ESL Mayor Accused of "Slick Political Moves" in Battle Over Liquor Sales

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Parks: Firmly planted on issue. -
Parks: Firmly planted on issue.
Mayor Alvin Parks is finding himself more and more isolated these days in his quest to maintain the status quo in East St. Louis.

Last week the City Council voted 3-2 to rein in late-night liquor sales that law enforcement believes contribute to violence in the cash-strapped and crime-ridden city. The bill would have forced liquor-selling establishments to close by 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.

But not so fast.

Parks held up a note at last Thursday's meeting allegedly written by the city's attorney that stated any change to liquor laws would require a super majority vote to pass, meaning the bill needed four votes in its favor. Now council members say they've researched the law and no super majority is needed.

"Mayor Parks attempted to pull a fast one on the City Council in last Thursday's meeting by coming up with a decision that a super majority vote was needed to change the club's hours of operation," council member Delbert Marion told the Belleville News-Democrat. "Alvin Parks again puts his foot in his mouth by trying to interject into the council some slick political moves to further whatever."

Meanwhile, Parks stands by the assessment from the attorney and continues to argue that closing nightclubs early would have a devastating impact on city finances. In recent months U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has publicly called on Parks to shut down nightclubs early as a way to reduce crime. It's an argument that dates back to at least 2009, when St. Clair County officials also tried to sway Parks following a series of violent crimes and a federal corruption probe into the city's liquor commission.

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