Golden: Let’s Go Back To Albany To Greenlight Speed Cameras

Sen. Marty Golden

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, Midwood) yesterday called on Senate Majority Leader State Sen. John Flanagan (R-Long Island) to reconvene the chamber in emergency session to renew and enhance the speed camera program around city schools.

The call comes as Golden has increasingly faced pressure from Democrats, including from Andrew Gounardes and Ross Barkan – one of which will face Golden in the November general election – over Golden’s own spotty driving record. It also comes about a month after Golden introduced a more comprehensive school traffic safety bill last month, including adding stop signs and speed bumps to  speed cameras around schools.

As it stands, the five-year 140-speed cameras around schools pilot program is set to expire July 24, and Golden now says he favors a Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) bill, s6046-C, that not only continues the program but expands it to 290 speed cameras around city schools.

State Sen. Marty Golden

“Since the State legislative session concluded 19 days ago, Senator Marty Golden has strongly echoed the calls of his constituents, advocates and victims’ families, urging his colleagues to return to Albany and pass the speed camera legislation. Now, as the window for action is closing, and the cameras stand to go dark in exactly two weeks, Senator Golden is publicly calling on Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to reconvene the Senate and call a vote,” said Golden spokesperson John Quaglione.

Quaglione said the reason he is now supporting the Peralta bill, which he noted Golden originally co-sponsored, is because he recognizes his own more comprehensive bill has no chance at passing both the senate and the assembly.

A version of the Peralta bill has already passed the assembly and with speed safety cameras set to expire, it’s more prudent to get behind the Peralta bill, said Quaglione.

“Senator Golden recognizes the importance of the life-saving speed camera program and what it has done to save lives and slow down traffic. Senator Golden believes that anything short of a vote by the Senate beforeJuly 25, to support the continuation and expansion of speed cameras throughout New York City, would be an unacceptable failure for the people of New York,” said Quaglione.

State Senate Candidate Andrew Gounardes
State Senate candidate Ross Barkan.

But both Gounardes and Barkan said Golden’s call to return to Albany was done to save his own political skin.

“Marty Golden is a hypocrite. Rather than try to protect children from reckless drivers like himself, he blocked the expansion of speed cameras in school zones for years. Now that we’ve put the heat on him, he’s backtracking,” said Barkan.

“He knows that if these speed cameras are turned off, it’s his fault, and lives are literally on the line. I actually hope he’s successful because it would be a travesty and a tragedy if dangerous drivers are given carte blanche to speed near our schools again. If he fails to get his Republican majority to renew the program, he will just prove yet again how much he lets his constituents down.”

Gounardes said Quaglione’s statement was long overdue.

“I wonder why didn’t he [Golden] bother to say or do anything when there were grieving parents at his doorstep begging for him to take action. Frankly, he still owes them an explanation,” said Gounardes.

“If Marty Golden is serious about his support for speed cameras, he’ll immediately rescind his bill that eliminates the program in six months and support making this program permanent. His spokesman’s current statement doesn’t reflect a profile in courage, much less a state senator who’s committed to fighting for safety on our streets,” he added.

Quaglione said Golden is meeting with Flanagan today (to late for this post), but the majority leader has said in media outlets he is open to reconvening on the issue.

Sen. Simcha Felder

One possible delay is the Peralta bill is now before Sen. Simcha Felder’s (D-Boro Park, Flatbush, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay) Cities Committee. Tradition has it, the chair of a committee looking at a bill must allow it to come to the floor for a full vote, and Felder remains against the speed cameras.

But Quaglione said the Peralta bill already has a majority of senate votes to pass and there are ways Flanagan can get around this.

Felder refused comment when asked about returning to Albany, and the speed cameras issue.