Category Archives: Steve Levin

Steve Levin: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Hate Atlantic Yards

Levin

Smiling or Smirking?

We have been generating quite the buzz around the District.  A posted comment claims that we are working for Isaac Abraham.  Doug Biviano published a polemic accusing us of being shills for the machine.  He also believes that we are not real reformers because we focus on actual facts and believe that a City Council rep. should actually advance policies and legislation that are the purview of the Council.  All of the above are wrong on Abraham, Theis and no commitment to real reform.

With that said, we think it only fair to turn back to Steve Levin and his relationship to Atlantic Yards.  If Jo Anne Simon can be accused of conciliation (BrooklynSpeaks) and inaction (not helping with the legal fight), Levin’s record is one of collusion and now (conveniently) religious conversion.

It all goes back to 2007 when Levin was Vito Lopez’s Chief of Staff. The District needs to be reminded about it now.  (Some would say it is earlier in the fall of 2006 when Vito Lopez received a total of $6,200 in campaign contributions from Michael Ratner and his wife.  Lopez was facing a non-contest primary.  Michael Rather is a bit of a sacred cow because of his great work at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  But we will just leave it there.)  In June 2007,  however, Lopez oversaw final, final negotiations of the revised 421-a program.  He was literally designated by Assembly Speaker Silver and now-indicted Sentate Leader Joe Bruno to hammer out the finishing touches on deal with New York Real Estate Board of New York executive Steven Spinola.  The 421-a revision added to the exclusion area where developers would not get a tax break for building market-rate housing without including affordable units  Unless, of course, you are Vito Lopez’s friend Bruce Ratner.  Specifically, when the bill was being finalized, Lopez slipped in wording specifically tailored for Ratner.  The language gave an estimated minimum of $100 million in real estate tax exemptions and as much as $170 million for the market-rate condos.  The deal also provided no obligation to build affordable housing in Atlantic Yard condominium buildings, which added again to Ratner’s bottom line.

Levin has now supposedly professed found religion by opposing the project.  But we seriously question his conversion given the sell out he presided over as Vito Lopez’s Chief of Staff.

Steve Levin Vito’s Guy – “I think that’s fine”

Vito and His Boy

Veni Vedi Vito

In one of the more chilling exchanges of the race for the 33rd, Steve Levin said that he was fine with being identified as Vito Lopez’s guy in the ring.  When Levin was identified in an interview as “Vito’s Guy” and “the machine candidate”, he said flat out that “I think that’s fine.”

Now lets break that down and think about it.  Levin is openly and willingly embracing the fact that he is the machine candidate.  There is not the slightest pretense of his being a progressive or a reformer.  Not his interest.  This fits into an overall pattern of opportunism that has come to define his candidacy.  He moved several blocks into the district sometime after November 2007 so he could announce his intention to run by February 2008.  Some people think that his move is not a big deal.  But we think that it displays a calculated decision, made in conjunction with his boss who also has issues about living in the district he represents.  For those who think that it is okay for Levin to move and immediately announce that he wants to represent us, why doesn’t he stay where he was living and run against Diana Reyna — where Vito is running another machine candidate.  It is happening because Vito wants to expand his power into Brownstone Brooklyn — plain and simple.

And that gets us back to Levin saying “I think that’s fine.”  What else is going to be fine?  No pay jobs for relatives?  Keeping quality judges off the bench because of petty personal squabbles?  Watering down legislation to protect pedophile priests?  Cutting the community out of any say on what happens with Broadway Triangle?  Allowing $45 million sweetheart deals to Vito?  Read more.

Levin has also said that “working in [Lopez's] office was very instructive about how to use the levers of government.” That is what worries us. That what you learned will just keep the status quo of a rank smell in Brooklyn.

Steve Levin & Carpetbagging

So here is another one for the books.  According to voter registration records, Steve Levin was not living in the 33rd District until sometime after November 6, 2007.  Why do we know that?  Because his voter registration records show that he voted out of the district at his prior East Williamsburg address at 12 Morgan Avenue, which is in the 34th District represented by City Councilwoman Diana Reyna.  The earliest record of him being in the district is March 2008.  Whatever the case (November 2007 or March 2008), he has lived in the 33rd District for less than two years before running for the City Council.  Not that this should come as much of a surprise.  Levin’s mentor, Vito Lopez, has been accused of not living in the district that he represents.  It is pretty remarkable though because, according to the Daily News, Levin was considering a run for the 33rd by as early as February 2008.

What does this all mean?  Simple.  Levin has to vote where he is a resident.  On November 6, 2007, he is still legally declared a resident of 12 Morgan Avenue, which is at the intersection of Flushing Avenue and Morgan.  It is in the 34th City Council District, i.e., not the 33rd District.  By March 2008, he has his legal residence listed at 576 Morgan Avenue, Apartment 3L, within the 33rd District.  Therefore, even assuming that Levin moved the day after he voted on November 7, 2007, he lived in the 33rd District for three months before deciding that he was the best person to represent us in the City Council.  That is not only chutzpah…it is carpetbagging, plain and simple.  The 33rd deserves way better.

Vito Backs Gillenbrand…Schumer Backs Levin…Same Story

Ahhhh, Vito....

Ahhhh, Vito....

You would think that Vito’s timing would be more subtle. But, of course, it wasn’t. A mere few minutes after Sen. Chuck “NeoCon” Schumer backed Vito’s lackey Steve Levin, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney backed off a challenge to Senator Kirsten Gillenbrand. Does Schumer really believe that Levin is the best person for the 33rd District? No! The back story is that Schumer has backed Gillenrbrand for her U.S. Senate bid. With Governor Patterson on life support, Schumer wants Vito in his camp. Vito smelling an opening backed Maloney. Then the backroom dealing got started. Schumer agreed to back Levin if Vito would back off Maloney. As quick as you can say “Quid Pro Quo” or “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, the deal got done and Schumer was out in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall with an anemic gathering of other Vito lackeys cheering the nuptials. Levin gave Schumer a verbal proctological exam that even embarrassed the Senator. Watch it here on the Brooklyn Heights Blog (the only source covering the event).

Welcome to Real Reform

With the 33rd Council District primary just around the corner, we thought that the public should get a little dose of reality about candiate Steve Levin.  Real Reform Brooklyn will try to update you every day about his campaign so that you can make an informed decision about what he represents for Brooklyn politics.  Let’s face it, we all love this place.  We all want it, and our neighbors to do well, what you need to decide is whether Vito Lopez’s chielf of staff is the best person to become the 33rd District’s next representative to the City Council.  Ok there, we said it.  The issue is really Vito Lopez.  Is Steve Levin just a Lopez surrogate expanding the assemblyman’s reach into Brownstone Brooklyn?  Over the coming days, we will let the record speak for itself.  Then you can decide.