In advance of the Brooklyn Heights Blog’s presentation September 2 of one of the few public discussions on the 52nd Assembly District Race, an important political contest in New York City this year, we sat down with longtime Heights resident Doug Biviano to discuss his second attempt to capture the seat that outgoing Assembly Member Joan Millman has occupied for the past 17 years.
Mr. Biviano, who is both passionate and poised in describing why he’s running, defines his campaign as at odds with the various interests and power brokers that currently dominate Brooklyn politics, including the consulting firm BerlinRosen, Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio and Seddio’s longtime law partner Frank Carone, and the Working Families Party.
This is the first of a series of interviews with all three candidates — Biviano, Peter Sikora, Jo Anne Simon — on the ballot for the 52nd Assembly seat. Later this week BHB will coverage of this political contest that could have a substantial impact on the future of Long Island College Hospital (LICH), the proposed affordable housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, and the planned sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library and the subsequent development of the site as a high-rise residential tower.
My entire campaign—and this is what I’m telling all the voters I’m talking to—is about returning the power and respect of governing back to you, the voters.
Michael Randazzo, Brooklyn Heights Blog: What is it that you bring to the 52nd Assembly District Race:
Doug Biviano: I’m trying to bring the truth. Mark Twain once said: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” This applies to our local elected officials right now. My entire campaign—and this is what I’m telling all the voters I’m talking to—is about returning the power and respect of governing back to you, the voters. The fact is, right now our neighborhoods are controlled by special interests. The public does not want LICH to close, but the developers do. The public does not want the Brooklyn Heights and Pacific libraries to close, but the developers do. The public wants a park, but the developers want high-rise condos in it. These special interests have control of what’s going to happen to these institutions, and the public does not. It’s that simple….
The power [is] all top down, and it’s not even from our elected officials; it’s from special interests and political machines. So we need to break that structure, because it has ripped the power of governing from our community. We have no control of these institutions. BerlinRosen got de Blasio elected. [de Blasio and Jonathan Rosen] are friends, they live down the block [from each other].
The campaign deception at LICH [when Mr. de Blasio was arrested] was Peter Sikora’s idea, they [BerlinRosen] represent Peter Sikora as well…. My entire campaign is about putting this power back into the hands of the people of this district. My opponents are part of the political machines run by these special interests, like we just talked about: BerlinRosen, Brooklyn Boss [Frank] Seddio, there are connections that he supports JoAnne Simon. They’re dumping enormous sums of special interest and PAC money, which completely circumvents campaign finance laws – they’re not disclosed. [Editor’s note: this accusation has not been substantiated]