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West Seneca’s secrecy over crash is appalling

Recently West Seneca Democratic Chairman Daniel S. McParlane lost his life and Robert J. Styn Jr. has been charged with driving while intoxicated after a Nov. 27 crash on Indian Church Road. The ongoing media coverage concerning this accident, and in particular the efforts of The News to obtain public information well within the purview of the statutes covering Freedom of Information Law, have been frustrated at every turn with willful arrogance by West Seneca Town Justice Jeffrey M. Harrington, the Court Clerk’s Office and the Police Department. Only recently has some of the basic information relating to this accident finally been made available to The News and reported to the public, but only after dogged perseverance by The News, threatening legal action, and enlisting the assistance of the state Office of Court Administration. I applaud The News for bringing to light how the legal and enforcement apparatus administers its activities in West Seneca, if it can get away with it.

I fear that the bedrock principles intended to safeguard our civil liberties and ensure transparent government are becoming increasingly trampled upon by the very institutions charged with protecting our rights and ensuring that we have a transparent government. It’s bad enough that it happened in this instance. However, such abuses are increasingly being played out across our country. I believe many people have experienced similar situations personally but, lacking the clout that a large metropolitan newspaper has, felt forced to succumb. Will the tipping point ever come when we private citizens, who work hard and try every day to do the right thing, push back on our increasingly invasive and insular institutions for redress before the legitimacy to do so has been completely been snuffed out?

Edward F. McKee

East Amherst