Primary Endorsements: At-large incumbent Joyce Cusack & challenger Webster Barnaby worthy of consideration

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Enough is enough with 20 years on dais: Pat Northey sold out to special interests looking to take away beach driving for private paradise & profit

At-large County Council candidate Webster Barnaby debates incumbent Joyce Cusack in Oak Hill. Third candidate Pat Northey was a no-show / Headline Surfer®Term-limited County Councilwoman Pat Northey was a no-show in Oak Hill debate / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® photos and videos produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina King-Frederick  /
Volusia County At-Large County Council candidate Webster Barnaby of Deltona and incumbent Joyce Cusack of DeLand debate the issues June 25, at Oak Hill City Hall during a HeadlineSurfer.com public candidate Debate that drew 75-plus citizens from across the county (the debate is in its entirety among the five posted videos above). Term-limited District 5 Councilwoman Pat Northey, also vying for the at-large post, was a no-show as demonstrated by the empty seat. Northey is shown in this Headline Surfer® file image in the inset.
 

DAYTONA BEACH -- Soon after winning re-election in the 2012 elections for what would be her 19th and 20th years on the dais, term-limited district 5 County Councilwoman Patricia Northey announced she was running for the at-large seat held by incumbent and fellow Democrat Joyce Cusack.

It was unprecedented and among the lowest dirty deeds for a stalwart in a political party to have the gall to do, even by Volusia County standards where below-the-surface corruption runs rampant. Quite frankly, it was and is to this day despicable.  There is the unspoken rule -- some call it class and respect for one's party -- that you just don't cross.

Northey did so because of her desperation for the $41,000 government paycheck and the opportunity to fatten her government pension. She's been on the dais so long that she actually collects a small pension on top of the annual salary from her initial years in office.

Two years ago, Headline Surfer® gave Northey the benefit of the doubt over upstart Rich Gailey of DeBary in the November general election, even though his campaign platform was stronger. She won, and in the process, became term-limited in that seat for this election cycle. Instead of trying to take away Cusack's job, Northey had other options that would have provided for a more graceful exit: She could run for mayor of Deltona, or better yet, retired.

On top of that, Northey pushed for the Waverly investigation, seen as a self-serving move to embarrass Cusack. More on that and a few other significant issues further down in this write-up.

Should Cusack win the primary outright with 50 percent of the vote plus 1, or prevail in a November run-off, she too, would find herself term-limited in four years.

But at the age of 72, this likely will be her final campaign. She served with distinction for eight years in the Florida Statehouse before her overwhelming victory. She then ran in 2008 for the at-large seat against fellow challenger Margie Patchett of Port Orange, co-founder of Volusia Tax Reform.

Headline Surfer® endorsed Patchett because of her fiscal conservative campaign platform and her proven advocacy. That respect and admiration for Patchett remains unchanged.

But the internet newspaper likes Cusack's proven experience, her first-class approach to governance and consensus building and the respect she has shown her constituents and the media. Cusack is a tireless worker and fighter for the the everyday person out there struggling to pay the light bill in one of the highest taxed counties in the Sunshine State.

A native of New Smyrna Beach who grew up in segregation in the African-American Westside community, she couldn't go to the World's Most Famous Beach in Daytona or even New Smyrna Beach. Instead, she and other blacks were relegated to Bethune Beach much further south on the peninsula.

Cusack's other challenger, Webster Barnaby, a native of England, also is black. He became an American citizen long ago. Two years ago, he, too, received the endorsement of Headline Surfer® for a four-year seat on the Deltona City Commission and he won handily in his maiden run over an unknown who had no real message. 

Barnaby is a staunch supporter of local beach driving and the long-standing public access that hearkens back to the invention of the automobile and even NASCAR racing on the hard sands before Daytona International Speedway was built.

An ordained minister, Barnaby also is a fiscal conservative who supports zero-based budgeting and believes in smaller government. He already has pledged to support a change in the county charter being led by locals Greg Gimbert, Elaine Norman Barnicle and countless others that would take the issue of beach driving out of the hands of the council.

And Barnaby is intolerant of elected officials saying one thing and doing another, especially in lining their own pockets.

When Barnaby read a Headline Surfer® story published July 28, headlined, "County Councilman Doug Daniels & wife caught claiming separate homestead exemptions 2 years running after getting married & living together," the first words out of Barnaby's mouth in reaching out to the internet newspaper were, "This is crazy; the cronyism and the corruption continues. This has to end!"

When Barnaby read a Headline Surfer® story published July 28, headlined, "County Councilman Doug Daniels & wife caught claiming separate homestead exemptions 2 years running after getting married & living together," the first words out of Barnaby's mouth in reaching out to the internet newspaper were, "This is crazy; the cronyism and the corruption continues. This has to end!"

That was music to the internet newspaper's eras, not because of accolades on the reporting that the Daytona Beach News-Journal continues to ignore, but because he vocalized what needs to be said and acted on if Volusia County is to put an end to blatant corruption. And for the county to get back to doing the public's business -- and not that of the financially-privileged insiders.

Daniels was the leading push behind the County Council Waverly investigation that led to a 5-2 vote last winter for Daniels' former law partner Jonathan Kaney, Jr. to conduct an investigation of the bus bench company's in-kind campaign contributions to select candidates for office in 2012 and in this election cycle.

This despite the fact the State Attorney's Office has already invested more than a year on the issue and is on the waning end with one conviction -- a plea bargain that resulted in a no contest plea to exceeding campaign contribution amounts and probation of a fired Waverly manager, Jim Brown, who recently died.

County Attorney Dan Eckert had advised that the council-sanctioned Waverly investigation is not legal in his opinion, a view argued by Daniels. So far, Kaney and co-counsel Noah McKinnon have received a combined $150,000 with no end in sight.

What at first was to be a three-month investigation is now in its ninth month. McKinnon stepped down last week after it was revealed that he had previously done work for Waverly.

And here is where Headline Surfer® returns to Patricia Northey and her ulterior motives. Cusack was absolutely right to call the Daniels-led Waverly initiative a "witch hunt."

After all, Northey was Cusack's announced opponent. Same with district 3 incumbent Denys of New Smyrna Beach, who was hoping to scare off a possible challenge from one of her primary opponents two years ago, Justin Kennedy of Edgewater. Kennedy has since filed to run and refuses to acquiesce to Kaney. He and private attorney Ted Doran, who ran for county chair in 2012, but financed his own campaign, are fighting Kaney's campaign in court.

Northey, Daniels, Denys and Pat Patterson, who also is up for re-election, formed a voting bloc last October in what Headline Surfer® labeled the "Gang of Four," with Denys' push to dump Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority Chairman Palmer Wilson from the tourism entity to get bed tax money flowing again to local insiders following a scandal with the former executive director two years earlier that Wilson was helping to clean up. 

Like Cusack, Barnaby attends debate in Oak Hill with Cusack, even with sudden passing of his mom, but Northey a no-show & that angers citizens

Greg Gimbert and Morton Culligan speak at debate in Oak Hill / Headline Surfer®Morton Culligan of DeBary speaks up at Oak Hill debate / Headline Surfer®Daytona Beach-area resident Greg Gimbert, an outspoken advocate for preservation of beach driving and Morton Culligan, citizen watchdog and DeBary resident, shown in the inset, were among the citizens speaking up at the HeadlineSurfer.com Public Candidate debate that drew a standing-room-only audience of 75-plus in the Oak Hill City Commission chambers. The citizen participation was an integral part of the County Council at-large race with incumbent Joyce Cusack and challenger Webster Barnaby answering questions while third candidate, Pat Northey, was a no-show, which got Culligan's blood boiling.

It should also be noted that last month, Headline Surfer® held the first of its public candidate debates in Oak Hill for the district 3 seat on the first of two nights and at-large council contest on the second night at the Oak Hill City Hall.

With 75-plus citizens in attendance, including citizen watchdog Morton Culligan of DeBary and Sheryl Manche of Osteen, representing citizens who saw some of their acreage taken for trails in a less-than transparent way by the county,

Northey's absence was infuriating to them as was Denys' unexplained absence the night before to others in her home district, which includes Oak Hill, Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach and the southern portion of Port Orange.

Joyce Cusack was there. So, too was Webster Barnaby, even though his mother, died the day before in his native England. Because he had a couple of days before getting a flight for funeral, he implored this media outlet to go ahead with the debate as planned ands he's be there.

But Pat Northey couldn't be bothered. And when Headline Surfer® was making arrangements for the second of its public candidate debates held July 28 at the Brannon Center, Northey said she had no intention of going to that debate either. So Headline Surfer® decided to hold only a district 3 debate and Denys, again, was a no-show.

Joyce Cusack was there. So, too was Webster Barnaby, even though his mother, died the day before in his native England. Because he had a couple of days before getting a flight for funeral, he implored this media outlet to go ahead with the debate as planned ands he's be there. But Pat Northey couldn't be bothered. And when Headline Surfer® was making arrangements for the second of its public candidate debates held July 28 at the Brannon Center, Northey said she had no intention of going to that debate either. So Headline Surfer® decided to hold only a district 3 debate and Denys, again, was a no-show.

Denys has said she'll be participating in tonight's Daytona Beach News-Journal debate in New Smyrna Beach and Northey has committed to doing the same at a similar upcoming debate for the at-large race on Wednesday night at Stetson University in DeLand. The difference is News-Journal Editor and moderator Pat Rice will not allow citizen participation in the print newspaper's debates.

The endorsement here clearly is more of a condemnation of Patricia Northey than it it is in choosing Cusack over Webster or vice-versa. If this were the general election, Headline Surfer® would have to be more definitive between the two.

Northey's longstanding connection to major insiders such as Mori Hosseini of ICI Homes and Hyatt Brown of Brown and Brown Insurance, has become all too obvious.

It was Northey's support more than decade ago of removing cars from the beach near the Bandshell and the core tourist district behind the refurbished Adan's Mark and the new Ocean Walk retail/condo high rise that caused contraction beach driving. And Daytona has suffered economically ever since.

In her most recent campaign filings of July 19-25 posted on the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Office website, Northey took in a whopping $11,150, from the likes of Indigo Group of Daytona, a real estate shell company for Tomoka Unlimited $1,000, on July 22.

Denys also benefitted from another four shell companies for Hosseini's ICI homes at $500 apiece under shell companies Jax Construction Holdings, Galmore Holdings, Diversified Property Management and Multilink Communications, all using the ICI address of 2379 Beville Road, Daytona Beach. 

Hosseini and Brown, both multi-millionaires, are on the board of trustees at International Speedway Corp., the parent company of Daytona International Speedway Corp and 12 other ISC tracks, headed by Lesa France Kennedy, whose France family also controls NASCAR, the governing body of stock car racing.

The France family has an assessed worth of $5 billion (not including NASCAR) and is among the richest families in the U.S., according to a recent Forbes magazine ranking.

This latest round of campaign funds brings Northey's campaign contributions to date to $33,540, just ahead of Cusack at $33,307 and Barnaby out in front with $47,175.

Back in May, Cusack received three $1,000 checks from three ISC shell companies, ISC Properties, Event Support Inc, and North American Testing, all using Daytona PO box 2801.

Northey and Cusack voted with County Council members Denys, Patterson, Daniels and Joshua Wagner to give $20 million in taxpayer money to ISC for the mega-retail complex, "One Daytona" across from Daytona International Speedway. County Chair Jason Davis was absent from that vote because he was home recuperating from a heart attack.

Barnaby said he had concerns about taxpayer money being used for the private venture, especially since the county had to float a bond to pay for $16 million with the initial $4 million coming from reserves.

On a different note, Barnaby and Cusack, along with County Chair Jason Davis were the only elected officials throughout Volusia County to publicly condemn the dropping of recruitment letters back in Nov. 13, on a dozen or so front lawns and a church in the predominantly African-American Westside community in New Smyrna Beach.

All three gave interviews on video with Headline Surfer® in the days and weeks that followed the story that made headlines around the world with the internet newspaper leading the coverage from the onset. At-large candidate Northey didn't return calls for comment. Barnaby was not yet a candidate, but didn't hesitate to speak up and condemn it.

This pre-primary endorsement is being presented in hopes of giving voters a better awareness of the three candidates.

Headline Surfer® would not be at all surprised if Cusack were to win the primary outright. She has been an excellent elected leader on the county dais for the past four years.

Cusack has always made herself available to this media outlet when called upon. Cusack has proven through her unwavering commitment and transparency with the public and the press that she deserves another four years.

However, Webster Barnaby could very well win the primary, too, though Headline Surfer® doesn't foresee a scenario where he'd win it outright because it's very difficult to knock off an incumbent -- never mind that the incumbent in this case has very strong name recognition. Cusack's never lost an election.

However, Webster Barnaby could very well win the primary, too, though Headline Surfer® doesn't foresee a scenario where he'd win it outright because it's very difficult to knock off an incumbent -- never mind that the incumbent in this case has very strong name recognition. Cusack's never lost an election.

Barnaby deserves due consideration from the voters for his can-do attitude. He's the only Republican in this non-partisan race, but he doesn't kowtow to the antics of GOP Chair Tony Ledbetter. He's fiscally conservative and not afraid to go against the status quo.

Barnaby has publicly articulated his clearly-defined support of beach driving and his reservation about taxpayer money being used to fund the Speedway. Though outvoted on the Deltona City Commission, Barnaby was against raises for municipal office holders in the city. And he led the recent fight for municipal term limits.

Northey, on the other hand, does not deserve another four years for the multitude of reasons already stated -- namely lack of transparency with the public, her willingness to sell out local access to to the beach to rich developers and political insiders and her ill-treatment of the SVAA's Palmer Wilson as part of the Gang of Four.

This is not a popularity contest. Headline Surfer submits its editorial voice strongly in favor of Cusack or Barnaby for voter consideration in the Aug. 26 primary. Should they prevail, the internet newspaper is fully confident both would yet again debate the issues without hesitation in a HeadlineSurfer.com public candidate debate.

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 for a decade now. 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 dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.