Talking Politics on the Grand Strand

June 2, 2017 6:19 AM
Talking Politics on the Grand Strand

Talking Politics, a new political talk show, was introduced on the Grand Strand this week.

Co-hosted by Paul Gable and John Bonsignor and produced by CarolinaPolitics.org, the show will travel to locations around the Grand Strand to speak with political leaders and others involved in the most important and high profile issues of the day.

Click on the arrow below to view a discussion with Myrtle Beach City Council member Randal Wallace about issues such as eminent domain use by the city, the current discussions between city government and the oceanfront merchants and the Tourism Development Fee, otherwise known as the one-cent local option sales tax for tourism marketing.

Click on read full story to view the video.

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Lessons From Atlantic Beach Bikefest

May 26, 2017 4:38 AM
Lessons From Atlantic Beach Bikefest

Atlantic Beach Bikefest time has come again and Myrtle Beach is in its usual frenzy.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors will be on the Grand Strand this Memorial Day Weekend to attend the Bikefest and related activities.

However, rather than appreciating the tourists that come to spend their hard earned dollars, the city treats this weekend like an invasion by ISIS.

Downtown Myrtle Beach looks like a third world Banana Republic for most of Memorial Day weekend with police, many in commando style gear, on every corner.

But, most of the people in town for the weekend are tourists who come to have a good time.

That’s the lesson that is escaping our supposed government leaders. The events of 2014, which gained national headlines for Myrtle Beach, were caused by a small group who weren’t here to have a good time. They were troublemakers and they caused trouble.

I saw the same thing 45 years ago when I was stationed in Scotland and used to go to soccer matches (especially ones like Rangers v. Celtic or Scotland v. England).

Many headlines the next day were about the “soccer hooligans” and the mayhem they caused. But, the overwhelming percentage of the crowd was there to support the respective teams.

And they were surprised by the “Yank” in their midst and very friendly to him.

The real lesson from Atlantic Beach Bikefest is that most of the people who come here want to have a good time and spend money. That’s what a tourist town is all about and presumably why over $31 million taxpayer dollars are spent on the advertising campaigns of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Questionable Executive Session Item for HCSWA Board

May 22, 2017 6:05 PM
Questionable Executive Session Item for HCSWA Board

A very questionable executive session item has been added to the HCSWA (Horry County Solid Waste Authority) board meeting agenda for Tuesday.

The executive session item is listed as “Legal Advice Regarding Upcoming Board Member Appointment.”

Executive sessions are allowed by state law to be held in private, out of the public eye, for several reasons. The most normal reasons are the discussion of a matter regarding personnel of the authority over whom the board has ultimate control or legal briefing on pending litigation, contracts or other legal matters.

In the case of the questionable item on Tuesday’s board agenda, none of those reasons exist.

While HCSWA board members may be thought of as personnel of the authority, they are not hired, fired, or dealt with in any other manner by members of the HCSWA board or other agency officials. They are strictly within the purview of Horry County Council.

HCSWA board members are nominated either by the League of Cities or the Horry County Council. Board members are appointed by vote of county council Nobody associated with the HCSWA is involved in the process in any manner.

HCSWA board members receiving “legal advice regarding upcoming board member appointment” is akin to the HCSWA board receiving an executive session briefing on legal matters regarding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The board has no authority in either above example and should not be wasting the time and money involved in receiving a briefing from the HCSWA counsel. Furthermore, it strikes me that the HCSWA counsel should know this is not an appropriate agenda item, especially in secret executive session.

Despite no need and no authority over the executive session item, expect the HCSWA board to go forward with this exercise in overreach.

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Blame Game Not Working in Myrtle Beach

May 15, 2017 5:36 AM
Blame Game Not Working in Myrtle Beach

A new approach to dealing with the increasing crime problems in Myrtle Beach must be found and it may take new leadership in the city to do it.

When there were shootings in the Booker T. Washington neighborhood, city council blamed the citizens in the neighborhood.

When there were shootings in the Superblock area of downtown, business owners were blamed and new restricted parking and times of business were instituted.

Recent shootings on Ocean Boulevard again saw business owners blamed for allowing an “environment that’s causing fights and violence in the streets.”

The attitude is ‘it is not city council’s fault or the fault of those charged with keeping the peace. Rather, it is the fault of those areas most affected by the violence.

And that attitude is exactly why the problems multiply year by year.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which spends tens of millions of public dollars each year advertising Myrtle Beach to tourists, worries that these incidents harm the ‘Myrtle Beach brand.’

City council, the Chamber and the small group of citizens and businesses those entities actually represent are more worried about the ‘image’ projected by Myrtle Beach than the nuts and bolts actions it will take to address the problems. (Sounds like the approach of a certain group currently occupying a historic building in Washington, D.C. right now, all image, no substance.)

The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, an agency that has spent millions of dollars of public money while accomplishing essentially nothing over the course of many years, still must answer the question exactly what are you doing to redevelop downtown Myrtle Beach?

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Questions Surrounding the HCSWA Board Member Elections

May 7, 2017 5:46 PM
Questions Surrounding the HCSWA Board Member Elections

Nothing is ever simple and straightforward when it involves the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) Board of Directors.

Last Tuesday, Horry County Council voted to appoint two members to the HCSWA board from among three nominated candidates. Two of the candidates, current board chairman Pam Creech and vice chairman Norfleet Jones, were incumbents. Candidate Sam Johnson was the outsider in the voting.

Creech was reelected by a majority of council members. However, Johnson and Jones tied in two successive votes with six each. After the first vote, Creech was named to remain on the board by council chairman Mark Lazarus who proceeded to hold a second ballot with just Jones and Johnson competing for one opening, against the advice of Horry County Attorney Arrigo Carotti.

Jones and Johnson tied with six votes each on both ballots.

Lazarus announced the second opening on the HCSWA board would be filled by council vote during council’s regular May 16, 2017 meeting. However, Lazarus stated nominations for the second position would remain open adding an additional question mark to the process.

The voting, however, only showed minor problems compared to what transpired before the vote.

On April 28, 2017, Esther Murphy, HCSWA’s Director of Recycling and Corporate Affairs sent an email to Horry County Council Clerk Pat Hartley with copies to all 12 members of county council as well as HCSWA Executive Director Danny Knight, Creech and Jones.

The email began, “Board member Norfleet Jones asked that we contact you regarding his term on the Solid Waste Authority Board, which ends on June 30, 2017. Mr. Jones indicated he would be completing his first term and would like to be reappointed to the Board for a second term…”

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Tom Rice and Private Equity Tax Increases

April 29, 2017 4:38 PM
Tom Rice and Private Equity Tax Increases

(The following is a op-ed piece sent to Grand Strand Daily. Pictured above is the writer.)

By John Bonsignor

Recently, Rep. Tom Rice caught flack for his support of certain tax increases being discussed in Washington D.C., and rightfully so.

He rebuffed those claims, stating in a McClatchy news article “that his goal was to tackle tax code changes by making the American economy competitive without increasing taxes.”

A specific example of this is his support of increasing taxes on private equity partnerships’ carried interest. Carried interest is currently taxed at a capital gains rate. Rice, along with many Democrats, want to raise it to the level of ordinary income rates. It’s currently (and appropriately) taxed at the capital gains rate due to the long-held nature of the investment and the sweat equity poured into a business, all principles that are the cornerstone of our American economy.

Rice is a real estate investor and tax accountant. While his tax increase wouldn’t impact his investments, it would hurt private equity investors and their ability to reinvest into our economy.

Is Rice looking out for the economy? Or himself?

It appears Rice is in love with tax increases when he should be against them.

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