Mayor's boyhood bar friend and goons harass internet reporter during street festival

No police presence despite beer gardens on Flagler Avenue 

Headline Surfer videos by Henry Frederick / Traders bar own Dave Fernandez, shown below, and three of his associates did their best to try and prevent the 24/7 internet newspaper from shooting video of his outdoor beer garden on the public street during Thursday night's Shrimp and Seafood Festival on Flagler Avenue.

Editor's Note: Warning: One of his friends was intoxicated and used raw language. Fernandez is the boyhood friend of Mayor Adam Barringer and recipient of a $60,000 CRA grant to fix up his Flagler Avenue bar.

Traders bar owner Dave Fernandez / Headline SurferNEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Mayor Adam Barringer's $60,000 taxpayer-supported CRA grant for boyhood friend Dave Fernandez and his Traders bar on Flagler Avenue is a testament to city hall's priorities when beachside parking and sidewalks are desperately needed.

But that hasn't stopped the mayor and city commission from pumping $2 million in CRA funds for bars and alcohol-fueled street festivals since he took over five years ago and Pam Brangaccio was beginning her reign as city manager.

Ironically, the mayor and city manager are facing multiple charges with the Florida Commission on Ethics and passing on a tax increase in the new fiscal year to absorb continually bloated salaries.

Fernandez didn't like Headline Surfer's video camera pointed in the direction of his bar, one of three on the avenue that had a roped off area for him to serve alcohol on the sidewalk in what is called a beer garden.

Even when Headline moved to the other side of the bar, Fernandez aggressively pursued the camera, the second time accompanied by three goons, one of whom was intoxicated.

As has been typical of these events, there were no elected officials on the avenue and no police presence either, especially in the wake of the DUI-related fatality of a Port Orange mother of three who had been drinking at another bar on Flagler in the closing hours of the Cinco de Mayo street festival, all subsidized with CRA funding under the Merchants of Flagler Avenue Hospitality group and its signature overhead banner, "The Party's on Flagler."

Other than Fernandez and his associates, the festival was orderly with countless families with small children there to sample seafood from some 30 restaurants.

But for a bar owner like Fernandez, well known to the cops and the courts, the behavior speaks volumes as to municipal government's priorities led by Barringer and Brangaccio in taking care of friends and insiders through CRA funds, which are rapidly dwindling with the 30-year Community Redevelopment Agency program sunsetting in 2015.

NSB Mayor Adam Barringer facing state ethics charges / Headline SurferNew Smyrna Beach City Manager Pamela Brangaccio facing multiple state ethics charges / Headline Surfer New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Brringer and City Manager Pamela Brangaccdio are facing chrges from the Florida Commission on Ethics.

But for a bar owner like Fernandez, well known to the cops and the courts, the behavior speaks volumes as to municipal government's priorities led by Barringer and Brangaccio in taking care of friends and insiders through CRA funds, which are rapidly dwindling with the 30-year Community Redevelopment Agency program sunsetting in 2015.

And with that time frame, 30 years of funding that should have gone to fixing up run-down neighborhoods like those neglected on the Westside and for parking and sidewalks have largely been ignored. This has been especially true in the past five years.

And while Barringer and his insider friends point fingers at media coverage, the videos speak volumes as to the mayor's priorities and those he associates with.

As has been the case since December when the first of the ethics complaints were lodged against Barringer and Brangaccio, they have repeatedly sidestepped answering questions of the New Smyrna Beach-based 24/7 internet newspaper. Neither returned calls for comment today.

As is typical of New Smyrna Beach's festival's Headline Surfer was on scene covering the festival, which drew about 2,500 people, mostly from Greater New Smyrna Beach.

Headline Surfer called police when Fernandez and his friends continued their aggressive and boorish behavior as shown in two videos produced with this story. Police took a report but no criminal charges were filed against Fernandez or his friends.

As for why there was no police presence on Flagler in the first place, assigned-PIO Master Sgt. Eugene Griffith deferred comment to Chief George Markert who was out of town.

Here is a previous incident where Dave Fernandez interjected himself into Headline Surfer's videos, this time pressing himself against the camera to the point where we were forced to aim the camera to his feet in order for it not to get broken. This occurred during Madri Gras, another city-CRA funded event for the Flagler Avenue bars:

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.