By Paul Gable
The Grand Strand Business Alliance is smothering the airwaves, in these last days before Tuesday’s voting in the Myrtle Beach City Council elections, promoting the re-election of the incumbent council members.
The basic theme in these ads is business is up, the tourism initiative of the city council is working, there is no need to change the council makeup when the incumbents are doing such a great job.
And they are, but only for the select few.
These ads take the same vein as the Chamber’s ‘Oh yeah, it’s working’ ads promoting the alleged success of the one cent sales tax for tourism promotion.
Why not? It’s essentially the same group responsible for both sets of ads? (Read the Myrtle Beach Mafia here).
It may well be working for some but it certainly is not working for the benefit of all. You need look no farther than the downtown area of Myrtle Beach to see this.
Two mainstays of downtown Myrtle Beach for decades, Studebakers and the Beachwagon, are now Dollar Generals. Two others, the Pavilion amusement park and Myrtle Square Mall, are empty lots.
Up and down Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard, the number of vacant storefronts is startling if business in the city is really so great. The blight is somewhat worse south of the former pavilion site, but that’s to be expected from this crowd of incumbents.
What does that say about dynamism and progress in the downtown Myrtle Beach area?
For all the money the city has directed to the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation over the years, where the hell is the downtown redevelopment?
Is it really working or is that just a propaganda line in the sentiment of ‘If you tell the big lie often enough, people will believe it’?
Even the much touted benefits of the one cent sales tax to promote tourism works to the benefit of the large hotel, condotel or whatever tel owners much more than the small businesses who could use a ‘leg up’.
And the largest benefactors from the owner occupied property tax reduction benefit from this same sales tax are those same business owners who also own expensive homes in the north end of the city.
It’s a double whammy for the Myrtle Beach Mafia.
The divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is widening in Myrtle Beach just as it is around the country and the incumbents on city council don’t seem to care.
Maybe ‘It’s working’ for the select few of the Grand Strand Business Alliance, which is a distinction without a difference from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce board.
Of course, all of the above does fit in well with what I believe is a planned land grab in the downtown oceanfront area, by our Myrtle Beach Mafia friends, before real redevelopment begins.
But, for the vast majority of Myrtle Beach citizens, ‘It’s Not Working’ and the only way it’s ever going to work is to register dissatisfaction at the polls by ousting the incumbents.