The lure of nightclub money is just too strong for East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks.
He is proposing an all-night entertainment district with higher liquor license fees, and would have ramrodded the proposal through the City Council last week if Councilwoman Emeka Jackson-Hicks hadn't pushed for a public hearing.
Parks wants people to be able to party all night, but his priority needs to be public safety. Has he forgotten about all the shootings and murders that took place before when clubs were open most of the night?
You know you're in trouble when the mayor wants to compete with Brooklyn and Venice for late-night action. How about aiming a little higher, mayor?
Police Chief Michael Floore wouldn't comment on the plan. The chief is not going to buck the mayor. But he knows that all-night clubs will harm public safety.
Parks said most people want longer club hours. Is that true? People concerned about crime need to show up at the hearing on Wednesday and let the mayor know safety is the priority.
Really, people from throughout the metro-east need to show up. What happens in East St. Louis doesn't stay in East St. Louis. The crime and economic decay there has stunted the growth of the entire metro-east. Worried that Scott Air Force Base might someday be closed? It's hard to make the case that this is a good area to live and work when East St. Louis leaders invite in crime.
The hearing is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at City Hall.