StreetsPAC Slams Marty Golden in List of Primary Endorsements
Bay Ridge's Republican State Senator isn't even on the ballot, but his failure on street safety issues makes him a big target for activists.
Anybody but Marty!
StreetsPAC — a political action committee that backs candidates who are committed to transportation improvements and safety — is so focused on defeating State Senator (and street safety pariah) Marty Golden in November that it will endorse neither of his would-be challengers Andrew Gounardes and Ross Barkan before their matchup in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary.
“We’re deeply impressed by both Andrew and Ross,” said Eric McClure, StreetsPAC’s executive director, citing both candidates’ support for safe streets and transit. “Because of that, we decided to let them sort things out on Sept. 13.”
McClure added that whomever wins the primary will get the PAC’s support.
“We consider helping elect a new State Senator in the 22nd District our top priority in this election cycle,” he said.
Golden is the only Republican in StreetsPAC’s sights — but the political group is aiming at members of the Independent Democratic Conference, a now-defunct group of breakaway Democrats that caucused with the GOP to give Republicans control of the State Senate.
Most egregiously, the Senate used that control to block the re-authorization of the city’s speed camera program, allowing 140 school zones to no longer be protected from speed camera enforcement — a program that issued more than 4.6 million tickets between 2014 and this summer, when the cameras went dark.
“Recent events have once again made it clear that the New York State Senate is badly broken,” said McClure. “The Senate’s failure to renew New York City’s speed camera program … was a new low. … Speed cameras have become a major electoral issue as a result of the Senate’s inaction, and they’re immensely popular with voters. It’s clear that the current makeup of the State Senate is an enormous obstacle to good street-safety policy, so we obviously need to work to change that dynamic.”
As such, StreetsPAC is endorsing these insurgents trying to unseat former IDC members or other rogue Democrats in the Sept. 13 primary:
Blake Morris, who is running against State Senator (and Democrat-in-name-only) Simcha Felder to represent the 17th District covering Ditmas Park, Kensington and Borough Park. Morris, who has hammered the Republican-caucusing Felder on the speed camera issue, supports many transit and safe streets initiatives, including safety improvements on Ocean Parkway, congestion pricing, and a nifty bike lane and transit improvements along a mostly abandoned rail line, first reported on by Streetsblog.
Zellnor Myrie, who is running against State Senator Jesse Hamilton in the 20th District, which covers Crown Heights and a thin band of Sunset Park. Myrie supports congestion pricing and told StreetsPAC that he supports a bill similar to one put forth by Council Member Brad Lander that would take cars away from dangerous drivers (though he wants the bill to contains a “restorative justice component,” the PAC said). He also said he would advocate for Linden Boulevard to join the 21st century as far as street safety is concerned, with the normal range of pedestrian safety upgrades and protected bike lanes that the rest of the city is enjoying.
Robert Jackson, a former City Council Member from Manhattan who is challenging first-term State Senator Marisol Alcantera to represent the 30th District of Upper Manhattan. Jackson said he supports congestion pricing and residential parking permits as “a means of combating the influx of park-and-ride drivers who routinely flood upper Manhattan.”
Alessandra Biaggi, who is challenging State Senator Jeff Klein in the 34th District of the North Bronx. Klein is a big target, having led the IDC in its partnership with the Republicans. Biaggi says she supports congestion pricing, and “wants to see Albany pass legislation that would increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers.” She wants to expand speed cameras, McClure said.
The PAC is also endorsing in one Senate race that doesn’t involve a former IDC member:
Julia Salazar, who is running against non-IDC member Martin Malavé Dilan to represent the 18th District in North Brooklyn. Salazar told StreetsPAC that she’s “committed to improving the transit system, including upgrading bus service in the district, accelerating the MTA’s station-accessibility efforts, and ensuring that every resident of North Brooklyn has ready access to public transit during the L train shutdown.”
In the above districts, the winner of the Democratic primary is virtually assured of gaining the seat in Albany. But that’s not the case in Bay Ridge, where either Gounardes or Barkan will emerge from a competitive race only to take on the entrenched and well-funded Golden. But StreetsPAC’s ire towards Golden is a veritable lump of coal that is being compressed by primordial forces every single day into a glistening diamond of rage.
“Marty Golden has an abysmal record when it comes to street safety,” McClure said. “Whether it’s in his failure to work in support of important legislation in the Senate, like the renewal and expansion of speed cameras … or in his personal conduct, where his record of dangerous driving has been well documented by the very speed cameras he’s now helped render inoperable.
“It’s high time to make sure that the party that cares about these life-and-death issues has the votes to pass progressive street-safety and transportation policies,” he added.
A spokesman for Golden declined Streetsblog’s request to respond to McClure’s comments. The Gounardes campaign declined to comment on the StreetsPAC non-endorsement. Barkan told Streetsblog, “I respect their decision. The goal is to defeat Marty Golden.”
There are two main contested Assembly races with StreetsPAC endorsements:
The political action committee has endorsed Catalina Cruz over newbie incumbent Ari Espinal, who won her seat in an April special election, in the 39th District of Queens. Cruz — the first DREAMer to run for office in New York State and an attorney who was also Chief of Staff to former City Council Member Chair Julissa Ferraras-Copeland — supports congestion pricing and speed camera program. She also wants Select Bus Service on Junction Boulevard. Most notably, she supports giving New York City control of the subways and buses.
The PAC also backs Ethan Lustig-Elgrably over Mathylde Frontus for the 46th District in southern Brooklyn — a seat that is open thanks to the fraud indictment of Pamela Harris. Lustig-Elgrably was legislative director and chief of staff for Council Member Mark Treyger and says he is committed to improving buses in the district and for expanding express subway service.
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