What I took away from the debate on Thursday night between three of the candidates for mayor and the debate among nine candidates for city council a week earlier is a vote for the incumbents in the upcoming Myrtle Beach city elections is a vote for the status quo in the city.
If the incumbents are re-elected, nothing will change including the secrecy and disinformation that surrounds so much of what passes for planning in the city.
Listening to Mayor John Rhodes during the debate and over several days prior to it, the city had its best year ever this year, everything is great in the city and the shootings on Ocean Boulevard this year were “fake news.”
As we know from the mindless tweets of President Donald Trump, fake news is a term used to attempt to discredit any news a politician doesn’t want to hear.
Rhodes definitely doesn’t want to hear news of crime and safety concerns in Myrtle Beach. Rather than attempt to solve those, his attitude seems to be blame the messenger.
One thing that definitely will not change is the Tourism Development Fee charged on virtually every sale in the city. Rhodes voiced strong support of the TDF, taking credit for creating the idea.
What Rhodes did not divulge is how those who benefit from the TDF work to keep the incumbents in place.
The Tourism Development Fee is a one percent tax (one cent on every dollar spent) on basically everything that is purchased in Myrtle Beach. It is paid by everybody who buys anything in the city.
The tourism industry essentially gets its advertising costs paid for it from these tax dollars.
This is roughly the same as if the federal government charged a one percent sales tax on every item purchased in the United States to pay for the advertising of Ford, General Motors, Microsoft and General Electric.