Below are complete transcripts of the e-mails sent from Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea and Myrtle Beach City Manager Tom Leath to WMBF News General Manager Ted Fortenberry in response to our coverage of the Memorial Day weekend violence, and the city's response.
From: Mark Kruea
To: Ted Fortenberry
Just FYI, before you or the newsroom jumps out there (again) and proves my point about hyperactivity, consider this...
The city already has said -- and your station already has reported, I believe -- that the one-way traffic and emergency lane will return to Ocean Boulevard next year, that other traffic pattern changes are possible, that we will have more police and a greater law enforcement presence, that task forces have been proposed, that the business community is an important part of the discussion and that the governor, County Council and the legislative delegation are involved and on board.
To claim that city officials are doing nothing simply isn't correct. And to chastise the city for talking about security planning in private, at this early stage, as allowed and contemplated by the Freedom of Information Act, seems shortsighted, at best. After all, your newsroom asked a question about the executive session and I answered it, but the resulting story attacked, rather than informed. I can't help but wonder why.
Lots of planning remains, to be sure, not to mention the funding that will be required and the cooperative agreements that will be necessary. Why would anyone be surprised that some private discussions about strategies are needed to sort out the options? Having those preliminary conversations in public doesn't make sense, and that's precisely why the FOI allows executive sessions for specific reasons. That got lost in your coverage. Don't you find it odd that your newsroom is criticizing the city for doing what you said it wasn't?
We will not see a repeat next year, but why would anyone think that we could just flip a switch or snap our fingers and make May's issues and challenges go away without lots of planning? Or that anyone would assume that city isn't taking this seriously. From where I sit, your audience deserves better.
Following Ted Fortenberry's "Consider This" commentary on July 8, Mark Kruea sent the e-mail again, with this comment:
All I can think is that you must not have seen this e-mail from two weeks ago....
City Manager Tom Leath added this comment to the e-mail chain:
He is not paying attention. We have publicly given the broad overview of the plan. We have already started the search. Hiring an "expert" to come in would be like hiring Ted and then hiring an "expert" to come in and open the TV station.
Read Ted Fortenberry's commentary from July 8 here: http://bit.ly/1qZRtwr
Read his latest "Consider This" commentary here: http://bit.ly/1mDesKh