By Paul Gable
The harsh words between Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and community activist Tim McCray at last week’s city council meeting demonstrate how little respect city council has for the citizens it supposedly represents.
Rhodes had only recently returned from a 16 day trip to China from which he brought back expectations of a soon to come $100 million investment in the area by a Chinese group.
“We’re doing whatever we can to try and improve things and, in order to do that, you have to talk to potential investors,” Rhodes said in speaking about the trip.
Since Rhodes first ran for mayor in 2005, he has said the number one job of the mayor is to be an ambassador for Myrtle Beach.
What seems to have been forgotten in the intervening 10 years is that the mayor of Myrtle Beach also has responsibilities at home.
It’s wonderful, I guess, to go on 16 day junkets to China promoting the city. (Personally I have always preferred Europe or South America to Asia.)
But, if the city is torn by crime and disparate treatment among neighborhoods, as it obviously is, what is said overseas is just so much hot air.
Unfortunately, hot air is also what is being offered when a community comes to city council asking for help. And, to make things worse, being attacked in an arrogant, aggressive tone by the mayor.
Several community leaders, including McCray, went to city council asking the city to help in conducting a series of public forums with a view to promulgating a comprehensive plan to address crime and lack of work opportunities for Myrtle Beach community residents.
It ended with Rhodes verbally attacking and finger pointing at McCray and a visibly upset McCray retorting Rhodes’ comments were lies.
The day to day residents of Myrtle Beach are entitled to as much courtesy and respect as is shown to foreigners who may invest some money here.
‘Improving things’ includes working with local citizens to make local neighborhoods safe just as much as it does working with investors from Communist China looking to make a profit from local investment.
McCray and Bennie Swans are going to the Horry County Public Safety Committee meeting today to make the same request.
I’ll bet they are at least heard with courtesy and respect, something that does not seem possible anymore in Myrtle Beach.