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Town Government Is Good, As Long As It’s Cheap

January 27, 2013

I have learned over the years that we don’t change more than we do change. We all think that we are flexible and ready for change but, in truth, change is something we don’t lik....

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Feb-01-13 2:48 PM

Thanks, P-J, for running "Hall Elliot's" writings. A good thinker and writer.

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Jan-27-13 9:43 AM

This guy Hal seems to be a non conservative non tea bagger. He actually can write and write well. What gives PJ?

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Jan-27-13 8:53 AM

The naming of towns seems to have been more a matter of caprice than planning. Neither local people nor the state legislature seem to have considered it important. Rarely was the name or reasoning of the man who suggested the town name recorded. The 1911 Albany fire probably destroyed the petitions, if they were preserved that long, with the names of the men who instigated the formation of our towns. We do know the divisions and boundaries were not always obvious or unanimously favored. At least in Busti, proposals for new divisions have occurred in the 20th century.

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Jan-27-13 8:44 AM

The Town of Chautauqua was officially organized just two years after first settlement, the Town of North Harmony 113 years after first settlement. They were special cases. Most Chautauqua County towns were organized in the 1820's to accommodate population increase. Poland and Sherman in 1832, Kiantone and Dunkirk in 1853 and 1859 respectively, and North Harmony 1919.

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Jan-27-13 8:18 AM

If people resist change, perhaps it is because they have sensed or learned that most new ideas are bad ideas, that most change produces more unintended consequences than intended consequences, that the old ways, though imperfect, are time tested and tolerable. The new can be catastrophic. Most new ideas will continue to be bad ideas as long as the ignorance, conceit, short sightedness, and selfservingness of man exceeds his intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, and virtue.

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Jan-27-13 8:14 AM

More evil today comes from too much concentration and centralization of government power than from too little.

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Jan-27-13 8:11 AM

Prior to about 1900, although towns had their officers (who almost always conducted government business out of their houses and work places, part time, with no separate office or facilities), town laws and policies could be and were enacted by popular vote at New England style town meetings. If you want to compare centuries, this difference is probably far more significant than the mode of transportation.

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Jan-27-13 8:05 AM

Towns can be dissolved by a process that is primarily local, not state, action and is defined in the Town Law which can be read on line. In the 19th century creation of towns started with local petitions but was essentially a function of the state legislature.

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Jan-27-13 8:02 AM

Townships in western New York are survey units. They have numbers, not names and no government. Towns are the civil units in New York. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ontario, and western states have townships. New York and New England have towns.

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Jan-27-13 6:36 AM

This is an anonymous letter. This was not PJ's policy before. Why has this changed? What is the agenda? No name, no credibility.

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Jan-27-13 3:34 AM

Good writing. Thanks for the historical perspective.

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