Public safety top priority for mayoral candidates during meet and greet

Three of the five candidates running for Myrtle Beach mayor addressed a crowd of about 100 during a meet and greet Wednesday (Maggie Lorenz/WBTW)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Three of the five candidates running for mayor of Myrtle Beach this fall laid out their top priorities during a meet and greet Wednesday.

Incumbent John Rhodes and candidate C.D. Rozsa did not attend the event at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club, but News13 caught up with the three who were there.

Brenda Bethune, Ed Carey, and Mark McBride took to the podium and told the crowd of about 100 people their plans to improve the City of Myrtle Beach.

All three addressed one very important issue.

“Public safety, public safety, public safety, public safety,” candidate Mark McBride said is the top priority of his campaign, repeating the term to prove the point.

Public safety is an issue candidates running for mayor is as important as ever to address.

“We would be putting our heads in the sand if we pretended that we do not have public safety concerns,” said Brenda Bethune during her ten minute speech at the podium.

McBride and Bethune said it is their top concern, and both addressed how to get more law enforcement on the streets.

But Bethune explained it is not her role as a candidate to say how many new officers the city needs.

“It’s just not as simple, and it’s not a one-dimensional solution to say, ‘this is how many we need, this is when we will have them on the streets,’” she explained.

McBride wants to spend ten million dollars to hire 100 new officers.

“I disagree with Ms. Bethune,” he said at the podium. “I think we can put 100 officers on the street. I don’t want to hear any more excuses you can’t put the officers on the street.”

Candidate Ed Carey said while it’s an important issue, crime in Myrtle Beach is a symptom of a much larger problem.

“The number one issue in the campaign is incompetence,” Carey said. “The staggering failure to lead by the city council and mayor, glaring history of bad decisions, secrecy. And this behavior’s been going on for years.”

On Wednesday, Carey focused the least of the three candidates on addressing public safety and focused on other issues.

He received cheers from the audience when he suggested implementing term limits.

“If you can’t get it done in eight years, get out,” he said.

While incumbent mayor John Rhodes was not at the event, News13 caught up with him Wednesday afternoon to ask his plans for public safety.

“We’re looking at putting 70 new officers on the street in a five year period,” he said. “We’ve been more aggressive in our policing already, and we’re going to continue to do that. That is going to help show that we’re a safe area.”

Candidate C.D. Rozsa was not at the event and told News13 he did not find out it was happening until late Tuesday night.

There will be a similar event held next month.