This page was cobbled together from emails sent to the Surfside Beach City Council.
Many more were sent after this but have not been added.
To city council, surfsidebeach.org - sent 25Feb2017 Stealing is an enforcement tool ! I am ashamed to sell my house to any decent person or family, given Surfside Beach's sick and dishonest government. I put on my SC230 (State of SC Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement) 'Surfside Beach City Government' and showed it to my attorney who said that it is "buyer beware" when purchasing property in Surfside Beach. When the City Administrators contract expired, the Surfside Beach City Council was given the most gracious way possible to end one of the city residents major problems (and perhaps many others). Firing and hiring city employees is the only method that the City Council has to control how city ordinances are executed. The city wrote some unidentified ordinance about right-of-way but did not specify anything other than a vague goal. It was left up to the City Administrator and the Public Works Director as to HOW to enforce the ordinance. They decided that STEALING private-property is the BEST ENFORCEMENT METHOD ! The Surfside Beach City Council reaffirmed that stealing private- property from its citizens is a valid code enforcement tool when it rehired the City Administrator and gave her a raise. Why does Surfside Beach need a Police Department if stealing is legal ? And do the police not feel ashamed to be Law Enforcement officials when required to cover-up thefts by their employer ? Can the city police tell me what law makes stealing legal in Surfside Beach ? And does this stealing-is-legal law specify WHO can steal ? Are there other cities who steal from their residents ? Does state law permit stealing ? All 3 officers who refused to file theft reports for me seemed embarrassed and apologetic.
22 February 2017
I observed in the Surfside Beach Stolen-Property area someones nice bench,
and two expensive No-Parking signs that had been ripped out of the ground.
Because there were no telephone numbers on the property,
I am unable to notify the owners where their stolen property is.
Robbed again - sent 21Feb2017 To Surfside Beach City Council and Police Chief Two solar-powered lights were stolen from my for-sale sign. Since the city has a long history of stealing private property and since the city has NO documentation that it was not the city that stole this private property . . . The City Council may write the laws, but the Administrator decides how to execute them (unless you micro-manage (see tree complaint)). Mayor Samples said that there is no law requiring the city to steal private property, nor has any councilman been able to show me such a law. So the Administrator is responsible for the undocumented thefts of private property, and the city council clearly endorses this policy as you had the chance to get a new administrator and change this vile behavior but instead you rehired the administrator WITH A RAISE ! I am extremely disappointed in the newest members of the City Council, you were elected to fix this problem, among others, and you failed. We could have just kept the old councilmen if we wanted to keep the old problems. You use our tax money to pay policemen to catch thieves, and then you use our tax money to pay the Public Works Director to STEAL instead of working on storm-water problems, etc.. And you can't see the conflict.
Theft by Public Works 6 Only 15 days into the new Surfside Beach administration and the Surfside Beach city government stole my FOR SALE sign that has been on my lawn in the same place for 4 years. The sign was stolen early morning Wednesday 25 May 2016. I feel that this is an act of retribution, and a threat of further retribution, by the city council and new administration for my emails critical of the stealing done by Public Works and other Surfside Beach City shortcomings. I went to the police station to report the theft but they refused to accept a theft report. I know that it is a condition of the policemans employment that he acquiesce to dishonest practices of his employer. For the city councilmen who are unclear as to the concept of theft: my small dictionary defines theft as steal, then defines steal as "to take and carry away without right or permission". My sign was 15 feet away from the roadway, and on the other side of the drainage ditch ! The sign was not removed properly, it was disrespectfully ripped-off and damaged. I was told by a city councilman "there is no ordinance that allows the Public Works to steal signs." Apparently that person was wrong. Again: What ordinance commands Public Works to steal my sign ? and Where is the steal / no-steal line ? In What ordinance is the steal / no-steal line defined ? Where is the citys proof that my sign violated the steal / no-steal line ? So ONE MAN (the Public Works Director) is Lawmaker, Judge, Jury & Executioner ! The accused/convicted citizen has NO RIGHTS, NO due-process, no means of appeal, nothing. No documentation like a parking ticket, no proof of guilt, no evidence, no chance to face a judge or jury ! Why do we even pay taxes for the police, a judge, a courtroom etc. when Surfside Beach has given the power to do all to one man who has NO authority or regulation or control ! Public Works is totally ABOVE THE LAW !
NO LEGAL PROCESS WAS FOLLOWED in the theft of my sign.
Therefore it is lawless THEFT.
Ha, as if the City Council cares, Surfside is for trees & tourists !
One of my neighbors had something (not a sign)
on part of the lawn that he takes care of,
and the public works director stole it,
and the neighbor saw this;
a large verbal argument ensued, almost coming to blows.
The neighbor did NOT get his property back. This is THEFT of private property.
(and an extremely hostile Public Works director who should be fired.)
If the city tells you that the law only applies to signs, they lie.
The neighbors property was not a sign, it had NO words on it.
The Public Works Director, Tom Adair, stole it right in front of the two owners.
So the Public Works Director is permitted to steal anything,
anytime, anywhere, because there is
NO DOCUMENTATION of what he does,
NO legal process,
He could be stealing items for his own use and be protected by the city. The city would never even know !
Current Surfside Beach Public Works director:
steals a sign (or other private property),
puts it in his truck,
takes it home with him,
or trashes it,
or dumps it behind the civic center (most signs)
and 30 days later puts it in the dumpster.
Remember again: there is NO LAW here and NO RECORDs !
In a RESIDENT FRIENDLY town the Public Works director would:
pull the sign up,
move it over out of the right-of-way,
put it back in.
Why is Public Works stealing signs ? (I don't know.)
And since Public Works is stealing signs and there is no ordinance, then what gives ?
Who is authorizing the thefts, and for what reason ?
And why isn't it being stopped ?
Oh ! because in the council form of city government NOONE has any AUTHORITY !
My understanding of right-of-way is that this land is
owned by the city in case it is ever needed to expand
infrasturcture, such as wider road, extra lanes,
utilities, sidewalks, curbs, etc.
So tell me please !
What is the benefit to anyone of stealing signs from the right-of-way ?
I can see the benefit of stealing private property,
since the Public Works Director has been given Carte Blanche by the city to steal
he might as well get all that he can; maybe it is his benefits package ?
Drawbacks to the city from stealing private property:
- Gives the city a bad image
- costs the city time and money
- is resident hostile
- is business hostile
- costs the city money in dumpster fees
- wastes landfill space
- wastes metal/raw material (should at least be recycled)
- steals time and money from the sign owners
- every single mailbox on my street is in the right-of-way,
are you going to pull up all of the mailboxes ?
- and if the PERMANENT mailboxes are OK,
why is a TEMPORARY sign a problem ?
- In a RESIDENT FRIENDLY town the only signs that would be
a problem are the ones that actually impede city work !
- Any sign is just as unattractive whether it is in the
right-of-way or one inch farther in on the property;
so the sign itself is clearly NOT an issue.
- MANY citizens mow the right-of-way for the city, including me.
So the citizens are helping the city, doing city work,
but the city has to persecute these same citizens for a sign ?
A sign on the lawn that the citizen maintains, NOT the city !
No reciprocity here !
- Does Public Works really have nothing better to do than steal signs,
often from a yard where the homeowner mows the lawn, NOT the city !
And therefore the sign would NOT impede city mowing !
- What is so important about the right-of-way that the city has to resort to stealing ?
Are the fire-engines or police going to drive down the right-of-way over all
the mailboxes ? Can someone explain this to me ?
It is a fact that Surfside Public Works DOES steal signs
and other private property.
They are SUPPOSEDLY put in a pile behind the civic center
(not all stolen property is put there, the neighbors stolen property was NOT in the pile, nor was my sign).
(Remember: NOTHING is DOCUMENTED ! So noone but the victims know what was stolen !)
I was told verbally, I don't remember by who,
that the city SUPPOSEDLY calls the owners,
that is a lie; I called over 60 sign owners
and 2 were not sure if they were called or not,
all the others say they were absolutely NOT called.
The proper way to handle this (problem ?) would be for
Public Works to notify the police of the problem;
the Police would then identify the owner,
identify the ordinance that was violated,
contact the owner,
and issue a warning/ticket/summons/throw them in jail/whatever.
1. the victim would know what they did wrong (and which ordinance),
2. the victim would still have their property,
3. There would be accountability, ie. a paper trail.
Currently when Public Works steals a sign or other private property
there is no paper trail or accountability.
Noone but the thief knows what was stolen,
from where, when, why, or what happened to it.
Why do we pay for police, a court room, a judge, etc.
if we are not going to use them ?
Having Public Works STEAL private property is NOT law enforcement !
What this issue says is that the Surfside Beach City Council is morally corrupt / bankrupt
for both initially permitting this theft and for continuing to permit & condone it.
I have called over 60 Real Estate Agents who have had their signs stolen.
Two said that if a call to them was made it may have been taken by someone else,
all the others said that they were not notified (except by me) that their signs had been stolen by Public Works.
Left photo is stolen real-estate agent signs,
right photo is the empty space from which my FOR SALE sign was stolen (the upright blue stick).
August 2016: In Surfside Beach most of the signs and property are on land maintained (mow the grass, pick up the garbage, spray the weeds, etc) by the resident, and therefore do not interfere with city maintenance. I looked up 'theft' in my dictionary, it says "the act of stealing"; 'steal' says "to take and carry away without permission". Surfside Beach PAYS the Public Works Director to STEAL private property ! Council members will disagree that what the Public Works Director does is stealing but by definition, it is theft. Council members will say it is "enforcement". It is NOT enforcement. 'Enforce' says to "compel obedience". Stealing is NOT enforcement. Your property just disappears and you don't know why or where or who. There is NO "due process". What the police do is enforcement. The contact the person face-to-face, they issue paperwork, they document what, where, when, what code was broken; they confiscate property, document it, store it, and return property when the matter is adjudicated. There is "due process". And while the Public Works Director is out stealing, the catch-basin is not getting cleaned out, which I thought was the actual job of Public Works.
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