Real estate-related PACs and the world’s wealthiest woman are spending big on local New York City elections.
New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, backed by charter school advocate and world’s ninth richest person Alice Walton, the Wal-Mart heiress, has spent more than $75,000 on mailers, internet ads and live phone calls in support of candidate John Sanchez, who is running for the Bronx City Council seat vacated by Rep. Ritchie Torres, The City first reported.
Another group, Voters of NYC, is backing Sanchez as well as Eric Dinowitz, who’s running for City Council in Riverdale. Voters of NYC’s contributions include $185,000 from real estate firms, notably $100,000 from developer William Lie Zeckendorf’s WLZ Properties.
Voters of NYC was registered with the state Board of Elections by consultant Jeffrey Leb, who also registered Common Sense NYC. That organization spent more than $200,000 to influence a Queens special election this winter and has raised nearly $1.5 million in total, including $1 million from Related Companies Chairman Stephen Ross.
But some are confused about the choice of these real estate interests, including the candidates themselves.
“The real estate interests behind this mailer obviously don’t know me very well. I don’t want or need the support of anyone who doesn’t share my values — and that means anyone in real estate,” Dinowitz told The City, describing himself as favoring tenants and opposed to “overdevelopment.”
Sanchez has sent mailers proclaiming “Housing is a human right,” but unlike some activists who echo that slogan, he supports adding supply to improve housing affordability and access. Sanchez is endorsed by the yes-in-my-backyard group Open New York.
Related’s Ross is also rounding up perhaps tens of millions of dollars to influence the mayoral race.
[The CITY] — Sasha Jones