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Liu dismisses Yassky’s claim he has slowed down bike bill

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City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) flatly rejected claims by Councilman David Yassky, a Democratic opponent running for comptroller, that he has held up a bill sponsored by the Brooklyn councilman to stymie political gain.

Yassky has asserted that the Bicycle Access to Buildings Bill, a measure he sponsored that would require office buildings to let tenants store bikes in buildings, has been unfairly held up in the Council Transportation Committee, which Liu chairs.

“The bill was laid on the Council members’ desks. That’s done only when the staff believes a bill is going to come up for a vote in the coming week,” Yassky said. “And then, at the last minute, the committee chose not to bring it up for a vote.”

The Brooklyn comptroller candidate’s campaign has accused Liu of not moving the bill forward to prevent Yassky from touting it as an accomplishment prior to the Democratic primary in September.

“Election-year politics should not hold up this important piece of progressive legislation,” said Danny Kanner, Yassky’s campaign manager.

But Liu panned the complaints, contending the legislation — first introduced in 2003 with Liu as a co-sponsor — is not complete. He said the Transportation Committee last held a hearing on the bill in mid-June. He said some aspects of the bill, such as what city agency would enforce it, remained unclear and it did not come to a vote as a result.

“If anything, it makes it a little more complicated for me to insist that the legislation be drafted properly when I have to worry about my opponent in the comptroller race crying politics,” Liu said. “But at the end of the day, I can’t just go ahead with an unfinished bill.”

Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, said he was shocked to discover the bill had not come to a vote.

“This bill has really been put through the wringer.It’s hard to think of a more inclusive process that the bill could go through,” Norvell said. “This is how sausage gets made, its not perfect, but you compromise.”

Norvell said Transportation Alternatives met with Liu and is optimistic the bill will pass the Transportation Committee in July.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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