DAYTONA BEACH -- Such a sad state of affairs in Volusia County right now. Taxes and unemployment are still high. The economy is at a snail’s pace. Race is at the forefront because the Zimmerman trial is still fresh on our minds.
A Trayvon Martin forum held in Daytona Beach on Thursday night was supposed to have Henry Frederick, publisher of Headline Surfer, as the moderator, fresh off his in-person coverage of the Zimmerman trial and his years of extensive reporting on the local courts. He's even writing a book on it, "Creepy Ass Cracker."
Frederick would have operated an honest and fair discussion. However, Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood voiced “resistance” because Frederick has dared to hold Chitwood’s feet to the fire over his promotion of a patrol supervisor to captain despite an extensive personnel file with allegations of sexual harassment of women officers over a period of years.
Frederick was bounced as moderator 24 hours after he was announced as the host in a press release published in several media outlets. The minister, Rev. L. Ronald Durham, was so embarrassed by going back on his word with Frederick he had to publicly acknowledge the switch was made at the very end and Frederick was well-received by may in the audience he saw his stories on Headline Surfer and posted on hi Facebook fan pages.
And so the forum went on with the typical rhetoric and self-promotion and without the substantive debate and insight Frederick would have provided to encourage real discussion.
And another 24 hours later, Volusia County had yet another embarrassing scandal involving Chitwood's police department.
One of Chitwood's police sergeants resigned after she admitted to using city computers to post semi-nude photos of herself in a police uniform and others completely nude and engaging in a virtual sex chat operation.
Chitwood wants her license as a police officer taken away yet he promoted the captain that Frederick so eloquently pointed out in his award-winning investigative story was sexually harassing women officers for years.
County Councilman Doug Daniels accepted a no-bid consulting contract worth $125,000 from the City of Daytona Beach. Daniels has refused to resign despite the potential conflicts of interest. Must be nice to be a part of the “Good Ol’ Boys” club.
Ted Doran was rehired as the School Board attorney in spite of ongoing ethics investigations by the Florida Bar and complaints about how much Doran has charged local government agencies for his legal services.
Linda Costello was the only School Board member who raised concerns over the lack of transparency. Other School Board members didn’t seem to care.
In New Smyrna Beach, as Henry Frederick has pointed out, Mayor Adam Barringer voted for $2 million in CRA projects that have benefitted fellow bar owners. The mayor and City Manager Pam Brangaccio are both facing multiple ethics complaints as Frederick pointed out.
When the Florida League of Cities held an awards dinner at taxpayer expense (money coming from cities and the county) and gave Barringer the top award for "excellence" in community service, Frederick was banned from covering the event and as he pointed out in his reporting, Chitwood had three police officers watching him, hoping he'd step off the public sidewalk so they could slap the handcuffs on him and take him to jail.
The Daytona cops gave Frederick a trespass warning any way near the end of the event out of spite just minutes before he interviewed an angry Deltona City Commissioner Webster Barnaby who left the dinner to find Frederick standing in the dark on the sidewalk with a police car behind him with the lights flashing.
And speaking of scandal, Frederick broke the story on how New Smyrna Beach's mayor and city manager rewarded former Police Chief Ron Pagano by paying him nearly $70,000 to "retire" last October after a major theft scandal in the police department evidence room involving $8,000 in cash, and more than 900 other missing or stolen items, including guns, ammunition, narcotics, jewelry, electronics and even motor vehicles.
Wikipedia snapshot / This drawing on Wikipedi in reference to Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood typifies his angry management style.
It's easy to see why Chief Chitwood who calls those accused of wrongdoing "thugs," "scumbags" and "knuckleheads" didn't want Frederick calling the shots at the forum. Chitwood was critical of the Beach Patrol employee accused of making a comment on his personal Facebook page about Trayvon Martin being a thug.
Could you imagine if Frederick had been the moderator and put Chitwood on the spot about the same words he uses?
After all, the black ministers who sponsored the forum want the beach patrol officer fired and they have Chitwood on their panel? Frederick showed true class and professionalism by attending the forunm with his video camera. He's putting together video highlights so you can see for yourself.
Imagine how much more scandal would be going unreported if it were not for the experience of Henry Frederick and Headline Surfer as the ijnternet news provider. No wonder Chitwood went behind the scenes to his black friends to have the change made in moderators. So much for honesty with this forum.