Challenger Paul Newell Criticizes Sheldon Silver's Congestion Dodge
Today, Paul Newell, Sheldon Silver's challenger in this year's 64th Assembly District Democratic Primary, criticized Silver's backroom dealings denying accountable government to New Yorkers, saying "Sheldon Silver's failure to even schedule a vote on congestion pricing shows his contempt for both the democratic process and concerns of Lower Manhattanites."
Newell continued to criticize Silver's deceptive approach. "New Yorkers deserve a legislature that openly debates issues rather than quietly killing them behind closed doors. After 32 years in Albany, Sheldon Silver's culture of failure denies accountability and representation to 19 million New Yorkers, and stifles innovative policy solutions. Congestion Pricing is too important an issue to be swept under the rug by Sheldon Silver".
Silver's secretive pre-emption of any vote on the issue comes on the heels of his refusing to disclose his highly suspicious side income with a powerful NY law firm. "Silver's continuing trend of secrecy and his subversion of the voter's right to have their leaders actually lead had caused too much damage to our state," Newell added.
Congestion pricing is of vital concern to Lower Manhattan. Newell pointed out that the 64th Assembly District includes the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, with the Holland Tunnel just a few blocks away, saying "There is no community in New York State more directly impacted by traffic congestion than ours".
Only 2.3% of Lower Manhattanites drive to work and the vast majority of Downtowners use public transportation. These riders stood to gain from congestion pricing with urgently needed improvements at the Brooklyn Bridge, Whitehall Street, East Broadway, Bowery, Grand Street and South Ferry subway stations and increased service on the M15 bus line.
Noting that all three Lower Manhattan City Councilmember supported the home rule message, Paul Newell asked why Silver is so out of step with the district's needs. "It's clear that Silver views his constituency as the caucus in Albany and not the people of Lower Manhattan What is the point of being represented by the Speaker when he fails to stand up for our vital concerns?".
Campaign for New York's Future AD 64 fact sheet: http://www.e-benchmarks.com/congestion/factsheets/mh/silver64.pdf
Daily News on Asthma zones 6/17/2007 - http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2007/06/17/2007-06-17_citys_worst_asthma_zones_sniffed_out.html
Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Pratt Center for Community Development on AD 64 - http://www.tstc.org/reports/cpsheets/NYCassembly_factsheet_district%2064.pdf
NY Post 2/29/08 on Silver's side income- http://www.nypost.com/seven/02292008/news/regionalnews/silver_picks_crony_for_judge_panel_99783.htm