Looks Like Marty Golden Is Holding Up Speed Cameras, Again

Dana Rubinstein at Capital New York reports that State Senator Marty Golden has again emerged as an obstacle to NYC speed cameras.

Marty Golden is the reason NYC should have local control of traffic cameras. Photo: ##http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/martin-j-golden##NY Senate##

On Monday the Assembly passed a bill that would allow the city to deploy 120 additional cameras, bringing the total to 140. We reported yesterday that the allocation of speed camera revenue was a possible point of contention in the Senate, which has moved the bill to the rules committee — the last stop before the Senate floor, where it would come to a vote.

From a CapNY story published this morning:

A knowledgeable source told Capital that Brooklyn State Senator Marty Golden, a close ally of the police union, which fervently opposes speed cameras on the grounds that officers police streets better, is demanding the city agree to dedicate the revenue generated from the speed cameras to school safety initiatives, cops, and firemen, rather than to the city’s general fund.

Marty Golden is the leader of the NYC Senate delegation, and his support is critical to getting the bill passed. Golden objected to introducing speed cameras to NYC streets last year, but eventually voted in favor. Golden’s office did not respond when Streetsblog asked if he supports the current bill, and he didn’t comment for Capital New York.

It may sound like a good idea to dedicate this revenue to street safety initiatives, but city money is fungible. If speed cam revenue is set aside for specific items, other city funds can be shifted around to offset that. Plus, as NYC’s experience with red light cameras shows, these revenues decline over time as drivers adjust their behavior — you can’t budget based on them. Golden’s proposal is just another pointless reason to oppose a proven safety measure.

Golden’s reported tactic is exactly the reason NYC needs local control of its automated enforcement program. Street safety in New York City should not be held hostage to the vagaries of Albany politicking.

To wit: Any new cameras allowed by Albany would be subject to the same restrictions as the 20 cameras the city has now. Though most fatal crashes occur during evening and nighttime hours and on weekends, state lawmakers have limited their effectiveness by mandating that they can only be used near schools during the school day.

The City Council transportation committee will take up a resolution later today asking Albany for local control of traffic cameras.

  • BBnet3000

    Good thing kids don’t exist outside of school hours, or are safely nestled in the backseat of their parents cars, which never crash.

    Otherwise these restrictions might keep them in danger.

  • Bolwerk

    Police are last group that should be putting pressure on politicians to decide public policy. They shouldn’t have an agenda besides the one laid out by elected officials.

    In this case, they just want to run lights without anyone catching them. They have no need to do that, but they are special and are supposed to have rights we don’t have.

  • I’m walking here

    Is TA, Tri-State or any other group doing an action alert to email Golden?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Golden is pushing the idea that if New Yorkers don’t want to get run over by bad drivers, they’ll have to pay for more cops (though people in Bay Ridge wouldn’t pay), with some of that extra dues money going to Golden in the form of campaign contributions.

    It’s like we’re being made an offer we can’t refuse.

    We have 2.8 times more police officers per 100,000 residents as the national average, and more than any other major urban county — except DC. We have 100 police officers per square mile. We have more than one retired officer for each officer on the job.

    http://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/public-safety-2012-census-of-governments-employment-and-payroll-data/

  • Bolwerk

    But crime! Hurrr!

  • Larry Littlefield

    The NYPD did the job on crime. But it isn’t just the job done. It is also the resources required, and the opportunity cost associated with the use of so many resources.

  • Bolwerk

    The NYPD probably had somewhere between little and nothing to do with the crime drop. It dropped across urban America, whether the NYPD was around or not. Something, or some things, much bigger was happening, and started happening as early as 1991 in New York.

    Really, I suspect at this point they add more crime than they prevent. Or rather, they add brutality and antisocial behavior that would be regarded as crime (you know the kind I mean) if us mere mortals did it. But it doesn’t get reported as such because, well, who decides what gets called a crime is in these parts?

  • Kevin Love

    But their job requires lots of resources. It requires no less than five of them to beat up an 84-year-old man.

  • J

    Seriously, this is like army soldiers pushing a foreign policy agenda.

  • Bolwerk

    Agreed, I almost said that. I understand they have the same right as other city workers to negotiate pay and working hours (within reason), but they should not be influencing public policy.

  • Bolwerk

    Remember Thomas Raffaele? There are no repercussions for punching a judge in the throat. Caveat: you need an NYPD uniform.

  • petercow

    How old is Golden? Somebody cheer me up by reading the actuarial tables to me.

  • Jesse

    So irritating. We wouldn’t even need speed cameras if cops would just do their job in the first place. How is the answer more police? This is essentially police unions asking for a bribe to do what THEY’RE ALREADY PAID TO DO.

  • I disagree. Even cities with police forces that focus on traffic crimes supplement their efforts with traffic cameras. We need to free our existing cops up to focus on other crimes such as robbery or assault. That’s part of their job, too. And the precincts that are focused on traffic safety, such as the 78th, face limited resources that diminish their ability to be everywhere at once. Cameras would help.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I wouldn’t be so quick to blame officers in general for the actions of other officers, or for the fact that they are overstaffed. Heck I left public service in part because I felt I was in no position to make a real contribution, and not for lack of trying.

    But the fact is they are overstaffed, and very expensive. Couldn’t they keep us safe with merely double the national average number of officers per 100,000 residents? With the help of these cameras, I would say so.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Can you imagine what the NYS Legislature is going to do to us before they all move to Florida en masse? How about every public employee is allowed to retire immediately with a tax free pension equal to triple their salary? Thus completely destroying the state, because taxes on everyone else would have to be increased to 80 percent of income with zero public services.

    It would only be a more extreme version of what they do all the time.

  • Bolwerk

    Nobody is blaming anyone other than the people responsible. But the fact is there is a culture of toleration for police brutality and lesser overreaches cannot be ignored either. This isn’t a problem exclusive to New York either.

    The right response to beating up anyone, let alone an 84-year-old man, is termination followed by prosecution. Typically, at most they get a suspended with pay (e.g, a paid vacation).

  • mrtuffguy

    Blame it on the cars- or at least the gasoline:

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

  • AnoNYC

    I agree. The police cannot be everywhere, doing everything.

    Cameras are just more efficient at enforcing speeding, red light running, and apparently failure to yield (see DC).

  • neroden

    “Brooklyn State Senator Marty Golden, a close ally of the police union,
    which fervently opposes speed cameras on the grounds that officers
    police streets better,”

    Or maybe because police officers like to speed illegally (and run red lights) and get away with it?

    Hmmm? Think about it. Someone should call out the police union on this.

  • neroden

    I very much blame officers for the actions of other officers because *they don’t arrest each other* when they see other cops committing crimes. They’re supposed to.

  • Bolwerk

    I can believe lead was a factor, maybe a big one in both the cause and the eventual decline, but I don’t think it is anywhere near the whole story. I can believe broken windows was a factor in crime reduction too, but the policing “reform” didn’t single-handedly end crime in NYC. It probably made a small dent. I can even believe the abortion theory probably had at least some impact.

    The problem here is we don’t really have a good grip on what caused the problem, so it’s a bit hard to say what solved it. Lead doesn’t explain away suburbanization. But suburbanization explains some of the lead!

    In the mean while, the police point to the reduction, take full credit for it, and use it as an excuse to spend endlessly more money on…policing!

    Anyway, western Europe never had the crime boom we had. Did they not use leaded gasoline too?

  • Kevin Love

    I agree.

    What did not happen was one NYPD officer started to beat up an 84-year-old man and the other four promptly intervened and put a stop to the beating. Nope. Did not play out that way.

    There is a systematic culture of entitlement that says: We are above the law. If someone “disrespects” us by failing to obey us, we get to use violence against them. Even if it is an 84-year-old man who does not speak English.

  • Kevin Love

    Cameras don’t stereotype and discriminate. No camera is a bigot. Cameras don’t overlook the crimes of other cameras.

    No wonder the NYPD union opposes them.

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