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May 20, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Bushwick / Committeman Confrontation

Ed Towns loses an election

The Brooklyn Paper
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Rep. Ed Towns has won 14 consecutive elections to represent a large chunk of Brooklyn in Congress — but this week, he got trounced for an unpaid district leader position in Bushwick.

Members of the Brooklyn Democratic Party inner circle chose Councilman Erik Dilan — an ally of controversial party boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez — over the 28-year congressman in a special election to replace Towns’s son, Darryl, an assemblyman who abandoned the party post to take a big job with Gov. Cuomo.

Dilan (D–Bushwick) was chosen to fill the vacancy in a 36-10 vote at the Stars and Stripes Democratic Club in Bensonhurst. Three district leaders abstained.

The vote clearly showed Lopez’s sway over the decision: District Leaders Joanne Simon (D–Brooklyn Heights), Lincoln Restler (D–Williamsbu­rg) and Chris Owens (D–Park Slope) — who have all been thorns in Lopez’s side — all voted for Towns. Nearly all of the southern Brooklyn district leaders, most of whom are Lopez allies, voted for Dilan.

Political insiders say Lopez aggressively lobbied for Dilan, who is the son of Albany colleague state Sen. Martin Milave Dilan (D–Williamsbu­rg).

Political insiders say Lopez aggressively lobbied for Dilan, who is the son of Albany colleague state Sen. Martin Milave Dilan (D–Williamsbu­rg).

But Lopez said Towns did some heavy lobbying of his own — sending out three e-mails, holding one-on-one meetings with more than half dozen district leaders, and making repeated phone calls to encourage the county leadership to vote for him.

“Ed Towns worked day and night to secure the district leader spot,” said Lopez, who admitted to having a “strained” relationship with the longtime congressman. “His lobbying effort was much more comprehensive than mine,”

District leader positions are the lowest rung in our political system — but they have important powers that help Lopez. For instance, district leaders, sometimes called state committeemen, pick poll workers and help collect signatures to get party-backed candidates on the ballot.

And district leaders also elect the county leader — currently Lopez.

Towns did not attend the vote after he was told that he wouldn’t be allowed to address the group.

“That doesn’t spell democracy — it spells dictatorsh­ip,” Towns told us. “Why couldn’t I come in and address them for, two minutes, three minutes, five minutes or whatever — and I’m a former district leader!”

Simon agreed.

“I don’t think anybody should be excluded,” she said. “I believe it’s the democratic thing to have both of them in the room to make their case. I don’t think we should be asked to vote on a candidate who doesn’t come before us.”

— with Dan MacLeod

Updated 12:13 am, May 23, 2011: Now includes Lopez's comments.
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Reader Feedback

reader says:
The vote was 36-10
May 20, 2011, 2:52 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
What's the different. Lopez & Towns both Poverty Pimps. Both these clowns have fatten their pockets while low-income families continue to be price out of Bed-Stuy ,Forte Greene, Clinton Hills, Willie B & Bushwich.
May 21, 2011, 12:38 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
clowns, pimps. **sholes.
May 21, 2011, 12:39 pm
Katie from Park Slope says:
Lopez has spent his entire life helping people in Williamsburg and Bushwick. And unlike alot of other politicians that spend alot of time talking about what they've done, he actually has a pretty extensive record to back it up.

If it wasn't for him, the process of gentrification taking place city wide would have happened much faster in North Brooklyn, especially Bushwick. He's brought services and fought for funding for many not for profits in Brooklyn and the rest of our city.

It's easy to arm chair quarter back issues related to poverty from your computer, and it's even easier to call people names, but when it comes to really fighting to ensure that people have affordable housing and protections against displacement, he gets the job done.
May 21, 2011, 12:51 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
How much has he done for Willie B & Bushwich? Clue me in. I must've missed it. Do you know what Bushwich, E. N. Y. & Brownsville have in common? They still look like they did in the crack'80. He and others fostered conditions that resulted in a need for Gentrification.

There isn't a decent supermarket or fruit stand in the area.
Woodhull Hospital is still one of the worst in NYC. Should I continue?

No, I'll wait for you to tell exactly what Vito has done, beside bribing old people for votes with free thanksgiving turkey.

PS. Giving handouts to the underprivilge doesn't work. Now handouts with a map to self sustainability now that works.

Running up resturant tabs to keep waitress & short order cooks doesn't count.
May 21, 2011, 1:11 pm
Katie from Park Slope says:
Are you serious? He has helped to get funding for thousands of units of affordable housing. He has gotten a state of the art nursing home built in Bushwick, a new high school, and countless programs that protect people from evictions, foreclosure, and help with countless other aspects of their lives.

Up in Albany he has passed legislation to protect Loft Tenants, and has recently passed legislation that will protect the City's tenants.

Just because there are still problems in the area doesn't mean that he's to blame, and it doesn't mean that he isn't trying to make Woodhull better, or to bring more supermarkets there either.

As for the services he has secured funding for, these aren't hand outs, these are the kind of direct services that seniors and families need. In fact, if you compare his district to others which were very similar in the 1980s, like East New York, you'll see what a positive impact he's had, and how many more services Bushwick and the surrounding area has compared to East New York. You might want to then compare him to other politicians and see who's at work all the time and who is asleep at the wheel or on a permanent vacation. Other politicians would do well by following his model. In fact, many try, but it's just not that easy.

I have worked in the area for years, and one thing I know is that if you were to ask people that have worked in North Brooklyn, even people that disagree with him from time to time, an overwhelming majority would say that North Brooklyn is a much better place as a result of his advocacy.
May 21, 2011, 1:31 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
and what of the recession that has been a part of the daily lives for these people for the pass 30 years. All these accomplishments goes exactly to my points. They are handouts. Of all the construction in these depressed area how many from the area gained employment or a part to self-sustainability?
Absolutely none.

The only good thing I see people like Lopez & Towns days are numbered. See the changing demo. that they are presiding over, (their own being booted, priced out of Brooklyn), it's too their own demise.
Somehow it's funny poetic justice. I look forward to they day when the voting public give 'em the boot.
May 22, 2011, 1:08 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Fact is people like you would like to shut anyone up who's not bowing to these pimps. But that the exact reason why the plight of the poor never changes. Because we shut up an act like everything is glorious. (Vito, Murbaric, Towns) Where's our Brooklyn Spring?

If these pimps have done such a great thing, where is the paradise? Where are the jobs. Why are so many school, firehouses being shuttered/ Great jobs pimps.

Keep on pimping! The hookers who are your constituents must love their back-hand.
May 22, 2011, 1:13 pm
anywho says:
Herman Munster and a California Raisin.

judahspechal, don't you know Katie loves Vito's taint?
June 3, 2011, 8:31 pm

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