From City Limits:
In 2007, the Council voted to landmark a section of Sunnyside Gardens in Queens after a bitter fight in the neighborhood over the plan, which some thought was an essential defense against overdevelopment and others worried would impose high costs on middle-class homeowners. Gioia came out in support of landmarking shortly before its passage. In an e-mail to constituents, he wrote that Sunnyside Gardens is "the neighborhood I've chosen to live in with my family and where I plan to raise my daughter." But Gioia's home is actually just outside the landmark district—a fact that he alluded to in the same e-mail, but that some in the district thought he glossed over.
"The most dangerous place to be in Queens is between Eric and a TV camera," says Ann Eagan, Gioia's Green Party opponent in 2001. "He gets his face in the papers." Kieran Staunton, a Woodside bar owner, contends that "From day one, he's been running for better things. He's merely passing through."
Gioia—who outspent his opponents by seventeen-fold in '03 and seven-fold in '05—has the bucks to back up those ideals. With $2.2 million raised to date and almost $1.7 million in the bank, Gioia has more than three times what any of his opponents have on hand. Some $390,000 of Gioia's money has come from donors giving the maximum $4,950 contribution—a list of givers that includes supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, Mark Green's brother Stephen Green (his check predated his brother's entry to the race) and several top developers including the Durst Organization, Kaufman Realty, the Walentas family and the Related Companies' Stephen Ross.