Newly elected 33rd District City Councilmember Steve Levin is vowing to hit the ground running - or at least with his eyes open.
The 20-something political wunderkind’s district encompasses Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and parts of Park Slope.
“My job is to represent the entire community and I’m respectful of everybody in the community,” said Levin, responding to a question about the bike lane controversy in Williamsburg that pitted hipsters against Orthodox Jews.
“With regard to the bike lanes, at this point there’s been some resolution, but looking forward it’s very important we involve the community in decisions that affect them,” he said.
Levin seems all right with the current solution of moving the bike Lanes off of Bedford Avenue and on to Kent Avenue, but said the city should have met with the Hasidic community prior to installing the bike lane.
Another item that Levin wants to address is to put a little more diversity in his staff as he currently does not have any person of color or Hispanic working in his office.
The district includes a large Hispanic neighborhood a section in Williamsburg.
Levin said he has retained two people frompredecessor David Yassky’s office, but still needs to fill key positions including a chief of staff.
Looking ahead, Levin said he plans on addressing neighborhood issues such as the Brooklyn House of Detention and Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as ways to mitigate traffic issues.
Levin said he comes from a not-for-profit background and is configuring new ways that developers can work with non-profits.
“One paradigm that works is public/private partnerships in organizing and building up around common issues. There is a role for both non-profit and private development,” said Levin.
“I have certain concerns about over-development and what has happened to the communities I represent over the last years regarding development is not a 100 percent positive story,” he added.
On issues like Brooklyn Bridge Park, Levin remains adamant that no more housing be built on its footprint, but still hasn’t figured a way for the park to be self-sustaining.
“With creative thinking and the spirit of cooperation we will find ways to pay for park without housing. I don’t have any proposals yet, but my goal is to get there,” he said.