Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Alan Gerson

NYLCV Endorses Safe Streets Foe Alan Gerson for Re-Election

6:03 PM EDT on September 1, 2009

The New York League of Conservation Voters came out with their slate of primary endorsements today. Streetsblog readers may be surprised to see that District 1 incumbent Alan Gerson is one of four City Council candidates in Manhattan to win the environmental group's endorsement.

Since last fall, Gerson has agitated against pedestrian and bike improvements, going so far as to introduce a bill that would subject street safety projects to City Council oversight. During the current campaign, he's done nothing to distinguish himself from the rest of the District 1 field when it comes to green transportation policy. He recently told the crowd at a candidates forum that he now opposes congestion pricing, after voting for it last year. So, what's up with the endorsement from one of the city's most prominent environmental advocacy organizations?

NYLCV spokesman Dan Hendrick said the decision came down to Gerson's voting record. "He had 100 percent on our scorecard, which is very meaningful to us,"
he said. "In terms of actually being there
when the votes were needed, he was there." The NYLCV graded City Council candidates based on 13 bills, giving extra weight to the congestion pricing vote along with four bills intended to make buildings more energy efficient. (Of the five weighted bills, pricing was the only one to pass the council.) If bills didn't reach a vote, candidates received credit for co-sponsoring them.

Remarkably, Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, running for re-election in District 8, did not receive an endorsement from NYLCV, despite making a much more vocal stand in favor of congestion pricing than Gerson and scoring a perfect 100 on the scorecard. Hendrick explained that Viverito did not return the NYLCV candidate questionnaire, a prerequisite for gaining the group's endorsement, prior to the organization's July board meeting, where members decide whom to endorse. The board will consider Viverito for its next round of endorsements, he said. That round will be released after the September 15 primary, however, which will effectively decide who wins the seat. Viverito faces five primary challengers.

So we have a perverse result, where Gerson gets rewarded despite railing against projects that make green transportation safer, and Viverito receives no meaningful credit for getting out in front on congestion pricing, a transformative sustainability policy. Gerson's vote for congestion pricing was a no-brainer for his Lower Manhattan district. If congestion pricing is ever going to clear the stumbling block in Albany, New York City will need to elect more people who are willing to speak forcefully in favor of it like Viverito.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Wednesday’s Headlines: Cycle of Rage Edition

Tuesday was a busy morning on the "criminal mischief" beat. Plus other news.

February 28, 2024

Parking or Parkland? Brooklyn Judges Could Lose their Perk

Columbus Park should live up to its name, not parking, one lawmaker said.

February 28, 2024

Divorce NY Style: The Council and DOT Have Moved to Splitsville

It's the battle of who could care less — and safety is losing.

February 28, 2024

Cyclist Killed After Being Doored Into Traffic on Unsafe Brooklyn Street in Already Violent Year

Broadway's danger is well known to DOT, which named it a Vision Zero Priority Corridor — yet the agency did nothing.

February 27, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Once and Forever, Congestion Pricing is a Good Thing Edition

Entitled Manhattanites who oppose the central business district toll are the most misguided, it turns out. Plus other news.

February 27, 2024
See all posts