Jeffrey Dinowitz
Reports to the People of the 81st Assembly District

WINTER 2003 - 2004

District Office:
3107 Kingsbridge Avenue, Bronx, New York 10463 • (718) 796-5345
Norwood Satellite Office:
3450 Dekalb Avenue, Bronx, New York 10467 • (718) 882-4000, Ext. 353
Serving the communities of Kingsbridge, Norwood, Riverdale, Van Cortlandt Village, Wakefield and Woodlawn.

Dear Constituent:

As we approach a new year and a new legislative session, New York faces many crucial issues. As a result of the successful Court of Appeals ruling in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s lawsuit, the State and the City must increase school funding to guarantee that students are given a sound basic education. More money will have to be spent in high-needs districts such as New York City. We must also fight to ensure that health care, higher education and other important areas are not the victims of major budget cuts in light of the looming large budget deficit.

Locally, our neighborhoods continue to grapple with issues relating to quality of life, overdevelopment and protecting our open space and green areas. Our seniors face proposed cuts to many programs, including meals-on-wheels. I am involved in all these issues, fighting for the needs of my constituents in every neighborhood of my district.

My district office continues to help hundreds and hundreds of people with every possible problem. My staff gathers information. My staff cuts through red tape. My staff gets results. Joel Ramos, Judith Sonett, Ryan Miday, Randi Martos and Dan Katz are all experts at getting things done. Please call my office if we can be helpful with any constituent problem. Happy holidays!

Dinowitz says NO to construction on Spuyten Duyvil Triangle

I have spoken out against any construction on the Spuyten Duyvil Triangle after a proposal emerged to build a giant power conversion station along the Hudson River Shorefront. The plan is to bring power from upstate to the Metropolitan area. While I certainly do not oppose efforts to increase New York’s power supply, construction at this site is totally inappropriate. The very qualities that make Riverdale a very special place are once again being threatened by a huge construction project.

This huge facility must not be built on the Spuyten Duyvil Triangle. Our Hudson River Shorefront needs to be protected from industrial development. This project would be 110 feet high – as high as an 11-story building. Our community is united against any construction on the triangle. When this newsletter went to press the developer indicated he will look elsewhere to build this facility – a huge victory for our community.

Opposition to a proposed giant power conversion station along the Hudson River appears unanimous. Assemblyman Dinowitz is joined by Association of Riverdale Cooperatives President Dr. Steven Benardo, Friends of Spuyten Duyvil President Jodi Colon, Council Member Oliver Koppell, Community Leader Bruce Feld, State Senator Eric Schneiderman and Congressman Eliot Engel in announcing opposition to a huge construction project on the Spuyten Duyvil Triangle.

Don’t take away our express buses

Last December over 500 local residents attended a rally that I organized along with the Association of Riverdale Cooperatives and our other local elected officials to protest the proposed elimination of weekend express bus service. We won that battle. The Mayor wants the MTA to take over the express buses and had said that a plan would be put forth by the end of April by the administration.

The franchises for the express buses have been extended for another six months, but as of this mailing the issue has not been resolved. I say to the Mayor, “Support the community. Don’t take away our express buses.” The express buses are a lifeline for thousands of people in my district who use them to go to work, shopping, the theatre or the doctor. Many people do not live in close proximity to the subway. The express buses are as important to my constituents as the subway is to so many people. This is a vital service that needs to be maintained and affordable.

Assemblyman Dinowitz is pictured speaking at a plaque dedication in memory of Firefighter Paul A. Tegtmeier, Ladder 46 and Engine 81 on Bailey Avenue. Firefighter Tegtmeier gave his life so that others might live on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center.

Attention Senior Citizens:
SCRIE Limits Raised

Thanks to legislation that I co-sponsored in Albany, the income limit for SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) has been raised. The law, which we passed this year in Albany, raises the maximum income to $24,000 from $20,000. The City recently passed the required legislation as well. If you’re a senior (age 62 or older), have an income of under $24,000 and pay at least a third of your income for rent, then you can apply for SCRIE the next time you sign a new lease.

Don’t Leave Our Children Behind

The federal program, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), has caused many problems in our local schools. The program allows children in “failing” schools to transfer into schools far out of their zone. Unfortunately, this has already started to cause severe overcrowding in other schools, particularly the more desirable schools. A case in point is Middle School/High School 141, where over 30 children, including some from Queens and Manhattan, were moved into the school, exacerbating an already serious overcrowding problem. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the same bus picked up those out-of-borough children and local sixth graders. For the first two weeks of school our local children were late every day, often missing both homeroom and first period – all because NCLB required that these out-of-borough children be allowed to go to 141 –literally leaving our children behind. Only after I took action and demanded that the local kids have their own bus so that they would not be made late every day was the problem solved.

But the larger problem isn’t solved. I want every child to receive the best possible education, but a policy which moves thousands of children around like pieces on a chessboard instead of addressing the real problem – which is to improve the failing schools themselves – can’t succeed. The federal NCLB policy is a copout. Rather than overcrowding the good schools, fix the failing schools and put up the money to do the job.

Assemblyman Dinowitz Collects a Ton of Food for the Poor

PS 7 students collected hundreds of pounds of food for the poor for the holidays as part of Assemblyman Dinowitz’s holiday food program. They are shown here with Assemblyman Dinowitz delivering the food to his district office.
Thanks to the generosity of many people throughout our community, I have collected over a ton of food for distribution to people in need. Children from several local schools, including PS 7, PS 24, PS 81, and Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy came through big time in collecting food, as did the Whitehall and Knolls 2 Cooperatives. There are many people in need, in my district and beyond. When the chips are down the people of my district always come through.

Save Meals-on-Wheels

The New York City Department for the Aging has proposed changes in the Meals-on-Wheels program that must be stopped. They want to replace hot meals with frozen meals, and they want to consolidate seventeen Bronx programs into three.

This is another penny wise pound foolish proposal that may or may not save a few dollars but would adversely impact thousands of our most vulnerable neighbors. If frozen meals are provided, deliveries would have to be made less frequently – but that would remove one of the benefits of the program, which is to provide a daily visit to many of our seniors. In addition, many people simply would not eat the frozen meals or would have trouble preparing them. After all, one of the reasons some people need meals-on-wheels is that they cannot prepare their food.

Among our local organizations that have meals-on-wheels programs are the Riverdale YM-YWHA, the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center and R.A.I.N. These groups all know their neighborhoods and the people they serve. Consolidating these and 14 other Bronx programs into three huge ones would decrease efficiency and put people out of work as well. And who knows whether or not politics and not merit would determine which three agencies get these giant contracts. Please contact the City Department for the Aging and the Mayor and tell them to kill this terrible idea.

Thousands Receive Free Flu Shots

Once again my Free Flu Shot Program was a tremendous success. My annual program provided nearly 3,000 flu shots to people throughout my district. New York Presbyterian Hospital generously provided the shots, and the Visiting Nurse Service provided the nurses to administer them. They were great. We gave out the shots at the Riverdale Y, St. Gabriel’s Church, Riverdale Temple, Tibbett Towers, 50th Precinct, the Amalgamated, Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, St. Barnabas High School and St. Frances of Rome, covering every neighborhood of my district. The program was co-sponsored by my colleagues: Councilman Oliver Koppell, State Senator Eric Schneiderman and Congressman Eliot Engel. We also had many volunteers who gave us several days of generous help, including Bessie Walker, James Walker, Doris Spencer and Roberta Flowers. My Ombudsman, Judith Sonett, coordinated this huge effort for my office. Special thanks to several people from New York Presbyterian Hospital: Helen Morik, the Vice President of Government and Community Affairs; Andy Nieto, Director of Commuity Health and Outreach; Lorelei Fredheim, Nurse Administrator; and Kathy Olivo and Evelyn Torres, Coordinators.

The Hebrew Home for the Aged also sponsored free flu shots for local residents at their Johnson Avenue office. Like New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Visiting Nurse Service, the Hebrew Home deserves the praise of everyone in our community.

Assemblyman Dinowitz attended the dedication of the Monsignor Patrick J. Boyle Head Start Center in Norwood. The center will serve hundreds of local children. Pictured are Edward Cardinal Egan, Monsignor Patrick J. Boyle and Assemblyman Dinowitz.

Fighting Rats from Woodlawn to Kingsbridge

Rat infestation is a problem throughout the City. My office has addressed two major rat problems in Woodlawn and another one in Kingsbridge. There was a major infestation in Woodlawn Playground in Van Cortlandt Park. A resident brought this complaint to my attention at a meeting of the Woodlawn Taxpayer and Community Association. I immediately contacted Bronx Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, who quickly responded to my request on this matter. They have assigned staff to bait and clean the area between Oneida and Kepler Avenues on Van Cortlandt Park East regularly. Another rat problem along Webster Avenue was addressed by Metro North Railroad. Unfortunately individuals continue to dump garbage, which attracts rats, on the part of the property that is not Metro North’s. I will continue to address this problem.

I also applaud the Departments of Health and Sanitation for addressing a huge rat problem on Godwin Terrace in Kingsbridge. A lot located between Broadway and Godwin Terrace was a dumping ground for garbage. There was a huge rat colony with hundreds and hundreds of rats. The removal of the garbage and the baiting and trapping of the rats was a huge job that actually took many weeks.

As long as people dump garbage, litter – and feed pigeons – rats will continue to plague us.

Good Neighbor Removes Unsightly Sign

Huge billboards or signs generally do not add to the beauty of a neighborhood. One of our neighbors, ATRIA assisted living retirement residence on Henry Hudson Parkway, had a huge advertising banner on the face of its building. I believed it to be unsightly, especially in a residential area and particularly in light of efforts to beautify Henry Hudson Parkway. I am pleased to report that ATRIA was very cooperative in working with my office and with neighbors. I would like to thank the ATRIA for being a good neighbor and removing the sign.

Removing Buses From Kingsbridge Avenue

Despite the fact that it is not a bus route, city buses were traveling off-route down Kingsbridge Avenue (instead of Broadway) at the end of a shift in the middle of the afternoon. The buses would have to pass by two elementary schools, PS 7 and St. John’s, in the process. After receiving constituent complaints, I asked the MTA to stop this practice. I am pleased to report that Laurence Reuter, President of MTA NYC Transit, quickly responded to my request and ended this practice.

Dinowitz Gets Step Street Repaired

After receiving complaints about the state of disrepair of the step street running from Knolls Crescent to Kappock Street, I visited the site and discovered that several of the steps were cracked and uneven, causing a major trip hazard. I contacted DOT and insisted upon immediate repairs. Repairs were quickly made. Now I have requested a longer term fix – a total overhaul of this step street.

Dinowitz Gets Weeds Whacked

My office deals with every conceivable problem in our community. Overgrown weeds is a problem in many areas. The east side of Henry Hudson Parkway, north of West 246th Street, has been a particular problem. In fact, it was so bad that people had to walk in the street instead of on the sidewalk, with weeds over four feet high. Although there is an ongoing dispute as to whether the City or private property owners are responsible for the location, the Departments of Parks and Transportation complied with my request to cut the weeds and cooperated to remove them just before the High Holy Days. In addition, within days of my request the DOT replaced a lamppost that had been knocked down.

Assemblyman Dinowitz was recently presented with an award by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition for his leadership in fighting construction of a mamouth water filtration plant in the northwest Bronx. He was presented with a beautiful award by Ora Holloway on behalf of the Coalition.

Free Notary Service

My office provides free notary service during our regular office hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please bring two forms of identification, at least one with your photo and signature, if you would like your signature notarized.


To better stay in touch with you please take a brief moment to send me your e-mail address (I promise not to pass it on to anyone else) along with your name, address and phone number. E-mail me at

Apply for an Absentee Ballot

On March 2, 2004, New York State will hold its Presidential Primaries. Because of the time of the year, many people are out of town. If you expect to be out of town on March 2, 2004, you should not lose your vote. Apply for an absentee ballot. You can do so by calling my office at (718) 796-5345 or the Bronx Board of Elections at (718) 299-9017, but wait until late January or early February.

Thanks to a grant obtained by Assemblyman Dinowitz for the Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation, decorative tree fencing was recently installed around tree pits on Riverdale Avenue. Assemblyman Dinowitz and Development Corp. Executive Director Janet Golovner are shown planting flowers to decorate the shopping district.

Assemblyman Dinowitz participated in the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy’s Rockin the Roads Walkathon to raise money for enrichment programs for the school. He marched with Principal Daniella Phillips, the RKA Tiger and dozens of parents, students, faculty members and supporters of the school.

Assemblyman Dinowitz Calls On Justice Department To Reject New “School Boards”

Council Member Oliver Koppell and I have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to reject legislation that replaced elected Community School Boards with District Education Councils. These new Councils will have the same powers as the School Boards but they won’t be elected. Instead, three parent association officers from each school in the district will select the nine parent members of these councils. Thousands and thousands of people in our district participated in the last school board election. Next time several dozen PA officers will be the only ones voting. As a result, all other parents and interested voters will be cut out of the process.