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May 20, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Park Slope / Election Coverage

In the 39th District: Heyer Heyer pants on fire

The Brooklyn Paper

Four Democratic candidates for City Council rebuked their more conservative rival John Heyer for boycotting a debate in Park Slope on Tuesday night after he claimed it was “rigged” because one of the moderators was biased against him due to his supposed positions against gay marriage and abortion rights.

The pols, running to replace Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope), lowered the boom on Heyer for bailing on the event rather than defending his controversial views.

“It’s very problematic that John didn’t attend,” said Bob Zuckerman, the former director of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and the only openly gay candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination. “If you’re running for public office, you have to put your views out there.”

Josh Skaller, an IT director from Park Slope, added that he was “disappointed” that Heyer did not participate in the forum, organized by the Independent Neighborhood Democrats and Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.

“How can you represent a diverse district if you cannot stand before people to defend your views?” Skaller asked in a statement released after the debate.

But Heyer wasn’t exactly invisible.

Surrounded by family members and supporters, the 27-year-old part-time funeral director and full-time assistant to Borough President Markowitz protested outside the Gethsemane Church on Eighth Avenue.

“This has felt more like a grilling than a debate,” Heyer told The Brooklyn Paper. “I see this as a personal attack on my religiosity.”

His opposition to abortion, which comes from his Catholic faith, has been questioned at previous events, but exploded on Monday when IND President Kenn Lowy told The Brooklyn Paper that Heyer’s position on the hot-button social issues “calls into question his commitment to the separation of church and state.”

But Heyer said his abortion view would not “affect my ability to represent a district as diverse as this one,” because he would put his “personal beliefs aside.”

On marriage, Heyer supports civil unions for all couples, turning “marriage” into a religious ceremony “carrying no legal weight,” he said.

His opponents — Skaller, Zuckerman, Brad Lander, the director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, and Gary Reilly, a lawyer — all support gay marriage and are pro-choice.

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Mark Kolman from Carroll Gardens says:
False Impressions - Headlines as editorials

There is nothing in your article about City Council Candidate, John Heyer, to suggest that he is spreading untruths. To the contrary - any controversy surrounding his campaign derives from his refusal to ditch beliefs when they are inconvenient. Your headline, "Heyer, Heyer Pants on Fire," while cute, is inaccurate and misleading. But cute trumps journalistic integrity I guess.

The suggestion by his opponents that he avoids hard questioning is contradicted by the fact that he went out of the district to participate in a forum at the Stonewall Democratic Club. Just because an opponent says something, doesn't make it so.

By the way, I have been told that Kenn Lowy, the President of IND, says that you misquoted him. Who's lying?

I hope that you would try not to be so low. Go Heyer!
May 20, 2009, 2:29 pm
Carroll Gardener from Carroll Gardens says:
Your Headlines are completely misleading and untrue, your paper has totaly falsified information.
"Heyer bails on "rigged" debate, and
"John Heyer adbuptly dropping out of political forum" are both false and untrue. The fact is John Heyer had a press release sent out on Mon.
5/18/09, more than 24 hours before the forum, Heyer was quoted when the allegedly impartial moderator of a forum singles me out for attack, I say: "No thank you". Heyer respectfully said he would not attend.
Go Heyer !!!!!!! Go Heyer !!!!!!!
May 21, 2009, 1:12 pm
Remember the South Brooklyn Boys? from Carroll Gardens says:
The Brooklyn Paper failed to point out that a good number of Heyer's CG posse are also xenophobes, antisemites, and bigots.

They fought the battered women's shelter on Clinton Street because it brought in "those people", they bashed Jews at a community board meeting, and they refer to the kids that walk on the Place streets going between the train on Smith and the school on Henry Street by the n-word.

It was bad enough to hear that he hangs out with these people, calls them friends, and shares some of their views, but now that he himself is breeding I'm particularly afraid.
May 21, 2009, 5:33 pm

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