Mayor, Chamber C.E.O. Back To China
Mayor John Rhodes and Myrtle Beach Chamber President Brad Dean announced yet another upcoming trip to China this September 6th. The “official” reason for this particular ten day visit has the mayor and chamber president attending a tourism summit.
S.C. Chamber watchdog leader, Skip Hoagland, says that this Chamber of Commerce lacks any transparency. Hoagland is asking key Horry County residents to join the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. Hoagland asks a new activist group to collectively demand the chamber open its books. Hoagland says the Chamber and Myrtle Beach City government work together to hide what occurs behind the scenes. With the city paying the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber over $25 million annually in local option taxes, he believes county residents are not getting a fair shake. Hoagland believes that by making the Chamber more transparent, county residents can also hold the city accountable. Hoagland thinks this is the quickest way for county residents to have free parking restored.
Since July 5, 2016, when “Free Parking” was taken away from all Horry County residents by city government, county residents and the city have been at odds. County residents put up a highly effective Facebook page: Make Myrtle Beaches Free Clean And Safe. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MakeMyrtleBeachesFreeCleanAndSafe. Hoagland says the city and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber work very closely together on all city matters. He states it is hard to know where the city ends and where the Myrtle Beach Chamber begins.
The group ( Make Myrtle Beaches Free Clean And Safe) wants free parking in the golden mile restored. Leaders of the group are now realizing the free parking issues are muddled between the city, chamber, a “parking fee funded group” called the DRC, and powerful chamber members. “It’s like trying to pull up a weed and finding a tree attached to it,” said Johnathan Spires, an Horry County resident.
Hoagland believes the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber is at the root of these colluded free parking issues. He thinks the quickest way for residents to have free parking restored is to un-layer the hidden colluded relationships inside of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Myrtle Beach City Government.
We asked Myrtle Beach Public Information Director Mark Kruea if the city placed any oversight on the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Mark Kruea replied to us by email, “City Council has not appointed a public body or board to review the use of the funds. However, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce provides detailed reports about the expenditure of these sales tax revenues for out-of-market advertising. ”
Hoagland believes that the Chamber should not be allowed to self regulate when receiving over $25 million in local tax funding. He feels an oversight board should be in place. As no oversight board exists on neither the state nor the local level, Hoagland will be asking select Horry County residents to join the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber. Once in, these members will begin asking the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce for records that will create a more accountable form of local government.
As this scheduled trip takes the Mayor, Chamber C.E.O. back to China, golf course Chinese investments sought out in 2014 by this mayor are just now starting to fail.
County residents, especially those with Myrtle Beach addresses, plan to boycott events put on by the very firm that profits from city of Myrtle Beach paid parking, the DRC.