This podcast interview is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Player FM, and right here:
Randal Wallace has been a councilman since 2001–and he’s running for a fifth term as we speak! Normally, I get livid when a city like Myrtle Beach does not video stream its meetings. But I calmed down when he told me he would like to see that happen. Plus, he shared a nice thing his mother does after he has a difficult council meeting.
Q: I went on the city’s website looking to watch the Myrtle Beach council meetings and I became kind of angry when I saw that you do NOT put your meeting videos online.
A: We’re televised and you can go to our public information officer and ask for a copy of the meeting. It’s a little old-school. We hired two new assistant public information folks. They’ve been putting the minutes online, so I think we’re moving toward the twenty-first century. We just got a new Facebook page and Twitter presence and Instagram. So that would be a very good next step, to live stream the meetings. I would certainly be supportive of it.
Q: You are running for reelection, as are two other council members and the mayor. If you came across in these meetings as the voice of reason, the consensus-builder, the guy who treats everyone well–I would think you’d want voters to know that. And if someone is behaving abominably, you’d want voters to know that too. Do you feel the same way?
A: Yeah. The seven members that are currently on council, we’ve gone out of our way to disagree agreeably. We’ve had the same upper management staff for, like, 29 years. So you’re seeing a lot of change happening now and we’re moving out of the status quo.
Q: Your meetings happen at 2 p.m. during the workday. Between that and the lack of streaming, it seems like Myrtle Beach is making it difficult to find out what’s happening in those meetings.
A: Well actually, when I was first elected, the televised meeting was at 7 o’clock on Tuesdays. We moved the 7 p.m. meeting to 2 o’clock. The majority of council–of which I was not one–felt like we were keeping staff there. It had been routine that we had meetings that ran sometimes till midnight, 1 o’clock in the morning, and it would make great television. But the staff was having to be there from 8:30 in the morning till we finished. Then they had to come back.
A: I’m more of a night person. So I understood about people wanting to come later on–they might be a little freer. But I was in the minority.
Q: In 2013, I saw that you tweeted this:
Does your mom still do that?
A: She’s had a few distractions, but when I first was on [council], if I got entangled with one of the council members or someone came in really mad at me, as soon as we went off TV my phone would ring. It would be her: “don’t you let him talk to you like that!” So it was good to have a mom in your corner!
Q: That’s sweet of her!
A: Over the years she’s gotten a little thicker skin about it. [Laughs] She still can get a little feisty when she perceives I’m getting treated bad.
Follow Councilman Randal Wallace on Twitter: @randal_wallace