GOP lurks behind every bush


To the editor:

Common Sense New Yorkers is a front group for New York real estate developers publishing campaign literature and attack ads against state Sen. 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 boycott, divestment and sanctions 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 $2.5 million in contributions and $1.5 million 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 online news site 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 political action committee of real estate developers opposing Sen. Rivera because he is a fighter for reform of 421a? 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 Cos. 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 421a, but are there other motives?

Surprise, surprise, Ross is one of Donald Trump’s creditors. Forbes reports that Trump owes Ladder Capital — which holds the mortgage on Trump Tower — between $110 million and $150 million, and Ross’ Related Capital owns 5 percent 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 Sen. Rivera is part of the Republican playbook, and efforts to retake the New York State legislature and control of the state’s agenda.

Voters, I urge you to preserve the Democratic character of our community, and reject Republican propaganda.

Helen Meltzer-Krim