The group Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe launched just over one year ago. The group is now among the strongest anti-incumbent voice in Myrtle Beach. With over 7,500 active members, the success of this group encouraged Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce C.E.O. Brad Dean to even start his own local social Facebook group.
With the election now just over seventy days and counting, two new Facebook anti-incumbent groups have emerged.
After several ongoing meetings with elected city leaders over the past many months, local pizza owner Tony Calda is now publicly stating that he and other city residents have had enough.
Calda recently launched a city residents’ movement, MyrtleBeachVoters.com, with a public Facebook page Myrtle Beach Voters. Calda is all things passionate, highly independant and very outspoken. Calda can be seen on the video above followed by candidate Mike Hobeika.
Calda’s initiative is a movement independent of the candidates he supports. Calda publicly supports Ann Dunham for Myrtle Beach City Council, Mike Hobeika for Myrtle Beach City Council, and Ed Carey for Myrtle Beach Mayor.
While Carey and Dunham are “just the facts, no drama, no nonsense” professionals, local supporters of the two candidates have expressed concerns that Calda’s outspoken comments may draw more attention towards Calda and away from the real issues the candidates endorse.
The city of Myrtle Beach also learned this week of a second group strongly opposed to the city as it now operates. Local business owner, Beverly Pridgen Davidson has launched Myrtle Beach Horror Stories, where she both shares and encourages others to share their experiences with Myrtle Beach City Government, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and Myrtle Beach elected officials.
None of the challengers are directly associated with either of these new activist pages. While candidates say they are encouraged to see such local activism, several we spoke were also concerned these “well intention-ed” activists could make statements or create impressions the campaigns could not support.
Rich Malzone, a spokesman for the Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe group said, “After September 9th campaign filing ends, our group will publish the answers to survey questions each candidate has been given. This way the electorate can make their own informed decision based each candidate’s position. We believe this election is about the issues, and where each candidate stands on the issues.” Malzone says Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe is not affiliated with the two new groups. “Our group is issue based and not personality based,” says Malzone.
Issues that include clean (bacteria free) beaches, lower city crime, free beach access, and working towards a strong Myrtle Beach city brand have been ongoing discussions inside the Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe group.
With incumbent support expected in the millions of dollars, and also, most locals agreeing change is now necessary, the stakes could not get any higher.
As it is with all things new, city residents are learning the ropes with some picking sides as the anti-incumbent movement moves forward in fits and starts.
With $32 million in tax welfare at stake, local residents can count on a unified incumbent Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce supported system that will pull out all stops to ensure the tax dollars to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce continue to flow.
Calda says on his website the issues he and residents are most concerned about include:
- City Government Shoud Focus On Infrastructure Above Advertising
2. Myrtle Beach Must Lose Its Insider Versus Outsider Mentality
3. Resident Voices Need More Say In City Government/Chamber Less
4. Crime In Myrtle Beach Must Be Addressed.
5. Beach Bacteria Spikes Are A Problem. End Government Denial.
6. Residents Are As Important As Tourism
7. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Must Be Publicly Audited
8. Local CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PACs Should Not Pick Our Elected Leaders
9. The City Must Get Out Of Private Development
10. Treat Horry County With Dignity
11. Higher pay for Police starting at $47,0000 plus
12. Hire more Police
13. Reasonable Parking Policies
14. Term Limit’s & Election Cycles
15. Streamline Government Functions
16. Decrease Spending and Taxes
17. Total Transparency
18. Storm Water Management.