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Unwelcomed in Granite City


They should put up a new sign at the entrance to Granite City: "Welcome (unless you're a hooker or her John, homeless, a redneck with a couch on your porch or an anti-abortion protester)."

Kind of a diverse group for the local police to be asked to target, but city leaders have done that with the stated intent of making Granite City a better place to visit or watch a parade.

Granite City's been a gritty blue-collar town for more than a century, but leaders are working hard to clean it up. They are spending $1.2 million to renovate the street's appearance around City Hall.

Prostitution has been a problem in the city for decades, with the women even exposing themselves to folks pulling out of the bank drive-through. Police make routine sweeps, but nothing seems to be as effective as putting a bunch of their customers in handcuffs and putting those customers' names in the newspaper.

While we would like to see the homeless accommodated, we understand the city wanting to ensure they are safe and not setting up house in vacant buildings. We also have no problem with police making sure the men aren't engaging in inappropriate behavior on the streets.

Ratty porch couches may be a sign of redneck pride along a rural route, but they are a blight in a city. We tell residents to cut their weeds and remove junker cars from their yards, so keeping the porches tidy is not a stretch.

We applaud those three efforts. Granite City can remake itself by cleaning up petty crime just like New York City took back Times Square and saw a revival.

But we hope the efforts to stop the Small Victories anti-abortion group from protesting during city parades is at an end.

A federal judge again stopped the city's efforts to restrict the large signs showing aborted fetuses. While we don't like their tactic of showing grisly images during parades as a way to opposing the abortion clinic in Granite City, we certainly defend their constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and make their point.

They will again be in a designated area during the Memorial Day parade. If you object to how they deliver their message, it is your responsibility to look away and shepherd youngsters past the signs.

To support and encourage Daniel and Angela please contact them - 
smallvictories@juno.com (email), 618-654-5800 (phone), 
or write them Small Victories P.O. Box 143 Highland, IL 62249.