Volusia League of Cities wrong to keep out 'working press' while taking our taxpayer dollars

Show me the Money: Volusia League of Cities / Headline Surfer

Volusia League of Cities Dir. Mary Swiderski / Headline Surfer Volusia League of Cities President & Ponce Inlet Council member Tami Lewis / Headline SurferNSB Mayor & Volusia League of Cities Top Winner Adam BarringerHeadline Surfer video /

Video: Tami Lewis, president of the Volusia League of Cities is accompanied by a Daytona Beach police officer, warned Henry Frederick, editor and publisher of Headline Surfer, that if he were to step off the public sidewalk and onto the private property of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church where the league was holding its awards banquet in a rear dining hall, he would be arrested and taken to jail on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Frederick was granted permission to cover the event by the league's director Mary Swiderski, shown at far left, who subsequently changed her mind, which was supported by Lewis, shown in the middle. Frederick wanted to cover the awards ceremony because the top award, 'The Blaine O'Neal Award for Excellence,' named for the former South Daytona mayor who died three years ago, was being given to New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer, despite two pending charges with the Florida Commission on Ethics.    

DAYTONA BEACH -- Why are we electing liars, cheaters and thieves?

Henry Frederick, the journalist who operates Headline Surfer (HeadlineSurfer.com, NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net) is right. Journalism has changed greatly since he began his reporting career more than 25 years ago. And that change has not been for the better as shown with the recent Volusia League of Cities awards dinner.

First of all, there was no internet and real journalists back when Frederick got his start where reporters simply told the story based on the facts without an opinion expressed. The opinions were reserved for the Editorial Page and usually written by the publisher or the editor or both.

As a voracious reader and inveterate writer, I have noticed all this myself, but it seems to have escaped those we have chosen to lead us. Are we, the people that clueless?

Do we not care that the mayor of New Smyrna Beach who has been accused has been accused of ethics violations receives the top award from the Volusia League of Cities, from an organization that is subsidized by the taxpayers through our elected leaders?

And what right does the Volusia League's paid director, Mary Swiderski, who wouldn't be able to collect a check without us taxpayers, have a right to go back on her word with Frederick, first telling him in writing he could cover the awards dinner and then telling him in writing a second time that she had to "renege" on giving her word?

And as Frederick pointed out in his coverage, when she couldn't justify her actions, she resorted to personal attacks in writing, calling him a "coward." 

For those of you who may have missed it, here is her libelous statement (as Frederick pointed out verbatim as she wrote it, including grammar): I believe in treating people fairly. It's not about you. Our policy is no media. I send all information within 24 hours. The event is not about Adam it's about those who have done excellent in making their community better. For you it's about accusing a man of wrong doing who has not yet been judged. If I were in your shoes I would be praying very hard the ethics board find Adam guilty because if he is not i would be concerned of getting sued when this whole thing with Adam proves innocence. The first amendment was put in place so the truth can be heard. Not for cowards to hide behind while making up information for personal financial gain. Really Henry, that is what this whole thing is about.

What right did Swiderski and the league president Tami Lewis (also a Ponce Inlet councilwoman), have a right to say no to press coverage when their organization is receiving tax dollars from we the people?

What right did Swiderski and Lewis have to call the police to keep Frederick, a member of the local working press from covering the event and the police hanging around for three minutes waiting and hoping for him to take a step onto private property so thy could arrest him and put him in jail? 

A threat of arrest and jail of a reporter who wants to cover an awards banquet where our elected and government officials are eating on the taxpayers' dime? 

What were Swiderski and Lewis trying to hide? Was it the obvious hypocrisy of awarding Mayor Adam Barringer their most prestigious award knowing full well he has facing state ethics charges before the awards were even announced and those charges still pending to this day? 

Are we disinterested that our current United States Attorney General Eric Holder is investigating himself?

Do we even notice that “low level” employees of the Internal Revenue Service targeted certain conservative groups seeking 501(c) 4 status? BTW this has now blown wide open and no amount of dancing can shield the highest elected officials from accountability.

Thank God for the fabulous reporters of the internet generation from Matt Drudge (celebrating 15 years of exposing wrongdoing in the press and the government) to Henry Frederick who has struggled against inconceivable odds for five years now to establish a voice for the people of Volusia County.

I met Frederick when my friend Pete Mallory (now deceased) introduced him to me at a Republican Club luncheon in New Smyrna Beach three years ago.

It was obvious that Mallory admired Frederick’s guts and “go-for-it” attitude as well as his attempt to do the job that the mainstream press had shuffled aside in the chase for advertising dollars.

As Pete Mallory made a point of asking me then, what better person to start up Florida's first true around the clock internet newspaper with numerous journalism awards he has received throughout his career when he was a print newspaper reporter than Henry Frederick, who was also among the Daytona Beach News-Journal's most aggressive reporters covering police and the courts?

Had Pete Mallory not died last June, he would have seen Frederick win more journalism awards (four of them including best internet newspaper) before the end of the year than any other reporter in the state of Florida.

There used to be a wall between editorial/reporting and the advertising department in newspapers and television stations. Those walls have crumbled under pressure from those whose money controls elected officials and took no criticism of their chosen puppets.

This does not serve the public interest. I believe that our elected officials learn the game at the local level and as they move up the ladder to higher and higher office, they become nearly completely disconnected from the people they are supposed to serve.

Mayor Barringer ducks the media while his friends in the Volusia League of Cities have no problem taking our taxpayer dollars while taking care of him with phony awards and yet they keep Frederick, a member of the working press, standing on the sidewalk with threat of arrest because he wants to expose the phoniness inside with his video camera.

Without continued watchfulness from the mainstream media (and the more recent emergence of new media like Henry Frederick's award-winning new media HeadlineSurfer.com), bad things have happened in America.

Lobbyists and special interests are the puppet masters and we, the people, must cut those strings and demand a return to Constitutional rule in our America. Nothing less will save us.

Previous Coverage: 

Hey Mary Swiderski: I'm no 'coward' as you allege; just a dedicated member of the working press you can't control
Posted Mon, 2013-06-03 02:58
Analysis: NSB Mayor Adam Barringer not schooled very well in leadership as alleged ethics complaints demonstrate
Posted Mon, 2013-06-03 11:40
Volusia League of Cities calls cops on internet newspaper to protect embattled mayor from glare of media spotlight
Posted Fri, 2013-05-31 18:35
Sally Gillies Picture

Short Bio

Always Right by Sally Gillies Sally Gillies of Ormond Beach, an accomplished book author, is a community blogger, who also has her own political website, SallyGillies.net. The blog, "Always Right" (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the publisher. NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net and HeadlineSurfer.com are owned by NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer, a registered trademark.