Internet social media site making up for Daytona Beach News-Journal slack on key political coverage in Southeast Volusia; Grade: A-plus
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Community blog spots like "New Smyrna Beach Mom" are carrying the news that the Daytona Beach News-Journal continues to pretend is not happening and that's former Edgewater City Councilman Justin Kennedy's filing Nov. 19 with the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections to run for the district 3 County Council seat held by Deb Denys of New Smyrna Beach, whose two-year reign has been disappointing, to say the least.
New Smyrna Beach Mom Business owner, Roxanne Reynolds Hicks, told her readers Thursday, "I was happy to see this in my inbox this morning, referring to a press release on Kennedy's filing to run, which read as follows:
Roxanne Reynolds Hicks, known as 'New Smyrna Beach Mom' to her loyal internet following in greater New Smyrna Beach, was excited about Justin Kennedy's decision to run again for County Council in the upcoming elections against incumbent Deb Denys.
New Smyrna Beach Mom Business owner, Roxanne Reynolds Hicks, told her readers Thursday, "I was happy to see this in my inbox this morning, referring to a press release on Kennedy's filing to run, which read as follows: (Former) City Councilman Justin Kennedy has officially declared his candidacy in the district 3 race for Volusia County Council. Married for almost 20 years, Justin and Susan Kennedy have 5 school age children. “We believe public service is an important part of our society.” Susan Kennedy is an English teacher at New Smyrna Beach High School. Kennedy says that his goal as a county councilman, if elected, would be to bring common sense back to the Volusia County Council. Divisive politics, wasteful spending and unprecedented county government overreach all led to his decision to run for the position. The “icing on the cake” is the $100,000+ Kaney boondoggle. Kennedy says he hopes to bring this issue front and center in order to expose it for what it is.
Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper, was first to report Kennedy's filing as it did when two other candidates announced earlier their intention to challenge Denys, in David Machuga and John Calache, both of New Smyrna Beach.
What Kennedy means when he refers to the "$100,000+ Kaney boondoggle," is the County Council's Waverly investigation pushed by the voting bloc of the so-called "gang of four" on the County Council in Doug Daniels of Ormond Beach, Pat Patterson of DeLand, Pat Northey of Deltona and Denys.
Daniels last winter pushed for the hiring of his former law partner, Jonathan Kaney, Jr., to lead an investigation into in-kind bus bench ads provided to certain candidates in the last two election cycles.
Even though the State Attorney's Office has been carrying out its own investigation for nearly two years now, Daniels insisted he and his colleagues needed to"lance the boil," by doing their own investigation.
But the investigation reeks of politics considering Waverly benefactors like Kennedy, at-large County Councilwoman, County Councilman Joshua Wagner of Daytona Beach and then-County Chair Frank Bruno have been targets of criticism, seen as benefitting two members of the council in particular, Denys who has feared a Kennedy run, and Northey, who is term-limited in her County Council seat and trying to wrest Cusack's in the upcoming election, along with two other announced candidates, term-limited Holly Hill Mayor Roy Johnson and first-term Deltona Commissioner Webster Barnaby.
Cusack has called the Waverly investigation a "witch hunt," in particular, because Northey, like her, is a registered Democrat for the non-partisan race, which is unprecedented for Democrats or Republicans as Northey tries to continue on the dais beyond the nearly 20 years already under her belt.
Three other factors are legalities, money, and hypocrisy.
County Attorney Daniel Eckert has gone on record as saying he believes the Kaney-led investigation is illegal.
So far, Kaney's investigation has racked up $61,000 and could easily reach six figures as he has taken Kennedy and several others to court to force them to submit to depositions, including former county chair candidate Ted Doran, who like Kennedy, finished third and out of the running in the 2012 primary races.
But Kennedy and Doran don't believe Kaney has the legal authority to compel them to submit to a deposition.
Both have said they've done nothing wrong and Kennedy added he cooperated fully with the State Attorney's investigation a year ago and is not considered a suspect.
And finally, the hypocrisy that is likely to be the undoing of the Waverly investigation and that's Kaney's targeting of Kennedy while leaving alone the former Denys foe who actually won the 2012 primary before losing in the November run-off in James Hathaway. He also received in-kind bus bench advertising from Waverly Media, but has been never been questioned by Kaney and wasn't even on his list of those to be deposed.