Pine Bluff City Council strikes down letting voters choose nightclub hours

PINE BLUFF (KATV)--Pine Bluff nightclubs will stay open until 5 a.m., unless enough signatures are gathered to let the voters decide.

City Council members voted against an ordinance that would have allowed residents to choose clubs' hours of operation through a special election.

Those in favor of allowing the voters to decide will not be wasting any time, they plan to hit the streets and gather those signatures. They say after tonight's vote, they the people will not be silenced.

The ordinance to allow voters to decide hours of operation for private clubs was struck down in a 6 to 2 vote.

"They have blatantly went against the rights of the people in Pine Bluff to speak, and because they sit there on that council and fail to give the people an opportunity to speak is very disheartening," said Reverend Jesse Turner.

Rev. Turner was one of several public comments pleading with city council to allow the people to decide operating hours of private clubs.

"The bottom line is, the rights of the people have been thwarted by those who sit on the council who think they are the bosses when we the people really are the bosses," added Turner.

Just last August, council members voted against closing clubs early fueling voters to have their voices heard.

"This was something I brought forth because the constituents had asked after the last time when the measure had failed, they had asked to get the vote on it," said Ward 2 Alderman, Wayne Easterly.

"A lot of these individuals have made campaign promises to the club owners and my personal opinion is that we were asking them to wash their hands from that and let us the citizens make that decision," said resident Marty Guajardo.

Signatures will need to be gathered if voters want the choice to decide club hours. Now if a special election would have happened, it would not have cost tax payers because they would have just added the question to the May primary election.