Biv, you whack! Longshot candidate goes ballistic on ‘machine’ pols

The Brooklyn Paper
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The organizers of Tuesday’s 33rd City Council District debate dubbed their Williamsburg forum a “Verbal Smackdown,” but only one of the hopefuls took that name literally.

The vociferous upstart and Brooklyn Heights resident Doug Biviano attacked front-running candidates Jo Anne Simon, Evan Thies, and Steve Levin — who was not even at the debate, his fourth such absence during the campaign — for being “machine politicians” who were complicit in the controversial 2005 rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint that has not resulted in promised parkland and affordable housing.

“They were there at the table with the city — they were cutting deals,” said Biviano, who went straight at his rivals from to the first question. “They are part of the Democratic machine. They never stood up.

“Are you going to be a part of the Thies, Levin, Simon machine?” he continued at the July 29 debate, organized by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth at the Williamsburg Northside Preschool on N. Fifth Street. “I’m going to lead. I’m going to do something different.”

Biviano — a civil engineer, building superintendent, and father of three — assaulted Thies and Levin for their resumes, too. Thies was chief of staff for Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights), while Levin remains chief of staff to powerful Democratic Party boss and Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick).

Biviano even demanded that Lopez step down from his role as head of the Kings County Democratic party.

Thies — a Williamsburg resident and community activist campaigning heavily on a more inclusive rezoning procedure he calls “360-degree zoning” — fired back.

“Doug, there are a lot of people in this room who worked very hard for that rezoning,” he responded. “It’s disgraceful you would say that.”

Biviano did not back down. “What’s disgraceful is the empty buildings — and you were the architect!” he said, taunting Thies for stepping down from his role on the Community Board 1 before the controversial vote on the residential rezoning of the Broadway Triangle in Williamsburg, a rezoning that has the backing of Levin and the Lopez machine.

After the debate, Thies downplayed another allegation, namely that he resigned from his volunteer position because he supported the rezoning or was afraid to oppose Lopez. Theis said that he was too busy with his campaign to fulfill his CB1 duties.

“It was just bizarre,” said Thies on Biviano’s strategy. “At the first two debates, he seemed like a nice, earnest guy. But he turned out to be a regular politician.”

Biviano also accused Simon of inaction during her tenure as a Democratic District Leader — an allegation that Simon wouldn’t let stand.

“Do you know what a district leader does? She works with her community,” responded Simon, a frontrunner who is also a civil rights attorney. “I have not been working for an elected official or pulling strings anywhere.”

Levin, who skipped the debate in order to take part in an upstate labor conference, wasn’t able to immediately shoot down Biviano’s assertion that he was a “backroom coward.”

Reached by phone, the Council hopeful who has racked up more endorsements than Lebron James, told The Brooklyn Paper that he wouldn’t delve into name-calling.

“We’re going to keep it positive,” said Levin, who called the labor gathering “a very significant policy meeting regarding affordable housing and the living wage.”

Though they mostly stayed out of the fracas, candidates Isaac Abraham, Ken Baer, and Ken Diamondstone each outlined their plans for the district.

Abraham, a spokesman and activist in South Williamsburg’s Hassidic community, suggested the city delve into an untapped Department of Housing Preservation and Development fund to quickly create more units of affordable housing, and urged the federal government to bail out stalled development projects.

Baer, a longtime environmentalist, proposed downzoning of sections of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfront that were upzoned just four years ago and adding more cars to the G train to combat overcrowding.

Diamondstone, a longtime political activist, urged the city to purchase foreclosed condo buildings and turn them into affordable housing, and promised to reform the Council.

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Bob from Bushwick says:
Doug Biviano did an excellent job!! We need more people like him, we all don’t like Vito Lopez and his co worker Stephan Levine, he is a youngster with any experience what so ever, just a puppet from his buss Lopez!! Didn’t show up 4 times at debates, so as councilmen we need somebody to show up and support
All parts of Brooklyn, we call him a big looser!!!!! We all vote for anybody except Levine!!!!
July 29, 2009, 11:27 am
Jim from Greenpoint says:
Its sounds like Stephen Levine is looking for attention the press and the people don’t like him at all so he is trying to get the attention by not showing up at all at the last four debates, if he is not a caring person we all advise him get your self a real job maybe in the future it will work, he is a very young men with any expertise,
July 29, 2009, 12:43 pm
tara from greenpoint says:
So Evan Thies decides he is "too busy" to fulfill his CB1 duties - he couldn't have waited a couple more days to resign? He insists he opposes the Broadway Triangle plans but totally blew off the one chance he had to offer a NO vote against it, at the CB1 meeting. His resignation created a vacancy filled by a "yes" voter. Thies is no "community activist" otherwise he would have given it one more lousy week and taken a stand. Coward.
July 29, 2009, 1:47 pm
Mitch from Greenpoint says:
Tara.. You have a very strong point! I wish him all the best, he sounds to be a very nice person but he is not for this Job at the time being…
July 29, 2009, 1:57 pm
jill from Brooklyn Hights says:
WOW... This Isaac Abraham sounds to be a strong and powerful candidate I like his ideas, since he is an activist for many years, he is still involved with everything like environmental, transportation, housing, health care, cleaning land fields, crime, Etc. he knows in and out how to salve problems, , I think he his the right person for the job,
July 29, 2009, 2:18 pm
Rolf Carle from Greenpoint says:
If Evan Thies resigned From the community Board because he was, "too busy with his campaign to fulfill his CB1 duties" We must question if he is capable of fulfilling his duties as a NYC Council member and the busy schedule that goes along with the job. The community board requires a member to attend the general meeting only once a month for the approximate duration of about 3 hours. A Community Board committee chairperson should (most shamelessly don't) also hold one monthly public meeting, also only once a month for 3 hours maximum. His early Palin-istic (as in Sarah) early resignation is shameful especially with all the environmental issues recently forced upon our community. OK...the Palin remark was uncalled for but thats payback to Evan for always calling me a "bad ass"!
July 29, 2009, 2:35 pm
billy from dumbo says:
why sould levin show up he isn't ronning.vito has to show up for debates he is ronning for the council seat
July 30, 2009, 5:25 am
Ghost Writer says:
New News Have you heard, New news from within. True leader! 52 assembly District leader has been faking signatures on republication petition. Can you believe it? These petitions were carrying the District Attorney of Brooklyn as a candidate. What is going on with these City, I am starting not to even say I'm from this great city we all call home! I feel Washington should jump into all these problems and take control? What do you feel? Our forefathers fought endlessly for these rights to even run for officer and have people who represent other people. What are we telling our children, that it's ok to rob other peoples work, or cheat to get where we want to be. I will not stand for this and you shouldn't either. I am the Ghost Writer, my work is 100% true and From very good sources. I ask you all to speak out, you are the one in control. Ghost Writer out.

"""" That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. """ From The Declaration of Independence
July 30, 2009, 7:26 am
johnny from park slope says:
isaac abraham is one who that has a campaign that works hard to have comments written each time in a hard working way. This Stefano Levine is maybe nice guy, but is he a good City to live in? Biviano did make a good point, we should support Isaac Abraham as the candidate with the most vision for a better understanding!
July 30, 2009, 7:29 am
Carol from Brooklyn Hights says:
Johnny… your point is loud and clear, we need somebody who knows the issues and having solutions for all problems we have in our district, the perfect person for the job will be Isaac Abraham, He has the connection already for the last 35 years, he is a big fighter! Isaac keep saying “if its ant right we all stand up and fight” that’s the person we all need for the next councilmen at the33rd district, so lets make it happen its all for the better!!!
July 30, 2009, 3:44 pm
July 31, 2009, 4:23 pm
Eddy from Willamsburg says:
Bob.. I feel your pain unfortunately after this weeks debate Isaac Abraham in the polls is very popular and strong, some of the candidates our considering going with Isaac’s team, by the way Isaac Abraham was a member at Community Board 1 long time ago before you came from London/England, people like you are destroying meetings many times and creating enemies etc. and by the way do some spell checking before you post!!!! You’re spelling sucks!!!
July 31, 2009, 5:12 pm
Melvin from Park Slope says:
Doud Biviano is a joke the only question is will he or Ken Baer finish in last place?

Levin is a wholly owned subsidary of Vito "the boss" Lopez.

Diamondstone is just one big ass mess. He's run for Congress, City Council, State Senate, Chair of CB2 and now Council again. Enough already loser.

Thies is an operator like Yassky.

Simon may be a wonkish white woman but she is honest and she's getting my vote!
Aug. 2, 2009, 8:37 pm
Trip from Park Slope says:
Since when did wonkish become a euphamism for lifeless?
Aug. 2, 2009, 9:03 pm
Vito LOW - pez from Bushwick says:
Hello Everyone,

I am the BOSS and I will show you who rules,

Divide and Rule

A last-minute campaign mailing is accusing Hasidic Jews and other "powerful interests" of opposing City Council member Diana Reyna . . . Vito Lopez sent out a letter to voters in the mostly Hispanic section of the Brooklyn district warning that their future is at stake because "many powerful interests, like the real-estate industry and the Hasidim community . . ." Fernando Ferrer compared the "disgusting" letter to the racially tinged campaign against him in the 2001 mayor's race" - NY Post, 9/9/03

Is this the man you can trust? the venom and hatred that he has spread and spoke against the Jewish Community for over 20 years, even Councilwomen Diana Reyna who he supported in this letter, is no longer affiliated with him.

We in the Jewish Community are not so stupid to go to bed with Vito Low-pez, the people and housing agenda that he supports.

The Jewish Community for a Better Williamsburg
Aug. 6, 2009, 9:49 pm
Peter Johnson from Park Slope says:
New news in Brooklyn politics., Jerry O’Brian is still trying to get Community leader, a man who is speaking on behalf of the people Candidate for the City Council District 39 George Smith off the board “this man just won’t give up, he won’t let the people down, I see him keep on trying”, It was old hand Jerry O’Brian vs. George Smith in Court today. Let’s guess who won, George Smith won. George Smith. I don’t know why people keep on trying to get him off; I feel park slope needs Change, someone who will speak for the people. Why not have a person who has organized 100’s of City events and dozens of charity events for a ton of different causes around NY area represent the great people of his district. Why not have a person who was born and raised in the district represent it.
Aug. 10, 2009, 10:35 pm
Real Reform Brooklyn from 33rd Distict says:
Thies leaving CB1 before the Broadway Triangle vote? We think that issue is a red herring. The healthy majority of CB1 is controlled by UJO’s Rabbi Niederman and people who answer to Vito Lopez. For example, the new chair, Christopher Olechowski, runs a social services agency providing home-based nursing to the elderly that thrives on State money. (Sound remotely familiar to Ridgewood Bushwick?) Bottom Line: Thies stepping down from CB1 did not make any difference. The vote was 23-12. The votes were in the bag for Broadway Triangle and there was nothing Thies could do to stop that train. Thies stated his opposition to Broadway Triangle openly, publicly and repeatedly. Is it really legitimate to criticize him for not staying around long enough to grandstand and showboat the issue when his vote did not matter? We think not. Had he done so, he probably would have just been criticized for doing to advance his campaign. A no-win situation if you ask us. It is also interesting to note that no candidates for the 33rd District showed up to give public testimony against Broadway Triangle either before the Community Board or before the Borough President. We would not expect Levin to have done so. But Simon, Biviano, etc.? People who live in glass rezonings shouldn’t throw stones.


Keeping It Real
Aug. 17, 2009, 6:08 pm

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