Closing down a business in a neighborhood that's already down on its luck would not normally be considered an improvement plan. When the business is a bar with a history of trouble, though, a shutdown is the prudent move.
That's the case with the Mac Can Do bar, which sits at Brushton Avenue and Kelly Street in Homewood, one of Pittsburgh's most dangerous intersections. Since 2007, police have been called to the corner at least 36 times for assaults, shootings and stabbings. You can't blame the Mac Can Do for everything bad that happens in its environs, but in March 2008, a man was fatally shot inside the bar and this year two men have been killed right outside it.
Owner William P. McClelland has agreed to close the bar temporarily, but the better course is the permanent closure that District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. is pursuing.
For one thing, although Mr. McClelland has installed cameras and a security system, he rarely is on site to personally manage the bar, first purchased 30 years ago by his late father. Mr. McClelland travels at least two weeks each month for his work as a motivational speaker, and his permanent residence is in Mississippi.
Between 1989 and 1995, Mr. McClelland was arrested and convicted of selling cocaine five times and he was convicted for possession of a firearm, all in Mississippi. He is on parole until 2011 for that state, and one of the conditions is that he cannot live or work in Pennsylvania. His criminal record created another problem for him in this state -- he is accused of failing to disclose it on his application for a license with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
None of which makes him an ideal candidate to operate a bar, especially one that is situated in a spot that already invites trouble on a regular basis.
Homewood would be better off with one fewer neighbor.