Lino Lakes and the high cost of defending the indefensible


The Lino Lakes City Council voted Monday night to only print official city documents in English, yielding to a conservative public policy distraction. They embraced a solution completely lacking a problem. By asserting English-only policy under the guise of “future printing cost savings,” Lino Lakes exposes itself to considerable future litigation costs.

Under advice from the Lino Lakes’ contracted city attorney, the city council allowed non-English language publications relating to public safety, public health and education. But, in forbidding all other non-English publications, Lino Lakes raises its risk of unnecessary legal costs defending a conservative public policy distraction.

It’s no exaggeration to observe that Lino Lakes could face a $100,000 litigation bill defending its English-only publications policy. Going to court is never cheap. Comparatively, one hundred grand is roughly the cost of a single police officer, factoring in salary, benefits, uniforms and a financial slice of the department’s infrastructure supporting that officer. It’s a fair question for the get tough/taxes are bad/save money conservative crowd, asking how the possibility of cutting a police officer just to fund an unconstitutional act’s legal defense makes any kind of sense.

That $100,000, by the way, doesn’t include the cost of fines and financial penalties if the city loses. Of course, even if Lino Lakes were to win, it would still pay litigation expenses, taking money away from essential city services.

Lino Lakes is also paying a public perception price for embracing this conservative policy distraction. Lots of folks suddenly have an uneasy feeling about Lino Lakes. It will likely impact home value and retard business growth. That’s a cost that will haunt the city for years to come.