Richard Brodsky: Working for the Public or the Parking Industry?

brodsky.jpgWestchester Democrat Richard Brodsky has emerged as the State Assembly’s leading critic of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan. Later today Brodsky will release a report on the steps of City Hall characterizing the Mayor’s congestion pricing plan as a regressive tax that puts most of the burden on poor and middle-income drivers (and ignoring the fact that only 4.6% of New York City residents drive to work in Manhattan’s Central Business District and most poor and middle-income New Yorkers use transit).

In his radio address this weekend, Mayor Bloomberg urged state lawmakers to "put aside their competing interests and come together" on the issue of congestion pricing. "To leave this half a billion dollars
just sitting on the table would be absolutely ridiculous." In response, Brodsky told the New York Times:

We don’t have any competing interests. We’re interested only in the public interest,
and the first thing the public interest requires is someone to actually
look at the mayor’s plan, fairly and thoroughly.

Yet, over the last five years Assembly Member Brodsky has accepted at least $16,700 in campaign contributions from parking garage interests, according to the New York State Board of Elections. Brodsky’s parking industry contributions far exceed those of any other state legislator (though Queens City Council Member David Weprin leads the pack with his $20,500 $40,650 haul). Specifically, Brodsky’s contributions have come from the Metropolitan Parking Association and the Mallah family, the owner of several parking companies and sometimes referred to as New York City’s "parking royalty."

The Mallah family has interests in several parking corporations including Merit Parking, Mallah Parking Corporation, Advance Parking, and Icon Parking. Shelly Mallah is also associated with New York City’s Metropolitan Parking Association and has made campaign contributions to its political action committee.

Vincent Petraro, the executive director of the Metropolitan Parking Association, a trade group representing about 800 lots and garages in New York City, has served as an intermediary for political campaign contributions for Sheldon Mallah, according to the NYC Campaign Finance Board. Petraro is also a board member of Queens Chamber of Commerce and chairman of its Legislative Advocacy Committee.

Parking industry contributions to Richard Brodsky:

$1,000 12/01/05 Sheldon Mallah
$1,000 12/01/05 Sandra Mallah
$500 3/28/05 Metro Parking Association
$400 3/25/04 Sandra Mallah
$500 5/20/04 Sheldon Mallah
$1,000 5/20/04 Sandra Mallah
$2,000 4/29/04 Sandra Mallah
$800 3/25/04 Sheldon Mallah
$500 12/30/03 Sheldon Mallah
$1,000 12/30/03 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 6/26/03 Sheldon Mallah
$2,000 6/23/03 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 3/03/03 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 11/22/02 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 8/26/02 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 8/26/02 Sandra Mallah
$1,000 5/06/02 Sandra Mallah

TOTAL: $16,700

How do Brodsky’s parking industry contributions compare? No other state legislator even comes close to the levels of contributions received by Brodsky from the Mallahs and the Metropolitan Parking Association since 2002.

Marty Golden $1,500
Denny Farrell $1,000
Sheldon Silver $1,000
Joe Lentol $750
John Sabini $500
Danny O’Donnell $500
Rory Lancman $500
Michael Cusick $250
Mark Weprin $250


Photo: Tim Roske/Associated Press via the New York Times

  • Chris

    David,

    Reissuing licenses would not work because motor vehicle licensing is done at the state level. It would be highly unlikely that New York would be able to convince the other state to reissue licenses to work with the program. New York cannot discriminate against drivers from states that do not participate because of the interstate commerce clause. This would lead to a regressive situation in which more wealthy people would be able to get out of state driver’s licenses by having a second home.

  • da

    So the payment on a parking ticket is a tax?

  • t

    Regarding tying rationing to drivers and not license plates, David wrote:

    Excessive elaboration on this is premature; I would have to think about it more than I currently have. Suffice it to say that I don’t think this is a significant impediment to congestion rationing.

    Yet one of the big criticisms of the mayor’s congestion pricing proposal is that he hasn’t worked out all of the details yet. Interesting…

  • Chris

    David, can you answer the following questions for me:

    1. What is the enforcement mechanism for your congestion rationing plan? This is an extremely important if it is to be a reasonable alternative to congestion pricing. Otherwise, it is just a red herring.

    2. How is this a social injustice? Several public goods are currently being given away gratis to private interests and the community as a whole are paying to social, economic and health costs. Those public goods include air and public space. Making them pay for their damage with their payments going towards promoting a shared social good, transit.

    3. You are condemning the (superficial) regressive nature of the congestion charge, but how would you address the even greater regressive nature of car ownership and operation? The price of owning and operating a vehicle is highly discriminatory against the poor. Without changing this fact, wouldn’t any attempts to implement a less “regressive” system be pointless? Are you suggesting that we should subsidize automobile and fuel purchases as well?

    4. Do you agree that by subsidizing automobile use, we are indirectly subsidizing the oil and automobile industries?

    5. Do you think that the tax increase required to support transit’s operational and capital budgets could actually realistically occur in the City given the political reality that exists? If not, then where would the funding for mass transit come from?

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