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August 6, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Election Coverage

Schumer to endorse Steve Levin for Council on Friday

The Brooklyn Paper

The “machine candidate” just moved into high gear.

Steve Levin, who has racked up endorsements for his race to succeed Councilman David Yassky (D–Williamsburg), was be formally anointed by Sen. Charles Schumer at Borough Hall on Friday, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

“This is a very big deal,” said Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick), who is not only the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman, but also employs Levin has his chief of staff.

That relationship has encouraged Levin’s rivals to paint him as the “machine candidate,” but Lopez called The Brooklyn Paper on Thursday to challenge that.

“He’s his own man, which, I know, coming from me, on a call like this, doesn’t sound, you know…,” Lopez said. “But if you look at his endorsements, there are a lot of groups and people on his list that don’t like me.”

The Schumer endorsement is indeed just the latest for Levin, who has been tapped by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), the League of Conservation Voters, the United Federation of Teachers and DC37, and the Working Families Party.

By comparison, other candidates’ lists are less impressive.

Civil rights attorney Jo Anne Simon — the only woman in the seven-person race to represent the North Brooklyn waterfront and parts of DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope — has been endorsed by Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D–Sunset Park) and Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene) and a long list of lesser-known elected officials.

Former Yassky aide Evan Thies has been endorsed by a former “Jeopardy” champion, a Teamsters local, the Freelancers Union — and, perhaps more important, was named a “rising star” by City Hall, a political newspaper.

Other candidates include Ken Baer, Ken Diamondstone, Doug Biviano and Isaac Abraham. None has major endorsements.

Being endorsed by Schumer has become something of rite of passage for Brooklyn office-seekers. Last year, New York’s senior senator picked then-Councilman Mike McMahon to succeed Vito Fossella in Congress, and he also chose former staffer Daniel Squadron over incumbent state Sen. Marty Connor. Both candidates won handily.

It’s also worth noting that Levin is a relative of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), a political ally of Schumer’s in Washington.

On Friday, Biviano put out a statement lambasting the Schumer endorsement.

“Is Chuck Schumer popping Albany pills?” the statement asked. “If not, then why did he endorse machine candidate Steve Levin instead of putting his support behind single-payer health care?

“The reason Levin continues to pile up these farce endorsements is because [of] his position as Vito Lopez’s chief henchman,” the statement continued. “The people of the 33rd District deserve better.”

Updated 3:15 pm, August 7, 2009: Story was updated to add a comment from Doug Biviano.
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Democrat from Brooklyn says:
"Less impressive?"

For some of us in Brooklyn, there's little "less impressive" than an endorsement by Chuck Schumer, unindicted co-conspirator in the near-collapse of the world banking system and poster-boy for insider politics. OK, maybe an endorsement by Markowitz.

Last thing we need are more "impressive" machine officeholders.
Aug. 6, 2009, 3:56 pm
Bob from Greenpoint says:
This means big trouble for our district? I don’t think so!!! This Levin guy doesn’t even have a chance at all!!!
It’s about time for him to get a real job!! As long he is with Vito Lopez and company he will never be a successful person, the reason Schumer is endorsing Levine because he didn’t show up at many forms, debate, etc. people don’t like him at all!! We can’t trust him any more as a city councilman, so he needs as much support and endorsement and still trying to win, its not going to happen!!!
And buy the way he is very young with any experience just a puppet from his buss Lopez, we all say enough is enough!! Its time to take care of real business now is the time and will make sure that Lopez
And his company are stepping away after disappointing our community and other community’s!! Especially he is supporting sex abusers big time!!
Aug. 6, 2009, 3:56 pm
Sam Jacoby from Williamsburg says:
Issac Abraham is going to make it with a landslide anyways
Aug. 6, 2009, 5:25 pm
don from greenpoint says:
Oy vey!
Aug. 6, 2009, 5:40 pm
moshe from williamsburg says:
Issac Abraham is going to make it
issac is a community activist for over 40 years
and levin is a 22 year old guy with no major record
Aug. 6, 2009, 6:25 pm
Shulem D. from Williamsburg says:
I have eight kids and I don't think that 22 year old Steve Levin understands what it means, he does not deserve to be councilmember
Aug. 6, 2009, 7:50 pm
Shulem D. from Williamsburg says:
My Rabbi just told me that Steve Levin has no chance to win this race, so I told my Rabbi why is he rooting for him? so he told me that Vito Low-Pez threatened him so he has no choice.
Aug. 6, 2009, 7:52 pm
Shulem D. from Williamsburg says:
By the way my Rabbi is the famous Rabbi David Niederman of UJO
Aug. 6, 2009, 7:53 pm
Divide and Rule from Vito Low-PEZ says:
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, 7:56 pm
Bob from Bushwick says:
wow, is this what Low-pez really said, unbelievable what an antisemite.

now lets all call the office of Chuckey Schumer and ask him if he supports the statement made by this Low-life what an insult. now he became the Jew lover. let the entire Jewish Community Statewide retaliate and respond to Low-life and Chuckey.

He is using the UJO as his condom and when he finishes screwing, he will throw them away, cause all his friends that he trained and fed venom against the Jewish community are no longer affiliated with him.

Now he is trying to use the Broadway triangle as a band aid for all the pain that he caused.

I just read in a blog that there will be tapes coming out in the near future of speeches that he made in Trans Figuration Church at that time and many more, waiting to hear them.

Low-pez, since you are not showing up to almost 27% of the hearings that you have to be in Albany, and this little kid of yours has not shown up to almost 40% of the debates, what a great student, take a long vacation and have this kid carry your luggage.
Aug. 6, 2009, 8:20 pm
Community Reactivist from Brooklyn Heights says:
This is quid pro quo politics at its best!! Levin works for Vito Lopez, The Brooklyn Boss --head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. Lopez is a State Assemblyman whose district (and Levin's) barely brushes by the 33rd City Council District. And now Chuck Schumer endorses Levin. Of course, Schumer has made some good calls in the past -- Daniel Squadron was on his staff, and in a year Squadron has done more than the 30 year incumbent known as Marty Conner. And in the interest of full disclosure, Yassky was also a Schumer staffer. Schumer, like most politicians, is ambitious -- and I must confess I've considered him to be a pretty good senator. Presumably he wants to be Majority Leader of the Senate. So Chuck ingratiates himself with Sandy Levin. a long-time Michigan representative, and Carl Levin, a long time Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Need I mention that both of the legislators are related to Steve Levin? So, depending on how the primary goes in September, Vito Lopez will have a Councilman in the 33rd, and a Senator, or the Leader of the House, on his speed dial. Good for Vito, good for Chuck -- but good for Brooklyn??

Should our district have a councilman (Steve Levin) who doesn't know the district, lives in Albany 50% of the time, and can't be bothered to come to local debates? Rather than attending last week's debate, he went instead to an upstate meeting that was a referendum on Governor Patterson -- not a referendum on 33rd District issues. His unrelated political experience notwithstanding, Steve is not qualified to be our Councilperson. The Schumer endorsement has nothing to do with Steve Levin’s qualifications to be our Councilman. The true “machine politician” is the one carrying the heavy carpetbag under his arm. It’s full of the favor chips that he, Steve Levin, needs to feed The Brooklyn Machine.

Contrast this with Evan Thies, the 33rd district resident with years of experience IN THE 33rd DISTRICT, and in City Hall, under his belt. Thies doesn’t need to spend his political capital on favor chips, and can navigate the Council Chambers without a GPS. He actually attends debates and has spent years listening to our community’s concerns. His positions on our big issues are nuanced and well thought out. Thies has the experience, the record, the intellectual ability and the drive to be our councilman in the 33rd. Don’t mortgage your votes to pay someone else’s political debts. Vote for Thies.
Aug. 6, 2009, 8:56 pm
ken ryrate from brooklyn says:
aye wqay
Aug. 6, 2009, 9:52 pm
Sam from Park Slope says:
Sour grapes anyone?

Schumer knows Levin is the best candidate in this race, and so he endorsed him. Levin is smart, honest, and has a strong command of the issues.

The above posts read like rage filled rants by upset opponents and most people reading them will see them as such.
Aug. 6, 2009, 10:11 pm
Sam from Park Slope says:
Also, favor chips?
Aug. 6, 2009, 10:12 pm
Gino Italiano from Park Slope says:
This Levin guy should run in Michigan, he knows crap about Brooklyn.
Aug. 6, 2009, 10:30 pm
community reactivist from brooklyn heights says:
Levin may well be smart -- so are most of his potential constituents. Should all of them run for the office? Who in the 33rd knows him well enough to say if he's honest or knows our issues? Even if he is honest, he's been working for a man known for his power, not his transparency. Levin's a state politician, not a city one.

I am not a candidate, simply an informed citizen. If you don't like "favor chips" how about "I.O.U.s?" Same difference...
Aug. 6, 2009, 10:41 pm
Yankel Kahan from Nut Cracker says:
Low-pez, since you are not showing up to almost 27% of the hearings that you have to be in Albany,

and this little kid of yours has not shown up to almost 40% of the debates, what a great student, take a long vacation and have this kid carry your luggage.
Aug. 6, 2009, 10:46 pm
Skip Jackson from Brooklyn Heights says:
How come so much vitriol is being displayed when this young man is simply doing what all the other candidates are doing...exercising his right to run for office. Instead of this inane commentary, about Levin and "Boss" Lopez, why don't you all:

a. find out where he stands on the issues which you claim are so important to you but have barely mentioned
b. exercise your right and vote for the candidate of your choice
c. go out and knock on doors to help the candidate(s) you are obviously shilling for instead of spewing venom and regurgitated factoids
d. stfu - because you obviously know not of what you speak

The politics of personal destruction have no place in responsible honest discourse.
Aug. 7, 2009, 12:01 am
M from Williamsburg says:
I know Steve personally and he does not resemble any of those ridiculous comments above... 22 years old? i think he's closer to 30 people. Do you guys read anything before you post comments?

I also personally know he has lived in williamsburg, bushwick, and greenpt for the past 6 years and the entire time has spent more time and energy devoted to "local causes" than almost anyone i've encountered. He used to run the lead safe house program in bushwick/bedstuy that provided emergency housing for local residents who needed to evacuate unsafe living environments do to poisonous lead exposure... I think that is about as local a job as you could have in a community...

Other than that... i'm not sure how having years of experience inside the heart of local politics is not considered... well experience.

But anyways, its not even worth trying to inform some of the people who post here I guess. They would rather spew lies and go on tangents about vito lopez being the devil... or whatever instead of actually reaching out and learning about the candidates.

I know from doing so that if you really want a smart person who's heart is in the right place for your rep... than Steve would probably be your man.
Aug. 7, 2009, 2:33 am
Lou from Greenpoint says:
Yassky is a backstabber for not endorsing Thies.
Aug. 7, 2009, 3:16 am
steve from dumbo says:
m from williamsburg i fill your pain. we dont need a 27 year old kid who works for a dictator who dont have experience. he is just a puppet for the boss. he and vito should go back to bushwick in get a job
Aug. 7, 2009, 7:49 am
Sam Jacoby from Williamsburg says:
As I was just sworn in as new member on the community board # 1 I want to thank everyone and I pledge to work hard for all the people who live in District # 1 . I want to say that this issue on the triangle is becoming "Racial" with a big R its the white people against the black people.I say stop the non sense,bull,scare tactics, this is not the 60;s Everyone tries to scream louder and louder and louder, as my co-board memeber shimon weiser explained this is good for everyone and its for all the people ,,the black,the white ,the spanish,the polish,the afrikanish and the indians,,so everyone stop the bull
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:41 am
Naten from Greenpoint says:
Sam Jacoby from Williamsburg.. if you are a board member at community board 1. I would say being on the board you must watch your language; it’s not very professional to use this kind of words…
It’s a sham for us all that you are a member and representing us at the board!!! And by the way this wiser guy is just a big trouble maker just making some noise, and contently fighting with the people. I remember he was take out by the NYPD middle of a meeting, he is just a puppet from the UJO, lets don’t talk about it!!
Aug. 7, 2009, 12:24 pm
Democrat from Brooklyn says:
Is it me, or does Isaac Abraham's campaign consist primarily of his supporters posting comments to Brooklyn Paper articles about the primary race? Mr. Abraham is engaging on the stump, but some of the stuff that gets posted here is just silly.

@Skip Jackson,

"a. find out where he stands on the issues which you claim are so important to you but have barely mentioned?"

That's not so easy, since Steve Levin has skipped (no pun intended) just about every candidate's debate south of Williamsburg, and some of those, too. Perhaps he thinks he can win without running strongly in the southern part of the district, but I would think Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Brooklyn Heights residents would have liked to have laid eyes on the guy at least once before actually casting a vote for him.

And as for Vito and Chuck -- those are two endorsements that definitely DO NOT add to Mr. Levin's esteem or appeal IMHO.
Aug. 7, 2009, 1:29 pm
Community Reactivist from Brooklyn Heights says:
Not to get too repetitive, but I do not work for Evan Thies. Isn’t it possible that there are people who care about issues and are not on a payroll? As for the suggestions in one of the earlier posts, I’ve already done/am doing all that: knocking on doors, analyzing issues, etc.

Regarding the bile and vitriol, perhaps you’re referring to another post – I don’t know. My posts are about the Schumer endorsement, and are not intended to be a policy referendum. I’m just detailing the contacts between the politicians, using easily found information. I don’t malign Steve’s character, simply point out his lack of experience in most of the 33rd District and his non-attendance at debates. His own campaign literature tells us what Steve will fight for and not what he has done. This race is about the future of our neighborhoods in very difficult circumstances. My posts are fact-based. If you want political discourse to be all saccaharine sweetness, walk on over to Montague Street. You’ll have a choice between Haagen-Dazs and Hallmark.
Aug. 7, 2009, 1:36 pm from 33rd District says:
Levin is a carpetbagger. He moved into the 33rd sometime after November 2007. The fact is that he is just a puppet for Vito. The fact that his cousin and uncle are in Congress just proves that being a political animal runs in the family. The 33rd deserves a lot better than someone who is "fine" being identified as Vito Lopez's guy. I have lost count of the number of publications calling Lopez corrupt. Aside from Clarence Norman, he has done more than anybody to make a mockery of the judiciary in Brooklyn. Vito is pulling the strings and the 33rd will not stand for it.
Aug. 9, 2009, 12:15 am
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, 11:33 pm

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