Tag: Harold Worley

Dukes Campaign About Misdirection Not Ideas

Horry County Council candidate Jenna Dukes appears to be running a misdirection campaign in her challenge to County Council District One incumbent Harold Worley.
Dukes’ picture is on everything her campaign does – billboards, yard signs and mailers.
It appears the campaign strategy of Dukes and her consultant Walter Whetsell is to concentrate on the picture and confuse the message.
A Dukes mailer came out last week. Its message, in a word, is unbelievable.
The mailer promises as a member of county council Dukes will:
Coordinate with state health officials, hospitals and healthcare providers to increase services and recruit new providers.
Fight for additional funding to raise teacher salaries
And
Collaborate with the school board to provide safe and effective learning environments and plan for growth to avoid overcrowding.
All that sounds wonderful and is designed to attract the votes of what I call casual voters at the ballot box.
However, none of the above has anything to do with the issues considered by county council and all of those could be considered an attempt at extreme government overreach by Dukes if she actually carried out those initiatives in the event she is elected.

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Rice, Fry and Myrtle Beach Chamber Lose Big in HCGOP Straw Poll

(Drain the Swamp Thumbs Up from Donald Trump)
The members of the HCGOP are following Donald Trump’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ mantra even when Trump makes the mistake of endorsing a Swamp candidate as he did with his endorsement of Russell Fry in the 7th Congressional District race.
Friday the Thirteenth has been known as an unlucky day since Friday October 13, 1307, when King Philip of France ordered the arrest of all Knights Templar in France as a threat to his throne. The arrests and subsequent killing of the Knights Templar effectively ended the order’s political and financial influence throughout Europe.
A similar conclusion about the influence of the Myrtle Beach Chamber cabal and its candidates can be drawn from the results of the Friday May 13, 2022 Horry County Republican Party straw poll.
While straw polls are not scientific polling, they are a clear reflection of the mood of the nearly 300 local political activists who attended the event. The straw poll results established that, just as the political influence in local elections of Burroughs and Chapin 20 years ago, the Chamber cabal’s influence in local elections is clearly on a steep decline.
Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster, the Chamber’s last, best hope of getting state funding for Interstate 73, received 47% of the votes cast while his opponent Harrison Musselwhite took 53%.
The Chamber’s two candidates for the SC 7th Congressional District had dismal showings with Tom Rice getting a miniscule 4% of the vote and Russell Fry only managing 12%. Both trailed co-leaders Ken Richardson and Garrett Barton who tied with 36% each.
Incumbent Rice was not expected to poll many votes since he is considered a traitor by the HCGOP since his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
Fry’s is a story of a campaign that can’t gain any traction. Despite the event attendees being overwhelmingly supportive of Trump, (I would estimate Trump would have received nearly 100% of the night’s votes if he were on the ballot), Fry, who Trump has endorsed in this race, could only manage 12%. This is an indication that Trump supporters do not automatically vote for candidates Trump endorses, especially in the case of Fry who they know to be a RINO in the Chamber Swamp.

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Dukes Campaign Tests the Bounds of Voter Credulity

The Jenna Dukes campaign against incumbent council member Harold Worley for the Republican nomination for Horry County Council District 1 is stretching the bounds of the credulity of voters beyond the breaking point.
According to the S. C. Ethics Commission, the only thing which has to be true on campaign literature is who paid for it. Everything else can be false.
In the case of Dukes’ mailers, everything else is false in the apparent hope that enough voters will believe the falsehoods.
It has been discussed by various media outlets, and can easily be confirmed by studying Dukes’ Campaign Disclosure filings with the Ethics Commission, that her campaign is being funded by the special interest development and tourist cabal. (see attached picture below)
In a recent mailer, Dukes promises to address strains on public resources, manage growth, a citizen task force to address infrastructure and fight to preserve wetlands, rivers and waterways.
Those are exactly the principles that Worley has fought for over the past 20 years he has served on council and the same ones that has Dukes’ backers determined to replace Worley on the council.

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Primary Election Strategy for Obtaining I-73 Funding

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce propaganda blitz for I-73 funding failed to secure any money for the project in next fiscal year’s state budget.
It is now obvious to all but the Chamber and its cabal cronies that it’s easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to get funding for I-73.
With all the excess money floating around in Columbia this year from federal Covid relief funds and excess state revenue, this was the year for the Chamber to finally secure some funding to construct at least a portion of I-73.
The thought around the Chamber was, if it couldn’t get I-73 funding in the budget this year, it was never going to get it. The Chamber didn’t get it.
The reality, something the Chamber avoids like the plague, is it’s difficult to convince legislators that a new, 66-mile spur road from I-95 to Briarcliffe is a priority over all the existing roads and bridges in the state that have been ignored for decades.
Over the last six months, the Chamber did its best to put a positive spin the I-73 story.
In late October, the Chamber hosted a press conference featuring Gov. Henry McMaster, Congressman Tom Rice and Rep. Russell Fry where it was predicted the General Assembly would dedicate $300 million to construction of I-73.
The Chamber sent an email chastising Horry County Council for not voting to immediately provide funds for I-73 construction.
The Chamber put on its annual legislative reception extravaganza in Columbia to lobby for funding for I-73.
And none of that worked. The General Assembly did not earmark any funds for I-73 construction.

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Will Cabal Money Overcome Citizen Interests?

The main story of the 2022 Republican Primary election campaigns in Horry County is going to be one of how the developers and tourist interests of the Myrtle Beach cabal pour money into campaigns of their preferred candidates in hopes those candidates will defeat the candidates who represent the interests of the citizens first.
Several stories have been written in local media over the past few days detailing donors to cabal favored candidates Jenna Dukes, Mark Lazarus and Carla Schuessler.
Dukes is challenging Harold Worley in Horry County District 1. Worley is the longest serving member on county council and one whose signature is to often urge the council to “Do the right thing for the people of Horry County.”
Lazarus, a former Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce board president, is challenging Horry County Chairman Johnny Gardner, who took the chairmanship from Lazarus four years ago, a defeat that Lazarus has yet to get over.
Schuessler, a former Chamber board president, is vying with Conway businessman John Cassidy in the new House District 61 seat in the county.
All three cabal candidates, Dukes, Lazarus and Schuessler were the recipients of the campaign donation largesse of cabal members and associates in the development and tourism industries as the stories in local media documented.
Dukes and Lazarus tried to paint their fundraising as coming from a broad range of donors who are anxious for change from the respective incumbents they are running against. In neither case is that narrative true. Neither has support that extends beyond the limited numbers of cabal members who can’t get their own way with Worley and Gardner and want them replaced.

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Chamber Political Brochure Explodes into Fight with Horry County and Voters

You have to give Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce CEO Karen Riordan credit, if there’s a way to make relations with Horry County Council members worse than they already are, she will find it.
Last week saw the Chamber send out a mail piece full of information that ranged from misleading to totally false. In today’s lexicon – Fake News
Members of county council took immediate offense at Riordan and Chamber Government Liaison Jimmy Gray, the two Chamber officials hired to replace the work of Brad Dean after Dean resigned from the Chamber and who were, reportedly, responsible for the mailer’s contents.
County council member Harold Worley led a 25-minute discussion about the real facts versus the fictitious Chamber version of the I-73 funding debate, at the end of last week’s regular meeting.
“The only thing in the Chamber brochure that was true was the one-lane on 501,” Worley said. “Everything else was a lie.”
The message in the brochure was, “Tell Horry County Council it’s time to fund I-73.”
And Riordan and her cabal minions are using these tactics to pressure county council into committing funding for Interstate 73. How’s that going?
This situation would never have happened under the watch of former Chamber CEO Brad Dean!
The two biggest whoppers in the brochure:
“We (Myrtle Beach) were one lane away from being cut off. The construction of Interstate 73 would ensure this never happens again.”
And
“Funding from the federal, state and local governments is lined up.”
Two quick responses:

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Horry County Council Members Face Choice on I-73 Funding Resolution – Listen to Voters or Donors?

Horry County Council will vote tonight on a resolution to dedicate funding from locally collected hospitality fees to construction of Interstate 73.
This latest attempt at I-73 funding comes on the heels of a visit last week by Gov. Henry McMaster to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce at which the governor announced his proposed funding plan for the road.
The governor proposed a plan that included $795 million from state funds, $430 million from federal funds and $350 million in total funds from Horry County, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. None of the funds have been appropriated and the sources are generally unidentified.
The governor could not give promises the funds from the state would be appropriated. The only thing he could do was tell the gathering he would ask the General Assembly to appropriate the funds he recommended.
Additionally, none of the state funds will be spent in Horry County. They will be spent in Dillon and Marion counties, according to the governor’s plan. Horry County residents are expected to fund construction of I-73 within the county on their own.
Information from the S. C. Department of Transportation is there are no funds currently available for construction of a new highway. To further complicate the funding problem, the state is on notice from the U. S. Department of Transportation that it must upgrade Interstate 95 from the North Carolina border to the Georgia border. Included in the requirements from the federal government are additional lanes and bridge repair/replacement, all of which are extremely costly items.
SCDOT said the I-95 improvements are the number one project for the agency since failure to meet the federal requirements would cost the state federal highway funds.
After the governor’s visit, the Horry County Administration Committee held a special meeting, called by committee chairman Johnny Vaught, to approve the resolution the council will vote on tonight.
The obvious question for county council tonight is, with 77% of the governor’s proposed funding for Interstate 73 (the state and federal portions) unidentified and unappropriated, and neither Myrtle Beach nor North Myrtle Beach to date having committed funds, why the rush for the county to pass its resolution?
Despite an alleged Chamber poll, which supposedly said 82% of 405 statewide voters responding supported construction of I-73. The internals of the poll have never been released by the Chamber and there is significant reason to believe no such poll exists because it is very difficult to find any voters in Horry County who support spending local raised tax revenue to build the road.
The lack of voter support was demonstrated by a reader poll conducted by a local media outlet recently which showed 67% of those responding did not want local tax funds to be spent on I-73 construction.

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County Council Guts Impact Fee Ordinance Before Final Passage

Horry County Council gave unanimous approval to third reading of an ordinance establishing impact fees on new construction but only after voting to reduce the fees by 81.5% before final passage.
To those who haven’t followed the issue closely, the reduction to only a nominal fee that will be charged may seem an action in the best traditions of a conservative council.
BUT IT’S NOT!
In fact, it is a huge victory for special interests to the detriment of average taxpayers in the county.
What eight members of council really voted for was to cave-in to the wishes of the development lobby while ignoring the wishes of the taxpayers.
The development lobby was successful in defeating attempts to impose impact fees at least twice in the last 15 years. After county voters supported instituting impact fees to help pay the cost of new development by a 72% vote in 2018, it was obvious some type of bone had to be thrown to voters this time around.
The question is not whether the explosive development the county is currently experiencing is going to increase the need for new or improved roads, new stormwater infrastructure, new fire stations, new parks and so on. Rather the question is who is going to pay for these improvements of basic needs.
Eight members of council, Johnny Vaught, Dennis DiSabato, Danny Hardee, Mark Causey, Orton Bellamy, Bill Howard, Cam Crawford and Gary Loftus voted to extend those costs to every taxpayer in the county rather than limit the charge to those causing the increase – namely owners of new construction whether private homes or commercial.
Council Chairman Johnny Gardner, and members Harold Worley and Tyler Servant voted against the amendments gutting impact fees and for the wishes of the voters as expressed in the referendum.
New single-family homes will be the class of construction that will generate the greatest proportion of the new fees. The first two readings of the impact fee ordinance passed with a fee amount of $6,645 per single-family home with other types of construction, multi-family, retail, hotel for example, having maximum fees imposed in accordance with state law.
Tuesday night the eight council members named above amended the ordinance to remove impact fees for road and stormwater infrastructure from the ordinance thereby reducing the fee for single-family homes from $6,645 per home to $1,236 per home.
But the costs for new and improved road and stormwater infrastructure to serve the new developments throughout the county won’t go away just because council removed those portions of the fee from the ordinance.

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Crunch Time for County Council and Impact Fees

Tuesday night Horry County Council will vote on third reading of an ordinance to impose impact fees on new construction in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Two and one-half years ago, nearly 75% of the voters said yes to an advisory referendum question asking whether county council should establish impact fees in the county.
Despite passing the first two readings unanimously, third reading passage of the ordinance is not assured.
On the table at third reading of the ordinance is imposition of an impact fee of approximately $6,600 for new single-family homes and varying impact fees for other types of new construction depending on the type.
Numerous sources have told me over the past two weeks the pressure on council members from the development lobby to water down the bill or kill it completely has been intense.
That lobby, composed of large landowners, builders and their associated sub-contractors and the real estate sales industry is pushing the message that impact fees will cause a significant slowdown in construction costing jobs and seriously impacting the local economy as well as making it more difficult in recruiting new businesses to the area.
The real reason for the opposition to impact fees is the builders do not want to pay $6.600 more out of their pockets each time they receive a new building permit. Developers will recover that money when the house is sold because the cost of impact fees will be passed on to the new homeowner, but they don’t want to float that sum for the few months between start of construction and sale in today’s market.
The impact fee will add approximately 2.5% to the cost of the average new home in Horry County. Prices on new homes have risen considerably more than that in the past year simply through market forces of supply and demand and sales of new homes have not slowed down because of the increasing price.
Impact fees in Horry County are not a new concept. Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority has been collecting impact fees for a number of years. The statement in the county’s Imagine 2040 master plan explaining those fees is simple, “GSWSA collects water and wastewater capacity fees (impact fees) from new customers so that the current customer base does not bear the burden of new growth for both water and wastewater improvements.”
The development lobby used its same arguments when GSWSA imposed impact fees. Those arguments were totally false then and remain totally false now. One only has to drive around the county and view all the new construction projects in various stages of completion to see how false the argument is. GSWSA impact fees have not impacted new construction one iota.

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Fate of County Council Draws Near with Upcoming Vote on Impact Fees

In two weeks, the 12 members of Horry County Council will go a long way toward deciding their future fates with the voters when third reading of the county impact fee ordinance comes up for a vote.
In 2018, over 70% of voters approved establishing impact fees in the county on an advisory referendum question on the general election ballot.
Those voters have not forgotten their eminently clear message to county council – vote for impact fees.
On the table at third reading of the ordinance is imposition of an impact fee of approximately $6,600 for new single-family homes and varying impact fees for other types of new construction depending on the type.
The need for impact fees to pay for the costs of new development is quite simple. Revenue from those fees can be used to fund new capital projects in a variety of categories including roads, parks and recreation facilities, libraries, fire stations and police stations that will be needed to serve the huge amount of development currently underway in the county.
Using impact fees to pay for such new construction can reduce the pressure on the general fund to pay those costs or the need to impose such things as special projects sales taxes such as the RIDE tax.
To further exacerbate the issue, eight members of county council (Johnny Vaught, Dennis DiSabato, Cam Crawford, Gary Loftus, Bill Howard, Orton Bellamy, Danny Hardee and Mark Causey) provided the votes to pass the largest individual tax increase in Horry County history – 7.5 mils in the unincorporated area plus increases in two additional fees.
As one social media post noted about the tax increase, “Absolutely heinous that the special interests and county council put all this (costs of) new development on the backs of existing taxpayers. Unbelievable! If they had imposed impact fees when the majority of HC residents approved them several years ago, we wouldn’t have to have such huge mil increases. This is literally taxation without representation and it’s theft.”
And another, “The tax and spend so-called Republicans don’t give a flip. They will find any excuse to raise taxes on the hard-working residents of Horry County.”
Three members of county council, Chairman Johnny Gardner, Harold Worley and Al Allen received thanks for voting against the tax increase and “putting the people first.” Council member Tyler Servant was absent for the vote.
The message in those posts is certainly clear, but one wonders whether all council members are hearing that message.

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