Marty Golden: I’m Sorry I Speed So Much, But I Swear I Support Speed Cameras

NY1’s Josh Robin did something no one else could do: He got State Senator Marty Golden to apologize for being such a bad driver. He also caught Golden telling more than a few whoppers on street safety issues.

In Thursday night’s debate between the eight-term incumbent and his Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes, moderator Robin asked Golden about his mixed record on speed camera legislation, which Golden has long claimed to support despite actively working against speed cameras with his own bill.

“You have long resisted speed cameras at schools,” Robin said. “Only when New Yorkers protested recently did you reverse yourself. At the same time, you’ve racked up numerous driving violations, including for speeding near schools. What do you say to your critics who believe that your personal driving records shows a hostility to those who aren’t in a car, who are walking and cyclists?”

Here’s Golden’s answer, in full, with our fact check below.

Obviously I had to vote for the first bill that allowed those cameras to exist in the first place. So I wasn’t against them then. I’m on the bill now for additional speed cameras. And yes, you’re right. Were there a number of summonses? Yes, I have a number of people who drive my car, but guess what, it’s still my car. [I’m] still responsible and one summons is too many. So I do apologize for that. But as far as standing in the way of speed cameras? Not true. We were there the first time. And two bills are there right now. One to give the original cameras the ability to go forward … and one to add additional [cameras].

Fact check:

Golden did vote for the bill that created the city’s school zone speed cameras four years ago. But…

  1. Golden initially opposed speed cameras. He eventually supported the bill to create 140 — but it was a watered-down version of a bill that initially sought 700 such cameras.
  2. Golden says he supported the 2018 bill that would have reauthorized and doubled the number of speed cameras in New York City. But after passing the Assembly, the bill was never taken up in the GOP controlled Senate — and Golden was widely criticized as being the reason that his conference never acted to reauthorize the existing 140 speed cameras, let alone double them.
  3. As the Senate failed to reauthorize the cameras, Golden authored a bill that would allow speed cameras to continue for just six months, with their revenue set aside to install more stop lights around schools — despite research that shows that traffic signals increase speeding.
  4. Golden’s car has been caught on camera speeding in school zones 14 times since 2014, putting him in the top three percent of recidivists in the city.
  5. It is impossible to fact check the sincerity of his apology. It is, however, a fact that Golden rung up three of his dozen-plus speeding tickets in 2018 — in the midst of the debate over reauthorizing the cameras.
  6. Golden did not answer the part of Robin’s question about what he says to “critics who believe that your personal driving records shows a hostility to those who aren’t in a car.” We do know, however, that Golden is personally hostile to at least one cyclist, impersonating a police officer in an apparent road rage incident late last year. He has also called for pedestrians to be barred from crossing some intersections so that drivers are not slowed down by them. We also know that Golden once ran over a senior citizen in a crosswalk, and the lady died several months later, having never left the hospital.

One other fact check is worth doing.

Later, in a lightning-round question, Golden was asked “Have you ever ridden a bike in a bike in a bike lane?” His answer: “Yes.”

That answer seemingly contradicts Golden’s answer to Streetsblog’s candidate questionnaire. We asked Golden, “How often do you bike to the office?”

Golden’s answer? “Never. The injuries that caused me to retire from the New York City Police Department make it difficult for me to ride a bike.”

It should be pointed out that the injuries Golden cited above did not prevent him from jumping out of an airplane over the summer, as the Daily News reported.