Pol Position: Attack Ads target Assembly Candidate

Real estate interests are spending big in local assembly district races across the city, with attack mailers labeling candidates as too far left.

One of these candidates, Juan Ardila, was recently endorsed by The Queens Ledger in the race for Assembly District 37 — which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, and Long Island City.

The attacks ads are part of a last-minute ad-blitz from the group “Common Sense New Yorkers,” a Super PAC funded by big real estate money.

Records from the State’s public disclosure system show that within the last two weeks, “Common Sense New Yorkers” has received two donations from 360 SLD Management, a foreign limited liability corporation under the White Plains-based Cappelli Organization, for $30,000; and Muss Development, a multigenerational development company based out of Forest Hills.

These are the groups funding the message that Juan Ardila is “bad news” for our community. Pretty rich for people who don’t live in the neighborhood.

The mailer labeling Juan Ardila as “Dangerous! Reckless! Socialist!” are far from the truth. In an interview with The Queens Ledger, Ardila emphasized that he was not seeking DSA’s support in the race, and has received the endorsement of more traditional New York liberals like Senate Deputy Leader Michael Giannaris or the Working Families Party.

The mailers also claim that Juan Ardila wants to “reduce the budget of the police throughout the state” and that it is in his own words. In the Jim Owles questionnaire response, the attack ad which refers to Ardila specifically, talks about funds that have been used to militarize the police and divert them to social programs to be able to tackle the issue of crime. While he does advocate for some reallocation, it is far from the “too extreme for Queens” allegations.

The mailers also attack Ardila for racist, homophobic and anti-semitic comments he made in high school. This is not a new revelation as it was unearthed by The New York Post during Ardila’s previous campaign for City Council. Ardila has previously apologized for the language he used on Facebook as a teenager.

The truth is Juan Ardila has the best interests of district residents. He is an ardent supporter of good cause, a necessary bill that will protect tenant rights, while the cost of living keeps rising.

One of Juan Ardila’s main competitors in the race, Johanna Carmona, is the real estate industry’s pick. Public records show that Carmona received $4,700, the highest possible donation from Neighborhood Preservation, a PAC associated with the pro-landlord Rent Stabilization Association.

With 24 hours left in the campaign, Carmona has raised some key high-dollar donations from other real estate interests. Public records show that she took a $1,000 donation from Dan Tishman, a long-standing member of the Real Estate Board of New York. Carmona also took $1,000 from Ayala Barnett, the wife of Extell Development founder Gary Barnett, who received favorable tax breaks after being a long-time donor to former Governor Cuomo, as the New York Daily News reported.

Juan Ardilla has foregone taking corporate or developer money. While the polls will have closed before this paper is printed, these attack ads only solidify our endorsement of Ardila as the candidate to represent the community’s interests up in Albany.

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