ACORN, roused: Bertha Lewis girds for Ed Towns‘ hearing with ’political necrophiliac' Darrell Issa

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Representative Ed Towns. (Reid Pillifant)
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Bertha Lewis is not happy that Representative Ed Towns is bringing California Republican Darrell Issa, whom she called a "political necrophiliac," to Brooklyn Borough Hall on Monday morning to chair a field hearing on the foreclosure crisis.

"He is an abomination and Ed Towns should be ashamed of himself and should call this fake, bogus hearing off, which is nothing, nothing but a desperate attempt to shore up Ed Towns's re-election campaign by using a despicable Republican," she told me on Friday afternoon.

Issa was one of the chief antagonists of ACORN, the community organizing group headed by Lewis that eventually disbanded after unrelenting pressure from conservatives.

"Darrell Issa for two years, for two years, did nothing but perpetuate the lies and falsehoods about my organization, used it to raise money for himself, and to raise money for right-wing causes, and to get onto Fox; he was the main voice in that echo chamber," she said. 

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"It was just so outrageous and especially [Towns] knowing the history that we had with Darrell Issa, especially him knowing exactly what kind of character Issa is. Here's the thing, I'm not afraid of Issa. If he wants to bludgeon people by subpoeaning them, which is what he said he would do if he ever became chair of that committee, then bring it.

"Because he's nothing but a political necrophiliac. He is despicable and it is outrageous. I will stand up out there outside that hearing, you're damn right I will. And I will bring as many people as I can and will go on record going against this sham field hearing, because that's what it is, a sham."

Towns is facing a primary challenge from Councilman Charles Barron and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who recently criticized Towns for being asleep at the wheel on the foreclosure crisis, which occurred while Towns chaired the House Oversight Committee. Towns has promoted the hearing as evidence of what his nearly three decades of seniority can bring back to the borough. This only further aggravated Lewis.

"I don't know if he is out of touch with his district and if he thinks that having seniority in the Congress, and for him to crow about how senior he is and how only someone like himself who is senior could put together such a thing and bring such an important person like the chair of the committee," she said. "Is that what you do with seniority? If that's what you do with seniority, then you don't need seniority. It's outrageous."

According to Lewis, ACORN had more than 30,000 members in the 10th Congressional District alone, and bringing Issa will resonate in the primary campaign.

"You're damn right it's going to resonate," she said. "How could it not? How could it not?"

Lewis said she found out about the hearing at 11 p.m. last night and had been on the phone all day trying to organize against it.
"People's heads are blown off," she said. "People are outraged."

She sent over a draft press release that included the organizations Homeowners facing Foreclosure, Brooklyn Residents, Occupy Wall Street, New York Communities for Change, United New York, the Working Families Party, CWA and Strong Economy for All Coalition. And there was talk that some women's groups might also join them, to protest Issa's all-male contraception panel earlier this month. Lewis pointed out that the hearing is happening just down the street from the main Brooklyn office for Planned Parenthood. (A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood New York City did not return a late email.)

As an organizer, Lewis said she was hoping to rally as many people as possible, but that her beef with Issa was "personal."

"I said to them, you need to show up," she said. "But I wouldn't care if no one shows up, I will be there by my damn self."

Ed Towns' office declined to comment.