Post Tagged with: "entertainment overlay district"

Myrtle Beach’s Unequal Application of Law

February 15, 2019 6:07 AM
Myrtle Beach’s Unequal Application of Law

One thing that has become consistent in the City of Myrtle Beach over recent years is the law will be applied inconsistently. It’s not what you do, it’s who you are that matters.

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution guarantee due process and equal application of the law to both federal and state jurisdictions.

But not in Myrtle Beach!

The city is currently being sued by business owners in the city for violating the owners’ rights guaranteed by the Constitution and those amendments with what the city calls its Entertainment Overlay District.

Inside that district, businesses are prohibited from selling legal products such as CBD oils and Vape accessories with the threat of having their business licenses revoked and the business being closed down.

Those same products are sold in other areas of the city without any restriction or harassment by city officials.

Most, if not all, of these businesses are beachwear stores owned by Jewish businessmen, which brings in other issues to the lawsuit in the form of violations of the Civil Rights Act and discrimination.

City officials have said these restrictions were put in place by city ordinance in an effort to make the district “family friendly” – the city’s favorite buzzword.

However, there have recently been three raids on two hotels within the same district for the sale of illegal drugs on the properties, you know heroin, cocaine and those types of drugs, with no threat to business licenses.

There is no indication that the owners or operators of those hotels were involved in the illegal activity, but that hasn’t stopped the city from closing down businesses as “nuisances” for similar activity in the past – Natalia’s Bar and Grill in the Superblock area comes quickly to mind.

Natalia’s was closed down by the city in December 2016 as a nuisance for activities such as drug sales that occurred outside the building but in the near vicinity. One month later, the city owned the property.

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Myrtle Beach Merchants Sue City Over Constitutional Violations

December 28, 2018 5:43 AM
Myrtle Beach Merchants Sue City Over Constitutional Violations

News of Ocean Boulevard merchants suing the City of Myrtle Beach to overturn the entertainment overlay district ordinance the city passed in August 2018 was generally lost in the hype created by the county administrator’s bogus allegations last week.

However, the lawsuit could prove to be more far reaching in reining in the ability of local governments and their officials to run wild over the rights of businesses and citizens whenever and wherever they choose.

The lawsuit was filed in Florence Federal District Court because the ordinance in seen by the business owners as an all-out attack on their constitutional rights. The lawsuit alleges curtailing of free speech guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution; lack of due process and equal protection of the law guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments and civil rights violations in that the ordinance targets businesses that are almost exclusively owned by Jewish merchants.

A key paragraph in the lawsuit states, “Specifically, but not exclusively, the Ordinance is not narrowly tailored to serve any significant governmental interest and imposes restrictions that are greater than necessary to further such interests because, on its face and as applied, it restricts display and sale of merchandise that is allowed in other parts of the City of Myrtle Beach.”

Other key areas in the lawsuit are: (1) The Ordinance is an irrational and unreasonable statute, imposing unjustifiable restrictions on the exercise of constitutional rights and (2) “…all or substantially all of the merchants within the Overlay district contemplated by the Ordinance are of Jewish descent or extraction, and that as a result, the Ordinance as applied, if not facially, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U. S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) “Plaintiffs are informed and believe that the Ordinance does and will deprive them of all or substantially all of the economically viable use of their businesses.”

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Family Friendly Propaganda Resurfaces for Ocean Boulevard

August 12, 2018 3:52 AM
Family Friendly Propaganda Resurfaces for Ocean Boulevard

The “Family Friendly” propaganda is out in full force as Myrtle Beach City Council prepares to debate an entertainment overlay district ordinance for Ocean Boulevard this week.

The ordinance would ban the sale of certain products such as hookah pipes, tobacco, CBD oil and what it calls sexually suggestive merchandise, all of which are entirely legal products, within the overlay district.

All of this is purportedly being done because these products are not considered “family friendly” by at least some city council and city staff members.

In attempting to explain the ordinance, Mayor Brenda Bethune was quoted in local media last week as saying, “I’m not saying that those businesses are not what we want, I’m just saying that there currently is some merchandise that is not really in the scope of being family friendly,”

And it’s not like the city is attempting to ban the sale of these products citywide, merely along a specially selected section of Ocean Boulevard.

Bethune again, “We are not trying to target legal merchandise and say you can’t sell this anywhere in the city. What we’re saying is there’s a perception issue with some of these products, and they do attract children, they are marketed for children, and that it does promote drug use.”

So it’s okay if these products supposedly “attract children” and “promote drug use” at, say, Coastal Grand Mall or Broadway at the Beach, but not along Ocean Boulevard?

Interestingly, alcohol products, beer, wine and spirits, are not on the proposed list of banned products for the overlay district, although it could be argued that the effects of those products have done much more to ruin families than hookah pipes and sexually suggestive t-shirts.

Of course the mayor and some of the most vocal supporters of this “family friendly” overlay ordinance own beer distributorships and/or bars and restaurants that sell things such as ‘liquid nitrogen cocktails.’

Considering what is on the list of banned products and what is left off, it is highly suggestive this proposed ordinance is not about creating a “family friendly” atmosphere at all. It appears to be targeted at a select group of businesses, owned by Jewish merchants, who are already experiencing a decline in retail sales.

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