LINCOLN ANDERSON | Let’s “unpack” it….
Eric Boettcher’s five City Council District 3 primary opponents are furiously lashing out at the leading candidate after a super-PAC real estate paid to mail on his behalf.
But Boetcher, for his part, criticizes the PAC, saying he does not want his support and demands that he “stop all spending immediately.”
Meanwhile, in an unusual twist, a leading tenant advocate and Boettcher ally argues that the Real Estate PAC really wants Boetcher to be defeated, fearing him more than any other challenger. A proponent argues that the Boettcher mailing list is a ploy designed to rekindle District 3’s (Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) passions against development, turning them against the leading candidate.
The $ 13,000 mailing list in question was paid for by a group called Voters of New York, a super-PAC funded primarily by major real estate stakeholders. In addition to Boettcher, the group reported support costs for five Council candidates in other constituencies.
Voters in New York City, an affiliated supercomputer PAC funded primarily by large real estate projects, support six other candidates for the council. https://t.co/ImChdHohgH… pic.twitter.com/uNrfTy8xcx
– Jeff Coltin (@JCColtin) June 10, 2021
Meanwhile, the Common Sense NYC supercomputer subsidiary, largely funded by developer Stephen Ross and billionaire Ron Lauder, reported spending in 22 Council races, both for and against candidates. This latter group, for example, issued a mailing list against Christopher Marthe in District 1 in Lower Manhattan and one for Julie Menin in District 5 on the Upper East Side, again, each mailing cost about $ 13,000.
Common Sense NYC, the PAC’s supercomputing committee funded primarily by Stephen Ross and Ron Lauder, reported spending in 22 Council races – some for, some against. pic.twitter.com/oV3l3yXSJW
– Jeff Coltin (@JCColtin) June 10, 2021
All six candidates in the District 3 race reportedly have pledged not to accept any real estate or corporate money from the PAC.
While candidates have limits on how much their campaigns can spend under campaign finance laws, PACs are not limited by spending rules. As a result, they are, in some cases, accused of over-influencing elections.
Other District 3 race candidates issued a joint press release on Saturday denouncing the super-PAC mailing list and arguing that it proves Boetcher, former chief of staff for Council Speaker Corey Johnson, is the preferred candidate in real estate. The five candidates include Phelan Dante Fitzpatrick, Marnie Halasa, Aleta LaFargue, Lelise Bogosion Murphy and Arthur Schwartz.
“Big Real Estate’s message to District 3 voters is clear: their nominee is Eric Boetcher,” the candidates said in a joint statement. “Their letter arrived in the mailboxes of voters today. The donors of this PAC are mega real estate developers such as Silverstein Properties and Rosewood Group. “
“The fight for affordable housing is one of the most important missions in my life,” LaFargue said. “I thought that everyone in this race shared this vision. Unfortunately, I was wrong. “
“It’s both frustrating and unsettling,” Bogosian Murphy said of the Super-PAC mail program supporting the botcher. “Voters believe that we are open about our plans and priorities. This trust is extremely important to me, and we, as candidates, must show that we deserve it. “
“Eric Boetcher doesn’t care about working New Yorkers,” Fitzpatrick said. “How do we know?” He says he “will not accept contributions from developers.” But in reality, he quite agrees that the money for external corporate real estate is being used to promote his campaign, rather than protecting those in our the area desperately needs more affordable housing. “
The controversial postal agent touted Boettcher as “a seasoned leader.”
However, Schwartz said, “His experience has done nothing for the displaced rent-tenants and people living in NYCHA, whose buildings only deteriorated further during Bootcher’s tenure in the city government.”
Halasa said: “Anyone in the district who complains about the land grab for elite development, gentrification and the crisis of closing small businesses should understand that Eric is responsible.”
However, Boetcher has issued a statement of his own stating that he did not ask for GAC support and does not want it.
“I condemn these independent spending and urge their sponsors to stop all spending immediately,” he said. “This is not what I asked for, this is not what I know nothing about, and I want it to stop. From day one, our campaign hasn’t taken a dime from developers, those who work for a lobbying firm, or corporate PACs. We are a massive local campaign. There is too much money in politics. I have struggled with this for many years. That is why I strongly support the overturning of the Citizens United court decision – either by overturning the judgment or by a constitutional amendment. Such external costs are detrimental to our country. “
In a 2010 Citizens United ruling, the US Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the government from limiting independent (or “external”) campaign spending – as opposed to direct campaign donations – by corporations, billionaires, and the PAC.
Longtime tenant advocate Michael McKee, Treasurer of Tenants PAC, has defended Boetcher. McKee, a Chelsea resident, expressed the idea that the developers were actually wary of the candidate and that the mailing list calling for votes for Boettcher was actually aimed at getting people to do the exact opposite. At the same time, he noted that Tenants PAC has approved three of the six candidates, including Boettcher, who are supported by New York voters.
“I think they are actually trying to hurt these candidates by saying that they are in the troubled pocket of real estate,” McKee said. “Because they know Eric is not going to vote for [their projects]… They don’t need Eric. It’s really insidious, it’s destructive, ”he said of this supposedly deceptive super-PAC strategy as he described it.
“It would be very dangerous in this area if the candidate were considered the favorite of big real estate,” McKee said.
The sender marks their main sponsors in small print in the upper left corner. They are all real estate organizations.
“I don’t think that any of the candidates are running [in District 3] will contribute to development, ”McKee said. “But any of them will be less effective than Eric. I can’t imagine why they did otherwise, ”he said of his theory that the super-PAC mailer is in fact a deceptive device against the botcher.
McKee said he spoke to Botcher on the phone about the mailbox and advised him, “I said, ‘Don’t let this confuse you. This is what the real estate lobby does. ”
“I worked with Eric Boettcher for many years,” he said. “In 2015, he was arrested and 15 of us sat outside Andrew Cuomo’s office protesting the lifting of control over the vacancy. This is someone who has worked against the real estate lobby throughout his career. “
McKee noted that eight years ago, the New York City Real Estate Board similarly sent out emails on behalf of candidates he believed were in favor of real estate, including Margaret Chin. The current super-PAC mailings for this primary come very late, just after the start of early voting and less than two weeks before the primary. But the 2013 mailings came earlier in the electoral cycle, and Chin continued to resist calls to withdraw support from REBNY and to condemn the mailings.
“We went through this eight years ago,” McKee recalled. “I think the term of office of 21 councilors was limited. There will be even more fluidity in the Council in this election. REBNY is configured [the PAC] Jobs is in New York and spent about $ 5 million more than is being spent now. “
According to McKee, Tenants PAC will not endorse Chin in 2013 because she will not make a statement denouncing Jobs for New York’s independent spending on her campaign.
“She said, ‘I have no control over what they do,’ McKee said. “I said, ‘Margaret, that is not the question. Are you going to make a statement to stop them? ‘We interviewed Jennifer [Rajkumar, Chin’s Democratic primary opponent] but we decided to remain neutral.
“She was good at rent, but poor at development,” McKee said of Chin. “She supported all sorts of fuzzy development plans – NYU expansion plan, and she supported the demolition of this historic building. [on the Bowery] and built an office building. “
Meanwhile, John Fisher, who runs the TenantNet website, urged Boettcher to withdraw from the race.
“At the start of the campaign, Boetcher said he was not bought by real estate interests …” Fischer said. “It is clear that this was a big lie. He must immediately withdraw from the race and allow the rest of the candidates to compete in an honest and transparent manner. “
Additionally, District 1’s Christopher Marthe has been the target of NYC’s Common Sense superpack, whose recent mailing attempts to portray him as lenient on crime. Mailer quotes statementas reported by The Village Sun, he spoke out about the deprivation of funds by the police during a candidate forum last October organized by the Downtown Independent Democrats. The letter, citing a statement released by Tribeca Citizen, also claims that Marthe “supports the closure of all prisons.”
Marthe responded to the letter, stating, “Actually, Stephen Ross is too dangerous for the city council. We cannot allow the chairman of Associated Companies to determine the future of our municipality. If he decides to spend his money on our massive campaign, it is because he knows that I will never let him convert his newly acquired Section 8 buildings into luxury housing. If one of Trump’s biggest supporters attacks our campaign, that should be a signal to voters that I am the only candidate acting as a Democrat, committed to fighting for workers, safer communities, and affordable places to live.
“The letter sent by Ross’s superpackage spreads lies about my position and tries to intimidate voters,” Marthe said. “Everyone knows that I fully support the refusal to build a new prison in Chinatown, but Ross is trying to imagine that this is bad. I mentioned in the forums that NYPD should not have million dollar robot watchdogs and that we should use funds to ensure that EMS workers receive more minimum wages as they respond to the many crises in our communities.
“Every candidate in this race has called for NYPD reform, but I’m the only one Ross is targeting because we threaten his personal wealth, which he, in turn, uses to donate to Donald Trump and many far-right people. He knows that what this campaign is about is powerful, and that will mark the end of his plans to squeeze out long-term tenants and small businesses and turn Lower Manhattan into the next Midtown.
“I hope voters will remember my long experience in protecting vulnerable people, protecting safe streets and investing in our neighborhoods, and not fooled by Ross’s baseless attack.”
Sean Sweeney, for example, one of the top DID members, said the PAC is targeting Marta because he is the leader in the District 1 race and the developers see him as a threat. Last October, he REALLY supported Marthe with an overwhelming majority.