By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Doug Biviano, running for the 52nd Assembly District against Jo Anne Simon and Peter Sikora, argued his way into NY1’s televised debate set for 7 p.m. Monday night after being initially excluded due to his campaign’s lack of financial filings.
Biviano is running a catch-up campaign against Jo Anne Simon, district leader for the past decade, and Pete Sikora, legislative director for the communication workers union, to replace long-time Assemblymember Joan Millman.
He will also be appearing at three additional debates, scheduled for this Wednesday and next Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Friday, Errol Louis, moderator for Inside City Hall, sent the Biviano campaign an email saying, “One candidate (yours?) has filed nothing with the state except ‘no activity’ reports, including for the 32-day pre-primary period. This person, I presume, is either a placeholder, a crank, or perhaps a stalking horse trying to help one of the other people on the ballot.”
In an email, Biviano said, “My campaign against the special interests and broken campaign system is not well funded,” but that he plans to file before the deadline.
The 52nd Assembly District, encompassing Brooklyn Heights, Gowanus and parts of Park Slope, is a hotbed of controversy this election season, with issues from the closing of Long Island College Hospital (LICH), to development battles in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Gowanus and Brooklyn Heights.
Biviano called the initial exclusion from the debate “censorship,” and claims that he is “the only candidate talking about people dying at LICH Hospital because it was closed, the tearing down of our libraries, condos in the Park and the political deception and lobbyists behind these issues.”
Simon and Sikora will likely dispute Biviano’s take on their involvement. Simon, a constant presence at rallies and forums for LICH over the past two years, was arrested during an act of civil disobedience for the hospital. Sikora marched with other families in the LICH area in an early “stroller” campaign called Parents for LICH.
Former mayoral candidate Sal Albanese has endorsed Biviano.
Simon and Sikora have both received a number of endorsements. Among others, Simon is backed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Assemblyperson Joan L. Millman, Congresswomen Nydia Velázquez and Yvette Clarke, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, a number of assembly members and City Council members, organizations and clubs.
Sikora has received endorsements from state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin, the Working Families Party and a number of clubs and unions. The New York League of Conservation Voters has also endorsed Sikora.
Other debates scheduled for these candidates include:
Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council: Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Duryea Presbyterian Church, Underhill Avenue and Sterling Place
Brooklyn Heights Blog Candidate Forum: Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn Independent Media Debate: Wednesday, September 3 at 7 p.m., BRICHOUSE Ballroom, 647 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place. The debate will be moderated by Erik Engquist, assistant managing editor of Crain’s New York Business.