Horry County should make up its mind
Myrtle Beach wants to stop the two annual springtime motorcycle rallies that have been going on for years. These rallies bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Myrtle Beach area. This money will no longer be thrown into the local economy. However, city council has an answer for the rallies' loss of income -- raise citizens' taxes! They are making plans to bring in over $1 million by raising taxes.
I've never been to either of the rallies, but I know people who have, and I know state troopers who work these events. I'm not so naïve that I don't know that there are some problems during these two or so weeks. There is good and bad in everything.
However, that isn't the reason this impending resolution bothers me. One of the "official" responses from the Myrtle Beach City Council is that Myrtle Beach wants to "actively market May as a family vacation month," according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Just a couple of years ago, Horry County and Myrtle Beach petitioned the state Legislature to make schools begin later in the year because they were losing money while schools were beginning in early to mid-August. They wanted the last month of the summer vacation season to make or break their whole year's profits. School districts across the state, including those in York County, asked the state not to impose mandatory early starting dates for each individual school district. It only made sense to start a little earlier so that the entire first semester could be completed before Christmas break instead of afterward. This would enable schools to be completing the school year in May instead of in June.
Now Horry County officials want to have "family vacation" month in May, but they are the ones who fought so fiercely to have "family vacation" month in August, ultimately causing schools to finish in June, wiping out "family vacation" month in May.
It seems that Myrtle Beach/Horry County wants its cake and wants to eat it, too. I think that they need to decide if they want to make money in May or in August. Or maybe they can convince the state leaders to abolish school altogether and they can make money yearround!
Council should work to preserve habitat
I was disappointed that in our recent runoff election the men running for York County Council District 2 were both developers, as my area is being rapidly developed.
Part of what makes York County a good place to live is the natural beauty that surrounds us. I was able to build my house, keep most of the trees and natural landscape, and maintain a habitat for the local wildlife. I see it as my duty to be a responsible steward of the world God created. The growth that our council is in favor of leaves us with lifeless developments like Palm Tree Cove 2 and 3, with no palm trees and no cove.
I know the birds and the foxes don't pay taxes, but they are still important members of our community, whether they provide a service to us or not. Unfortunately, as their habitats are destroyed and they are forced to find shelter in our tiny yards, we will hear more stories of rabid fox bites, coyotes attacking pet dogs, and deer hit by cars. These accidents will be the result of our council members' minimal regulation of these many developments.
The planning department explained to me there was nothing they could do because the developers had met the minimum requirements. It occurred to me that maybe we should raise the minimum requirements, require a little more space between houses, leave wetlands intact and keep some of the trees over a certain size. It doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon.
We should lower the drinking age
I would like to challenge the conclusions made by Terry Plumb in his recent column, "Cops and Teens Learn Together." He strongly disagrees with the notion that if the drinking age were lowered, teenagers would drink less. In continental Europe, the de jure drinking age is 16 in most countries, with several having no drinking age at all. At the same time, these countries report much less of a problem with binge drinking among their teenage population.
The reason they have less of a problem is undoubtedly due to having lower or no drinking ages. Most teens there have their first experiences with alcohol in the company of their parents and other adults. This is in stark contrast to the U.S., where many young people have their first experiences with alcohol out in the woods somewhere or at a friend's house when the parents are out of town. Being surrounded by only their peers, and with no one with much life experience around them, these teenagers have a good chance at encountering some of the problems Plumb cites in his commentary.
In this country, if an adult allows teenagers to drink in their presence, they are guilty of a crime. Therefore, parents must forbid teenagers from drinking to avoid legal troubles for both themselves and the teenagers. Teenagers, who are inherently rebellious in most instances, will do just the things that their parents have told them not to do. This entire cycle only gets worse in college. Often those who had little or no experience with alcohol in high school get exposed to the binge drinking set, and with parents hundreds of miles away, peer pressure, and different attitudes from law enforcement and school administrators, there is little to slow them down.
The reason we have these nonsensical drinking ages is because the states were coerced by the federal government, which was doing the bidding of special interest groups, to pass them in exchange for funds to build and maintain highways. All statistics I have read show increases in the reported levels of binge drinking on college campuses over the past two decades since these laws were forced upon our states. But instead of thinking about the real causes of our problems, some in our community are pressuring local law enforcement to increase the number of military-style raids they conduct against young people who have been pushed out and criminalized by worthless legislation.