Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is enlisting East St. Louis church leaders in his fight to rein in the city’s late-night entertainment industry.
The Democrat met with more than fifty members of the New Salem Baptist District Association Wednesday. He urged ministers to pressure Mayor Alvin Parks to close the city's nightclubs and liquor stores at 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends.
“We want to pull the weeds out by the roots so they won’t be coming back," said Durbin. "It starts with the club scene; it starts with the liquor store scene; and I think it starts with this meeting today.”
Durbin and state law enforcement officials say the city’s notoriously high crime rate is a direct result of the city’s loose nightclub and liquor laws. Mayor Parks says changing the hours would cripple East St. Louis’ fragile economy.
- For a more in-depth look at the topics presented in this story, check out this feature from our own Joseph Leahy: Public safety vs. city funding: a tough balance in East St. Louis.