With one possible exception, no elected official has been more outspoken against congestion pricing for New York City than Queens Council Member David Weprin. A scan of the city’s campaign finance database reveals over 20,000 reasons why that could be.
It may not be a significant amount in relative terms, but since taking office in 2002 Weprin has accepted at least $20,500 in campaign contributions from parking garage owners and operators, almost all of them with facilities in Manhattan. During the 2003 reporting cycle alone, Weprin collected over $14,000 from the parking garage lobby, with three garage owners contributing the maximum permitted by law.
The most recent contributions on file date to this year. In other words, as Weprin campaigns against congestion pricing, parking garage owners are writing checks to his campaign committee.
The latest edition of the Queens Courier features two anti-pricing editorials: one from the paper’s editors, and the other by Weprin, who, responding to a pro-pricing argument from the Partnership for New York City’s Kathryn Wylde, refers to congestion pricing as a "tax" 10 times in 500 words. Yet he offers no alternative solutions on how to pay for the mass transit expansion he and other pricing opponents purport to favor. Coincidentally, during the 2005 campaign finance reporting cycle, Weprin received $100 from Vicki Schneps — publisher of the Queens Courier, as well as Queensborough, newsletter of the ill-informed propaganda machine that is the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Where does your council member stand? From whom does s/he accept contributions? Follow the money.