Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Uncovers Issues

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David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at
Mike Wooten, DDC Engineers Built Ocean Outfalls for MB.
Mike Wooten, DDC Engineers Built Ocean Outfalls for MB.

What do I-73, Myrtle Beach Ocean Water Quality, A National Environmentalist, a Beaufort Senator, The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, Myrtle Beach City Government, Horry County Government, Chinese Investors, Myrtle Beach Corporations, and Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment all have in common?   Turns out,  a lot.

As we reported this week, the NRDC has created a new KNOW BEFORE YOU GO,  Ocean water bacteria monitoring website.   Over 53,000 Myrtle Beach tourists have used the system since we put it up online yesterday.   Sadly,  Myrtle Beach is currently rated as a yellow (caution) by the system.

Tom Steyer,  a national environmentalist,  believes that ongoing higher bacteria levels on Myrtle Beach area beaches are a concern that needs complete sunlight.  Steyer thinks that only by making the entire nation aware of the NRDC program and all local beach results, can we hold the local Myrtle Beach Mayor, City Manager, County Council,  and City Council accountable. Many residents at Market Common feel exactly the same way.

My experience of American politics is that people raise issues and they get addressed in an effective but imperfect way,” says Steyer. “But that’s sort of the American system: Mind the problem and worry it, and then we attack it with overwhelming power and put it away – and that’s the end of that problem.”


Myrtle Beach merchants believe the strong and hidden alliances between two area corporations, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, two local media giants, and city government is the source of the real problem.   It is a phenomenon locals have named the “Corporate State”.

A key player in this system is Mike Wooten.   Wooten,  South Carolina Highway Department Chairman, has been at the epicenter of “all news”  South Carolina this week.   Mike Wooten is a Myrtle Beach area local with ties to Brad Dean of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  Mike is also the owner  of DDC Engineers.  South Carolina’s  highly influential government watchdog website, The Nerve,  put a bright spotlight on SCDOT Commissioner just this week.

Wooten’s firm was paid millions by the city of Myrtle Beach to supposedly solve the problem of high bacteria levels on our area beaches.   However,  as we previously reported,  Wooten’s firm was given no bid contracts by local government in their effort to solve this problem.  Most local residents believe no bid contracts are one strong component of the shady side of the corporate state.

The Ocean Outfall System Wooten’s team installed pumps higher contaminated water farther out into the Ocean off the shoreline.  In response to Wooten’s $11 million system,  that many residents at Market Common feel is inadequate,  Nancy Cave of the Coastal Conservation League, an environmental watchdog group out of Charleston, S.C. said, “the continuing high levels of bacteria on area beaches should make the city and county take another look at their existing storm water plan and in particular the use of pipes to take storm water out into the ocean in hopes that dilution will solve the problem of polluted storm water returning to shore.” 

State Senator Tom Davis,  of Beaufort County,  is at this very moment filibustering in the S.C. Senate to stop the I-73 money grab by Wooten, Dean, U.S. Congressman Tom Rice, Horry County Council Mark Lazarus, City Council, and their corporate allies who are working to bring Chinese investors into Myrtle Beach with a downtown redevelopment concept.  WBTW’s A.J. Javenal has done an incredible job reporting the I-73 issues.  This link to his reporting is well worth the time to watch.  Tom Davis is literally fighting for the heart and soul of every South Carolina citizen and small business owner while ongoing attacks from the Highway lobby, Chambers of Commerce, and corporate structures continue non stop.  Studies show the I-73 connector could be built for less than half the money projected by simply widening an existing Highway 9.   This path also does not destroy protected wetlands.  Almost 90% of our readers preferred that plan.

The final leg of the assault of this Corporate State plan is the attack of city government on local merchants in the downtown area.

In Brennan McDavid’s report,  local merchants live in fear of this Corporate State unified structure that uses the leverage of local city government to force the will of a few corporations with Chinese money connections onto the local merchant population.  City Government uses police, lack of police, code enforcement, city construction services, Community Appearance Board officials,  eminent domain, and now, a planned city council tax measure on certain businesses to intimidate the local small business community. has been putting the pieces of this system together for some time in our reporting.

The pattern of this group has also  historically been to file lawsuits through the Chamber or associates, use enforcement from local government, and inside trade alliance strategies to slowly put the small merchant at the will of all that is the Corporate State.  The largest part of this strategic assault on the residents and community is done just out of sunlight, as witnessed by Mayor Rhodes and Councilman Mark Lazarus’ recent 16 day trip to China. waits to see how residents and the small business community respond after yesterday’s Downtown Redevelopment meetings.  In it,  City Manager John Pedersen and Councilwoman Mary Jeffcoat encouraged small merchants to accept a tax,  that the city and a local developer covet.  Almost every small business owner we spoke with opposed the tax,  called a mid tax.

Most residents and local merchants would prefer city government get out of the business of brokering for a few corporations in partnership with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber.  They believe the role of city government is to  fix our water quality issues, police our streets,  and work for the entire population at large.

I,  for one,  expect lawsuits to fly at anyone who opposes this corporate state group,  including our news organization.   We were attacked this week at a city council meeting by the city manager in response to a local resident’s complaints to the city concerning the city’s ongoing inability to tackle high crime rates in these same areas.

Myrtle Beach small merchants are now under the ongoing long term assault of all that is the Corporate State.  This Corporate State has a “long game strategy” in mind,  and while the attacks do ebb and flow,  they are relentless over time and a permanent part of  this system.

Below is the map created by the NRDC which shows the current state of Myrtle Beach Ocean Water Quality.  Local merchants and local residents expect city government to work on real solutions,  outside of Chamber of Commerce enforced crony relationships.


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