New Smyrna Beach and meetings galore

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen and the County Council should be applauded for his intervention with the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority and its visitor's center here in New Smyrna Beach. It's really ashamed he can't do the same with the city's Community Redevelopment Agency. The two are scandal-ridden with questionable practices (possibly even criminal) in how business has been conducted.

Why? Because they are cash cows for business insiders, inept politicians and overpaid city administrators looking to take care of each other.

Why did five seasoned CRA board members leave within a six-month period with no real reasons given? Tonight at City Hall brings City Manager Pam Brangaccio's continued push on so-called "infill housing" for Canal Street in a joint meeting between the city commission and the planning board followed by the regular commission meeting. The same Canal Street that will lose its CRA funding in 2015, after 30 years of taxpayer money having come back into the district.

Brangaccio and Canal Street merchant head Cindy Jones have trumpeted Canal Street's revival since Christmas. The problem is they've been the only voices crying for it in print media, which has been handsomely rewarded with CRA advertising.

Make no mistake about it: The infill is an important consideration, but where's the focus on jobs and helping small businesses across New Smyrna Beach?

What plan of action is the city manager and elected commissioners doing to help citizens across New Smyrna Beach cope with trying to keep their lights on, for those lucky to out for dinner once a week to be able to continue doing so, and for restaurants and other small businesses as they struggle to hold on in this terrible economy?

Where's the priority for the city's understaffed police force and its cops, who haven't gotten a raise of any kind in the last three years?

Where's the focus on dealing with the unfunded and mounting pension issues with the firefighters?

The infill is self-serving for the city manager who has to justify her six-figure salary. Brangaccio speaks out of both sides of her mouth on Canal: She says it's on the upswing while behind the scenes, while she's pushing for a new CRA with Canal as the ultimate prize.

The name of the game right now is good press and as long as they're getting that 20-inch front-page story in Wednesday morning's Daytona Beach News-Journal, they're all looking pretty good, aren't they?

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-New Smyrna Beach / Sanford-Orlando metropolitan region via Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as and Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Headline Surfer® Publisher Henry Frederick, is recognized as one of Florida's top award-winning cops & courts reporters, who has received more awards for such coverage than any other reporter working in Central Florida. He's the top journalist in the Florida Press Club two years running with seven journalism awards for 15 breaking news and investigative stories, three blogs and top internet site. He's the only reporter to win awards for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying as well as the subsequent George Zimmerman murder trial acquittal in Sanford. He's also won state, regional and national journalism awards for his coverage of cops and courts fear 8 1/2 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, where he witnessed and reported on the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos and covered the civil trial brought by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed. Before that before he covered cops & courts for Gannett Suburban Newspapers / The Journal News in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York, where he won a highly-coveted Associated Press Award for breaking news. Before launching the 24/7 internet newspaper in 2008, he was an award-winning city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette, in his native Massachusetts for two years, winning a national investigative award on municipal corruption. The first of Frederick's three books, for which he has secured publishing rights, is called "Creepy Ass Cracker" (840 pages, Xlibris), which will hit bookstores in September. His second book, "Wrestling ReWind," is expected to be published in January 2015. The third book is not yet titled.
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