Pine Bluff council denies ordinance to close night clubs earlier

In front of a standing-room only crowd Monday, Pine Bluff's city council decided if night clubs there will have to close earlier.

Nearly all council members offered up strong opinions supporting their stance on the ordinance, which would require clubs to stop serving alcohol at one in the morning, and be closed by 2.

It was eventually denied by a 6-2. The issue was led by many church leaders, but one local pastor told Channel 7 why he voted against it.

"We're being watched tonight as to how we vote on this particular ordinance," Debe Hollingsworth offered up to council members just seconds before the vote was take.

Ward 1 Alderman, Lloyd Holcomb, was one of the six council members on the opposite side of Mayor Hollingsworth

"Let me say being a pastor, I'm knowledgeable enough to know you are not going to stop people from going out," Holcomb told us after the meeting.

"You can close the clubs at one o'clock, two o'clock, (but) when that club closes, they're going to find somewhere else to do."

Mayor Hollingsworth said this ordinance was in hopes to improve safety in the city that she heard so much about during her campaign.

"The council people have spoken and voted. I'm just in hopes that they are the voice of their wards and constituents," Hollingsworth said, while admitting she doesn't feel defeated.

"I am truly in hopes they represented their constituents in how they feel, and what they want them to do."

Alderman Holcomb added that if the ordinance was passed it could worsen the crime issue, citing a past historical moment.

"When Prohibition was in existence, the crime rate was up, the murder rate was up the extortion was up," he added.

Public safety committee chair, Wayne Easterly, told us after the meeting the issue is all but over, and doesn't believe an ordinance compromising to a different time will be written.