MAHWAH, N.J. — The following is a Letter to the Editor from Mahwah Mayor William Laforet regarding the controversial eruv issue in town.
Mahwah is geographically the largest municipality in Bergen County. It is well known for its parks, mountains, and rivers. Mahwah’s school system is recognized as one of the best in the state. Due to careful fiscal stewardship, Mahwah is one of the few communities in the state to be granted not one, but two triple AAA bond ratings. Mahwah’s police department is nationally accredited by CALEA ranking it among the top elite agencies in the country. Mahwah is annually ranked as one of the top tier safest communities in New Jersey.
Mahwah is also the town in which I have lived since I was six years old. Mahwah is the community where I chose to marry and raise my family, and where my daughter, son in law and grandchildren live as well. It’s where I have opened and operated a business for four decades. And it’s the town where I am incredibly fortunate to serve as the Mayor.
Unfortunately, our town has been recently been painted with accusations of intolerance. Allow me to correct this claim: Mahwah is a welcoming community, home to a diverse population. Our town fosters a community that works together to build a better future. We are home to Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and Hindu temples. We are home to socioeconomic diversity that is unrivaled by any other town in Bergen County. We are home to dozens of different cultures, who are all free celebrate their unique heritage or lifestyle in whichever way they chose. Nearly 20% of our 26,000 residents come from other countries, and we are home to over 200 minority owned businesses.
All are welcome in Mahwah. All are equal members of our community.
That being said, Mahwah is a municipality governed by laws, rules and regulations. We have and will continue to apply and enforce those laws equally and justly without prejudice.
Whether it be applying town zoning laws on our Rampough Indian prayer camp or restricting signage on utility poles, these enforcement actions should not be misconstrued as racism, bigotry or prejudice. Let me state very clearly that hate has no home in Mahwah.
Those who attempt to use these issues to further bigotry will be met with swift rebuke from our tolerant community, and my own personal admonishment. All people, regardless of economic standing, religious belief, or sexual orientation are embraced in the community of Mahwah.
As long as I have the honor of the being the mayor of Mahwah, that will not change.
We will work tirelessly through the challenges of incorporating the variety of cultures that desire to live, work and play in Mahwah, in a respectful, open, warm, and welcoming manner. Because that’s what makes Mahwah strong.
Mayor Bill Laforet
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