Steve Levin is trying to knock Brooklyn Heights resident/candidate for NYC Council D-33 Stephen Pierson off of September’s primary ballot. At least that’s what a statement released over the weekend from Pierson advisor Chris Owens alleges.
While Levin spent last week protesting the planned closure of LICH, Owens says that the councilmember’s minions were filing paperwork to knock his candidate off the ballot.
Levin responds and tells BHB in a written statement, “Contrary to my opponent’s assertions, I have not sued to take his name off the ballot nor do I intend to do so. General objections are a common campaign procedure meant to give staff extra time to review a candidate’s signatures. This process is transparent, public and helps keep our candidates and politicians honest. The review is now complete and we found no basis to file a formal challenge. I look forward to a spirited campaign and the chance to have a much needed dialogue about the issues facing voters in the 33rd district.”
Update:In his own written statement, Pierson tells BHB, “Filing a general objection to an opponent’s petitions is standard practice only in the corrupt world of insider Brooklyn politics. The fact that Levin thinks these Vito-Lopez-style tactics are normal shows how out of touch he is with the people of the 33rd District. I’m glad my opponent has backed down in the face of public outcry over this clearly undemocratic move, and I hope he’ll avoid similar tactics in the future.”
Getting arrested > losing LICH and the vital healthcare it provides Brooklyn communities pic.twitter.com/jIHSKAtiKz
— Stephen Levin (@StephenLevin33) July 10, 2013
Steve Levin is suing to knock me off the ballot, taking a page straight from the Vito Lopez playbook. pic.twitter.com/AGZ9eX3VK9
— stephen pierson (@pierson4council) July 15, 2013
RELATED: Will Brooklyn Heights Resident Stephen Pierson Take Out Steve Levin?
BHB has asked Owens for a statement from the Pierson camp on the latest LICH developments. We have not received a response as of press time. (There is, however, a brief statement on his website about the matter.)
#StephenPierson – Brooklyn machine politics in action. Levin Tries To Knock Pierson Off Ballot. FOR IMMEDIATE… http://t.co/1P4KvSSR5H
— Chris Owens (@ChrisOwens4U) July 14, 2013
Here’s the full presser for your review:
Brooklyn, NY – Steve Levin, a member of the City Council who served for several years as Chief of Staff to disgraced Democratic County boss Vito Lopez, has challenged the nominating petition signatures collected by the campaign of Democratic reform candidate Stephen Pierson.
Levin’s campaign filed “general objections” against Pierson’s filing of 1,600 signatures. The minimum number of valid signatures required to get on the ballot for City Council this year is 450.
“I was not surprised to learn that Steve Levin fears an opponent so much that he is resorting to the same old machine political tactics as Vito Lopez,” said Stephen Pierson, a non-profit founder and administrator. “Steve Levin’s actions show that he continues to put politics before people. My campaign filed hundreds of valid signatures, we will be on the ballot, we are eligible for nearly the maximum amount of matching funds, and our volunteer base grows daily.”
“Levin has never had to face an election like this one – and he is panicking,” said Democratic State Committee member and Pierson consultant Chris Owens. “Stephen Pierson has the money, the volunteers, the campaign team, the determination to win this election and become the next City Council member from the 33rd District.”
“We expect the Levin campaign to utilize Lopez-like tactics, such as petition challenges, throughout the campaign,” said Campaign Manager Diana Gonzalez. “Attempting to deny voters a choice is Levin’s first misstep and we will be ready for any other mischief he chooses to perpetrate.”
Democratic voters in the 33rd City Council District will select either Pierson or Levin as their nominee on Tuesday, September 10 in the Primary Election.
Update: The potential closing (and rebuilding or sale) of the Brooklyn Heights Library is another hot button issue in this election. These YouTube videos offer a glimpse into each candidate’s position:
(Fast forward to about 11 minutes in for Levin’s comments regarding the Brooklyn Heights library)