Myrtle Beach says political sign removal was ‘mistake’ by workers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach apologized after city employees were caught on camera removing campaign signs for people running against current city leaders.

A business owner caught the city workers on camera removing the signs from his property and he says an apology isn’t enough.

“I have a camera over here,” says Anthony Calda, owner of Calda’s Coal Fire Pizza and Sports Bar.

Calds says the security camera outside his restaurant captured the actions of city workers. Video depicts a city employee vehicle stopping, the employee takes down the campaign signs in front of Calda’s business, and loads the signs in the city car.

“They took them out 17 Business Kings Highway; they took them from all over our lot,” says Calda.

Calda says it’s private property, and when he confronted the city about it, he was told it was a “mistake.”

“I just thought of corruption,” states a frustrated Calda. “I thought of just bad politics, playing dirty. As everyone knows, this is private property. It’s illegal (to remove signage).”

Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen started Tuesday’s city council meeting by apologizing for the error, after Calda’s video was shared hundreds of times on social media.

“Yesterday afternoon, they were picking up some signs along Kings Highway,” explains city spokesperson Mark Kruea. “They picked up three signs that were interior to that old Kings Plaza shopping center in error.”

Kruea says city workers remove any campaign signs that are in what’s called the public right of way, or, the areas between utility poles and the street. Then the signs are kept behind the city services building for the candidate to pick up.

“Mr. Carey found some of his signs,” says Calda. “He found only three of his signs, though, behind the city in the garbage, and I kind of raised curiosity on that because we’ve already lost about 35 to 50 signs total.”

But the city spokesperson says Calda’s claim may not be true.

“I doubt that’s the case,” states Kruea. “They may be next to the dumpster behind city hall, yes, yes.”

Calda also went before city leaders Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Pedersen says he did not tell the employees to remove the signs, nor did anyone on council and that it was a simple mistake on the workers’ part.