. Ask legislators during their campaigns which bills they’re planning to write and often you hear, “I’m still working out the details.”

How, then, do Florida’s Republican legislators manage to craft specific bills that would, for instance, make it tougher for labor unions to collect dues?

Ask ALEC, which last week hosted scores of legislators at its 38th annual conference in New Orleans, for details about who attended. For copies of legislation it’s hawking. For answers about how the super-conservative Svengali manages to sway state lawmakers nationwide.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Welcome Medicare reform
With an aging population, there are no easy ways to reduce federal Medicare and Medicaid spending. But there are promising ways to use information as a tool to control costs and improve health-care outcomes.
On Aug. 5, the government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced additions to two Web tools that allow patients and caregivers to compare hospitals, nursing homes and other health care.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office routinely makes arrests and responds to accidents. However, in recent weeks, the department also has made a few arrests of — and responded to accidents involving — Sheriff’s Office personnel.
Tampa Tribune – Why the kids should worry
The country is like a family with one parent out of work, says Florida Gov. Rick Scott, explaining why he didn’t want Congress to raise the debt limit. “They have to stop borrowing money,” he said recently. “Our government is no different.”
There are big differences between the U.S. government and a typical U.S. family, but Scott has a point. We taxpayers can’t keep spending more than we make forever, so how can the government?

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.