Speaking to residents at the Dunes Club today, Mayoral Candidate Brenda Bethune said public safety was Myrtle Beach’s highest priority. She explained that the process of putting 50 or more police officers on the streets would require patience, however.
Said Bethune, “I would love to go out right now and say that the city of Myrtle Beach could go out and hire 50, 75, 100, 200 [police officers] and have them on the street ready to go by next Summer. But I really don’t believe with all the research I have done and all the people I have spoken with that that really is a rational problem to solve.”
She stated that police officer candidates have to go through multiple tests before they can even be considered to enroll in the police academy. “Once a candidate goes through the testing and is approved to go to the academy, it can take up to nine months for him to get into that academy,” said Bethune.
Mrs. Bethune pointed out her substantial experience in the private sector, running Better Brands. Better Brands is one of the largest family owned businesses in the city of Myrtle Beach. Mrs. Bethune spoke fondly of her mother and father, noting that she was a life long city resident. She said that her father and mother both worked hard. Her father, she said fondly, taught her a strong work ethic. She stated that all she has, she earned through hard work.
Mrs. Bethune was joined at the forum by candidates Ed Carey and Mark McBride. Mayor Rhodes was invited, but declined to attend. Mrs. Bethune is a polished and exceptional speaker.
Speaking of the TDF, (The Tourism Development Fee, also known as the tourist tax), Mrs. Bethune said that when it was instated in 2009, it was done so at the height of the great recession and was needed at the time. She said, she believed there was still a need for it and that sending it back to state legislature for a major overhaul would be a mistake.
Said Bethune, “The TDF money can be used for infrastructure. It can be used for tourist related re-development. So we can use the money for other things, other than just advertising.”
Those in attendance were clearly in a non incumbent mood and very frustrated with current local government. Mrs. Bethune listened carefully to many who simply felt a need to vent.
Mrs. Bethune fielded questions that ran the gamete from a library being built with tax payer monies, to a police department one resident commented “had gone rogue”, to issues about implementing term limits on all council and the Mayor.
Mrs. Bethune said that she was not in favor of where the current library was being placed, and she was also not in favor of how the process was handled. Mrs. Bethune stated she opposed off year elections as well. She explained that Myrtle Beach was a city manager managed form of government.
Mrs. Bethune did not hesitate in answering any questions asked. Her answers were honest and thoughtful. When the forum ended, residents informed MyrtleBeachSC.com that all three speakers were a refreshing change from what they are currently experiencing from their dealings with City Manager John Pedersen, Mayor John Rhodes, and current leadership in city council.