Two days before the November 2011 election, the Mayor of Westfield, Daniel Knapik, unconstitutionally ordered the removal of the lawn signs of a city councilor and another candidate with whom the Mayor had a contentious relationship. Those lawn signs potentially mattered in the election – the election was decided by 30 votes.
The Mayor’s position was that he ordered the lawn signs removed by the Department of Public Works, not because he intensely disliked those public officials, but rather as a matter of public safety! The Mayor’s position was undermined by the fact that he did not order the removal of nearby lawn signs for the candidates the Mayor supported or a real estate sign at the same location. In April, 2014, the federal district court ruled in favor of the ACLU’s clients – the property owner and the candidates for office. The Mayor has accepted the ruling from the federal court that he acted unconstitutionally, waived all appeals, and agreed to pay the ACLU its attorney’s fees. (co-counsel: attorney Luke Ryan).
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