Tag: Conway City Council

City of Conway’s Political Sign Debacle

The City of Conway administration department is in the midst of a debacle of its own creation because of the various avenues it has pursued in enforcing its city ordinance with respect to the improper placement of political signs.
It began approximately one year ago when the city decided to take a stronger stand against political signs being placed in the public rights of way in the city and modifications were made to the City of Conway Unified Development Ordinance.
When city election season came around shortly thereafter, candidate signs that were in the rights of way were collected by city employees. However, even though the new ordinance allowed the city to issue misdemeanor summonses for this offense, none were issued to any of the candidates for city council office.
When the local and state primary season began last spring, there was a change of attitude toward the steps the city would take against improper placement of signs.
The situation could not have been handled any worse by city administrators if they intentionally tried to make a debacle of this new enforcement.
During the spring primary season, city workers collected improperly placed signs and the city issued summonses to approximately 18 candidates for office with a trial date in municipal court and threat of “a fine of up to $1,100 or 30 days in jail” printed on each summons for the misdemeanor offense.
State law prohibits municipal judges from hearing criminal cases for offenses with fines of over $500, but that didn’t stop city officials from issuing the summonses.

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Conway’s War Against Political Signs Spirals out of Control

Government officials in Conway have increased their war on political signs during this primary campaign season to a point that it has spiraled out of control.
Grand Strand Daily has learned that summonses with potential $1,000 fines, for alleged illegally placed campaign signs, have been issued to at least several more candidates in current primary races.
Most interesting is the June 13, 2021 date on the summonses for these cases to be heard in Conway City Court. That date is one day before primary election voting will take place at the polls.
Nothing in Horry County politics happens in a vacuum. One must wonder if certain Conway city government officials are attempting to influence the outcome of some of the races in the June 14th primaries?
Two weeks ago, GSD ran a story on this issue. At that time, blame for a summons and fine issued to one candidate was put at the feet of Conway City Administrator Adam Emrick due to prior statements he had made during a meeting of Conway City Council.
In the interim, several city council members have stated that candidates would be allowed to pick up their confiscated signs and no fines would be collected. However, with the escalation in the issuance of summonses, that does not now appear to be the case and city council members are now complicit for not doing anything to stop the problem.
Who is setting policy here, Conway City Council or Emrick?

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Adam Emrick Sign Czar

An apparently out of control city administrator in Conway may be starting a war over political signs that he cannot win.
According to a story in the Horry Independent last week, Conway city employees collected “more than 400 political signs” that were allegedly placed in locations they are not allowed.
Emrick reportedly told Conway City Council members last week he is tired of the great expense to the city of picking up political signs placed in the wrong place. What Emrick is apparently talking about here is signs placed in public rights of way.
The alleged illegally placed signs have been removed and placed in a city warehouse rather than being destroyed, according to the story.
However, Emrick told city council members he is ready to impose fines of up to $1,100 per sign, supposedly allowed by city ordinance, when someone comes to pick up the signs from the warehouse, according to the story.
Emrick also has a plan to bill the candidates whose signs have been picked up, according to the story.
As a point of reference, Horry County Government employees also pick up political signs that are placed in public rights of way. Those signs are disposed of in a county dumpster and candidates are free to remove their signs from the dumpster if they choose.
What Emrick proposed to city council is government overreach at an extreme level. One could call it a violation of the 14th Amendment protections of the U.S. Constitution with respect to due process.

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Conway Voters to Elect Three for City Council

Conway voters will go to the polls November 2nd to elect three members of city council from seven candidates running for office.
Incumbent council members William Goldfinch and Shane Hubbard are running for reelection. Incumbent Jean Timbes is not seeking reelection leaving one open seat to be contested.
Candidates Beth Helms, Julie Hardwick, Autry Benton, Amanda Butler and Danny R. Hardee round out the field.
In general, residents in Conway seem satisfied with the way city issues have been managed for the past six years or so. Growth is happening but not at the frenetic pace seen in other parts of the county. Crime is always an issue but not nearly as severe as in Myrtle Beach, for example.
Conway has had issues with flooding, but city council has taken a proactive approach to mitigating where possible. Areas of the city will continue to flood when heavy rain events occur, both in the local area as well as southeastern North Carolina because nature cannot be controlled. However, council continues to work on projects to minimize its effects on residents and businesses as much as possible.
A proposal to build a southern bypass road connecting highway 701 with highway 544 just past the Conway Medical Center will help with congestion now experienced on 501 through Conway as well as providing another route for emergency vehicles to the medical center.
All of this means that Goldfinch and Hubbard should be able to look forward to a relatively smooth road to reelection. But no one can actually predict what voters will do when they enter the voting booth.
Residents I have spoken to seem to prefer replacing Timbes with another woman candidate. Conway has a history of electing women to city council and mayor. It is generally felt women bring a unique perspective to the table that can add to debate on the issues.

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