By Paul Gable
Several reliable sources have recently mentioned that former county administrator and county attorney John Weaver is considering a run against incumbent Paul Price for the Horry County District 5 seat.
Weaver left his final position as county administrator after a majority of council refused to extend his contract and encouraged him to leave five months before the expiration date of the contract.
It would be extremely interesting to see Weaver enter the political spotlight considering some of his past positions on important county issues.
Some of Weaver’s more memorable moments as county attorney and administrator include:
- Asserting that allowing private gates to obstruct access to public roads was legal (it’s not);
- Leading the effort to convince taxpayers that the county needed to build a one-half billion dollar airport terminal at Myrtle Beach International Airport (it didn’t)
- Spearheading the county ordinance to establish a flow control monopoly over county garbage for the Horry County Solid Waste Authority claiming it was a liability issue (it wasn’t and it nearly bankrupted some private businesses)
- Being the county attorney during the Southern Holdings case defense (the most egregious case of subversion of the legal system by government officials I have ever seen).
Why Weaver is strongly considering challenging Price for the District 5 seat I have not heard.
But, if I had to guess, his ties to the HCSWA would be a good one. The HCSWA and the flow control ordinance are under fire from county council with Price one of its strongest critics.
There is precedent for an HCSWA candidate trying to unseat an incumbent who is perceived to be threatening the authority and flow control. Former HCSWA board member Rod Smith ran, quite unsuccessfully, against incumbent Rep. Nelson Hardwick after Hardwick sponsored a bill in the S.C. House to make flow control illegal throughout the state.
Having not learned any lessons from that defeat, it looks like an HCSWA preferred candidate is back for round two.
While the gates were a perk for an influential voting block in Myrtle Trace, the airport was a huge boondoggle with taxpayer money and the HCSWA’s flow control was anti-business, it is the Southern Holdings case and Weaver’s connections to it that will be most interesting to explore if Weaver decides to run.