Doug Biviano: Emperor of the Air

We have been discussing amongst ourselves whether we would look at candidates beyond Steve Levin, Jo Anne Simon and Evan Thies.  The reason is simple.  We do not think that any of the other four candidates have any real viability: Isaac Abraham, Ken Baer, Doug Biviano or Ken Diamondstone.  Baer and Diamondstone have advanced some interesting ideas on development and the environment.  But none of the four seems to have the organization or fund raising to win.  Sorry to be so blunt.

We have decided though to take a closer look at Doug Biviano because he is the only candidate that has responded to us directly on our blog and elsewhere.  Biviano’s record of working on behalf of the 33rd District is basically nil.  We don’t say so necessarily by way of criticism.  He could still be a good candidate without any real record.  But he’s not.  His only direct political work has been two months as New York State coordinator for Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign.  There appears to be a small discrepancy in Biviano’s resume with respect to his work for Kucinich.  Biviano claims to have worked for Kucinich from December 2007 through February 2008 — three months. In fact, Kucinich actually abandoned his presidential campaign on January 24, 2008 after he failed to poll more than 2% in any contest.

Our issue with Biviano is not his lack of political experience or work on behalf of the 33rd.  Everyone needs to start somewhere.  Rather, it is the fact that he resorts to platitudes and attacks instead of a real understanding of the issues facing the 33rd District.  Looking at his campaign website’s “Big Ideas” page shows that he has no real plans or concrete legislative agenda if elected to the Council.  Rather, he is the “Emperor of the Air” focused on buzz words without any substance or plan like the following:

  • Support union jobs and livable wages.
  • Create tax incentives and recruitment programs to bring back industry to NYC.
  • Lobby Albany and Washington for more funds to keep our infrastructure safe and in good service instead of expanding wars.
  • Lobby Albany in support of the LGBT Community, Same-sex Marriage and the economic opportunity for NYC in leading the way.
  • Green NYC buildings.
  • Constantly remind everyone what’s really at stake with affordable housing.
  • Repeal rent decontrol.
  • Develop great teachers and supportive parents.
  • Great pay and city benefits for great teachers.
  • Ending the Middle School nightmare and other disincentives of public schools.
  • More ball fields for Downtown Brooklyn schools.
  • Cut military budgets not school budgets.
  • CUNY school-fare not warfare.
  • No fare hikes!
  • Transit-fare not warfare.
  • Bail out people getting to work and their favorite places.
  • Put a toll on war budgets.
  • No service cuts or overcrowding.
  • MTA Make-over (reform from “top to bottom”).
  • Designate Brooklyn Bridge Park a park and NYC control.

We also have an issue with Biviano’s main campaign tactic — attacking his fellow candidates.  Biviano’s main targets have been Levin, Simon and Thies.  He feels that he needs to try to tear down the three front runners to have any chance.  (That’s our job.  Not his.)  To do this, he has adopted a “Rage Against the Machine” approach.  But in truth, it only works for Levin — “Vito Lopez’s padawan.”  Simon may be an ineffective reformer and just another a politician.  She may also have a record of going along with Lopez’s County Committee most of the time.  But she is not the Machine’s horse in this race.  Therefore, to call her part of the Machine is inaccurate.  Similarly, Thies is not the Machine’s candidate.  In fact, he has been screwed over by the Machine because Lopez has required Yassky to not endorse Thies in return for the County supporting Yassky’s comptroller bid.

It is easy for Biviano to throw these rocks at the front runners.  He has nothing to lose.  For reasons that we will get into later, we think that a vote for him or the other also rans puts the District at risk of a Machine victory for Levin.  That concern aside, Biviano disappoints.  He is a fresh face.  He has a great wife and family.  But his mastery of the issues is lacking and his negative approach to campaigning has been disappointing.

Real Reform Brooklyn


8 responses to “Doug Biviano: Emperor of the Air

  1. We apologize that our reform message is apparently getting a little too real for you. We’d be happy to discuss issues with you any time and any place, our office door is always open. But the fact is this election is not about promises and issues we generally agree on, it’s about the character of the people who would represent us for the next four years. It’s about who will actually have the backbone and independence from special interests to stand up and enact the reform that all the candidates claim in this race claim on paper to support.

    There is simply nothing wrong, or remotely “negative” as you assert, in drawing contrasts and putting facts before the voters. That’s what a campaign is about. And the fact is, your show pony Evan Thies was at the table in 2005 helping negotiate the same empty promises he likes to decry now in hindsight that have led to so many empty buildings in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. And the fact is that he resigned from CB1 at a politically convenient time to avoid looking weak against Vito. The claim that making these facts accessible to voters is somehow a negative tactic is a disingenuous one at best.

    But hey, I guess it’s easier to be disingenuous when you throw YOUR rocks while hiding behind a computer screen.

    Wilson F. Karaman
    Campaign Adviser
    Doug Biviano for Brooklyn

    • realreformbrooklyn


      We have voted you best comment to date. Congratulations. But you are incorrect that Thies is our “show pony.” Although we love the accusation. “Show pony”…that’s a good one.

      Wait for our upcoming piece on Mandatory Inclusionary zoning. Of course, Thies wears the mantle of reform more securely that Biviano after the Citizens Union endorsement. We think that Thies should be humbled by the endorsement.

      Also, If you aren’t going negative, then why are you blaming him on Greenpoint/Williamsburg and Broadway Triangle? Perhaps you need to reform your argument. That said, Biviano (nor Diamondstone etc.) even bothered to show up to testify at the CB1 or Borough President ULURP hearings on Broadway Triangle. Diamondstone surely knows he could have done so. Biviano may not be as familiar with ULURP. Whatever the case, your show pony needs to put his money where his mouth is. As Yogi Berra said, showing up is 90% of the game.

      Keeping It Real (and being realistic)

  2. Won’t let the people see my comment, tsk tsk…

    Wha’ppen to the glory of reform and transparency, dog? Can’t handle the noise when someone barks back?

    • realreformbrooklyn

      Be patient, Wilson. Say ohmmmmmmm.

      Real Reform Brooklyn

      • See? That wasn’t so bad…working together we “reformed” how my comment didn’t post. That’s how the Biviano camp rolls, baby. Building bridges and getting things done…

        We’re not blaming Thies for B’way Triangle at all, As you note, that CB is stacked up plenty high for Vito, and his vote as such would not have swung the balance. However it is an emblematic shirking of responsibility to the community that he quit when he did, and a show of arrogance to claim, as he did in a recent debate, that he was “too busy” to stay on and vote.

        We raise the example to point out that leadership is not a birthright, but rather requires seizing opportunities to stand up and say “no, this isn’t right” – particularly when you’ve got a platform already. Thies could’ve used the vote to draw a line in the sand and publicly stand up and condemn how business is done by the corrupt Vito machine, and he slunk away for some “me time” on the campaign trail instead. We think that is an entirely relevant window into his character that the voters of this district should be aware of.

        Finally, I’d like to thank the Academy for the “Best Comment” award…I am truly humbled.

        Realer than real.

      • realreformbrooklyn

        You need to take some time off, WIlson. We think that the heat may be getting to you.


  3. Community Reactivist

    Get a grip on reality please Wilson et al. Have you ever been on a CB, much less a committee chair?? It involves 10+ hours/month in regularly scheduled meetings a month not including public hearings neighborhood mtgs and a mountain of paper to review. Plus I believe that CB1 is very tough — only 1 absence/year allowed or you’re out!! This includes weddings, death in family, etc. No wonder the average age of a CB member is 50+. What’s your volunteer community service record ?

    • realreformbrooklyn

      Actually, it is 3 absences before you are removed. But Thies was chair of the CB1 Environmental Committee, which presents issues related to by far the largest conglomeration of heavy industrial uses and pending permit applications in the District.

      Real Reform Brooklyn

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