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California YIMBY Contributes $126K to Elect YIMBY Staffer Jon Wizard to State Assembly

by CA YIMBY News
Pro-luxury development group California YIMBY has contributed over $126K to elect Jon Wizard, a paid staffer with YIMBY Action. Wizard is running for State Assembly in District 30 in the June 7 primary election. California YIMBY furthers a legislative agenda that favors supply-side market-rate housing production, and the profit of developers, over social equity. The contributions in support of Wizard are the largest campaign expenditures ever made by California YIMBY, and they represent a large percentage of Wizard's overall funding. Wizard's campaign received just over $146K total in cash contributions in 2022 (in addition to the expenditures from California YIMBY). Wizard has also made a $50K loan to his own campaign.
The new 30th Assembly District is comprised of portions of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties.

Jon Wizard has been employed by YIMBY Law, and its parent organization YIMBY Action, since January of 2021.

On the campaign trail in 2022, Wizard parrots familiar YIMBY talking points, including references to housing affordability issues in terms of supply and demand.

"Housing supply is the root cause of the affordability crisis," Wizard recently said on social media.

"The answer to the housing affordability crisis is to build more homes. At its extreme, if we built a billion homes in California, there’d be so many that anyone could find any type they want anywhere—and prices would plummet," Wizard said in another recent social media post.

The statements illustrate how outlandishly neo-liberal YIMBY talking points have become.

The California YIMBY Victory Fund PAC funneled contributions to Wizard's campaign by sponsoring an independent expenditure committee titled "Neighbors for an Affordable California in support of Wizard for Assembly 2022". On May 11, the California YIMBY Victory Fund contributed $65K to the committee, and then made a second contribution of $57K on May 19. These expenditures were in addition to a cash contribution of $4,900 made directly to Wizard's campaign on March 29, bringing the total contributions from California YIMBY in support of Wizard to $126,900.

The independent expenditure committee used $122,947.60 of the funds to produce a campaign mailer in support of Wizard, paid for in installments that were dated May 17 and May 27.

The Wizard campaign also received cash contributions from the following individuals employed by, or otherwise associated with, the YIMBY party:

$2,500.00 Melissa Breach, Chief Operations Officer, California YIMBY
$1,000.00 Laura Foote, Executive Director, YIMBY Action
$1,000.00 Rafa Sonnenfeld, Director, Yes in my Backyard and Santa Cruz YIMBY Co-Lead
$827.00 Kyle Kelley, Santa Cruz YIMBY Co-Lead
$350.00 Krista Jeffries, SLO County YIMBY Founder
$250.00 Kelsey Banes, Regional Director, YIMBY Action
$200.00 Jessica McBride, Development Manager, YIMBY Action
$108.27 Aaron Eckhouse, Policy Advocate, California YIMBY
$100.00 Elizabeth Conlan, Santa Cruz YIMBY Co-Lead

The YIMBY Party in California is comprised of a patchwork of inter-related organizations. The main organizing group, California YIMBY, is a multi-million dollar political organization

From 2017 to 2019, California YIMBY reported to the IRS revenues totaling over $10 million dollars ($6,320,297 in 2019, $3,444,880 in 2018, and $439,844 in 2017, the year the organization was founded).

So far in the 2021-2022 legislative session, California YIMBY has spent over $560K on political lobbying activities. During the 2019-2020 legislative session, California YIMBY spent over $1,200,000 in total on political lobbying.

California YIMBY established the California YIMBY Victory Fund Political Action Committee (PAC) in 2018 in order to support candidates running for political office. From 2018 to 2021, the PAC reported taking in over $500K in monetary contributions. So far in 2022, the California YIMBY Victory Fund has taken in over $204K in total monetary contributions.

YIMBY Law was created by the founder of the YIMBY movement, Sonja Trauss, in partnership with the San Francisco-based organization YIMBY Action. YIMBY Action organizes and collects dues from local area chapters of the YIMBY party. Trauss has referred to YIMBY Law as the "legal advocacy arm of the YIMBY Party".

From 2017 to 2018, YIMBY Action reported to the IRS revenues totaling over $1.1 million dollars ($316,445 in 2018 and $809,849 in 2017, the year the organization was founded).

California YIMBY and YIMBY Action are 501(c)(4) organizations, and are legally exempt from disclosing their funding sources. Some high-profile contributors from the tech industry, however, have made public their major financial contributions.

For example, California YIMBY received a $100,000 grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Advocacy, which is the political arm of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the nonprofit foundation of Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

In 2018, tech company Stripe announced they were making a $1 million contribution to California YIMBY.

"The donation will support California YIMBY’s efforts to increase the rate of home building in California from 80,000 units per year to 500,000 units per year," a press release from Stripe stated.

So far in 2022, the majority of the largest contributors to the California YIMBY Victory Fund PAC have been from the tech industry. These include $50,000 from Kenneth Duda, a software engineer at Arista Networks Inc.; $50,000 from Ron Conway, managing partner of SV Angel LLC; $15,000 from Robert McGrew, Vice President of Research at OpenAI L.P.; $10,000 from Andrew Sutherland, a software engineer at Qizlet Inc.; and $10,000 from Tom Zamudio, a self-employed software consultant. Some of these individuals have also made equally large or larger contributions to the California YIMBY PAC during prior election cycles.

Because California YIMBY has received so much of its funding from the tech industry, the organization has been referred to as a "tech PAC".
§Outlandish Neo-Liberalism from YIMBY Action's Jon Wizard
by CA YIMBY News
§$65K Contribution from California YIMBY Victory Fund on May 11
by CA YIMBY News
§$57K Contribution from California YIMBY Victory Fund on May 19
by CA YIMBY News
§Jon Wizard Loans His Own Campaign $50K on December 13, 2021
by CA YIMBY News
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