Stephen Levin (councillor)

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Steve Levin
Steve Levin 2010.jpg
Levin in 2010
Member of the New York City Council from the 33rd District
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 1, 2010
Preceded by David Yassky
Constituency Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint; parts of Williamsburg, Park Slope, Boerum Hill
Personal details
Born Stephen T. Levin
1981 (age 32–33)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence Brooklyn, New York, USA
Alma mater Brown University
Website NYC Council: District 33

Stephen T. "Steve" Levin (born 1981)[1] is a member of the New York City Council who represents Brooklyn's 33rd District. The 33rd District includes the neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Dumbo, Boerum Hill, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Gowanus, and Park Slope. Levin was elected to replace David Yassky, who vacated the position to run for New York City Comptroller. He currently resides in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.[2]

Background[edit]

Levin grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey. He is related to US Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, and Congressman Sander Levin from Michigan's 12th congressional district.[3]

Levin graduated from Brown University with a degree in Classics and Comparative Literature. He later moved to Brooklyn and began his career working with the Lead Safe House Program at the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council. At the Lead Safe House he helped remove families that had children with lead poisoning from toxic homes. In 2006 he went to work for the state Assembly as chief of staff to then-Assemblyman Vito Lopez.[4]

City Council career[edit]

2009 election[edit]

Levin was elected in 2009, in a competitive 7-way race with the support of Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Vito Lopez helped him to secure endorsements from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), DC 37, the Working Families Party, the NY League of Conservation Voters, Senator Charles Schumer, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.[5] Most importantly, Lopez secured for Levin the support of the Zaloni faction of the Jewish Satmar community in Williamsburg. That Hasidic faction provided Levin with his margin of victory in 2009.

The final election results were:[6]

  • Steve Levin: 5,199 (33.7%)
  • Jo Anne Simon: 3,109 (20.2%)
  • Isaac Abraham: 1,937 (12.56%)
  • Evan Thies: 1,915 (12.4%)
  • Ken Diamondstone: 1,324 (8.6%)
  • Doug Biviano: 1,127 (7.3%)
  • Ken Baer: 811 (5.3%)

2013 election[edit]

Levin defeated opponent Stephen Pierson in the 2013 Democratic primary, capturing 73.4% of the vote.[7] In the general election Levin appeared on both the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, winning a second term on the City Council with 92.5% of the vote.[8]

Participatory budgeting[edit]

In 2013, Levin introduced Participatory Budgeting, a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget, to his district. Levin was one of eight members of the City Council to offer participatory budgeting to his constituents.[9]

Long Island College Hospital[edit]

Levin was arrested, along with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, as an act of civil disobedience in protest of the closure of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. Levin delivered 7000 petitions to SUNY officials at the protest demanding that the hospital stay open.[10]

Affordable housing[edit]

Levin originally opposed the Rose Plaza housing complex on the Williamsburg waterfront. The project initially called for 20 percent affordable housing and 30 three-bedroom apartments. Levin then voted for the project when the developer agreed to build 60 three-bedroom apartments and 14 four-bedroom apartments, all priced below the market rate. The development passed in council 18-1.[11]

Levin also negotiated an agreement with the Community Preservation Corporation Resources (CPCR) over the Domino Sugar factory redevelopment plan. He called for a reduction in the size of the plan from 2200 units to 1600 units, and an increase in the percent of below-market-price apartments from 30 to 40 percent. Levin said of his opposition, "People have concerns about the height, the density, the transportation negative impacts and open space negative impacts that this project will have. This is a refrain that I hear from everyone, even if they support this project." On June 29, 2010, Community Preservation Corporation Resources agreed to reduce the size of the tallest towers from 40 to 34 stories, while retaining 660 permanent affordable units. In addition, the CPCR agreed to provide shuttle service to nearby subway lines.[12]

He has also worked with Assemblyman Vito Lopez to seek federal subsidies for public housing developments in Brooklyn. He passed a resolution in the Council supporting the federalization of New York City Housing Authority developments. Federalizing these developments brought $400 million to the 21 building developments in question, and an annual subsidy of up to $75 million.[13]

Budget cuts[edit]

Along with Councilmembers David Greenfield, Letitia James, and Brad Lander, Levin lobbied Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn to restore funding for Priority 7 Daycare Vouchers.[14]

Most recently, Levin opposed budget cuts that would result in the closure of the Bethel Baptist and Strong Place Day Care Centers, the Gowanus Senior Center, and the Douglass Degraw Pool. All of these centers are located within one 6 block by 8 block area. The area faced the largest brunt of the budget cuts per size of any section of the city.[15] Eventually, funding was restored by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Finance Chair Domenic Recchia, and Mayor Bloomberg.[14]

Street vendors[edit]

Levin introduced a bill to reduce fines for street food vendors over procedural violations. The bill passed at the City Council on February 27, 2013, easing the burden for hardworking street vendors and making it easier for them to do business.[16]

Committees[edit]

Levin serves as the Chair of the Committee on General Welfare. He also serves on the Cultural Affairs, Education, Environmental Protection, Land Use, and Transportation committees as well as the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses.

Recognition[edit]

In September 2010, he was named one of City Hall's "40 under 40" for being a young influential member of New York City politics.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fishbein, Rebecca (2012-04-18). "New York activist Stephen Levin, 31". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "33rd City Council District | Gotham Votes". Gothamgazette.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ Kuntzman, Gersh (2009-09-16). "In the 33rd District: Levin, party boss’s pick, wins handily over six rivals • The Brooklyn Paper". Brooklynpaper.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  7. ^ "Statement and Return Report for Certification- Primary Election 2013 - 09/10/2013".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. ^ "Statement and Return Report for Certification - General Election 2013 - 11/05/2013".  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  9. ^ Schuh, Jamie (2012-07-17). "Four New Council Members Announce Participatory Budgeting - Government - Carroll Gardens, NY Patch". Carrollgardens.patch.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  10. ^ "Bill de Blasio and Steve Levin Arrested Protesting Against Closure Of Long Island College Hospital | New York Daily News". Nydailynews.com. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  11. ^ Brown, Eliot. "Council Approves Rose Plaza | The New York Observer". Observer.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  12. ^ "After Modest Changes, City Council O.K.’s Domino Sugar Development | The New York Observer". Observer.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  13. ^ Linderman, Juliet. "Greenpoint Gazette:Housing Bill Passes Thanks to North Brooklyn Electeds". Greenpointnews.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  14. ^ a b "Protected Blog › Log in". stephenlevind33.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  15. ^ [4][dead link]
  16. ^ "City eases up on fines against street vendors | Brooklyn Daily Eagle". Brooklyneagle.com. 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  17. ^ Rising Stars 40 Under 40: Stephen Levin, City & State, September 28, 2010.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
David Yassky
New York City Council, 33rd District
2010–present
Incumbent