By Helen Meltzer-Krim
Democratic Voters Beware! Republicans Lurk Behind Every Bush
Common Sense New Yorkers is a front group for NY Real Estate Developers publishing campaign literature and attack ads against State Senator Gustavo Rivera because he wants to reform 421A, the housing construction abatement that gave very generous tax breaks to real estate developers in exchange for a small number of below market rental apartments.
The poisonous falsehoods attempting to divide the Jews of Riverdale from their neighbors using the BDS issue, was so toxic and shocking, that I was compelled to investigate the source. Using a strong light and a magnifying glass, I was able to read the legend in black ink against a brown background revealing the sponsor of the ads as “Common Sense New Yorkers”. Never heard of them before.
The Independent Expenditure Summary published by the Campaign Finance Board revealed that Common Sense New Yorkers is a super pac funded by real estate developers. They are engaged citywide, meddling in democratic primary elections to the tune of $2,532,000 in contributions and 1,521,000 dollars in expenditures. The group spent more than $124,000 on two primaries in the Bronx and Queens, ostensibly over bail reform, to oppose progressive candidates.
According to the Forest Hills Post “Moumita Ahmed was the target of two pamphlets paid for by Common Sense NYC, a new independent expenditure committee that has taken a $1 million donation from billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross.”
Is Common Sense New Yorkers just a pac of real estate developers opposing Senator Rivera because he is a fighter for reform of 421 A? Or is the pattern of contributions opposing progressives a deliberate attempt to split the democratic party?
Why is Stephen Ross messing with democratic primaries in New York City? According to Forbes, Stephen Ross was a tax attorney before he founded Related Companies in 1972. He is the developer and owner of Hudson Yards and 60 billion worth of other properties around the world. Certainly he wants the restoration of 421 A. But are there other motives?
Surprise. Surprise. Ross is one of Trump’s creditors. Forbes reports that Trump owes Ladder Capital (which holds the mortgage on Trump Tower) between $110 and $150 million, and Ross’ Related Capital owns 5% of Ladder Capital. In 2019 Ross hosted a fundraiser for Trump at his home in the Hamptons. The fear tactics and divisive intent of the ad smearing Senator Rivera is part of the Republican playbook and efforts to retake the NYS legislature and control of the State’s agenda.
Voters, I urge you to preserve the democratic character of our community, and reject Republican propaganda. Gustavo Rivera is a responsible representative, Chair of the State Senate Health Committee and champion for the health of New Yorkers.