Councilmember Justin Brannan responded to a New York Post article about his driving record earlier this week, saying he takes responsibility for his several driving violations that were reported.
“Although I was driving much more than normal during the pandemic, there’s no excuse and I take full responsibility,” Brannan told the Post. “All of us who use cars need to slow down, be more aware, and do better to keep our streets safe. I continue to support expanding cameras in school zones, and will take this opportunity to improve my own behavior when I’m behind the wheel.”
However Brian Fox, the Republican candidate in the 43rd City Council district – which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach – used the story as a theme for a scathing and dramatic press conference held in front of Brannan’s office July 21.
City records showed that since 2015, school zone speed cameras have caught Brannan’s car motoring more than 10 miles per hour above the speed limit 16 times, the paper reported.
“This was not a councilman who made a mistake and learned from it,” Fox said. “This is a councilman who got caught speeding in school zones over and over again. If Councilman Brannan thought he was wrong, he wouldn’t have done it a second, third or 16th time. He clearly didn’t care about putting the neighborhood kids as well as other vulnerable citizens at risk when he proceeded to repeatedly break the laws of the city he swore to serve.”
Brannan has long advocated against speeding in the south Brooklyn area.
During a 68th Precinct Community Council meeting via Zoom in May, locals expressed their concerns about speeding in the area, specifically drag racing along Shore Road. Brannan, along with State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, had been in contact with the commanding officer for NYPD Highway Patrol, Inspector Nicole Papamichael, to ask the NYPD for increased enforcement on the streets of Bay Ridge and on the Belt Parkway during nighttime hours.
“It’s no secret that we have a reckless driving problem in the 68th Precinct that has gone unchecked for a very long time,” Brannan said at the time. “I am tired of hearing from families that have been terrorized and almost run over by these idiots. They drive around like they own the streets, and seem to think people are just obstacles in a video game.”
But Fox was not accepting Brannan’s apology.
“If the councilman refuses to act, it is confirming what so many New Yorkers already know and suspect … that there’s one set of rules for the political class and another set of rules for the rest of us,” Fox said.