Socialists, seeking seats in Albany, launch “evict your landlord” campaign

DSA aims to rally support for Senate, Assembly candidates

New York /
Mar.March 23, 2022 08:45 AM

Julia Salazar, Emily Gallagher, Samy Nemir Olivares and David Alexis (NY Senate, NY Assembly, Facebook, David Alexis for State Senate, iStock)

New York socialists’ latest campaign has a new slogan: “Evict your landlord.”

The campaign, by the state chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, is seeking support for a slate of 12 candidates running for state Senate and Assembly seats. In an email last week, the DSA chapter highlighted real estate spending in state and city elections and called out the Real Estate Board of New York and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“REBNY and its power players have been trying to deny the undeniable: There is a socialist wave cresting in New York, and that their days of Hochul-backed handouts and sky-high rents are numbered,” the email states. “They know it. That’s why they’re pumping money into DSA-endorsed state races, hoping desperately to stem the tide.”

The ocean metaphors could be taken with a grain of salt: Only two of the six DSA-backed candidates in last year’s City Council race won seats. However, a fair number of the 49 other Council winners were left-of-center. About six of the 213 state legislators were elected with DSA support.

Grace Mausser, an organizer with the DSA, said the campaign refers to the real estate industry’s spending, not just REBNY’s. She said she expects industry donations to flood the Senate and Assembly races where the DSA has endorsed a candidate. The DSA hopes to raise $30,000 by April 3.

By comparison, Common Sense New York, a political action committee, received $1 million from Related Companies’ Stephen Ross and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars opposing City Council candidates endorsed by the DSA.

Jobs For New York, the political action committee associated with REBNY, supported Brooklyn Democrats Justin Brannan and Steven Saperstein (a former Republican) ahead of the general election. Saperstein lost, but Brannan eked out a victory.

A spokesperson for REBNY slammed the DSA’s email even as he said the trade group would ignore it.

“We’re going to continue working with a diverse array of stakeholders to advocate for policies that increase affordable housing production, expand housing voucher access, create good jobs and address other critical needs for New Yorkers across the five boroughs rather than respond to coverage of false, frivolous and desperate attacks,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The DSA is looking to double the number of socialist lawmakers in state government in this year’s elections. It has endorsed David Alexis against Sen. Kevin Parker in Brooklyn; Samy Nemir Olivares against Assembly member Erik Dilan in Brooklyn; Kristen Gonzales against former Council member Elizabeth Crowley in the redrawn Senate District 17 in Queens; Illapa Sairitupac, who is vying for the Manhattan Assembly seat being vacated by Senate candidate Yuh-Line Niou; and Vanessa Agudelo and Sarahana Shrestha, who are pursuing Assembly seats in the Hudson Valley.

The organization is also supporting incumbent Assembly members Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes, Emily Gallagher and Zohran Mamdani; and in the Senate, Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar.

The results of these races, and indeed the races themselves, could affect a number of issues that the real estate industry is watching closely.

DSA is pushing for a good cause eviction bill sponsored by Salazar. The measure would insulate tenants against eviction if their rent were increased by more than 3 percent or 1.5 times the regional inflation rate, whichever is higher.

The socialist group is also calling for the expiration of the property tax break 421a and opposes Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to replace it with a similar program. If the tax break lapses on June 15, the stakes will be even higher for the industry going into the June 28 primary. A stronger socialist presence in the legislature would not bode well for the program.





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