City Council Candidate Biviano Sets Up Shop at Montague and Hicks

Council candidate and Heights resident Doug Biviano, along with a bevy of helpers, spent yesterday afternoon in front of his soon-to-beherdcampaign headquarters in the former Red Blue Rose space at Montague and Hicks streets, collecting signatures for his petition to be put on the ballot for the 33rd Council District. The colorful, hand-painted seashells on the table, bearing the message “Biv for Brooklyn”, were given to supporters.

There’s more about Biviano here.

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  • Jerry

    I ran into Biviano while he was petitioning yesterday, seemed like a very passionate guy. He made a compelling argument about healthcare reform that surprised me, because city council candidates don’t usually talk about that.

  • Monty

    They don’t talk about it because it several levels above their jurisdiction. His website says he opposes the Iraq War which is great, but also not really the purview of municipal government. It also says he was an organizer for the Kucinich campaign, so that gives you an idea of where he is coming from.

  • Andrew Porter


  • Monty

    No, New York. It was for his presidential campaign.

  • HEO

    BTW, the shop that was there before was Blue Rose, not Red Rose.

  • Claude Scales

    Thanks, HEO. How soon we forget. I had it confused with my wife’s favorite brand of tea.

  • Doug Biviano

    Please come by and chat.

    Healthcare is under the purview of municipal government. In fact, does HHC ring a bell? They spend about $5.4 billion per year. The city provides healthcare for many including benefits to our city employees.

    But most importantly, 400,000 Brooklynites don’t have health insurance (this number comes from Marty Markowitz’s website, including so many hardworking middle income wage earners. Fifty percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical bills yet seventy-five percent of this fifty percent actually had private “for-profit” health insurance. Go figure. With these kinds of statistics, healthcare does fall under the City Charter of “…council shall have power to adapt local laws … for the preservation of public health, comfort, peace and prosperity of the city and its inhabitants…” Furthermore, the economic burden of businesses providing health insurance is simply bad for business, unsustainable and renders our industry at a competitive disadvantage in world markets. This is no way to build a city, an economy or a future.

    Taken together, this one-two punch is destroying our households, our local economy, our future. Ask yourself, would Pfizer have closed their Brooklyn plant if NYC had a Universal Single Payer type of “Medicare for All” whether administered on the federal, state or city level? Would companies like GM have built plants in Brooklyn or Staten Island instead of Canada where they could build cars more competitively because of their universal healthcare (note, Medicare for All would be better than Canada’s version, but a huge competitive advantage for business none the less). Imagine the flow of industry into NYC and NY State if either authority passed a single payer bill? The federal government would be forced to follow NYC’s lead or it would become evermore unhinged from representing the people and seen as utterly irrelevant.

    This brings me to my final point. Until city leaders (of all cities) get real, band together and force a local and national dialogue of how war and our broken “for-profit” health insurance industry are devastating our local economies, we face no real change or upside, not even with the hopeful President Obama, and limited funding for our infrastructure. This concerns me gravely as a civil engineer. War and our military expenditures approach $1 trillion per year in aggregate when you factor in its debt service, yet we are no safer or else the Pentagon budget wouldn’t have increased by 4% this year right? This robs NYC tax payers upwards of $25 billion per year of badly needed infrastructure capacity and its servicing — the heart and arteries of the economy and free markets. Yet, it is no secret as published by the American Society of Civil Engineers that we are in need of $2.2 Trillion nationally just to bring our existing infrastructure up to par. Ironically, much of this neglect was predicted in the original language of the City Council draft resolution against the Iraq War. How prescient.

    So these are PRACTICAL questions of raw economics that translate to real national security and the ultimate test of what local leaders will stand for. Will we stand for the status quo? Or will we represent our people and force the most practical and urgent conversation needed to paddle us ahead of this economic tsunami born of debt, greed and waste? Will local leaders flex the economic muscle and powerful democratic voice of NYC — a national and world player? Will local leaders create the political space and cover so that President Obama can act for the people, making it impossible for entrenched interests and lobbyists to rob us more? Will we invest in infrastructure and making our lives better or war and destruction?

    I believe in “The Little City Council That Could.” Thus, I am optimistic that when City Leaders get comfortable in our own skin, flex our power as the thirteenth largest economy in the world, we can and will begin this long needed debate and better define the inherent strength we have in our political relationship with national representatives. Only then will we prosper in a sustainable fashion in our communities citywide. If we elect status quo-ticians, expect a lot more of the same. The time is now and I’m starting the conversation. We can do so much better. Think Big. Think Biv.