Helen Rosenthal Zooms While Driving, Backlash Ensues

Distracted driving leads to preventable deaths, yet UWS City Council Member Helen Rosenthal chose to be on video for a Zoom call while driving around the UWS. When she reached the campaign event for mayoral hopeful Maya Wiley, which was only 5 blocks from her home, she told Politico’s health care reporter Amanda Eisenberg, that she should have walked.

“This is what privilege looks like. While the rest of us plebes walk or take the subway, our staunch progressive Helen drives her car to appointments. But if you need her help, call her office,” said Ellen Singer Shell, a resident of the Upper West Side.

It was clear from the video that Rosenthal was glancing back and forth between the camera and the road as she discussed reducing class sizes in schools.

Here’s the video (via NY Post):

According to Streetsblog, the license plate of the car Rosenthal was driving has had 62 tickets issued to it since 2013. These infractions include speeding, running a red light, and speeding in school zones. We placed a call to the 33rd police precinct to see if this new incident would be added to the politicians record.

“We cannot issue a summons for a driving infraction we did not see happen, even if it’s on video,” a representative from the 33rd precinct said. When pressed, they said they would follow up on video evidence if a felony was committed, but not for a violation of this type.

Lisa Orman of StreetopiaUWS told Streesblog, that “naming streets for our dead children and seniors, people who were killed precisely because of distracted driving, is not what makes a leader. True leaders understand their responsibility to keeping everyone safe and leading by example.”

On the Upper West Side, where only about 20 percent of residents own cars, it seems like Rosenthal’s Zoom incident has really hit a nerve.

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