County Undermining Bike Rally?

By Paul Gable

Only five days before the start of this year’s Harley Davidson Spring Bike Rally, Grand Strand Daily has learned that the county is apparently not living up to its responsibilities on the issuance of vendor permits and other areas related to the event.

County council killed an ordinance that attempted to further limit bike rally vendor permits and attendance last month by a 10-2 vote. This action resulted in no change to current county law with respect to special event and vendor permits.

However, Grand Strand Daily learned this morning that a temporary restraining order was issued against the county to stop changes on a special event permit for the Suck, Bang and Blow restaurant.

Order Granting TRO

Additionally, we are hearing that many vendor permits have yet to be issued although they were applied for months ago and the permits are valid for May 14 through May 20 inclusive.

This leaves out of state vendors questioning whether they should keep their plans to come to the Grand Strand this weekend. They are asking ‘will bike week go on like planned’ as they thought it would after last month’s council vote.

What the Take Back May movement, led by county council chairman Tom Rice and including those who believe they belong to the local landed gentry, has never cared about is just how much messing with the bike rally hurts small local businesses.

The out of state vendors rent space from local businesses and are part of the draw to bring bikers to the area. Bikers are tourists bringing millions of dollars to the local economy, but our local landed gentry doesn’t want them. Hurting these local businesses that depend on income from the rally to pay their bills may be the ultimate goal.

Regardless of those considerations, county staff does not appear to be living up to its responsibilities with respect to issuing vendor permits and keeping regulations the same as they were last year despite being directed by a 10-2 majority of council to do so.

Is this an underhanded attempt by Rice to negatively affect the bike rally covertly after being soundly defeated in his attempt last month to change the law to negatively affect the rally openly?

This story is developing and we will be bringing updates with more information as it becomes available.

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