City Council District 33 Primary
Your City Council Member really does have palpable influence over the destiny of our neighborhoods and quality of life. District 33 Council Member elections also present a difficult choice, because there has only been one political debate, and Stephen Levin, former Vito Lopez Chief of Staff, has been fuzzy about some of the remedies proposed. By contrast Stephen Pierson has put forward some ideas to address issues that have been raised about the 2005 rezoning. Such as taking a stand to downzone, because the current zoning allows segregated housing by economic status, ie., the “poor door,” and ushers in outrageously oversized developments (that are approximately twice the density of Stuyvesant Town). Levin says, he’ll look into it.The biggest complaint at the debate held in Greenpoint, last month, is that Levin stated that henever supported Domino. For those less familiar with the issue, in the 2005 rezoning, the Domino Sugar Factory had a special industrial rezoning retained around it while the rest of the neighborhood was up for development in the hope of retaining jobs. Domino closed anyway. The new condo proposal for 2,400 new units of housing required a special City Council blessing because it was for a spot-zoning change being made for one specific developer. The offset (for 23 percent greater density) of 660 “affordable apartments” or a third of the total apartments to be built, and few public amenities than the 2005 rezoning) was opposed as being too high and too dense, by many community groups, including NAG (Neighbors Allied for Good Growth). When push came to shove, Levin did vote for the Domino rezoning. The reason why Levin’s vote is worthy of notation is that the City Council members almost always vote with the member in whose district the rezoning is proposed. In this case nobody read the documents and no affordable housing was written into the rezoning. Once again the community got screwed. Can we now trust that Levin matured on the job, and that he will be a stronger fighter facing the issues regarding the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront development, i.e., Greenpoint Landing, 77 Commercial Street, and Two Trees?
Stephen Pierson has been called to the carpet, because he hasn’t voted for 15 years in local elections. But now that he’s gotten involved, and he really sees that it’s necessary, he’s being faulted for getting involved. Eighty percent of the people in this district don’t vote who are eligible to vote, which is astronomically high. If that’s Pierson’s only fault, at least he’s very definitive on his stance on development and education issues.