Trump-Loving Anti-Camera Pol Has 23 School-Zone Speeding Tickets!
Yet another local pol who voted against expanding New York’s speed camera program has been caught on camera for repeatedly and recklessly speeding through school zones — this time, a Trump-loving, Biden-hating conservative who was already shamed for her scary driving last year.
Council Member Inna Vernikov’s car has been slapped with 23 camera-issued tickets since mid-2020, including nine so far this year, according to city statistics compiled by the website How’s My Driving. She’s gotten ten speeding tickets since a 2021 story on her driving record in the Post was published during her successful campaign for Council.
Streetsblog spotted Vernikov’s Mini Cooper in the City Hall parking lot — with its Lee Zeldin poster blocking the back window — on Wednesday. Its driving record also includes 31 other non-moving violations, including two for parking at fire hydrants, two for parking in bus lanes and three for failing to have a front or back plate or displaying a valid registration.
Vernikov’s reckless driving — reminder, in order to receive a camera-issued speeding ticket, a driver must exceed the posted speed limit by 11 or more miles per hour in a school zone — will come as no surprise to people who follow her on social media, where her car, and her reckless driving, are widely broadcast.
Here she in the car last year, in a video obtained by the New York Post (despite the angle of the video, Vernikov admitted she was driving):
Vernikov did not respond to calls from Streetsblog on Wednesday, but she told the Post last year that she opposes speed cameras because their “goal is to take away more of our hard earned money.” Records show she has paid all but the most recent ticket, which she got on Aug. 26 on Ocean Parkway.
Vernikov also has a long record of complaining of other things that inconvenience drivers, last year posting a photo of herself under a gas price sign with a hat reading, “Let’s Go, Brandon,” a phrase that mocks President Biden.
Let’s go Brandon. pic.twitter.com/50f0u25QKG
— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) May 8, 2022
Vernikov boasted of her support from former President Trump by posting a picture of herself with the twice-impeached insurrectionist after he election to the Council, where she succeeded Democrat Chaim Deutsch after he surrendered his seat due to a tax evasion conviction.
Vernikov’s already-declared Democratic challenger for next year’s election slammed the Council member for her recklessness.
“Bad decisions behind the wheel translate into bad decisions all around,” said Amber Adler. “Our district is riddled with aggressive driving, arguments over parking spaces, constant U-turns on Ocean Avenue and drag races across multiple main roads. I have seen numerous car crashes in the area and even a senior woman getting hit by a car. We must have representation that protects people and NEVER endangers them. G-d willing, I am elected to be the next city council member for this district. I will always fight to keep people safe.”
And Eric McClure, executive director of StreetsPAC, was “deeply troubled” by Vernikov’s continued recklessness, despite being caught for it by the Post last year.
“She’s posted videos of herself driving distractedly in the past, and seems to have a lead foot around school zones,” he said. “The constituents she’s potentially endangering should demand better of someone elected to represent them, and her vote against speed-camera expansion looks particularly self-serving. At the rate she’s racking up speeding tickets, however, she’ll soon find herself in a DOT classroom for a remedial safety course — or will have her car impounded by the New York City Sheriff.”
The news of Vernikov’s transgressions come days after Streetsblog reported that Council Member Joann Ariola, a Republican who represents parts of southern Queens and who also voted against the speed camera expansion, has 27 speeding tickets on her SUV since 2017, according to the city ticket database.
That story followed others in which local politicians have been caught putting school kids — and, indeed, all residents of the city — at risk. Vernikov now joins the Council’s unofficial Speed Demon Caucus, a bipartisan delegation that includes Transportation Committee Chairwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers (D-Queens), Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), Francisco Moya (D-Corona), Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge) and Ariola. Former Council members Paul Vallone (D-Queens); Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) are also members emeritus.
Borelli, Ariola and Vernikov voted against the Council’s “home rule” message that gave state legislators the go-ahead to pass a bill allowing New York’s speed cameras to operate 24-7-365. She was one of just seven “no” votes on the “home rule” message — after it had been watered down. David Carr (R-Staten Island), Darlene Mealy (D-Brooklyn), Vickie Paladino (R-Queens) and Kalman Yeger (R-Brooklyn) also opposed what Mayor Adams and Speaker Adrienne Adams have called a vital public safety tool.
Like other pols, Vernikov frequently tweets about one type of school safety, even while she violates speed limit rules around schools. This tweet came four days before he most-recent speeding ticket:
Last week I hosted a meeting with community members and @NYPD70Pct regarding proactive school safety for the upcoming year at a local charter school that had a tragic shooting of one of their students nearby last year. Thank you to Deputy Inspector Bruce Ceparano and your team. pic.twitter.com/dTxj6iEEhk
— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) August 22, 2022
This tweet came five days after she was caught speeding on Ocean Parkway in her district.
We’ve had enough dead children & innocent lives taken. We need serious changes to prevent more casualties: armed guards & designated entry points at schools, a mental health system that evaluates and treats, not just medicates, and a criminal justice system that works.(2/2)
— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) May 25, 2022
And this tweet came at the end of February — before Vernikov went on a four-speeding-ticket spree in March:
I was on @News12BK to comment on the disgusting desecration of the memorial for the 15 year old Antonina Zatulovska, who was tragically killed a few weeks ago by a school bus driver. pic.twitter.com/mwMEEcynmb
— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) February 23, 2022
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the manufacturer of Vernikov’s car. It is Mini. Streetsblog regrets the error, which stems from the fact that, apparently, all cars look alike to us.