By Paul Gable
The City of Myrtle Beach appears to be practicing continuous harassment of Jewish shop owners on Ocean Boulevard for no better reason than it can.
The current round of harassment began one year ago when city officials and DRC board members blamed t-shirt merchandise in the shops as the cause of several shootings on Ocean Boulevard.
The city immediately installed barricades in front of the shops, allegedly to control pedestrian traffic, but, in reality, to cut down walk-in traffic to the shops, costing the owners sales during the height of the tourist season.
The harassment continued with local police officers checking business licenses in the shops while police from other jurisdictions were being used to patrol Ocean Boulevard.
This spring, the city administrator attempted to require employees of the shops to wear special badges, reminiscent of the use of a yellow Star of David by Nazi officials in Germany in the 1930’s.
Recently, legally produced and legally sold CBD oil products in the shops have been targeted as potentially illegal and the city reportedly asked SLED officers to help in checking these products.
The harassment was highlighted when Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune made the following statement at a recent council meeting regarding the CBD products:
“We have stores on the boulevard right now who have cases of edibles and they are marketing to children. They have lollipops, and if you open one of these jars, it looks and smells exactly like regular marijuana.”
Bethune initially denied making this quote, then, after probably remembering city council meetings are videotaped, said it was used out of context by local media.
These incidents have all the elements of planned harassment by an authoritarian city government that can be viewed as anti-Semitic in its nature all under the guise of keeping the city “family friendly” for tourists.
It may also be an attempt to drive down business profits to force the owners to sell their properties at reduced values.
A new firm has been hired to develop a plan for revitalization of the downtown area in which these stores are located. This, after years of the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation coming up empty with any real plans for revitalization.
But, is big government planned development, at the expense of tax paying private, small business owners, what is best for the area or should the city look to be ‘friendly’ to the owners of businesses that have been in operation at these locations for decades and their ‘families’?
I guess it all depends on your interpretation of “family friendly” and “conservative” government. Currently, the Myrtle Beach city government can’t be accused of being either.