ANALYSIS: Volusia County politicians proof positive that appearances can be deceptive, especially when it comes to First Amendment

Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Four years ago, Frank Bruno, Joie Alexander and Carl Persis stepped off the county council dais, having done the people's work.

Bruno, a printer by trade, who was term-limited after eight years as Volusia County's first elected chair, and 20 years overall, was the ultimate consensus builder in setting policy and getting things done. Alexander, a public school teacher and principal, was the consummate professional in trems of having read through the dictionary-thich agenda packets, was far attuned to listenig as opposed to making speeches. And Persis, while hlding down a full-time job as a school principal,  would roll up his sleeves and get down to business.

Of the three, Alexander's exit proved to be the smoothest where she twas content to continue her love of community service, a passion that continues today with the same attention to detail in being prepared, listening and speaking when it counts. For Persis, who so eagerly wanted to succeed Bruno, having been his understudy, non-partisan elections suddenly became partisan for the Democrat, who embraced the unity of policy discussion over partisanship and was crashed in the general election by a no-name candidate, who was considered a throw-away in Republican Jason Davis, a combat-wounded Gulf War vet. 

Persis would rebound in 20126, with a seat on the school board where he has continud tht same rolling-up-the-sleeves approach and the can-do attitude on a school board. 

For Bruno, a tall slender man whose dark tailored suits, coiffed hair and pearly white teeth, proved he was able to transition from the blue collar upbringing in his native New Jersey upbringing to that of a confident leader who not only dressed the part, but got things done. But even Brino, whose 20 years overall on the dais would price no match for the ultimate career politician in Republican Dorothy Hukill, who was not afraid to mess up Bruno's hair figuratively-speaking with a nasty campaign commercial that was criticised widely as an ethnic slur on his Italian-American heritage. In today's politically-correct would it would be polical suicide. Hukill's campaign coffers were overflowing with GOP buckets of money well beyond Central Florida that she actually put her young grown son on the payroll as her campaign manager.

Bruno lost convincingly, but his dignity and his legacy remained intcy, with the commercial reflcting on Hukill's win at all costs mantra.

The respect shown Bruno by his elected colleagues the day he stepped off the dais bfore embarking on that ugly compaign race still shines today in the County Administration where the council chambers were re-named the Frank T. Bruno County Council chambers, when the Ponce Inlet resident stepped off the dais for the final time.

By then, Florida's first internet-only news outlet,, aka NSB News had emerged from its New Smyrna Beach-Edgewater-Oak Hill territory to countywide with Daytona Beach and county government as its larger focus, along with a new brand name in Headline Surfer® with the URL secondary in And it was then that the online news operation bacame the alternative to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, reeling from scandal of its own. 







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 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.