East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks at his 2009 press conference.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il) had some pointed and very public advice for East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks yesterday: Cut off the late-night package liquor sales and shut down the clubs at 1 a.m. and your crime rate will drop. Parks decided to not even take it under advisement, noting that those clubs pay quite a bit of sales tax -- and ESL needs the money. Besides, Parks asserts, the real source of crime is all the drugs in the city, not the clubs.
It's the same stance Parks took back in 2009, when he held an "emergency town hall meeting
" to gauge the public's opinion on the issue of earlier closing times for the clubs. The RFT
's Keegan Hamilton attended that meeting, and noted that many of the residents who attended were in favor of earlier closing times, as were St. Clair County law enforcement personnel -- and Parks decided to ignore their requests and keep things as they were.
It's worth noting that Parks is also East St. Louis' Liquor and Tobacco Control Commissioner as well as the mayor, so there's no making an end-run around the mayor to try to change the regulations through other channels. He's rejected the pleas of his constituents, the police and now a U.S. senator -- it seems certain the only way the clubs and liquor laws are ever going to change is if someone else takes one of Parks' two jobs.
The next mayoral election in East St. Louis is in 2015.