Mahwah: David May explains why the Township is on the wrong side of their civil rights lawsuit

There’s a reason that attorneys ask clients not to speak while they are in the midst of litigation.  Sometimes they can say things, especially truthful things, that destroy the case they are trying to make.

Mahwah Councilman David May came before the Bergen County Freeholders last week with a proposal to create a “county-wide eruv”.  If you want to see why this is a half-baked idea that shouldn’t have been presented, you can see my first post here, which has a set of open questions Mr May refuses to answer, despite his repeated requests for dialogue.

But now, despite his efforts to say that this concept is unrelated to the civil rights lawsuits brought by the State of New Jersey against the Town and his council individually, Mr. May is coming under criticism for such an ill-suited idea, clearly intended to shift the conversation away from the elephant in the Mahwah council chambers.

One of those criticisms came from Jacob Sasson, an attorney with previous experience teaching the First Amendment, on Facebook (you can read our similar criticism here). 

This is an astute observation by a professor that is knowledgeable in the subject matter.

Then came the reply:

“An eruv is barely noticeable attachment to telephone poles”.

Why exactly are these Civil Rights lawsuits against Mahwah happening?

On July 21st, in a letter from Mahwah’s zoning officer to the Eruv Association, Mr. Kelly wrote that “the installation of an eruv would constitute a sign on a utility pole”.  He further states that “[s]ign shall mean any device for visual communication that is used for the purpose of bringing the subject thereof to the attention of the public”.

Does the eruv qualify as a “device for visual communication”?

“An eruv is barely noticeable attachment to telephone poles”
– Councilman David May

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Mahwah’s answer to the Federal complaint is due on January 12th for the suit brought by the Eruv Association and on January 30th for the suit brought by the State of New Jersey.

Deadlines and case information may be found here:


2 Responses to Mahwah: David May explains why the Township is on the wrong side of their civil rights lawsuit

  1. David May says:

    Mr. Kaplan, is twisting my sarcasm to try and fit his narrative. My commentary was ultimately questioning Mr. Sasson’s comparison of an Eruv to other structures such as a churche, synogogue, etc. I found this intriguing based on the claims that an eruv is “barely noticeable” but yet he chose to put it in the same category as buildings and structures. So which is it Mr. Kaplan?

    • Keith Kaplan says:

      I have no doubt that after seeing what you wrote, and realizing how damaging it is to the legal defense of what your council has been doing, you are anxious to have this statement viewed as “sarcasm”. But I’ve left the link up for anyone to click and read the entire thread.

      There is nothing sarcastic about your comment. In fact, it only makes sense if it’s accurate, as you are contrasting something noticeable (buildings) with something that is not (an eruv).

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