Tony Otte tells News-Journal: 'This is a very exciting time for the city of New Smyrna Beach'
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- As director of the city's CRA and its economic development director, Tony Otte has his pulse on what's happening in New Smyrna Beach, and in his world it's all wonderful, especially with the NSB Waterfront Loop campaign.
Or so says today's Sunday edition of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, with a story headlined: "Getting the job done: Tony Otte, New Smyrna Beach redevelopment chief."
There's no mention in the story of the impending close of Kmart on State Road 44 or that of the Food Lion on the beachside. And who credits Otte with "Getting the Job Done?"
Is it Mayor Adam Barringer? No, the News-Journal couldn't even get him Friday night for its Saturday story on the Food Lion.
Is it Commissioner and County Council candidate Jim Hathaway? No. He too, has been invisible to the media.
Could it be Tom Williams or Doug Hodson. No, they hurriedly resigned their seats on the CRA board amid questions of conflicts of interest with taxpayer monies during the peak of the holiday season in December just weeks apart from each other.
The credits comes from none other than the Daytona Beach News-Journal itself through the headline writer. Otte, is the only one even quoted in the story written by Valerie Whitney, one of the newspaper's business writers.
The story is the latest in a series of predominantly one-source stories favorable to New Smyrna Beach's CRA. NSB News has received several invoices from the city regarding CRA-funded advertising that has come the News-Journal's way during the holiday season. The Daytona Beach paper was a sponsor of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Canal Street.
Otte has declinerd to comment on the sudden resignations of Williams and Hodson or the earlier resignations of fellow CRA commissioners Charles Bellote and Steve Dennis, all within eight months.
The Sunday News-Journal story shows Otte looking at plans for the rehabilitation of the former Pennysaver Building on Canal Street, thanks to a $400,000 CRA grant awarded to developer Bob Wiley, which he doesn't have to pay back. Ironically, the building housed both the Pennysaver and the News-Journal's Southeast Volusia bureau, which produced the regional Daily Journal five days a week.
However, in June 2008, the News-Journal closed its bureaus here, and in DeLand, Deltona, Bunnell and in Tallahassee while the paper under the local ownership of the Davidson family was embroiled in a federal suitsuit it eventually lost to its minority partner, Cox Enterprises of Atlanta. The paper was eventually sold to Halifax Media led by Michael Redding. The Pennysaver, which Halifax Media also acquired in a $19 million fire sale of the News-Journal, was moved down the street.
NSBNews.net was launched April 7, 2008, and was Florida's first 24/7 Internet newspaper.
Otte replaced Keven Fall, who resigned, Nov. 25, 2009, after he was charged with speeding in a beachside neighborhood and driving with an open container of alcohol when he was pulled over by New Smyrna Beach cops two weeks earlier. Fall was paid $65,000 annually.
Otte was hired by City Manager Pam Brangaccio on Jan. 4, 2010, at an annual salary of $64,1888.80. On Oct. 25 of that year, Brangaccio named him CRA/economic development director for $95,414.40. He was paid the same amount in 2011.
Previous coverage for "Show Me the Money: New Smyrna Beach"
NSB News is a 24/7 Internet newspaper in New Smyrna Beach accessed through NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net, launched April 7, 2008, by award-winning breaking news and investigative journalist Henry Frederick and award-winning blogger Peter Mallory. It is the first fully-online newspaper in Florida and among the few in the nation with continuous editorial content picked up by Google News Directories.
About the Blogger
Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper in Lake Mary serving Central Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Florida's first around-the-clock newspaper was launched April 7, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, initially as NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Frederick was the top winner in the 2012 Florida Press Club contest: 1st place for Blog Writing & 3rd place each for General News Writing, Public Safety Reporting & Best Online Presence (with social media). He's received 18 major journalism awards as a breaking news, investigative reporter & city editor for daily newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts, New York & Connecticut since the mid-1980s.
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