On March 14, The New York Times ran an in-depth article on the Modesto City Council’s efforts to grab Wood Colony. The beauty of an outside viewpoint is its perspective. The Times article highlighted the history of Wood Colony. Did you know Wood Colony is named for Ebenezer Wood, an upstate New Yorker turned farmer from the mid-1800s? I didn’t. More importantly, the early settlers were Old German Baptist Brethren and there are still “are fourth- and fifth-generation farmers who tend an unspoiled landscape of bee boxes and walnut and almond orchards. Brethren, who make up about a third of the district’s 1,000 residents, live a life atypical for California, where families remaining in one place for generations are a rarity.”
This is the elephant in the room, a gentle, soft-spoken elephant wanting only to live peacefully on its own land. Yet, it’s being driven out by our City Council. As The Times article said, “The Brethren ‘don’t speak up it is our responsibility to speak up for them.’ ”
Is this a First Amendment rights issue after all? Are the Brethren no longer welcome here? Time to take a closer look. Who knows, we could be next.