Friday’s first editorial urges local leaders to act a little more like grown-ups on the upcoming May bike rallies:
Let’s be adults about this thing.
The decision by Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson to change the dates of its rally events obviously caught elected officials off guard. And the wisdom of such a change from a public nuisance perspective is dubious. Three straight weeks of rally traffic and noise is a tall order. But then, the dealership is a business, and as such is concerned more with making money than it is with the comfort of its neighbors. That’s not a slight on Harley-Davidson, just a reality of capitalism.
Horry County Council, and particularly Councilman Gary Loftus, have responded to the extended calendar with indignation, threatening not to approve any vendor permits at all in May. They don’t want to play by our rules, Loftus said, so we just won’t play along at all. Parents will recognize the response. “He’s not playing right,” their child might say, arms crossed and sitting in a huff on the edge of the playground while the other children happily continue a game.
We can understand Loftus’ frustration, but his response goes too far. Thus far Harley-Davidson seems to have acted alone. To penalize all businesses hoping to put down stakes here in May would be overkill. The bike rallies may be a source of continuing contention and aggravation for some, but they do provide a shot in the arm for Grand Strand businesses that would be hard to replace. To hobble the events by not approving any vendor permits would unfairly hurt those businesses that were abiding by the county calendar.
A better route would be the mature one proposed by Long Bay Estates resident Tom Givens. He suggested that the county simply not approve vendor permits that fall outside of the schedule that council members had already agreed on, namely May 14-20. If the Harley-Davidson dealership wants to hold its own events later in the month, from May 18-28, that’s up to the dealership, but it will have to do it without support from county-approved vendors. We’d remind the dealership of its response to other businesses on Wednesday: “They, like any others, can operate their events when and how they feel best for their businesses.”
If the Harley-Davidson dealership feels that a later rally is the best plan for its business, that’s entirely its own decision. But it shouldn’t expect much help from the rest of the community.