Owners of Soulard bars with 3 a.m. closing licenses are the happiest of people these days, thanks to a gift from Seventh Ward Alderman Phyllis Young. Phyllis eliminated future competition for these late night bars by introduced legislation which would prevent additional 3 a.m. licenses from being granted. The legislation passed the B of A and is sitting on the Mayor’s desk, awaiting his signature, according to Phyllis.
"The alderwoman Phyllis Young, who represents Soulard, says crime has spiked around some of the Soulard bars with 3 a.m. licenses. Her proposal would not allow any new 3 a.m. bars south of Chouteau in Soulard. She says areas around 3 a.m. bars have more smash and grab thefts from cars," reports Lakisha Jackson, whose story titled "New Proposal would limit 3 a.m. bars in Soulard" was posted on the Fox2Now website on March 9, 2012.
Smash and grab? How about a couple of late night murders, stemming from the 3 a.m. license owned by the Social House of Soulard?
The story continues: "Young says most bar patrons in Soulard don’t cause problems but that crime seems to be greater around some clubs with three a-m licenses."
Bob Kraiberg, the Liquor License Commissioner, played this same game a number of years ago. At a Soulard Restoration Group meeting he stood up and rambled about this and that, and then said something to the effect that there are enough bars in Soulard, and he implied that he was not going to permit any more. Those attending were pleased and thanked him. The bar owners were pleased and thanked him, too, because it meant no new competition.
Of course, Bob was just playing to the audience, and more bars settled into the neighborhood.
Like Bob’s self-serving words, Phyllis’ meaningless piece of legislation does nothing to solve Soulard’s crime and bar problems. Her’s is a pretend solution. Just like she is a pretend alderperson. It reveals the bankruptcy of St. Louis leadership.
After the murder of Social House patron James Clavin in January, a Post-Dispatch story dated Jan. 26, 2012 ("St. Louis officials and Soulard nightclub meet after deadly shooting") contained the quote: "‘We’ve had it [Social House of Soulard] on the radar for awhile now," said City Operations Director Sam Dotson." One can only wonder: Did you salvage your radar from the Titanic? Does it need a tune up? Hello? Is anybody there?
The basic question is: Why are these places allowed to open in the first place? After the two murders of Social House customers (Clavin and Gary Patch), this bar/nightclub held a forum to "clear the air." Their lawyer got up on their stage and said, among other things, that because the bar was open late night, the area around the bar was safer, because people were out and about, thereby preventing crime.
What a whopper! Violent criminals don’t hang around the Holly Hills neighborhood, for example, at 2:30 in the morning, because pickings would be slim to nothing. But they sure do love Soulard, where there are always victims - and drunk, too - on the streets in the middle of the night. In fact, we have enough problems with the bars without 3 a.m. licenses.
Thanks to leadership’s inability to understand their job and a lack of any decisive plans - or even a clue, the only thing threatening the prosperity of our Soulard bars is more crime. Phyllis is taking care of new competition.
City Hall and our Alderperson don’t want to rock any boats. Instead, they give criminals a license to do their thing. This approach has backfired before, undermining residential and commercial assets and crushing real estate values. St. Louis should know all about that, but they have forgotten..