Tag: Case Brittain

Horry County Taxpayers Betrayed in Governor’s I-73 Plan

Gov. Henry McMaster travelled from Columbia to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce headquarters Monday to unveil his “Potential Funding Plan” for Interstate 73 from its eastern terminus at U. S. 17 in Briarcliffe to connection with I-95 near Dillon.
It was a duplicitous move by the governor when one considers that all of the $795 million from state funds recommended by McMaster will be spent entirely in Dillon and Marion counties. McMaster’s funding plan for completion of the Horry County section of I-73 is placed on the backs of Horry County taxpayers with possibly $150 million of federal funds being thrown in.
Even by standards of a South Carolina state government that continuously uses Horry as a donor county to the rest of the state, the plan is outrageous. It is outright Marxist philosophy that our “so-called conservative Republican” elected officials claim to fight against.
In 1875, Karl Marx wrote the economic and political philosophy of his “communism” was “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” In other words, transfer the wealth from the rich to the poor. That is exactly what is being done with Horry County tax dollars so Dillon and Marion taxpayers don’t have to contribute any locally collected tax dollars.
In addition, that $350 million of local contribution from the county and the cities would be better spent on existing infrastructure needs such as Hwy 90, Hwy 905, the SELL road and the proposed road around Conway to 701 for the county, infrastructure and police needs in Myrtle Beach and parking and other infrastructure needs in North Myrtle Beach.
Furthermore, the elected officials representing Horry County voters who showed up to praise the plan, Congressman Tom Rice, state legislators Sen. Luke Rankin, Sen. Greg Hembree, Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, Rep. Russell Fry, Rep. Case Brittain, and Rep. Heather Crawford, county council members Dennis DiSabato, Orton Bellamy, Johnny Vaught, Bill Howard, Tyler Servant and Gary Loftus, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune and city council members Jackie Hatley, Gregg Smith and John Krajc and North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, have a lot of splainin’ to do for supporting the plan.
Rice, Brittain, Crawford, Bellamy, Vaught, Howard and Servant are all up for reelection in 2022. Bethune, Jackie Hatley, Smith and Marilyn Hatley are up for reelection in the upcoming November 2021 city elections. Fry is giving up his statehouse seat to challenge Rice for Congress. Will the voters reject these liberal Marxist spendthrifts?
The entire funding plan projects $795 million from the state, $430 million from the feds and $350 million combined from Horry County, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. None of that money is approved to be spent on I-73 at this time. Dillon and Marion counties are not projected to appropriate any money.
If Horry County and the cities send $350 million of hospitality fee revenue to the state to spend on I-73 rather than local roads, the net loss to county taxpayers will be $700 million – the $350 million sent to the state and that same $350 million that could, but will not, be spent to improve existing roads.

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Reasons Behind Russell Fry’s Deafening Silence on I-73 Funding Controversy

(The above picture shows voter response to a request to raise their hands to show support for I-73)

State Rep. Russell Fry, an announced candidate in the upcoming SC 7th Congressional District Republican primary, has been deafeningly silent during the last week’s controversy over funding for the Interstate 73 project.
When Fry announced his candidacy, he said, like incumbent Congressman Tom Rice, he strongly supported the construction of I-73.
During the last week, we have seen an eruption of controversy surrounding a promised visit tomorrow by Governor Henry McMaster to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce headquarters to make an important announcement on I-73.
First, it was reported by local media that McMaster would announce he was giving $300 million to the I-73 project. Local politicians who want Chamber associated funding for their campaigns such as, county council members Johnny Vaught and Dennis DiSabato, state Rep. Case Brittain, state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch and Rice himself, quickly committed to attending McMaster’s Chamber announcement. All praised McMaster for committing money to I-73. Fry was conspicuous by his silence.
Vaught and DiSabato went one step further. After a DiSabato authored resolution for the county to dedicate $4.2 million per year for 30 years to I-73 was deferred until October 26th by the county’s Administration Committee, which is chaired by Vaught, a special meeting of the committee was called by Vaught for this coming Tuesday to again attempt to pass the resolution. The excuse given for the special called meeting was with the governor bringing $300 million for I-73, it was time for the county to step up with local funding for the road.
However, the two most important people for state appropriations and local appropriations for I-73, Speaker of the House Jay Lucas and County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner, will not be at the Chamber/McMaster event, according to sources I have spoken to.
There are additional problems with the above narrative. The governor cannot commit any funding for I-73. The best he can do is request the SC General Assembly to do so. The county committee can only recommend the entire county council vote to approve funding for I-73.
The $300 million announced is $200 million short of the $500 million a group, reportedly consisting of Brittain, the Chamber, DiSabato and city mayors Brenda Bethune and Marilyn Hatley, said they would seek from the state two weeks ago. The group also requested local governments, primarily the county council along with Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach city councils, to commit a total of $250 million in locally collected tax and fee revenue to I-73. That number is now being reported in media as closer to $180 million.

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Chamber and Governor Mull Press Conference to Announce I-73 Funding with No Funding Approved

The latest effort by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to make construction of Interstate 73 a viable project in the minds of the voters of Horry County took several bizarre twists yesterday.
A brief recap:
In recent weeks, the Chamber has promoted the idea that a mysterious poll of voters in South Carolina (405 in all) showed 82% of those responding favored construction of I-73. The actual questions and responses have never been revealed, just questionable results.
The poll announcement was followed by news that Chamber President and CEO Karen Riordan, state Rep. Case Brittain, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune and Horry County Council member Dennis DiSabato were working on a $750 million funding package for the I-73 project that included $250 in funding from local governments and $500 million from the state. It was announced that the governments of Horry County, the City of Myrtle Beach and the City of North Myrtle Beach would approve their respective portions of the $250 million funding package by the end of this month.
Monday it was announced that the Horry County Administration Committee would vote the next day on a resolution to dedicate $4.2 million per year, for up to 30 years, to the I-73 project from county hospitality fee revenue. That vote, however, was postponed until at least October 26 after a short executive session by committee members on Tuesday.
Tuesday evening Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner was informed that Gov. Henry McMaster would hold a press conference Monday October 4, 2021, at the Myrtle Beach Chamber offices to announce the state was committing $300 million to I-73 construction. (There was no explanation of why alleged state funding was reduced from the $500 million announced by Brittain to the $300 million over a two-week span.)
Now the bizarre:
According to a number of sources familiar with events, word began to spread from Riordan to local politicians yesterday that the governor would be coming to Myrtle Beach on Monday to make an announcement about I-73 funding.
Unless the state government receives specifically earmarked funds for I-73 from the federal government, the governor cannot order any state agency to spend money on the project. Appropriations must receive voting approval from the General Assembly.
State legislators, from around the state, contacted by Grand Strand Daily, said the news that Gov. McMaster was going to announce funding from the state for I-73 was a surprise since the General Assembly had not approved nor even considered any such appropriation.

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Another Suspicious Poll from MBACC Alleges Support for I-73

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is up to its old tricks by again trying to convince local citizens that there is widespread support for the construction of Interstate 73.
Two days ago, the Chamber issued a press release and an eight-page document supposedly reporting the results of a poll conducted in July 2021 on I-73.
The document stated that 79 percent of 405 registered voters responding from across the state supported I-73. It also stated that 82 percent of an unspecified number of voters, included in the overall 405 number, from the 7th Congressional District supported I-73.
These reported results are in line with another supposed poll the Chamber said was conducted two years ago. The results from that poll supposedly said that of 1,774 respondents to a poll on I-73, 74.6 percent of the respondents favored the project.
Two years ago, I called B— S—- on the 2019 supposed poll and I submit the same sentiment applies to these most recent reported results.
The latest supposed poll results come at a time when the newest brainstorm, as reported in local media, to keep some life in the I-73 project is to have the local city and the county governments pledge by resolution a total of $250 million toward construction of I-73.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune strongly supported local funding from the city, even though the city recently cancelled health insurance coverage promised to retired city workers and police manning is down while young women apparently can be snatched off the street in mid-afternoon only to have their body turn up in Florence several days later.
However, Horry County Council members are very reluctant to pass even a resolution supporting county funding of I-73, despite concerted effort by council member Dennis DiSabato. It took the county a year to reverse the debacle council had to extract itself from two years ago after a 2018 resolution pushed by then county chairman Mark Lazarus committed the county to providing $25 million per year to SCDOT for the I-73 project.
The idea is that state Rep. Case Brittain can take those pledges to Columbia to ask the state government to pledge $500 million toward the project. Then, with $750 million pledged, maybe Tom Rice can finally get enough out of the federal government to construct the road at least to connection to I-95 in Dillon, a total cost of approximately $1.5-2 billion.
How this is supposed to succeed is anyone’s guess as the best Gov. Henry McMaster could do last spring was get SCDOT to commit $500,000 per year for three years to the I-73 project IF the local governments provided a total match of $500,000 per year.
The reasons to question whether a poll was even conducted are many.

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Richardson Listens to Voters on I-73 Issue

As a new push begins for local funding of the Interstate 73 project, Horry County School Board Chairman and 7th Congressional District candidate Ken Richardson has taken a novel approach on the I-73 issue.
Over the past several days, local media has highlighted I-73 propaganda statements by local politicians who, along with the special interests who fund their campaigns, search for $250 million in local government revenue to pledge to the I-73 project.
Interstate 73 has always had a top-down sales approach to voters. Special interests and their PACs, who believe they will gain financially in some way from the construction of I-73, fund the campaign chests of local politicians who then become spokespersons trying to convince voters that I-73 is actually for their (the voters) benefit.
Richardson has taken a different approach. As he travels around Horry County and the other seven counties that make up the 7th Congressional District, Richardson asks voters whether they support the construction of I-73.
“I have given over 50 speeches to groups as small as 6 to as large as 120 since I announced my challenge to Tom Rice for the Republican nomination for the 7th Congressional District,” Richardson said. “During every speech, I ask for a show of hands from those in attendance who support I-73. So far, in all those events, only one hand has been raised.”
Richardson spoke of one woman at an event in Florence. “She said to me, ‘we always hear how interstates will bring new jobs. Well, we already have two interstates in Florence and we haven’t seen 300 new jobs in the last 10 years.’”
Richardson said a common theme he hears is that local governments and the state government should fix the roads and bridges they already have in place rather than building a new road that won’t be maintained either.
The I-73 project has been a subject of discussion by special interests and the politicians they donate to for at least 30 years. It ramped up nearly 20 years ago when Brad Dean took over the reins of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
Horry County has already spent over one-half billion dollars of locally generated hospitality fee (tax) revenues building SC-22. The last approximately 22 miles of I-73 will be on SC-22 from near the 319 exit to the terminus in the Briarcliffe Acres area. SC-22 will need some upgrading on the shoulders to meet interstate highway standards.

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Clemmons Application for Master in Equity – Déjà vu

(pictured above Alan Clemmons and Heather Crawford)

Recently local media and TheNerve.org ran stories that former state representative Alan Clemmons is seeking appointment to the Horry County Master in Equity judgeship.
The Nerve postured a question whether Clemmons’ resignation from his House seat one year ago and his application for the Master in Equity position was a coincidence. When contacted by The Nerve for comment, Clemmons is quoted in its story, “I really have no comments on my application for Master in Equity for Horry County.”
Clemmons resignation from the House came just after current Master in Equity Cynthia Graham Howe announced she would not seek another six-year term after finishing her current term in July 2021. State law requires a member of the General Assembly to be out of office for one year before they can be appointed as a judge or act as a lobbyist.
This seems to be a case of ‘déjà vu all over again’, as Yogi Berra would say.
One year ago, in a story about the special election to replace Clemmons on the November general election ballot, I wrote:
“Only two months ago, Alan Clemmons won the regular Republican primary for nomination to what would have been his tenth term as representative for District 107.
“Five weeks later, Clemmons resigned from the House and sent an affidavit to the SC Election Commission citing the necessity of concentrating on his family and law practice as reasons for removing himself as the Republican candidate.
“It is important to note here that Clemmons affirmed to the election commission, under penalty of perjury, that his dropping out as the nominated candidate was for “non-political reasons”, a requirement for the party to conduct a special election to nominate a replacement candidate for the general election.
“Nowhere in Clemmons’ statement did it mention the widely circulated story that Clemmons expects to be selected as the Master in Equity judge for Horry County when the position becomes vacant next July. South Carolina law requires a member of the General Assembly to be out of office for a minimum of one year before they can become a judge or a lobbyist. The Master in Equity position currently pays approximately $180,000 per year. State funded pensions are based on a person’s highest three years of salary.

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Brittain Cruises to District 107 Primary Win

Case Brittain is the new Republican nominee for the SC House District 107 seat in the upcoming November general election.

Brittain cruised to an easy victory over former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride by a 70% – 30% margin.

To call the voter turnout light is to be generous. Brittain garnered less votes in winning than he accumulated on June 9th in a losing effort to then incumbent Alan Clemmons.

The total vote cast in this special primary was approximately one-half the number of voters in the regular primary.

Approximately 5.25% of the registered voters in the district cast votes for Brittain making him the nominee.

The Brittain victory completes a successful primary season for the Myrtle Beach cabal. Every one of their incumbents, Dennis DiSabato, Cam Crawford and Gary Loftus on county council, Heather Crawford and Clemmons, now Brittain, in the House and Luke Rankin in the Senate, won renomination. Brittain became the cabal’s choice after Clemmons resigned his seat in the House.

The coronavirus outbreak made things easier by holding down voting somewhat. When the average voters fail to turn out, the cabal’s core of voters can determine elections.

The normal tricks were pulled out to help Brittain win, Walter Whetsell and his Starboard Communications as consultant, bogus third party PAC to smear McBride and endorsements by other Whetsell clients to make it look like Brittain was earning the endorsements of local elected officials.

What this means is the cabal can set many of the political agendas for the next two years.
Development will continue to run rampant in the county, seriously outstripping the public safety and infrastructure resources needed to support new sub-divisions, all in the name of profit.

Myrtle Beach Cabal v. McBride in District 107 Primary Voting Today

Voters in House District 107 will again go to the polls today to determine who will be the new Republican nominee for the South Carolina House of Representatives seat from that district.

The special primary was made necessary when former representative Alan Clemmons resigned from his House seat five weeks after being nominated for his tenth term in office.

Clemmons had been looking for another government job for the past two years with no luck so he took the default position of raising campaign donations and running for nomination for his tenth term. It has been obvious that he would bolt from that seat when prospects of a much higher paying job was potentially in the offing. When he learned the Master in Equities judge position would be available next July, he resigned from the House to secure the one year lapse, required by state law, from service in the General Assembly to appointment to a judgeship.

There is one way Clemmons can prove me wrong with my above conclusion. I challenge Clemmons  to come out publicly with a statement that his affidavit to the S. C. Election Commission was truthful about resigning his seat in the House and his nomination to another term for non-political reasons, as stated in the affidavit, and that under no circumstances will he seek nor accept the position of Horry County Master in Equity, which would be a political appointment.

As soon as he decided to resign, Clemmons, in his own words, called his opponent in the June regular primary, Case Brittain, to notify Brittain of his decision and start the process that would make Brittain the choice of the Myrtle Beach cabal in the special primary.

Brittain was reportedly advised by Clemmons and Mark Lazarus to hire the cabal’s go to political consultant Walter Whetsell and his Starboard Communications for the special primary.

The choice tomorrow is between the cabal’s candidate, Brittain, and former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride.

Clemmons did the bidding of the cabal, securing passage of the enabling legislation for the Tourism Development Fee in 2009 and amending the original legislation to eliminate the ten-year sunset provision so the fee could be continued ad infinitum.

Clemmons was also a major voice pushing I-73 at the state level but was wholly unsuccessful in obtaining any construction grants from the state for the road.

Brittain has Clemmons, McBride has Answers

In this strangest of all election seasons, the voters of SC House District 107 are going to the polls next week to vote in what may be the strangest of all – a special primary election to nominate a Republican candidate for the November general election.

Case Brittain, the defeated candidate from the June Republican primary for District 107, and former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride are the candidates on the ballot for the special primary.

Only two months ago, Alan Clemmons won the regular Republican primary for nomination to what would have been his tenth term as representative for District 107.

Five weeks later, Clemmons resigned from the House and sent an affidavit to the SC Election Commission citing the necessity of concentrating on his family and law practice as reasons for removing himself as the Republican candidate.

It is important to note here that Clemmons affirmed to the election commission, under penalty of perjury, that his dropping out as the nominated candidate was for “non-political reasons”, a requirement for the party to conduct a special election to nominate a replacement candidate for the general election.

Nowhere in Clemmons’ statement did it mention the widely circulated story that Clemmons expects to be selected as the Master in Equity judge for Horry County when the position becomes vacant next July. South Carolina law requires a member of the General Assembly to be out of office for a minimum of one year before they can become a judge or a lobbyist. The Master in Equity position currently pays approximately $180,000 per year. State funded pensions are based on a person’s highest three years of salary.

Shortly after resigning from the House, Clemmons received the appointment of the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to serve on the three member South Carolina Board of Economic Advisers, a position that supposedly “specific working knowledge and experience in economics, revenue forecasting, and the state budget process,” according to state law. The position pays $8,000 per year and, more importantly, qualifies for state funded benefits such as health insurance and retirement.

Clemmons Resigns House Seat Triggering Special Primary Election for House District 107 – Updated

Update

The South Carolina Election Commission accepted Alan Clemmons’ affidavit that he resigned his House seat for non-political reasons. A special primary will be held to replace Clemmons on the November general election ballot.

Filing for the special primary will begin at noon July 28, 2020 and end at noon August 4, 2020. The special primary election will be held on August 18, 2020 in House District 107 voting precincts. There was no Democratic opposition for nomination to this seat in the regular primary elections but Democrats have the option of filing for a special primary election in the same filing period.

Five weeks after winning the Republican Primary nomination for House District 107, Alan Clemmons notified S. C. House Speaker Jay Lucas today he was resigning the seat he has held for nine terms.

In his resignation letter, Clemmons cited demands of his law practice and a desire to concentrate more time with his family as reasons for his resignation. The resignation triggers a special primary election for the House District 107 seat.

Clemmons must now submit an affidavit to the State Election Commission that his resignation is for non-political reasons, such as those stated above. When that affidavit is accepted by the election commission, notice of a special primary election will be given with the applicable dates for that event.

This reporter contacted Sandy Martin, Director of the Horry County Voters Registration and Election Office, for the possible time frame of the special election. According to Martin, if Clemmons’ affidavit is accepted by the state election commission on or before July 25, 2020, the filing period for the special primary election would be August 4 – 11, 2020. However those dates are subject to change based on the timing of the Clemmons affidavit.

Martin confirmed that the Clemmons’ resignation will trigger a special election. She said the notification of the dates for filing will be placed in the Sun News after she receives notification from the election commission that the affidavit has been accepted.