NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Six days before the city’s speed cameras go dark, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and grieving families stepped up the pressure on Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
They want him to bring lawmakers back to Albany to pass the bill and prevent the potential loss of life, CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reports.
Just over five years ago, CBS2’s cameras were outside Saint Luke’s Hospital when Sonia Russo’s mother was brought in, along with her then-4-year-old daughter, Ariel, who was dead on arrival. Both were struck by a car while they walked to day care.
“I don’t think that anyone fully, fully understands the nightmare of losing a child,” Russo said Thursday.
She joined Cuomo and other advocates to beg Flanagan to bring the Senate back to Albany to renew speed camera legislation that expires in six days.
“We show them pictures and they say, ‘yes, we support this,’ We wonder, what is the hold-up?” said Russo.
“The bill is on their desk. They should just go back and pass it. They’re playing finger-pointing games, they’re playing posturing,” Cuomo said. “It’s all a bunch of baloney.”
A spokesperson for Flanagan, whose members want more red lights and stop signs around schools, said, “No parent should ever experience the grief that these parents bear, but the advocates’ exploitation of their anguish to advance a myopic vision for street safety is unfair to all New Yorkers.”
Kramer asked State Sen. Martin Golden, D-Brooklyn, who admits there are now enough votes to pass the bill, “Is there any reason why the State Senate of New York can’t go back and pass this bill before the deadline?”
“No,” he replied.
“So why don’t you do it?” Kramer asked.
“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do,” said Golden. “But we have to find out who’s not on vacation, who’s not away, who’s going to be here for the vote.”
“What are you saying? You’re holding the public safety hostage for some political contract that you want? That’s disgusting,” Cuomo said.
Flanagan was said to be traveling and unavailable for an interview Thursday.
Sources told Kramer that some Republicans are hesitant to go back to Albany out of pique with the governor. He’s reportedly been trying to strong-arm them into doing reproductive rights legislation, a tough lift in an election year.