If you have not read my most recent blogs about the town board of Locke, NY and it’s persecution of the Amish population, I invite you to read about it here:
Defending The Amish
Defending The Amish (Part 2)
Today I heard through the grapevine that the Lock town board fully intends to pass the proposed, Fusco’s Law (named after the town’s attorney, Andrew Fusco, who has drawn it up and recommends that the board pass it). The law requires that all contractors, including the Amish, have liability insurance in order to work in the town. Currently there is no state or local law requiring such insurance. Passage of the local law will effectively serve to drive the eleven recently-settled Amish families out of the town of Locke.
After having been at the town meeting (as reported in the links above), and seen first hand the strong local support for the Amish, and the strong disdain for the proposed local law, I find it incredible that the board would even consider passing the law. I hope the local grapevine is wrong. But there are few secrets in a small rural community.
The next board meeting is December 20th. I will be there and I will report on the outcome here.
In the meantime, with the Amish on my mind, I was Googling my way around the internet and I happened across a most curious web site called Upstate 2050. The subtitle of the site is Fragments From Possible Upstate Futures. The site is a collection of possible news reports from Upstate New York, 43 years from now.
Now, let me do some quick calculating here… Lord willing, I will be 92 years old in 2050. And 43 years ago it was 1964. The world was a much different place when I was six years old, and it will be a much different place in 2050. The continued growth of Amish population in upstate New York (not to mention other areas of the country) over the next 43 years will, no doubt, have a profound effect on those areas.
Here is the text of an “Upstate 2050” report titled, Amish Upstate, posted on September 24, 2007:
After the 2020 census, it was painfully clear that most of Upstate was losing most of its population rapidly. Businesses had left cities, and people had followed. The only stable institutions seemed to be universities, which remained as attractive as ever, but weren't generating new jobs.
One group of residents was growing rapidly, however. Amish communities had started moving into New York in large numbers around 1970, and continued immigration from Pennsylvania combined with their ability to make tired farmland prosper and a high birthrate to create new agricultural communities. They weren't the only farmers in New York, but their numbers grew and grew.
The combination of collegetowns and Amish produced some cultural conflict, but the two groups agreed quickly on food: the Amish produced mostly organic food that fed their neighbors and even a substantial chunk of Downstate.
Amish communities had less demand for social services, reducing the need for government in some parts of New York, and as their numbers grew, the places where they lived were able to reduce their service levels and even their taxes. Roads decayed quietly under the wheels of buggies, and small towns returned to their historic role as centers of agriculture. A few roads and railroads connected the old cores of the Thruway cities with the collegetowns in the countryside, but even they were much quieter, returning to levels of traffic not seen in a century, back in the 1950s.
I don’t know about you but none of that sounds too bad to me. Fact is, I love the idea of peaceful, quiet, Amish communities, and small towns returning to their role as centers of agriculture.
But if Fusco’s Law passes in Locke, NY, the Amish have said they will have to leave. I hope they won’t go far. I live in Sempronius NY, right next door to Locke. I’d love to have Amish families for neighbors. I could care less if they hang their laundry in the front yard or recycle old house trailers into hen houses. They are frugal rural people working hard to make a living and a life close to the land. They deserve a better welcome than they are getting with Fusco’s Law.
Click HERE to check out the web site, Upstate 2050