Congressman Towns Responds

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter as a response to the story “Bruce T. and Chuck S. Rumble in Starrett City,” written by Matthew Schuerman [March 19].

I would like to make it emphatically clear that I am totally against any deal with Clipper Equity to purchase the Starrett City development. In addition, I agree with the position that U.S. Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson has taken in rejecting this deal. It was at my insistence that Secretary Jackson visited the Starrett City development and spoke to the residents. I wanted to be sure that he would have a clear view of what would be lost if the units in Starrett were no longer affordable.

Clipper Equity’s bid of $1.3 billion on this property makes it practically impossible for them to keep the development affordable for the current residents. At that figure, each unit would cost $221,000. There is no way this is an affordable rental amount for the residents, several of whom are senior citizens living on a fixed income. As I see it, the deal with Clipper Equity is dead and cannot be resuscitated.

Finally, I’d like to address the section of the article that mentions Suri Kasirer, Bruce Teitelbaum’s wife, as someone who has raised money for me. It was several years ago that I hired Ms. Kasirer for her fund-raising services, and she was paid in full. My hiring of Ms. Kasirer has absolutely nothing to do with my decision on the Starrett City issue. I have been elected to represent the best interest of my constituents, and that is my intention.

Congressman Edolphus (Ed) Towns

Washington, D.C.


To the Editor:

Re “This Is Café Society?” [Spencer Morgan, March 19]: This is just a bunch of people (Graydon Carter included) that can’t get a table at Rao’s.

Gabriel Del Virginia, Esq.


Moving Review

To the Editor:

I just read Adelle Waldman’s review of the book on the suburbanization of New York [“The Good, the Bad and the Gentrified,” March 19]. It’s brilliantly written and contains an acute understanding of city development issues.

Kieran Rose

Dublin, Ireland

Serious Business

To the Editor:

Katherine Taylor is afraid of being considered a writer of chick lit [“Farrar Thinks Pink,” Spencer Morgan, The New York World, March 12]. To establish her seriousness, she tells The Observer that my novel Indecision “was ridiculously simple” and suggests that “had it been a girl who’d written it, it would have had the pinkest cover in the world.” I wonder why, if Ms. Taylor feels like that, she allowed her editor to send me the galleys of her novel, asking for a blurb. I didn’t provide one—though I read enough of Ms. Taylor’s book to understand her anxiety about being taken seriously.

Benjamin Kunkel


What’s in a Name?

To the Editor:

Would you dare to print this sentence: “Ah, those Asian names—impossible to pronounce, spell or remember!” or “Ah, those Spanish names—impossible to pronounce, spell or remember!” [“Full of Grace,” Rex Reed, On the Town, March 12]?

I’m fed up with people thinking it is all right to be casually racist about Welsh people and culture, when to mock any other race or nation is deemed deeply taboo.

Emily Angus

London, England