Let's recognize Erin Durkin's fine reporting at The Daily News on the 33rd District.
Loads of candidates vie for 2 Brooklyn Council seats vacated by seekers of higher office
BY Erin Durkin DAILY NEWS WRITER
Thursday, September 3rd 2009, 4:00 AM
Sunshine for NewsPictured are the candidates running for the Brooklyn City Council seat in District 33 vacated by David Yassky. Left to right-Evan Thies, Isaac Abraham, Jo Anne Simon, Doug Biviano, Ken Diamondstone, Stephen Levin.
ON SEPT. 15, Brooklynites go to the polls for city primary elections.
Here's a look at two free-for-all races for open seats on the City Council. 33rd Council District
A controversial development project and the long shadow of Brooklyn's political boss have dominated debate in the crowded race for Controller candidate David Yassky's seat in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Brooklyn Heights.
Stephen Levin, former chief of staff to Assemblyman Vito Lopez, is the only candidate to back the city's plan for housing at Williamsburg's Broadway Triangle, which the Council will vote on in the coming months.
"I'm excited to see that there's a plan there to build affordable housing and to build it sooner rather than later. On the merits, it's a good plan," Levin said.
But opponents charge two well-connected groups were picked to build there without an open bidding process. "That kind of rigging of the process is despicable," said Evan Thies, a former Yassky aide.
Thies and another leading candidate, district leader Jo Anne Simon, paint Levin as an arm of the borough's powerful Democratic machine.
"His ties to (Democratic boss) Vito Lopez are the only reason he's in this race," Simon said.
Lopez downplayed his role in the race, saying he hasn't even formally endorsed Levin. But Hasidic activist Isaac Abraham, who may shave off a chunk of that group's vote from Levin, said Lopez asked him not to run.
Rounding out the field are building superintendent and engineer Doug Biviano, political activist Ken Diamondstone, and environmentalist Ken Baer.
Biviano has made health care his central issue - and launched increasingly sharp attacks on all three front runners. Diamondstone, too, is claiming the mantle of the "anti-organization" candidate, branding his opponents "enablers."