Silver Gives Gantt Two More Years Atop Transpo Committee

silver_gantt.jpgSheldon Silver and David Gantt

On Thursday, Sheldon Silver re-appointed Rochester’s David Gantt to chair the Assembly Transportation Committee (Excel spreadsheet via Daily Politics). Gantt is the chairman who engineered the defeat of bus lane enforcement cameras last June, when six co-sponsors of the bill wound up voting against it in his committee. With the city’s bus rapid transit plans relying on bus-mounted cameras to help keep BRT lanes free of auto traffic, the committee vote dealt a big setback to New York City bus riders.

Gantt is also responsible for holding back automated enforcement measures like red light cams and speeding cams, which would save lives and deter the reckless driving that prompted Silver to call for zero tolerance traffic enforcement a mere two weeks ago.

After the bus cam vote, the Times editorial page exhorted Silver to remove Gantt from the chairmanship, citing his years of "micromanaging New York City’s traffic from afar and for bewildering
reasons." Gantt’s standard anti-enforcement rationale — privacy concerns — was even more perplexing given that the bus cam bill had garnered the blessing of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Nevertheless, Silver just re-upped for two more years of Gantt at the helm of the transportation committee.

We asked the speaker’s office why Silver made that call. We’re waiting for a response, but a spokesman said the speaker does not usually comment on committee appointments.

So what does an Assembly member have to do to lose a committee chairmanship (and the hefty salary perk that goes with it)? Get caught asking for $500,000 in kickbacks from undercover federal agents. After Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio was nabbed soliciting cash in exchange for favors in Albany, Shelly declined to re-appoint him. Making life more difficult for New York City bus riders, unfortunately, doesn’t rate.

  • Dave

    Silver’s got to go….can someone tell me the status into the investigation into his conflicts of interest? I predicted the downfall of Bruno and Silver shouldn’t be too far behind. He could care less about the city as shown by the reappointment of his crony Gantt who could care less about the city that subsidizes his upstate district.
    Let’s get Albany out of the city’s business. Now.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Big deal! Methinks you protesteth too much. Yesterdays enemy is tomorrow ally. Or do you want it some other way? If Shelly uses all his juice, the same juice that places Gantt where he is, tomorrow to pass the Rabitch Plan tomorrow, do you really give that much of a shit about the process that got it there? Or will that all be forgiven? Or not, will you still hate Bloomberg for the extension of term limits (oh what an asshole, he MADE your vote for him again) or will you be grateful for the policies he has pushed through?

  • Perhaps it is time for Streetsblog and Transport for America to call on our army (?) of phone callers and emailers to denounce Silver and call for either his, or Gantt’s resignation. If I hear of either one of them defeating a mass transit- related piece again, they would definitely be sorry.

  • LES Resident

    Dave, you make me laugh with your comment” Silver’s got to go”. Don’t you read the newspapers, or even this blog?

    Silver was challenged by TWO individuals this past fall, one a streetsblog darling – who only got about 15% of the vote. That 15% is called the ‘Mickey Mouse’ vote, because if you run Mickey Mouse against an incumbent, even Mickey Mouse gets 15% of the vote. So your man did just slightly better than Mickey Mouse LOL.

    Silver got 78% of the total vote between the three. He trounced your candidate. So much for your fantasy and daydreams on stretsblog.

    The voters in his district LOVE Shelley. He delivers for them. He is never going away till he decides he wants to, or until, We, the People of the LES decide that he goes. And that isn’t going to happen.

    Democracy’s a bitch, ain’t it.

  • Mick

    LES. You’re right. Short of getting caught in a sex scandal or selling dope on Avenue D, Shelly is in for life. Is that because Shelly is a wise and thoughtful leader? Hardly. You said it. “Shelly delivers.” The power of the incumbent to deliver earmarks and entitlements to special interests makes it nearly impossible to unseat them in one party NYC. That’s why we have 90% plus of assemblymembers reelected and probably 80% not facing a major party opponent or primary challenge. It’s also why, year after year, NY State is ranked as one of the worst governed states. The cost of subway ride may go up to $4 in a year. It might cost Lee Sander his job, but it won’t cost Shelly a damn thing. Is that lack of political accountability really something to feel good about?

  • It’s funny how everybody hates pork except for THEIR OWN pork, isn’t it?

  • LES Resident

    Mick,
    By “special interests” , do you mean the Jewish or Chinatown charities that get millions from Silver to take care of the less fortunate, the young, the elderly? Or the kids who get new schools or better parks here? Or the clout that Silver brings when protecting his constituents from the LMDC, the MTA? You wish your assembly member had the clout that ours does.

    Yes, Josh, said it right: “everybody hates pork except for THEIR OWN pork”

    You sound a tad bit jealous, Mick.

  • Mick

    Jealous? Hardly. Chagrined, disgusted, by the utter cynicism of “I got mine” politics. John Gotti’s neighbors loved his free turkeys and fireworks. No doubt the people pocketing tax payer money steered there way by Shelly think he is quite the mensch. But for most everyone else, Shelly is a big reason that Albany is the punch line for bad jokes about corruption, myopia and pettiness.

  • I’m so pleased to see that Shelly’s shill is back on Streetsblog and reusing his really clever one-liners, having opted out from six months of discussion on topics far more pertinent to the city’s future than this anachronistic politician.

  • I love the smell of fresh troll in the morning. Good to see Shelly’s surrogates are still running scared.

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