Post Tagged with: "family friendly"

Myrtle Beach Council Back at Work But No Hospitality Fee Settlement

January 28, 2020 8:28 AM
Myrtle Beach Council Back at Work But No Hospitality Fee Settlement

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune announced that the city council is ‘back at work’ at the first council meeting of the New Year earlier this month.

Unfortunately, the New Year did not appear to bring any changes to city government.

Myrtle Beach and Horry County governments each issued statements yesterday acknowledging unsuccessful mediation attempts with regard to the hospitality fee lawsuit with both saying litigation of the lawsuit will move forward.

Among the issues at odds was specific wording Myrtle Beach wanted included in the agreement that would allow its attorneys to be paid up to as much as $7 million from the approximate $19 million fund from hospitality fees collected in city jurisdictions between February 2019 and the end of June 2019.

The county has specifically rejected the concept of allowing attorneys to be paid a percentage of the fund commensurate with a class action settlement especially since attorney fees are not a valid use of hospitality fee revenues.

Another point of contention is a footnote by attorneys representing the city that they intend to file a motion seeking a ruling to end collection of the hospitality fee within the entirety of Horry County.

What that footnote does is end any hope that some sort of settlement would provide funding for the Interstate 73 project.

If Myrtle Beach actually wanted to participate in funding for I-73, it would have accepted the county’s public offer from April 2019, which provided essentially the same split of hospitality fees that is now on the table.

However, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune was quite specific in her rejection letter of the county’s offer last spring. In it, Bethune stated that the city’s position that collection of hospitality fees by the county within city limits is unlawful. Myrtle Beach has not shifted from that position.

Since hospitality fee revenue was the source for funding I-73, Myrtle Beach did not want any of the revenue collected within its limits to be used for the project. The city stated several times over the last 10 months that it supports the building of I-73 but it failed to put its money where its mouth is.

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Riptydz Shooting Mocks “Family Friendly” Zone in Myrtle Beach

October 8, 2018 9:32 AM
Riptydz Shooting Mocks “Family Friendly” Zone in Myrtle Beach

A tragic shooting in an Ocean Boulevard bar and restaurant early Sunday morning made a mockery of Myrtle Beach city council’s “family friendly overlay district” in the area.

Riptydz, the location of the shooting, is a “family friendly” establishment. We all know that because a statement released by the business said so.

It sits in the “family friendly overlay district” recently passed by Myrtle Beach city council and it does not sell CBD oil, hookah pipes, tobacco or sexually suggestive t-shirts, all banned products in the “family friendly zone.”

What it does sell is alcoholic drinks, a perfectly acceptable, non-banned product according to the city’s “family friendly” overlay ordinance.

According to reports of the incident, a fight inside Riptydz led to the fatal shooting of one employee. Fights in and around bars on Ocean Boulevard and at Broadway at the Beach are not unknown occurrences.

Fights inside beachwear stores caused by CBD oil, sexually suggestive t-shirts or hookah pipes have not been reported.

It is safe to conclude that alcohol, a family friendly product according to city council, causes more disturbances in the city than the banned products.

But, city council chose to ignore problems caused by alcohol, while going through mental gymnastics to blame beachwear stores, for a “non-family friendly” atmosphere along a section of Ocean Boulevard.

And council chose to ignore other areas of the city completely when discussing a “family friendly” product ordinance – CBD oil, hookah pipes and sexually suggestive t-shirts are perfectly legal products and sold regularly at Broadway at the Beach and Market Common, for example.

What is really behind the attack on the Jewish owned beachwear stores, the “family friendly” propaganda offensive and the choice to ignore alcohol as a potential factor in the fights and shootings throughout the city?

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Ordinance Unfairly Targets Downtown Merchants

August 31, 2018 7:05 PM
Ordinance Unfairly Targets Downtown Merchants

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, Myrtle Beach City Council voted 5-2 to approve new zoning regulations commonly referred to as an “overlay” for Myrtle Beach’s downtown Ocean Boulevard district. The overlay proscribes various categories of merchandise, which after Dec. 31 of this year can no longer be sold in the areas affected by the Overlay.

In so doing, at the stroke of a pen, city council rendered various businesses, perhaps dozens of businesses in the Ocean Boulevard district, either financially devastated, or (as of little more than four months from now) illegal altogether.

It’s worth noting that the same city council, at the very same meeting, also celebrated the Constitution. Your city council has designated Sept. 17-23 as “Constitution Week” in the City of Myrtle Beach, apparently without any ironic intent.

In the interest of full disclosure, I represent some of the downtown merchants whose lives have been up-ended by the passage of the overlay ordinance. I spoke on their behalf at council. But my feelings about council’s actions in this matter would be the same, whether I represented these merchants or not.

 The facts are rather startling: most of the downtown merchants only heard about the looming overlay a mere three days before council’s vote – and not from the city, but from various news reports published over the weekend. There was no debate. No give and take. Just a couple of days to get ready for a vote.

 At the Aug. 14 council meeting, there was a brief comment period where public comments were limited to a mere three minutes. And that process seemed more of a formality, really, one that belied the underlying reality that council had already made up its mind, and wasn’t really interested in what the public had to say. Some city council members were seen to be checking their phones during the public comments.

And make no mistake, government may move at its own pace in other quarters, but during public comment, three minutes means three minutes. Not three minutes and three seconds, but three minutes. Speakers were cut off mid-sentence, mid-thought, even mid-word. “Sorry” the Mayor would politely say, “your time is up”.

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Myrtle Beach City Council Approves Product Ban

August 17, 2018 3:34 AM
Myrtle Beach City Council Approves Product Ban

Myrtle Beach City Council Tuesday approved an overlay district on a portion of Ocean Boulevard that will ban legal products from being sold on the basis they are not “family friendly.”

Family friendly is an excuse the city administrator and city council roll out when they have no solid reason for doing something.

In my opinion, the majority five council members who voted for the ban, Brenda Bethune, Phil Render, Mike Chestnut, Jackie Vereen and Mary Jeffcoat took a position on the issue that is arrogant, ill-considered and downright embarrassing.

If the five believe the issue is settled, I doubt it is.

To quote Winston Churchill after the Battle of Britain, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Churchill was correct, five long years of war remained.

I fully expect the legality of the ordinance to be challenged in court. But city council doesn’t care because they will not be paying from their pockets to defend a lawsuit if one is forthcoming. It will be your taxpayer dollars that are wasted just as they were with the ill-fated helmet law council passed some years ago.

Local attorney Reese Boyd pointed out during the meeting that the ordinance has changed by 70 percent or more since it passed first reading in May 2017. This draws into question whether the ordinance received a true second and final reading Tuesday.

The ordinance targets businesses that are Jewish owned bringing into question how it stands up to the anti-discrimination precepts contained in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It is absolutely ridiculous that a targeted product can be sold on one block of Ocean Boulevard but not on the next, as will be the case if the ordinance withstands expected legal challenges. “Family friendly” is evidently determined by geography.

Is it because of who owns the targeted businesses and not about what they sell?

If so, it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that a case of conspiracy could be alleged.

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