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... What has this cost?

- What has this cost? - Buffalo News Editorial
   Erie County Executive Chris Collins says his determined resistance to the federal government’s probe of the county’s correctional facilities is all about protecting local taxpayers.
   If that is really the reason that Collins and County Attorney Cheryl Green have circled their wagons, then HOLDING+CENTER the county should have no problem letting the taxpayers know how much they are spending on the legal battle. Yet it has taken a lawsuit from the New York Civil Liberties Union and an utterly predictable ruling from a local State Supreme Court judge to pry that information out of the county.
   And, astoundingly, the county says it may continue this fight with an appeal.
   There are no grounds — legal, political or ethical — for the county to maintain this resistance any longer. Money spent by the county for any purpose is, by right and by law, a matter of public record. ...
   For his part, Collins never tires of spinning horror stories about how counties that don’t fight tooth and nail against any and all federal investigations wind up supplying their inmates with steam baths in the morning and mints on their pillows at night.
   But the county’s resistance to making this public information public can only make the harried taxpayers wonder if those mints might be a lot cheaper than all the billable hours the county’s lawyers are running up.
   Previous:
- Green to make run for state bench - Buffalo News 8/21/10 
- Fixing the jail - Buffalo News Editorial 6/21/10
   Not that these issues are unique to Erie County:
- Death of man in custody highlights mysterious condition - Syracuse Post-Standard
- Federal judge rules for sheriff in inmate lawsuit - Enterprise [Ala.] Ledger
- Suit over Anderson inmate's death settled - Knoxville [Tenn.] News Sentinel
- Man accuses deputies of jail attack - Los Angeles Times

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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