Golden And Felder Wanted To Horse Trade Speed Cameras For Yeshiva Busing

Source: nesnad via wikimedia commons

The fight over speed enforcement cameras is getting nastier. Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally called out State Senators Marty Golden, Simcha Felder and Dean Skelos for having blood on their hands in refusing to include funding for speed enforcement cameras in the state budget. In response, Senate Democrats are trying to reinvigorate the effort to get the cameras approved. However, in their recap of the week’s events, the New York Times included this interesting tidbit of closed door negotiations between Governor Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg, Felder and Golden.

Senator Felder, too, has no use for cameras. He represents a district dominated by Orthodox Jewish voters, and his priority this session was to persuade the city and state to foot the bill to bus any child past 4 p.m., which in effect means mostly children who attend yeshivas. Mr. Felder and Mr. Golden succeeded in pushing through this legislation, which will cost the city $5.6 million this year.

As the state senators are not unreasonable men, they even offered to bargain: they might allow speed cameras if Mr. Bloomberg agreed to foot the bill for this busing program.

The mayor said no. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said no. But when his state budget emerged from behind closed doors in Albany it included this new and costly busing program.

The Orthodox, who are adroit at pulling the levers of power, and their political allies claim all children could benefit. But that argument is evidence-starved. The state paid for a pilot program this year, and city school buses have picked up 1,000 children — from 29 yeshivas and one charter school.

Senator Golden, who has charted the growth of the Orthodox population in his district, shrugs off criticism. It is, he said, “the new normal.”

So Golden and Felder would have been happy to approve the funding for speed enforcement cameras as long as yeshiva students who attend private Orthodox schools got free busing? Huh…so, using Golden and Felder’s logic, I guess this means that the safety of responsible motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians is less important than free transportation for private schools provided on the taxpayers’ dime.

It’s the “new normal” after all.

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  1. What is amazing is that I can’t seem to find this story anywhere else!! The NY Times and THIS web site, and that’s it?! How is this NOT a bigger story? Especially in light of the other corruption story all over the place today?

  2. Of course the cameras are all about safety. YEAH. RIGHT. If you believe that nonsense, I have a lush tropical resort to sell you in Antarctica.
    Speed and red light cameras are about MONEY, not safety. Both require deliberately improper and less safe traffic engineering in order to issue enough tickets to safe drivers to pay for the ticket camera cash registers.
    Ticket cameras need to be banned in every state.
    James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

  3. I agree. In the Times article, the piece is buried in their overall summary of the speed enforcement camera story. This little passage jumped out at me.

  4. I agree it is debatable how effective the cameras are. The point of the article is that Golden and Felder were willing to approve them if the Mayor or Governor approved funding for a special interest.

  5. WOW! You sure missed the point of THIS article didn’t you?!
    Do you NOT get the fact that there was some “under the table” shenanigans” being attempted by some politicians for some special interests?! In light of recent news about OTHER local political inappropriate behavior, THIS should be BIG news, but is oddly non-existent anywhere else.
    Get it yet?
    John_Ghead, Life Member-Clearing Things for Blowhards Association

  6. Sadly we are surrounded by muck and mire whether in the Council, Assembly, or Senate. This deal shows it, and the arrests this week show it. If the budget were crafted in the open with committees, hearings, conference committees, etc., instead of 3 men in a room, we wouldn’t have these problems. Just like reforming our ballot access laws would prevent the GOP county chairmen from selling nominations to the highest bidder. The quid quo pro culture runs very deep in NY and won’t get any better until people start caring.

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