DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- As an experienced journalist who has closely followed the inner workings of Volusia County government for the past 10 years, I remain steadfast in my belief that Sheriff Mike Chitwood and County Councilwoman Heather Post (herself a former deputy), were rogue politicians who seized upon two phony crises over a three-week span fo force out County Manager Jim Dinneen.
And with them were a cast of malcontent wannabe politicians from the last election cycle along with pro-beach driving antagonists.
One of the biggest loudmouths from this latter grouping is Jeff Brower, a holdover supporter of 2016 failed county chair candidate Greg Gimbert.
Brower, who is among several challengers to incumbent Pat Patterson, never bothered to announce that he was running for office, but grandstanding and throwing stones was his game. Chitwood's verbal beatdown on Dinneen was vicious and disgusting. And his reference to"pay to play" showed just how much of a hypocrite and backstabber he truly is.
For Chitwood was heavily reliant on the influential insiders -- the Big 3 in Lesa France Kennedy, J Hyatt Brown and Mori Hosseini (the latter two on the board with France-Kennedy the Speedway's CEO. "Two-thirds of Chitwood's campaign finances, an enormous sum of $65,000, came from these influential insiders. And who could forget the photo op of Chitwood, then Daytona chief of police, operating a mini crane in tearing down a building on Speedway property to make room for the One Daytona project.
Chitwood showed his true colors in ascribing "cronyism" and "shady backroom deals" to Dinneen and with what he stated was the allowance of an inept council -- essentially that Dinneen and the majority of the council (with the exception of Post) are in bed with the influential insiders.
Heather Post's sudden ascension to stardom is fake, too. She is the hero to the mob-mentality alliance that created this ugliness with an assist from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, which hung Dinneen out to dry with a Medical Examiner's report that was flimsy to begin with and its sensationalized headline alluding to a $50,000 "secret study" that wasn't a secret at all.
It is Chitwood for whom the term "corrupt" could be aptly be applied, but with the term "alleged," added to it, a tag he did not ascribe to Dinneen.
The two key speakers who gave this entire charade some real definition were DeBary resident Morton Culligan who vividly described the pay to play concept as he tore into the DBNJ for being "recklessly irresponsible" in avoiding the pay to play to begin with over the last several years.
The second voice of reason was Deltona resident Alvin Mortimer who called out Chitwood as a political opportunist asleep at the wheel of the growing violent crime and opioid crisis, along with the Sheriff's ill-treatment of deputies within his own ranks.
The News-Journal has made no reference of Chitwood's insider financial windfall that gave him the cash flow he needed to secure the election victory. And it didn't make the connection of his attacks on Dinneen and council members against his own campaign finance sources. Yet again, Chitwood got a free pass from the News-Journal.
Since he took office on Jan. 1, 2017, Chitwood has blatantly lied repeatedly to the public beginning with the circumstances of his speeding ticket.