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Mayor Michael Bloomberg got personal yesterday with state legislators he blames for failing to enact a speed camera program around schools that he says would stop children from being hit and killed by speeding cars. After the next tragedy Bloomberg suggested: “Why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?” Bloomberg named Sens. Martin Golden, Dean Skelos and Simcha Felder as legislators parents should call to complain.“Maybe you want to give those phone numbers to the parents of the child when a child is killed,” Bloomberg said. “It would be useful so that the parents can know exactly who’s to blame.” The speed camera plan was in the Assembly's budget plan but did not make it to the final product. When approached on Sunday during budget votes Golden told the Gazette "I have no idea," when asked why speed cameras weren't part of the budget. He told The New York Times on Wednesday that other areas that use speed cameras have found them "unreliable." Republican spokesman Scott Reif issued a statement saying that, "no one has fought harder or longer" to promote safety in New York City.
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As I reported on Monday, a number of issues important to New York City were tossed out of state budget negotiations or barely dealt with including The DREAM Act, SUNY Downstate and speed cameras.
As it turns out, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not too pleased with the Legislature's failure to enact a bill that would allow the city to use up to 40 speed cameras in high-risk areas.
“Frankly, reckless and negligent are some senators blocking our ability to save lives of our kids with speed cameras,” Bloomberg told reporters today.
Bloomberg told reporters to give out the names of three State Senators who he held responsible for blocking the bill to parents who lose children in traffic accidents — Sens. Dean Skelos, Marty Golden and Simcha Felder.
"I have no idea!" Golden responded on Sunday when I asked him what happened to speed cameras in the budget.
The New York Post reported this morning that state Sen. Malcolm Smith will join the Independent Democratic Caucus the group that has pledged to help keep Republicans in charge of the chamber.
Smith was Senate Majority Leader in 2009 when Senate Republicans staged a coup with the help of two renegade Democrats, which left the Senate in chaos for weeks.
The Independent Democrats, created and led by Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein, supposedly left the Democratic confernece because of the infighting and absurdity that took place when Smith was "in control" with the Democrats. Smith, however, looks to be setting himself up for a run for New York City mayor on the Republican ticket.
Klein bolted the Democratic conference when Minority Leader John Sampson replaced him as head of the New York Senate Democratic Campaign Committee in 2010. Democrats lost a number of seats under Klein's watch in the 2010 elections. But Klein and his followers got some perks from Republicans in 2011 while rank-and-file Democrats saw their budgets and staffing slashed.
This year, Democrats have picked up at this moment an undetermined amount of seats â€” likely enough that if all Senate Democrats were on board they would be back in the majority.