Auto Dealers, Parking Garages and, Well, Lots of Others Fund Shelly

In case you missed it last week, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is raising bucket-loads of campaign cash — lots more than his two opponents, Paul Newell and Luke Henry. Groups that opposed congestion pricing are, no surprise, among some of the most enthusiastic contributors. The Times reported:

Like Mr. Paterson and Mr. Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver now Albany’s longest-serving leader drew heavily from established interest groups, including trial lawyers, the insurance industry, banking interests and an array of labor unions. Mr. Silver also received money from some groups that opposed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to charge a fee for cars entering parts of Manhattan, including limousine services and rental car companies. Though Mr. Silver said he personally supported the idea, he did not allow it to come up for a vote in the Assembly.

You can add to that partial list car dealers, service stations, parking garages, and private bus companies, which opposed the idea of pricing until an exception was brokered for them late in the game. All told, Silver collected $308,044 from contributors in the latest six-month fundraising period, outpacing challengers Newell and Henry by a (predictably) wide margin.

Here’s a rundown of major donations to his campaign from groups who sided against pricing or influenced the proposed legislation.

Note that most of the contributions were given before the Assembly’s Democratic conference scuttled the pricing bill in a closed-door session. (Groups are located within the state of New York unless otherwise noted.)

  • BLACK CAR PAC: $2500, March 19
  • UNITED BUS CORPORATION: $2500, March 14
  • HUNTINGTON COACH, LLC: $2500, March 14
  • KENSINGTON ENTERPRISES LLC (parking garage): $2000, March 19
  • VANGUARD CAR RENTAL USA INC. (Tulsa, OK): $1500, May 16
  • SYLVAN FORESTER GARAGE, LLC: $1000, March 19
  • CHAMPION PARKING 36 LLC: $1000, March 19
  • ENTERPRISE RENT A CAR NY PAC: $1000, March 19

Source: New York State Board of Elections

  • These contributors got excellent value for money. I’m surprised Shelly sold out his constituents so cheaply.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “These contributors got excellent value for money. I’m surprised Shelly sold out his constituents so cheaply.”

    Contributors, those who have government jobs with time off to work on campaigns, and the retired are the constituents of the state legislature.

    No one else. No one.

  • So long as 3 men in a secret room govern 19 million New Yorkers, campaign contributions will always be a great value for those who want something from gov’t that the people don’t. In New York State, that is often developers and the Parking Garages.

    If we can get a system where our elected officials can be held accountable, we will start winning.

    For example, as Larry has pointed out here before (sorry, can’t find the link now), one of the projects shelved when Sheldon Silver killed Congestion Pricing was the transfer from the B/D/F/V at B’way/Lafayette to the Uptown 6 train at Bleecker Street. This project alone would have reduced the commute time of thousands of 64th Assembly District Residents (and countless more Brooklynites) by about 10-20 minutes daily.

    Yet Silver still kills the plan. Why, because our elected officials are not held accountable because of the culture of secrecy that Silver presides over.

    I cannot compete with Silver’s $3 Million in special interest and lobbyist money. But I can get my message out for a fraction of that price. Please consider donating a small amount to my campaign today. It is the best chance we’ve got to get Albany to listen to us.

    When our elected officials begin listening, no amount of cash from the parking garages will add up to the votes of New York’s transit-riding super-majority. Then we will see a transit policy centered on people, not machines and money.

    Thank you,

    Paul Newell
    Democrat for Assembly

  • Larry Littlefield

    Re: Broadway-Lafayette Bleeker.

    Paul: that project, which is not only the most important in the district you are running in but also for anyone who rides the B/D/F lines in Brooklyn, was fully funded in the 2000-04 MTA Capital Plan.

    It was killed when that plan over-ran, due to (among other things) the MTA getting hosed on 2 Broadway. Much of that hosing ended up on the books of NYC Transit’s portion of the capital plan, even though it was MTA central’s real estate operation that got robbed.

    I made an issue of this when I ran against the local lord in 2004.

    It was later put back in, but nothing is moving. I didn’t see it on a list of projects killed due to the latest over-runs. It may be “undead” — too important to ordinary people to kill, to unimportant to people who matter to pay for. In any event, the design is almost certainly bid-ready.

  • Good luck Paul!

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