Post Tagged with: "Clark Parker"

Auditor’s Runoff, Who is Best Qualified?

June 21, 2020 10:13 AM
Auditor’s Runoff, Who is Best Qualified?

Lost in the current mudslinging of the SC Senate District 33 runoff election is the runoff for Horry County Auditor, which will also be voted on Tuesday.

Competing are Beth Calhoun, currently the assistant to the Deputy Auditor, and R. A. Johnson, the Deputy Treasurer of Horry County. Johnson’s is a supervisory and leadership position while Calhoun’s is not.

Recently some of the same type of misleading information, though not as dirty as has been put out in the Rankin/Gallman contest, has entered into the Auditor’s race.

Retiring Auditor Lois Eargle endorsed Johnson.  “It is about what I believe is best for the Auditor’s office going forward,” Eargle said. “R.A. better understands the relationships needed between the Assessor’s, Treasurer’s and Auditor’s offices for the county tax and collection system to operate effectively and has participated in many discussions about making those offices work efficiently,” Eargle said.

A recent article in local media had third place finisher Clark Parker endorsing Calhoun with Parker quoted as saying, “I think that Beth is the right person for the job because it is important that the Auditor’s office remains independent.” The story added the following commentary, “The endorsements reflect the different approaches to the auditor’s office: Johnson maintains the position should work in partnership with the treasurer and auditor while Calhoun sees the job as a check on the other positions.”

The Auditor’s Office is not an independent check on the other offices. Parker never did understand the duties of the office even though he was a candidate and it appears neither does Calhoun, even though she has worked in the office for approximately 20 years.

The Auditor’s Office does no auditing. The name, which comes from state law, can be misleading to those not familiar with how the tax system operates.

The Assessor’s Office establishes value to be taxed on real property. The Auditor’s Office establishes value on some non-real property. The Auditor’s Office prepares tax bills based on the information provided by the Assessor’s Office. The Treasurer’s Office collects the taxes established by the Assessor and billed by the Auditor.

Any check and balance in the system comes from the Finance Department, which conducts internal audits and the independent, outside auditing firm contracted each year to audit the county’s books.

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Absurdities of Candidates Coming to the Fore as Primaries Loom

May 28, 2020 8:21 AM
Absurdities of Candidates Coming to the Fore as Primaries Loom

It’s less than two weeks until polling day for the June 9th primary elections and silly season is shifting into the absurd.

There is one candidate who seems less interested in being elected than in spinning crazy conspiracy theories to the voters with her posts. Several of the theories follow the same general lines as the conspiracy Chris Eldridge and Arrigo Carotti attempted to spin on Johnny Gardner just before he took office.

Regardless of the reason or the content of the videos, spinning conspiracy theories and talking trash about politicians and their consultants is not the way to win an election.

The race for Horry County Auditor also had some interesting developments this week.

Clark Parker, who announced his candidacy last August and spent over $35,000 from his campaign account by early January, has been rarely heard from since. Except for a few signs being put out and a couple of posts on his election Facebook page, little has been heard.

Parker was rumored to be suffering from some health problems in March and maybe that is the reason for so little activity.

However, a post went up on Parker’s Facebook yesterday that boggles the mind. The post urged voters to vote in the June 2nd Republican Primary. The main difficulty with that statement is that primary voting at the polls is June 9th.

I really don’t believe this was an attempt at voter suppression, which would be a serious legal problem. I believe it demonstrates a candidate who is so out of touch he doesn’t even know enough about the election to know the correct date. If he could screw up the date of the election, what could he mess up as auditor? Correct dates are very important in preparing tax bills.

This is another example of the Parker campaign being out of touch. Signs were put out by the campaign last fall even though the county limits the time political signs can be placed to 45 days before the election. The Parker campaign has demonstrated a serious deficiency in comprehending dates in the election cycle among other things.

Another auditor candidate and long-time employee of the auditor’s office, Beth Calhoun, was running what seemed to be a good campaign until recently. In her most recent video, Calhoun appears to take a shot at current auditor Lois Eargle by mentioning it’s important to come into the office every day.

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Clemmons, Crawford, Crawford, Parker You Got Some ‘Splaining to do

April 28, 2020 6:44 AM
Clemmons, Crawford, Crawford, Parker You Got Some ‘Splaining to do

Campaign funds and the lax laws controlling them allow politicians the ability to do almost anything they want with donations they receive.

But, the donors and the voters have a right to know exactly what is being done with campaign funds just as they do with public money. How, why and to whom is it paid? What goal toward being elected or reelected is achieved by its expenditure?

This is why nearly $150,000 over a four year span from Rep. Alan Clemmons’ campaign fund to now Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford (she was only a SC House member for the final $2,250 of that amount) listed as contract and/or campaign services leaves many questions.

Clemmons had no opponent in either a primary or general election in 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles. Yet, Crawford was paid an average of $37,500 per year for four years from Clemmons’ campaign account.

The voters deserve to know exactly what work did Clemmons pay Heather Crawford for? Was it all associated with political functions?

Heather Ammons Crawford, her husband and current Horry County District 6 council member Cam Crawford and SC Rep. Russell Fry have a political consulting business called Crescent Communications.

By way of comparison to the Clemmons payments to Heather Crawford, three campaigns run by the firm for former Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus provide stark contrasts.

Crescent Communications provided consulting services for three Lazarus campaigns, a special election in 2013 and regular election in 2014 and 2018. In those three campaigns, Lazarus spent a total of approximately $300,000 from his campaign account, all for election purposes. Approximately $41,000 was the total sum paid to Crescent Communications for those three campaign cycles.

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Candidate Filing One Week Away, Silly Season Has Already Begun

March 9, 2020 6:09 AM
Candidate Filing One Week Away, Silly Season Has Already Begun

Filing for elective office in the county is one week away which will begin what can only be called the “silly season” when facts are few and far between.

However, in one race, the one for a new county Auditor, “silly season” began last August when local CPA Clark Parker announced his candidacy for the position of Auditor and his various pronouncements and posts since.

When Parker announced his campaign last August, he said he could “contribute a lot to the needs of the county” and that “it is important that we collect all our taxes that are due to the county.”

Shortly after his announcement, local media reported Parker was delinquent in paying personal property taxes for tax years 2012, 2017 and 2018. Those delinquent taxes were paid by Parker after the information became public.

Parker was reportedly taking campaign advice from a group of advisors. One or more of those convinced Parker to begin placing campaign yard signs. County ordinance forbids such campaign signs from being placed until 45 days before election voting. Election voting for the Republican primary is June 9, 2020. Signs cannot be placed until near the end of next month, but Parkers were out last fall.

A Facebook post encouraged supporters to take a picture with one of the signs. The best picture was supposed to be rewarded with free dinner for two at Rioz Brazilian steakhouse.

One of Parker’s campaign operatives, Johnny Fryar, was a guest on Talking Politics, hosted by John Bonsignor and myself. I notified Fryar of the illegal timing of the signs. He tried to argue the point with no knowledge of the ordinance. Sometime after the show, the campaign signs were removed.

Since that time, other Facebook posts on Parker’s campaign page have called him the “technology candidate” even though he does not understand what technology the county has and does not understand that county technology is not controlled by the Auditor.

He has also called himself the “2nd Amendment candidate” although I haven’t the slightest clue what the right to bear arms has to do with an office that prepares tax bills for the county. Nor does Parker.

This is a campaign with no message other than throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks with voters.

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Parker Campaign Stumbles Out of the Gate with Unpaid Taxes and Media Comments – Updated

August 18, 2019 11:36 AM
Parker Campaign Stumbles Out of the Gate with Unpaid Taxes and Media Comments – Updated

Update

Horry County records show Clark Parker paid the three unpaid tax bills referred to below on August 19, 2019.

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Like a racehorse losing a race by stumbling out of the starting gate in his first steps, we may have witnessed the beginning and effective end of the Clark Parker campaign for Horry County Auditor on the day it began.

Parker had his campaign kickoff last Friday. It began with an interview published on the MyHorryNews.com website.

In that interview, Parker said he felt that he could “contribute a lot to the needs of the county” and that it was “important that we collect all our taxes that are due to the county.”

Shortly thereafter it was reported by MyrtleBeachSC.com that Parker had three unpaid county tax bills from tax years 2012, 2017 and 2018. That information is public information available on the horrycounty.org website.

One would expect someone running for public office, especially an office that deals with county taxes and a person who is a certified public accountant by trade, would double check to make sure there are no skeletons in their closet.

There are additional problems with the interview. Parker announced he is running for auditor yet it is the treasurer, not the auditor, who is responsible for collecting taxes. He wouldn’t be involved in that end of the county tax structure so why mention it in an interview?

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