It’s not that kind of race, Councilman!
Council Member Francisco Moya (D-Corona), who’s in such a hurry to be speaker that he’s declared victory even before any votes have been cast, has racked up 11 camera-issued speeding or red-light tickets in three years, including seven for speeding in school zones in 2020, according to the database How’s My Driving and other public records.
In his Corona, East Elmhurst, LeFrak City, and Jackson Heights district, Moya’s car has been nabbed for the egregious acts of recklessness — photographed by city cameras exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour near Queens schools seven times last year, on top of three prior school-zone speeding tickets and one red light ticket at the dangerous intersection of Queens Boulevard and Broadway.
He was also nabbed for a slew of parking tickets when he served the same neighborhoods in the Assembly from 2011 to 2017. One of those tickets remains unpaid — which landed Moya on a public database that was published by the Times Union.
Moya is not the first city politician to endanger children with his or her driving — local media including Streetsblog have documented such recklessness by Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Justin Brannan, Council Member Paul Vallone, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and then-State Sen. Marty Golden — but Moya may be the only remaining candidate in the Speaker’s race with such a tarnished driving record.
Advocates were not surprised.
“Racking up speeding tickets is a bad look for any elected official, Council Member Moya included. School-zone speed-camera tickets are incredibly easy to avoid by not driving 10 mph over the speed limit. He can do better,” said Eric McClure of the advocacy group StreetsPAC, which did not endorse Moya for re-election earlier this year and has not taken a position on the Council race.
It’s unclear though who exactly was driving at the time of the speeding — tickets are associated with a car and plate, not the person behind the wheel.
Moya’s campaign expenditures from his Albany days suggest that he paid for all those parking tickets — totaling $1,226 — out of campaign funds, which is legal under state law [PDF], but questionable given that campaign contributors tend to be backing a candidate on this issues, and are not expecting to be paying off said candidate’s vehicular debts.
I am humbled to announce that our diverse coalition of Council Members and leaders from across New York City has collected a majority of votes to elect the next speaker of the Council. I look forward to leading this body into a brighter future for our great city.
— Francisco Moya (@FranciscoMoyaNY) December 14, 2021
Moya, who reportedly has the backing of Mayor-elect Eric Adams in his quest to be the Speaker, has been an opponent of street safety measures in the past. He voted against a bill by Manhattan Council Member (and rival Speaker candidate) Carlina Rivera to make the life-saving open streets program permanent. And in 2016, fought against a protected bike lane on 111th Street along Flushing Meadows Corona Park. And during a recent Speaker debate, Moya pandered to car owners.
Moya was the only one of the candidates to not explicitly say he supports Transportation Alternatives’s proposal to reclaim a quarter of the city’s public space from automobiles, though he did claim that he wants the city to look at Barcelona “as an example of how to have a better system for the public to use its streets.”
Moya should be no stranger to the damage done by speeding and reckless drivers — in his district since the start of this year, 122 pedestrians and 108 cyclists have been injured, and two pedestrians have been killed, in at least 1,704 reported crashes, according to Crash Mapper. That’s more than four crashes a day.
The Speaker race won’t be settled formally until the newly sworn in members vote for their leader after Jan. 1. Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams prematurely declared victory on Tuesday after Council Members Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Keith Powers, and Council Member-elect Gale Brewer bowed out. But Rivera is still in the running, according to NY1’s Emily Ngo. Adrienne Adams’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Today is a historic day for New York City. After much discussion and collaboration with my colleagues, I am honored to have received the necessary votes to become the next Speaker of the New York City Council.
— Adrienne Adams (@AdrienneEAdams1) December 14, 2021
A spokesperson for Moya’s campaign declined multiple requests for comment. We will update this story if we hear back.