It seems appropriate that filing closes for the upcoming Myrtle Beach city elections as the area awaits the possibility of tropical storm conditions.
This election cycle has already been stormy with more to come.
The incumbents running for reelection, Mayor John Rhodes and council members Randal Wallace and Mike Lowder, have received justified criticism of decisions made by council over the last several years.
I was looking back on stories from the election cycle two years ago. In one, I quoted an op-ed column by Mande Wilkes written three weeks before the 2015 election.
Wilkes criticized the “Asian fetish” of Myrtle Beach City Council while stifling local business investors with “the bizarre zoning laws, the oppressive signing ordinances, the climbing licensing fees, and the restrictive parking policies.”
“All of these rules add up to a suffocating environment for businesses, and that’s why Highway 17 is littered with empty storefronts and dilapidated buildings,” Wilkes wrote.
While the “Asian fetish” appears to be in the midst of a severe ‘crash and burn’, many of Wilkes’ other criticisms have not only not been addressed, but instead have been added to.
Shootings on Ocean Boulevard, indeed throughout the city, have been on the rise and city council responded with barricades along a section of Ocean Boulevard it apparently wants to redevelop.
The city surreptitiously bought up property in the Superblock area and, when it was exposed, threatened remaining private landholders with the use of eminent domain to acquire their properties.
The publicly stated reason for this land acquisition by the city – a new building for Chapin Memorial Library, a private-public partnership entity, and a new building for the totally private Children’s Museum.