Roundup of Sunday newspaper editorials for May 8

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As expected, Florida? 2011-2012 state budget holds deep pain for many as legislators grappled with a $3.7 billion revenue shortfall. Unexpectedly, two of the largest pieces of the budget pie got sliced thinner than forecast even as lawmakers found millions of dollars for special hometown projects in the waning moments of the session.

You’ve probably heard this bit of humor and folk wisdom: No man, woman or child is safe while the Legislature is in session. With the end of this year’s session, Floridians presumably are safe now from any new legislative initiatives — until 2012. But it will take months and, in some cases, years to tally lawmakers’ total score for 2011.

Duval County just lost its No. 1 ranking as the state’s leader in murder rate. Yet, its overall crime rates are typically at, or near, the top of the state’s charts.

The high rates mean misery, higher taxpayer costs and a bad reputation for safety that belies a community with so many pluses.

Florida Today –More gridlock ahead

Last week? opening of the Pineda Causeway Extension is cause for cheer for Brevard county residents frustrated with traffic congestion in the area.

The 18-mile stretch is part of a state-led $196 million project that widens Interstate 95 from four to six lanes between Palm Bay and Rockledge.

But, if you didn? like the 20 years it took to get the extension complete, prepare for worse.

Fort Myers News-Press –Way is open to peace

The death of Osama bin Laden and the spirit of democratic reform in the Arab world create an opening for peace.

It’s an opportunity for America, but, more than that, it is an opportunity for Arabs and Muslims to move beyond what bin Laden represented.

The Gaiesville Sun –The big drink
When Jacksonville takes a drink, White Springs gets thirsty.
Scientists have shown that water consumption by populous Duval County is already impacting aquifers and water flows as far west as the Suwannee, Santa Fe and Alapaha rivers. Springs are drying up all over North Central Florida as Jacksonville consumes 162 million gallons a day.
Nearly a century has passed since Anna Jarvis and other women convinced President Woodrow Wilson to proclaim a national holiday in honor of America’s mothers. Since that first official Mother’s Day on May 8, 1914, the roles of women as keepers of home and family have changed in large and small ways.
The 17-page report issued by the State Attorney? Office clearing the Miami police officer who fatally shot and killed 36-year-old DeCarlos Moore in Overtown last July closes the book on state prosecution in this case.
The report, issued Thursday, clearly explains why investigators believe they could not make a case for prosecution. It should defuse the immediate controversy surrounding this particular incident, but it? not likely to put an end to the frustration many members of black community continue to feel about Miami? police force after seven police-involved shooting deaths.

The six charter amendments the Miami-Dade County Commission put on the May 24 ballot leave a lot to be desired as a whole. They are totally creatures of the commission, and some reek of self-serving motives. And as former county manager Merrett Stierheim so aptly pointed out on the May 5 Other Views page, they were crafted without benefit of a public hearing or citizens?participation. In truth, they are the commission? nervous response to the overwhelming vote to recall former mayor Carlos Alvarez and former District 13 commissioner Natacha Seijas. Voters are mad, and many of them are gunning for long-time commission incumbents.
We hope the Cafe of Life charity uses its grace period at the Bonita Springs Community Hall to regroup and find another, permanent site. City Council? decision the other day to restore Cafe of Life? picnic tables, so poor clients don? have to sit on the ground, covers an uncertain length of time. Council did not say for how long.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, raised some eyebrows recently when he took a Twitter jab at a fellow legislator, Rep. Daphne Campbell of Miami Shores. He said the phrase ?y bill sponsor is Daphne Campbell?was the same as saying ?y idea is nuttier than a bag of squires.?/div>

By ?quires?he meant squirrels.
It’s with a huge sense of relief that we note the end of the legislative session. And with an equally strong sense of foreboding note that the most extreme Legislature Florida has had in generations will tee it all up again next year. Ugh.

“Where else but Lake Worth?” this paper rued in 1986. The subject of scorn was the city’s long-standing failure to fix the once-splendid Lake Worth Casino on the public beach. For 25 more years, the laments continued, while the municipal beach has become more and more of an eyesore, emblematic of Lake Worth’s reputation as an underperformer.
Pensacola News Journal –Good news for schools

Last week was a good one for Escambia County schools, in two ways. Both reflected a positive focus on the children in those schools.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune –The mother of all roles

It has been nearly a century since Anna Jarvis and other women convinced President Woodrow Wilson to proclaim a national holiday in honor of America’s mothers. Since that first official Mother’s Day on May 8, 1914, the roles of women as keepers of home and family have changed in large and small ways.

What has been lacking is speed in the development of the 356-acre park. The park, under the sponsorship of the University of Florida, St. Lucie County and St. Lucie County School District, has yet to become anything close to the research and manufacturing hub first envisioned years ago.
That may be changing, however.
Unless you’ve been wasting away in Margaritaville for the past decade or so, you know that Florida long ago emerged as a national political epicenter. Not only are we a pivotalElectoral College state, our demographics and politics make the Sunshine State a bellwether for political trends, issues and personalities.
It’s a natural place, or should be, for one of the 2012 presidential or vice presidential election debates. Right now, our state’s hopes for one of those high-profile, momentous events hinges on a bid fromLynn University inBoca Raton. The private university is the only Florida site on the list of candidates under consideration by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Tampa Tribune –You can go home again
If the United States is not going to begin an orderly withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan now, with Osama bin Laden at the bottom of the sea, when will the time be right to leave that poor, remote country?
President Obama had planned to begin winding down the occupation in July. Keeping that schedule, or even speeding it up, signals success, not retreat. Most Americans are ready to bring most of the troops home, the sooner the better.

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.