Roundup of Sunday editorials for May 15

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Jounelle Joseph, 15, could have been another sad statistic, a child entering adulthood wholly unprepared after a lifetime shuttled from one foster home to another. But two months ago, a change in state adoption law made it possible for the Tampa middle school student to find a permanent home with a family who loves him. Jounelle’s story should put to rest forever the suggestion that Florida should resurrect a ban on prohibiting homosexuals from adopting.

Downtown Bradenton is blessed with a beautiful waterfront that stands to gain greater appeal with the $6 million Riverwalk public initiative, yet one developer is balking at moving forward with a key project.

With gasoline prices still hovering near $4 per gallon, the U.S. House of Representatives decided last week that it was time to open up new oil drilling offshore.

At first, President Barack Obama opposed the House measures, but he did a partial about-face Saturday, announcing that he was taking steps to increase oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast.

Florida Today –Kicking the jobless

From Mims to Micco, Brevard County residents know the very real fear they?l lose a job, and with it, the ability to pay the rent or mortgage and feed their families.

Florida lawmakers just made the future harder for those who become unemployed, with a law cutting benefits starting in 2012. They lowered from 26 to 23 the maximum number of weeks the jobless can receive a check.

The 236-person death toll from end-of-April tornadoes in Alabama, and a total of 337 deaths across the South, stand as mute testimony to powers beyond human control.
Coming on top of at least 55 prior tornado-related deaths this spring, the destruction is almost incomprehensible in the U.S.
The Miami Herald –On tax fairness and loopholes
In a scene reminiscent of the congressional hearing where tobacco company executives innocently denied that nicotine is addictive, oil company executives solemnly told Congress last week that their exorbitant profits are no big deal. One even suggested that closing big oil? tax loopholes is somehow ?n-American.?/div>

Tell that to Americans struggling to make ends meet as they cope with $4-a-gallon gasoline and the economy gets hit with a sudden inflationary spike because of rising fuel prices. Meanwhile, oil companies report record earnings. To top it off BP acknowledges that taxpayers, in effect, are being asked to pick up part of the cost for BP? oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Miami Herald –Gimenez leads as a reformer

Extraordinary challenges await Miami-Dade County? next mayor. A $400 million budget deficit. Dysfunctional county departments, as exemplified by the financial mess at the transit agency. The threat of Jackson Memorial Hospital going bankrupt. When you think about it, who would want the job amid so many crises in such a toxic atmosphere of public mistrust?

Graduations are in the air. For institutions of higher learning, the pomp and circumstance and celebrations have already begun.
Project Graduation, hosted by the Greater Naples YMCA on Pine Ridge Road in North Naples, makes graduation night an occasion that graduates never forget ?with loads of games, food, prizes, dancing and overall camaraderie.
Students, parents, YMCA staff, volunteers and donors of food, prizes and money have carried out a labor of love since 1985. They have provided grads a safe place to party all night long.
We call on the varied parties involved in one particular local medical dispute to try to come to a settlement ?the sooner, the better.
Lee Memorial Health System says it invested $4 million for equipment for neurosurgeon Dr. Eric Eskioglu and other doctors in 2007.
His specialty is treating certain brain aneurysms. He and other doctors concur there is no other doctor in our community able to do what he does.
So when he left Lee Memorial in the past few months to move to Physicians Regional, claiming Lee Memorial failed to keep pace with standards of good medical care, Lee Memorial sued to invoke a non-compete clause in their contract.
In a session filled with oddball legislative acts, such as the Florida Senate? vote to make the barking tree frog the ?fficial state amphibian,?one of the oddest was Rep. Matt Gaetz? effort to turn the director of each county? tourist development council into an elected position.
The extremist political agenda in Tallahassee this session sometimes proved too hot even for Central Florida’s Republican senators to handle. Yet too often they, along with the region’s Democratic senator, were willing accomplices.Which forces us, in a year that saw lawmakers blitz programs for education, elections and the environment, to judge their performance on a curve. Otherwise, none would make the grade.

The Legislature has passed a bill that makes major changes to the state? election laws. Republican leaders say the purpose is preventing voter fraud and waste, but Democrats say it? really an attempt to limit Democratic turnout in the 2012 election.
Pensacola News Journal –A long way to go

If the University of West Florida is serious about football, the right decision is to put the proposed student fee to fund it up to a vote of the students, as recommended by the Football Feasibility Committee.
If they won’t back it, no one will.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune –Not-so-local planning
The new “Community Planning Act,” which awaits the governor’s signature, was passed under the guise of giving local governments more say in development decisions. But make no mistake: This overhaul of state growth management rules could saddle Floridians with long-lasting consequences.
St. Lucie County commissioners are now considering an ordinance that would regulate secondhand dealers ?jewelers, precious metal dealers, garage sale operators, secondhand stores and consignment shops ?the same manner pawnshops are regulated.
Policies and procedures are useless if they’re not being followed.
This is one of the lessons learned in “The Case of the Missing Power Plant Equipment.”
About $40,000 worth of items ?or 1.3 percent of the Vero Beach power plant’s $3.1 million inventory ?could not be accounted for initially when city officials conducted an audit of the plant earlier this year. Three of the most expensive items ?a gas sensor and two circuit boards ?accounted for almost half the missing inventory.
There is widespread agreement among economists and the public that our country’s $14 trillion debt and out-of-control spending need to be reduced. But for the activists and advocacy groups with a vested interested in additional government spending, the only thing worse than a debilitating national debt is making cuts to the costly programs that are driving it.
Tampa Tribune –The blame for $4 gasoline
President Obama is being blamed for high fuel prices based on a number of policies that haven’t affected the price of oil much, if at all.

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.