SC SUPREME COURT GIVES MBACC A PASS.
Often there’s one question asked which appears a continued theme when fraud or collusion in cities, counties and municipalities hit a stalemate within the legal system of South Carolina. That question is “Why doesn’t someone DO something?” Hopefully these two cases will serve as a short tutorial.
The Citizens and activists for the City of Bluffton and the NAACP of Myrtle Beach were both struck direct blows within hours of each other yesterday as the Supreme Court of South Carolina struck down one major lawsuit which had languished in court for years, then denied an injunction for the other.
The Bluffton case was initiated for the right of the pubic to have access and transparency in how the Chamber of Commerce uses taxes received from the public. Basically the SCSC ruled the taxpaying Citizen has no plausible right to know how their taxes are used. Only one judge gave a dissenting opinion basically stating the Citizens do in fact have cause to know how their tax monies are being spent. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce enjoined in that lawsuit as a defendant so the ruling affects the MBACC and the people in Myrtle Beach as well. Skip Hoagland who initiated the lawsuit is now reviewing options on how to best move forward.
The second case was an injunction from the NAACP to stop the City of Myrtle Beach from initiating a traffic loop, claiming the City of Myrtle Beach was being discriminatory in erecting the traffic loop during BikeFest (also known as Black Bike Week), a loop that is not used during any other time of the year, even when traffic is much heavier due to tourism during other summer activities. The Courts ruled for the City under the guise that it was basically “for the greater good” of the community during this particular event time.
Nevermind which side of either issue you fall on, and opinions vary widely on both sides of the two, its important the Citizen be educated on how the South Carolina Supreme Court is set up and why people should pay attention to how rulings such as these are at the least, prejudicial in more ways than one.
The South Carolina Supreme Court is one of only two in the entire United States (Virginia is the other) which is basically elected by the state Legislators instead of through the Citizens at the ballot box. An yes, these judges are able to lobby to Legislators whom elect them. That’s right, the very same Legislators who each receive thousands of dollars in Chamber of Commerce PAC money and Grand Strand PAC and Bluffton PAC monies are able to elect the very same Judges that rule on cases such as the two above.
This also brings an interesting spin to those who continually rely on their locally elected government such as City Council passing laws under the guise of “its a republic and we elect people to represent us”, and Mayor Brenda Bethune’s statements that her election was a “referendum” as an excuse to vote for the Tourism Development Fee. In truth, we are still bound by the dollar transactions known as Political Action Committees (PACS) which, as recently disclosed in the Karon Mitchell case, send thousands of dollars each year to elected Legislators to garner favor for their particular cause, be it the transparency of use of public tax monies, or how a road loop detour is set up, or if The Coastal Kickback Shep Guyton will EVER be prosecuted. When these same elected Legislators have the benefit of electing the same Judges that rule on the cases brought before the court by the People against these municipalities, we can plainly see the outcome. So, the next time someone asks, “Why doesn’t anyone DO something?”, you can now answer. What’s the resolution here? Vote out the Legislators that participate in this process and assure those campaigning will seek parity and direct voter input in our Judicial system for the People of South Carolina.
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Lisa Bean Williams