Post Tagged with: "John Rhodes"

Myrtle Beach City Council Hears Frustrations and Possible Solutions to Recent Violence

June 21, 2017 8:55 AM
Myrtle Beach City Council Hears Frustrations and Possible Solutions to Recent Violence

Myrtle Beach City Council hosted a raucous special meeting Tuesday with home and business owners voicing their outrage at recent shooting incidents on Ocean Boulevard and in other parts of the city.

It was a good move by city council, allowing the meeting to act as a pressure valve relieving some of the pent up frustration felt by citizens by having it voiced directly to council and city staff in a public forum.

That frustration ran from blaming city officials for ignoring the city’s problems and threatening defeat of the four incumbent council members up for reelection in November to calling for martial law to be declared in the city.

Many of the comments were rough and pointed, one citizen even asking John Rhodes if he would immediately resign as mayor. However, council took the criticism stoically because solutions are more important at this point than verbal jousting contests.

While many of the comments fell short of suggesting solutions for the violence problems in the city, several were on point.

Several citizens suggested using money from the one cent local option ‘tourism development fee’ (ad tax) to fund more police officers.

Former Mayor Mark McBride was most forceful in this line of thinking noting that the city’s police force had not expanded since he left office at the end of 2005.

To be fair, the city has installed over 800 cameras that are constantly monitored to help with public safety response and were very helpful during this past weekend’s incidents.

McBride called for 50 percent, approximately $10 million, to be redirected from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s out of area advertising to funding additional police officers as well as providing raises for current officers.

Read more ›

Economic Incentives and the Kingman Airline Services Deal

July 16, 2016 5:35 AM
Economic Incentives and the Kingman Airline Services Deal

The recent announcement by Horry County officials that Kingman Airline Services will be expanding its business to Myrtle Beach International Airport is one in which enthusiasm must be tempered.

The announcement was accompanied by sparkling pronouncements from such dignitaries as Gov. Nikki Haley, Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and the like.

Local media was quick to pick up on this announcement to shout ‘180 jobs coming to Horry County’ without the qualifying ‘we hope’ that this type of deal requires.

We’ve heard this type of fanfare before – do you hear AvCraft and PTR Industries among others? I do.

It’s only four short years since we heard the last “It’s a great day in Horry County” when the last AvCraft deal was announced by many of these same players.

The initial reaction I heard from several callers who contacted me was, “Is this AvCraft 2.0?”

On the surface it sounds a lot like it. A small Arizona company plans to open an aviation maintenance and repair facility (MRO) at Myrtle Beach International.

It promises to provide 180 new jobs to the area over a five year period. For that promise, Horry County and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority is providing a total of $250,000 in incentives (read cash payments).

According to sources familiar with the deal, the payment of the $250,000 will be phased over the five year period of the agreement and will depend on Kingman meeting targeted employment levels along the way.

Kingman will be leasing one of the former AvCraft hangars from Horry County Department of Airports. I do not know the rental amount. However, I have been assured by several county officials familiar with the discussions that the rent will be in line with market value and more than AvCraft paid.

In addition, Horry County will be spending an estimated $100,000 to repair the fire suppression system in the hangar and to repair the hangar doors.

Read more ›

Myrtle Beach Needs to Show Citizens More Respect

February 15, 2016 5:17 AM
Myrtle Beach Needs to Show Citizens More Respect

The harsh words between Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and community activist Tim McCray at last week’s city council meeting demonstrate how little respect city council has for the citizens it supposedly represents.

Rhodes had only recently returned from a 16 day trip to China from which he brought back expectations of a soon to come $100 million investment in the area by a Chinese group.

“We’re doing whatever we can to try and improve things and, in order to do that, you have to talk to potential investors,” Rhodes said in speaking about the trip.

Since Rhodes first ran for mayor in 2005, he has said the number one job of the mayor is to be an ambassador for Myrtle Beach.

What seems to have been forgotten in the intervening 10 years is that the mayor of Myrtle Beach also has responsibilities at home.

It’s wonderful, I guess, to go on 16 day junkets to China promoting the city. (Personally I have always preferred Europe or South America to Asia.)

But, if the city is torn by crime and disparate treatment among neighborhoods, as it obviously is, what is said overseas is just so much hot air.

Unfortunately, hot air is also what is being offered when a community comes to city council asking for help. And, to make things worse, being attacked in an arrogant, aggressive tone by the mayor.

Several community leaders, including McCray, went to city council asking the city to help in conducting a series of public forums with a view to promulgating a comprehensive plan to address crime and lack of work opportunities for Myrtle Beach community residents.

It ended with Rhodes verbally attacking and finger pointing at McCray and a visibly upset McCray retorting Rhodes’ comments were lies.

Read more ›

Myrtle Beach Fantasyland

October 23, 2015 7:00 AM
Myrtle Beach Fantasyland

Fantasyland has arrived in Myrtle Beach.

No, it’s not a new attraction or theme park.

It’s the attitude and atmosphere that surrounds the biennial Myrtle Beach city elections.

Mayor John Rhodes (who is not up for reelection until 2017) stepped into the middle of this year’s election rhetoric a couple of nights ago at a Neighborhood Watch meeting at Market Common.

According to numerous sources at the meeting, Rhodes attacked non-incumbents running for the three city council seats in this year’s election cycle by claiming the challengers were lying to voters.

Rhodes said these challenger candidates were misleading citizens by claiming crime is an increasing problem in the city and using independent rating reports to substantiate their claims.

Rhodes referred to a city generated report which, reportedly, said crime is the lowest it’s been in the city since the city began keeping statistics 20 years ago.

According to Rhodes, crime in Myrtle Beach is at a 20-year low!

Read more ›

Myrtle Beach City Election Runup

October 10, 2015 7:17 AM
Myrtle Beach City Election Runup

The Myrtle Beach city elections are just over three weeks away and the game of keep the incumbents in power is in full swing.

There were competing op-eds in local media recently between local writer Mande Wilkes and Myrtle Beach public information officer Mark Kruea that are of note in this election season.

The opinions expressed in the two columns demonstrate the current disconnect between Myrtle Beach city officials and the people who live and work in the city.

Wilkes criticized the “Asian fetish” of Myrtle Beach City Council while stifling local business investors with “the bizarre zoning laws, the oppressive signing ordinances, the climbing licensing fees, and the restrictive parking policies.”

“All of these rules add up to a suffocating environment for businesses, and that’s why Highway 17 is littered with empty storefronts and dilapidated buildings,” Wilkes wrote.

“I wonder if it’s common for a relatively small-town mayor to be paid to jetset across the globe,” Wilkes speculated.

We agree with Wilkes’ assessment. Myrtle Beach City Council ignores locals while looking for big hitters from abroad.

She stung council enough that an official response was deemed necessary.

Read more ›

Nikki Haley’s October Surprise

January 14, 2015 9:27 AM
Nikki Haley’s October Surprise

Last October, during her reelection campaign, Gov. Nikki Haley told South Carolinians that she had a secret plan to fix the state’s roads she would announce after the election.

When the election was won, Haley said she couldn’t divulge the road maintenance plan until the New Year, but it would be obvious in her budget.

When Haley’s budget was made public last week, there was no money or plans to fix the state’s roads.

Read more ›

More Atlantic Beach Bikefest Planning

December 3, 2014 8:00 AM
More Atlantic Beach Bikefest Planning

A meeting of a Myrtle Beach south end citizen’s association last night discussed planning for the upcoming 2015 Atlantic Beach Bikefest.

Attended by Myrtle Beach police chief Warren Gall and several additional officers involved in planning for the event, the discussion was somewhat heartening for south end residents.

Gall discussed the goals and specific of the planned traffic loop and other areas that it is hoped will allow for less interference with south end neighborhoods and greater crowd control over Bikefest attendees during the 2015 event.

Read more ›

Nikki Haley Says Time for Memorial Day Black Bike Festival to End

May 30, 2014 3:45 PM
Nikki Haley Says Time for Memorial Day Black Bike Festival to End

In town for an annual Hurricane Preparedness Conference, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, referring to the Memorial Day Weekend Black Bike Festival, “It’s time for that festival to come to an end.”

Haley said the state can let the people of Atlantic Beach know “we will help them with tourism, we will help them in any way to strengthen their community, but we are not going to promote any events going forward that do any harm to the citizens of South Carolina and that’s exactly what happened…”

Haley made her comments at a press conference held after a one hour meeting with Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus and other officials from around Horry County.

Read more ›

Congratulations Myrtle Beach Or is it Murder Beach?

May 26, 2014 10:30 AM
Congratulations Myrtle Beach Or is it Murder Beach?

Regardless, congratulations are in order to my former hometown’s elected and tourism officials. You managed to get yourselves some national headlines over the weekend, but for all the wrong reasons.

You honestly cannot be surprised can you?

I mean, after all, there were how many shootings again in our “quiet, little sleepy tourist town?”

There’s been how many women who have gone missing in recent months?

There’s been how many guns pulled on people at various establishments?

And, before we go any further, let’s clear up a few potential misconceptions.

This has nothing to do with black bike week, Harley bike week, black people, white people or gun issues.

Read more ›

Incumbents Rule in Myrtle Beach City Election – Update

November 6, 2013 8:00 AM
Incumbents Rule in Myrtle Beach City Election – Update

Three incumbents were swept back into office in the Myrtle Beach city election Tuesday with one council seat still up in the air pending votes from a malfunctioning voting machine.

Incumbent Mayor John Rhodes and incumbent council members Randal Wallace and Mike Lowder won re-election easily. Incumbent council member Wayne Gray trails challenger Jackie Vereen by three votes with the outstanding votes from the malfunctioning machine expected to be reported Wednesday morning.

Based on the results already in, and what I expect will be the result of the third council race, there are no problems in the city of Myrtle Beach perceived by the voters.

Read more ›