Misplaced exuberance

The DeKalb City Council has valiantly attacked an establishment which was sure to corrupt the youth of this fine metropolis—a dance club.

While the city council hasn’t bluntly come forward and said it is on a crusade, one only has to look at the events of the past few weeks to see a pattern.

First, the city council called an emergency meeting and bought the building the teen dance club, “Phat City,” was renting space in. What are the city’s plans you ask? To demolish the building and build a parking lot. The city has said it was planning to buy the building for some time.

What’s interesting is the fact the city chose to buy the building now and moved as quickly as it did.

It’s also interesting that the week after the building was bought, the city council held hearings on teen clubs and possible regulations of such establishments.

Several council members said they didn’t think teen clubs were all bad, there were just some negative aspects to them. However, the message to “Phat City” seems to be, “We don’t like you, and we don’t want your business in this town.”

Considering DeKalb’s problem with underage drinking, “Phat City” should be a welcome change. Maybe if teens go to “Phat City,” they won’t spend all their time trying to sneak into the real bars or hanging out in parking lots.

The real criticism of “Phat City” seems to be its hours. The juice bar had been staying open until 4 a.m. on some nights. Some in the city council have worried that kids 17 and under might be staying out past the 11 p.m. curfew. One of “Phat City’s” owners has acknowledged the fact that sometimes kids do stay in the juice bar later than they are supposed to. However, he said “Phat City” makes every possible effort to clear them out.

This is admitting more than any of the bars in DeKalb, and the fact is “Phat City” is in a difficult situation because kids under 17 can be in the bar, but only until a certain time. Bars in DeKalb can’t even keep underage kids out, let alone deal with them once they’re inside.

DeKalb should have welcomed “Phat City” as an establishment which really could have benefited the community. Instead, the city council has behaved as if it wants to be rid of the juice bar.

The city could have contacted the owners of “Phat City” and informed them of its plans to buy the building. The city even could have helped the juice bar find a new location, especially since it is the city which is making the juice bar homeless.

The city council members also could have come to the owners with their concerns and tried to work something out. Instead, the city has underhandedly tried to drive the juice bar out of town, and this is a shame for the owners of “Phat City” and the DeKalb community.