East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks.
By Courtney Gousman
East St. Louis, IL (KSDK) - The war of words continues between U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and the mayor of East St. Louis. It's all over how to make things safer for East St. Louis residents, and now Senator Durbin is calling for clubs and liquor stores to shutdown earlier.
NewsChannel 5 talked to some business owners to get their take on the situation.
Senator Durbin sent a letter to East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks suggesting that clubs and liquor stores close their doors at 11 p.m. during the week, and 1 a.m. on weekends.
Senator Durbin says eight people have been shot at East St. Louis liquor stores and clubs like Denese's Place and Capacity nightclub. To help curb the crime, Durbin wants all these places to close much earlier.
"We get more business after 12 to around like 2:30, 3," said Mohammad Bedwan, owner of A&S Market.
Bedwan's liquor store currently stays open until 1 a.m. during the week and 3 a.m. on weekends. Bedwan says cutting hours means cutting revenue.
Asad Alfii is part owner of Family Market. He says the late hours can bring problems.
"Outside, yeah, there's fights," said Alfii.
Still, Alfii says he doesn't want to close early.
"Those nightclubs in many cases generate 85 to 90 percent of their business after one in the morning," said Mayor Parks.
He says he has no plans to change the hours for liquor-licensed establishment, some of which stay open until 6 a.m. on weekends. In fact, Mayor Parks says the longer a place is allowed to stay open, the more money it brings into the city.
He estimates the city receives about $1 million annually in liquor license fees and taxes. Parks says that's about 17 police officers.
"If you cut back the money, where will be the money for the safety? You've got to pay the police," said Parks.
Mayor Parks also met with several club and liquor store owners Monday afternoon to make sure they were aware of the brewing debate, and encourage them to tighten the reigns when it comes to securing their establishments.