Stephen, Meet Stephen
by Andrew Shilling
Apr 24, 2013 | 1944 views | 6 6 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stephen Pierson
Stephen Pierson
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Community Board 2 member Stephen Pierson has officially launched his campaign against Councilman Stephen Levin for Brooklyn 33rd Council District.

Pierson, 37, a Brown University graduate with a B.A. in modern culture and media, is the co-founder of Canteen magazine, a bi-annual print journal focusing on writers, musicians and authors. He is also the founder of the Harlem-based tutoring program, canTeens, developed in 2008 to teach underprivileged middle-school students about art and writing.

In his first public address, the 14-year Brooklyn resident repeatedly attacked Levin for his ties to Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is at the heart of sexual harassment allegations and numerous federal investigations of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council.

“I cannot stand idly by while Steve Levin demeans this district with his 19th century politics, continually putting his own political aspirations ahead of the needs of the community,” Pierson told supporters on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall on Sunday afternoon.

While he delivered no policy, if he were elected, Pierson did say he would hold weekly community meetings “on the more contentious issues,” organize town hall-style forums and debates, and offer long office hours in an effort to create a transparent council office.

“I will have an email address and a telephone number from which messages from the community are actually responded to,” Pierson said. “From what I’ve heard, responding to messages is not exactly a strength of Mr. Levin and his office, to put it mildly.”

When asked about his stance on education and gun control, Pierson denied the opportunity to deliver policy and told residents he would have a complex discussion on policy in private or at a later date.

Gary Schlesinger, executive board chairman at United Jewish Community Advocacy Relations and Enrichment (UJcare), an advocacy group for Hasidic Jewish residents in Williamsburg, threw his support to Pierson and criticized Levin for his disconnect with the community.

“A city councilman needs to interact with their constituents on a daily basis,” Schlesinger said. “We currently have no representation in the 33rd Council District.”

Longtime friends, family members and former associates like Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, an afterschool-programming advocate who met Pierson through the canTeens program, also joined Pierson at his announcement.

“One of the things that I have always loved about Stephen is that he is such a quiet listener,” Niedzielski-Eichner said. “He sits, he listens, he asks questions and then he turns around and does something about it. It’s very undramatic.

“There’s no sort of song and dance and ‘come look at me,’” she added. “He just sees the need, he figures out what needs to be done and he sits down and does it.”

This is one thing Pierson guaranteed he would bring to the table if elected.

“As your council member, I will listen,” Pierson said. “I know that the Brooklyn community collectively has a far greater, more nuanced understanding of the issues facing us than I or anyone else ever could on my own.”

Comments
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Brooklyn Activist
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April 24, 2013
Councilman Steve Levin fought for and received millions of $$ for disgraced Vito Lopez's (Levin's boss) corrupted organization "Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council" that doesn't even serve residents of the 33rd district, which Levin purports to represent.

WE DESERVE A NEW COUNCILMAN!

"Stephen Pierson for City Council"

Check out Stephen Pierson's campaign website to see how he'll create a more transparent City Council that actively involves the community http://piersonforcouncil.com/
Ben From Greenpoint
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April 26, 2013
Just for ur info Diana Ryena used to be before Stephen Levin the Chief of staff from Lopez, imagine some1 will attack her for that Reason? Isn't it a Joke ? Ryena is today Lopez's Enemy, so nobody will connect her with Lopez's Scandals, so what in the World is connecting Levin who was Chief of Staff to Lopez till '09 to Lopez's scandal of '12 A campaign most came with ideas, running against Levin cuz he's connected w/Lopez could backfire on peirson

Levin did a great job so he DESERVE my vote

i give up
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April 24, 2013
Between the recent corruption scandal and Vito Gropez about to get elected to city council, and Weiner even considering a mayoral run, i think we're all just screwed for eternity on the local level. Levin has the hasidic vote and Vito's backing, so will win. We're all just along for the corrupt ride. I give up.
Anitaz
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April 24, 2013
Levine seemed nice enough when I met him but I dont know how anyone with a conscience can call Vito their mentor
lowey southy
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April 24, 2013
anyone-but-levin is good enough for me. it's sickening to see my councilman bowing at the throne of vito whenever he thinks we're not looking.
elizabeth_R_B
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April 24, 2013
Seems to be a refreshing take on local politics. I'm so tired of arrogant politicians who think they know everything about everything, but who actually repeatedly show their ignorance or self-interest.