By Paul Gable
I have been absent from posting for the last week as I was enjoying some family time with my daughters and three of my grandchildren as well as my sister and her family. We all need to take time occasionally to remember what is really most important.
During my hiatus, social media has been alive with talk about the ridiculous and probably illegal decision by Myrtle Beach city council members to put their Ocean Boulevard destruction plan into effect.
One post I read by Mande Wilkes was particularly on point regarding the alleged “family friendly” overlay district that was recently approved.
That post is reprinted here:
Wrote Wilkes, “Why did the city target this particular stretch? Certainly not because of a legitimate public safety concern. Of 136 arrests that occurred within the very recent past, 53 were alcohol-related. Not a single one of those arrests involved any of the banned items.
“Officials claim their actions are in service of engineering family-friendliness, but all evidence points to more sinister intentions.
“It appears that nearly 100 percent of affected businesses are owned or operated by Jewish people. Whether that’s by design or mere coincidence, the effect is that Jews — a protected class under the Constitution — are being disproportionately displaced by the city’s bizarre vote.
“Even more galling is the deprivation of property rights. Any sane zoning decision uses a “grandfather” provision to preserve existent businesses. In the absence of this very ordinary provision, expect in the coming months to see shuttered store fronts and foreclosure signs and a much longer line at the unemployment office.
“Downtown could be a ghost town by Dec. 31, when the law, unless challenged, will take effect.
“The prevailing bedrock of our justice system is predictability: Courts routinely reject laws that are arbitrary, hasty and vague.
“Imagine what potential investors are thinking right now! Surely they’re reluctant to sign leases, take out mortgages, purchase inventory, install fixtures, and open their doors when, at any moment, local government can waste it all with the wave of a hand.”
In addition to the Ocean Boulevard move, I have been contacted by several reliable sources recently saying business owners in and around the Superblock area have had visits by people representing the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation offering a combination of inducements and threats to move their businesses to other locations within the city.
It appears the groups that consider themselves power brokers in the city just can’t control themselves.
Unrestrained ego, delusions of grandeur and personal attacks on perceived enemies may work at the national level because the federal government is so far removed from and so little understood by the average citizen.
However, at the local level, people are much more familiar with what’s behind all the blather.
Citizens began voting for change in the city elections last November. That pattern was carried into the recent county and state primaries where viable candidates challenged incumbents.
Change has not come at the city level even though there are now three new members on council, including a new mayor. If anything, there has been a doubling down of heavy handed tactics by city officials since the election.
Fortunately, local elections come every two years and Americans, in general, have put up with heavy handed tactics by their elected leaders for only so long. And there still remains a judicial system where the decisions of those leaders can be challenged.
Local citizens are watching events much more closely than they used to. I believe bombastic buffoonery by local officials will not be tolerated for long.