Clinton hails Towns on Starrett City win

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Call it payback for support, but Rep. Ed Towns brought out the heavy hitters to Starrett City last week to praise his work in helping to keep the sprawling housing complex affordable.

Towns, a 24-year incumbent, is facing hip hop writer and activist Kevin Powell in the upcoming Sept. 9 Democratic primary for the 10th Congressional district.

The district encompasses East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills, Clinton Hill, Mill Basin, Midwood, Downtown Brooklyn, Boreum Hill, and parts of Fort Greene and Williamsburg.

Towns was instrumental in inserting a clause preserving affordability for Starrett residents in recent federal legislation aimed at throwing lifelines to mortgage companies and homeowners facing foreclosures.

“Thanks to the leadership of Congressman Towns and the cooperation of officials at all levels, we were able to ensure our residents’ concerns, including maintaining affordability, are heard loud and clear,” said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“As we struggle to address a disturbing national trend of rapidly declining affordable housing, Starrett City stands as a model of cooperation that proves affordability and profitability are not mutually exclusive,” she added.

It was Clinton’s first venture into the borough since losing the Democratic presidential nod to presumptive candidate Barrack Obama.

Towns supported Clinton throughout the primary season, only switching his support to Obama after it became apparent that the Illinois senator clinched the Democratic nod.

Powell has repeatedly made a campaign issue of Towns’s support of Clinton, despite the fact that a majority of his congressional district voted for Obama during the primary.

However, at the Starrett City press conference, other borough elected officials, including Rep. Anthony Weiner, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Assembly member and Kings County Democratic boss Vito Lopez, also praised Towns for his work in the district.

“I commend Congressman Ed Towns for his commitment to the residents of Starrett City, Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton for their determination in keeping Starrett City affordable, as well as Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, HUD, the New York State Housing and Finance Agency, the NYC HPD, and the tenants and their association led by Marie Purnell for working together on a win-win solution,” said Markowitz.

Meanwhile, Powell, although popular in the brownstone belt of the district, continues to be dogged by a history of anger management problems, including several incidents of allegedly assaulting women.

Most recently, Powell held a press conference at Junior’s Restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn to address these issues, the most recent of which happened outside a nightclub in August, 2004.

“It was a stupid mistake that happened in a club that will never happen again,” said Powell, who said he grew up around physical violence and remains in therapy to overcome any problems related to it.

Powell also vowed that once elected, he plans to open his district offices as social service centers to deal with violence in the district.

Congress would be a great place to put together a new definition of manhood, he said.

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