The Village of Washington Park seriously needs a name change. The leadership, courage and character of George Washington is nowhere in evidence. A park it certainly ain’t.
So how about BurnedShellStripperDrugMurderville?
You can’t drive a residential street in the village without an ATV or needing a wheel alignment. It has twice tried to declare bankruptcy after finding itself more than $1 million behind in bills. It is home to a dozen strip clubs. It logged 16 murders in the past five years. Village hall has twice been raided by federal investigators. The $48 million Venezia illegal gambling ring picked the village as its base and its leaders as its foot soldiers.
All that corruption, all that violent crime, all that human degradation and all that misuse of public money has been allowed to fester for decades. It has cut the population by more than half and left 44 percent of the remaining 4,000 residents below the poverty line.
No money for filling potholes, but $60,000 a year for a consultant who intends to write some jiffy grants but hasn’t and $30,000 a year so the leader of the county Democrats can add another municipality to his list of legal clients.
So you need to wonder: Can’t the village find enough honest souls to build a majority and run things properly, or are there folks who foster the dysfunction so they can profit from sex and drugs and misuse of public dollars?
Village leaders have repeatedly proven they cannot control their own community. So what should happen?
Consolidate the communities where the leaders and the poverty have for too long preyed on the residents. The regional effort to share police resources as the Metro East Police District Commission should spread to a full consolidation of municipal services for residents of East St. Louis, Washington Park, Alorton and Brooklyn.