MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – All five candidates for the upcoming Myrtle Beach mayoral election told viewers why they should become the next mayor of Myrtle Beach in WMBF News' Myrtle Beach Mayoral Debate Tuesday night.
Brenda Bethune, Ed Carey, Mark McBride, John Rhodes and C.D. Rozsa talked a number of issues in the debate.
The topics of the debate were local government, local development and public safety.
The role of the mayor was one of the biggest talking points. Right now, the city manager for Myrtle Beach technically has more power than the mayor. Some of the candidates disagreed on how the role of mayor should be handled.
"I believe we need to go back to a mayor strong form of government," C.D. Rozsa said. "Right now we have a City Manager that is – he's in charge of the city."
Mark McBride agreed.
"The mayor should be the one who's in charge," McBride said. "When you have a problem, you should be allowed to come to the mayor. You should be able to sit with the mayor, and he should be responsible."
Brenda Bethune had some words for McBride after that response.
"I always assumed that Mark would be happiest if we presented him with a crown and a coronation," she said. "However, I'm perfectly happy with the form of government that we have."
Another hot topic was public safety. Every candidate agreed there is a need for more officers at the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
"We're getting too many people in that are new recruits, and they're going off to different police forces," Rozsa said. "Why? Are we not paying them enough? Are we not training them enough?"
Rhodes praised MBPD's chief when the topic of public safety came up.
"We have got a great chief in Amy Prock," Rhodes said. "Her plan for the next seven years, which is a realistic plan, is to put 56 sworn officers on the street."
Ed Carey responded.
"This law enforcement problem didn't just happen over Father's Day weekend," Carey said. "It's been building over the last eight years as we've built our visitors coming to the beach, Mr. Mayor. Why is it that just in the last month, we've come up with a plan to add 56 more officers in seven years? We need to do better than that."
Mark McBride made a pledge to add 100 police officers to the streets within his first year as mayor.
"We can put 100 officers on the street, and that is rational," he said.
The full debate can be found here.