Reports to the people of the 81st Assembly District
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
Riverdale Satellite Office: 3547 Johnson Avenue, Bronx, New York 10463 • (718) 796-5345
Serving the communities of Kingsbridge, Norwood, Riverdale, Van Cortlandt Village, Wakefield and Woodlawn.
I am pleased to report that the State Legislature has once again passed an on-time and much-improved budget. The open and inclusive process of joint conference committees resulted in a budget that addressed the needs of New Yorkers, particularly in the areas of education, higher education and health care, that the governor failed to do in his budget submission. The legislature overrode more than 200 vetoes by the governor that would have had a devastating effect on these areas.
Locally, I continue to address the many issues facing the neighborhoods of the 81st assembly district. We face ongoing battles to stem the tide of overdevelopment, address parking issues, and fight the closing of the firehouse in Woodlawn. I continue to speak out on issues affecting our schools, especially overcrowding and the lack of gifted and talented programs in our district. We are moving closer to the development of a shopping center at West 230th Street and Broadway, something for which I have long advocated.
As always, my office stands ready to assist constituents with almost any problem imaginable. Cutting through red tape and lighting a fire under government officials is how we get things done, so please come in or call if we can be of assistance. And, of course, everyone on my staff is a notary public, and we provide free notary service.
Member of Assembly
|ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ ANNOUNCES END TO SALES TAX ON CLOTHING UNDER $110|
I am delighted to announce that the NYS Assembly saw to it that New Yorkers no longer pay the state’s 4 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear under $110.
The regressive state sales tax on clothing and footwear costs working families hundreds of millions of dollars every year. New York businesses have found it hard to compete for shoppers because clothing purchases are exempt from sales tax in surrounding states. The repeal of this tax will encourage people to shop at local businesses, which in turn will help the entire area’s economy to grow.
Effective Saturday, April 1, the state’s 4 percent sales tax on clothing and footwear items under $110 was eliminated. (The New York City portion of the tax was eliminated last year.) The Assembly rejected the governor’s proposed budget that would have extended the sales tax. At the same time he wanted to cut taxes for millionaires.
The tax on clothing and shoes was temporarily imposed following the September 11 economic downturn, but the state now has a multi-billion dollar surplus. The emergency that forced this temporary tax is over. We no longer need to collect it. The governor failed to honor the pledge he made to New Yorkers, so the Assembly stepped in and upheld the promise made to businesses and working families. Prices are going up everywhere we look, whether it’s gas prices, energy costs, tuition or health care. I turned back repeated attempts to continue this tax and insisted we simply let the tax expire as scheduled, saving working families more of their hard-earned money.
Because some businesses were unaware of the change, consumers who may have paid the tax in error may seek reimbursement using state tax form AU-11. The form is available online at www.tax.state.ny.us. Questions may be directed to my office at (718) 796-5345.
|Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, along with students from Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy, Manhattan College and seniors from the community at the Museum of Jewish Heritage a Living Memorial to the Holocaust.|
In a huge victory for New York City school children, the Assembly led the way in negotiating a new state budget that provides $2.6 billion in capital funding this year to renovate and expand school buildings, providing safe, modern classrooms for our children. Over the next 5 years our schools will receive an increase of $11 billion in capital funding. This will have an enormous impact on our schools. My efforts will help move construction at Bronx schools forward.
The investment in local schools is part of a record $1.36 billion increase in operating funding for education, helping our children succeed in a global economy. New York City schools will receive $501 million more than last year- $220 million more than the governor proposed.
The bipartisan budget provides a $25 million increase to expand universal pre-K classes in New York City, helping the city serve an additional 7,500 four-year-olds. The budget also provides a $1.3 million increase in aid for city students with limited English proficiency and $70 million for special education to help children reach their full potential. It also grants $10.7 million for Teacher Centers, where teachers can sharpen their skills to better help students, and $1.6 million for the Teacher Mentor Intern Program to train better teachers.
|Cell Phones Are Needed For Emergencies|
I have called upon the New York City Department of Education to alter its policy of confiscating student cell phones in schools. In a letter to Chancellor Joel Klein, I criticized the new policy of seizing cell phones during random scans by metal detectors.
|Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is the author of landmark legislation: the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2006. Over 100 colleagues co-sponsor his bill. Pictured at a recent event in support of the legislation are (l to r) Catherine J. Douglass, Executive Director, inmotion, Justice for All Women; Sister Jeanne Shary, OP, Sisters of Charity; Jacqui C. Williams, Director of Policy on Education, NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Dorchen Leidholdt, Executive Director, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, Sanctuary for Families; and a sex trafficking survivor; Assembly Members Patricia Eddington, Keith Wright, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Kenneth Zebrowski, Amy Paulin, Aileen Gunther and Sandra Galef. Assemblyman Dinowitz is joined by local leaders at the annual breakfast of the 47th Precinct Community Council. Pictured are Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, Precinct Council Chair Elizabeth Gill, Assemblyman Dinowitz, Congressman Eliot Engel, Community Board #12 District Manager Carmen Rosa, and Commanding Officer Patrol Borough of the Bronx Assistant Chief Thomas Purtell.||
Students often attend school far away from where they live.
Transportation problems can leave children stranded without
means of getting home. Without cell phones, students could
be left unable to contact their parents in order to make
alternative travel arrangements. More seriously, in the event
of natural and man-made disasters or family emergencies,
cell phones are critical tools for families to coordinate
with each other in response to a tragedy.
The policy should be changed to permit cell phones as long as they are not used during class time. To randomly check schools for weapons may be reasonable policy, but to treat cell phones like knives and guns borders on absurdity. There is no need to seize cell phones as long as they are not disrupting the learning process. We should give our teachers the discretion they need to govern their own classroom, not issue directives from on high that ignore the day-to-day realities of school life.
I have asked Chancellor Klein to amend the department of Education’s regulations to exempt cell phones from confiscation under the new metal detector scanning initiative. It is imperative that New York City parents have the ability to contact their children in case of an emergency. I know that if my children were still in school, I would insist that they carry a cell phone to school.
Kingsbridge Fights City Hall and WinsThe Department of Transportation has agreed to my request to remove problematic parking meters in Kingsbridge. I asked the DOT to remove the newly installed parking meters from the following locations:
These meters were recently installed without notice to the community. In addition, the DOT will also be removing the parking meters on West 232nd Street from Broadway to Godwin Terrace.
This reversal by DOT came after I called a meeting with Janet Golovner, Executive Director of the Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation (KRVCDC), and Maria Capellan, a Kingsbridge resident leading the opposition to the newly installed meters. I then requested that the Bronx DOT Commissioner remove some of the most offensive meters. Commissioner Constance Moran and Community Board 8 District Manager Grace Belkin also examined the sites. My office, the community board, and many community residents criticizing the DOT played a major role in convincing DOT to remove some of the meters on residential streets.
While some of the meters installed will greatly benefit the business community by discouraging commuters from using the neighborhood as a parking lot, the DOT went much further by installing meters at locations not recommended by KRVCDC or anyone else.
DOT saw they made a mistake by installing meters at these locations, and I am glad they recognized their error by agreeing to remove them. This is a big victory for the people of Kingsbridge.
Fixing Fire Hydrants, Catch Basins, and Traffic Signs
My office has worked closely with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on a number of quality of life issues in the community, including the catch basin at 2711 Netherland Avenue and the replacement of a fire hydrant on West 259th Street near Broadway.
Responding to my request, the DEP replaced the catch basin and installed a new connecting line along Netherland Avenue to West 227th Street. The catch basin was not working properly. Water constantly bubbled up and flooded a large area around the catch basin. During the cold weather, the water backed up on the sidewalk, driveway, and street, and it froze, causing a dangerously slippery area around the catch basin.
DEP also responded to my request to fix a fire hydrant located on West 259th Street near Broadway. The fire hydrant had been knocked over and broken at the base. A traffic sign was also knocked down. After inspecting the location, DEP installed a new fire hydrant. Also, responding to my request, the Department of Transportation reinstalled the traffic sign, which directs commercial traffic. These may seem like small problems, but they are certainly important to those affected by them. My office constantly handles problems like these, so if you have a similar issue, please call my office.
Cleaning up Old Albany Post Road
Old Albany Post Road is a short and infrequently traveled street just west of Broadway between West 251st and West 252nd Streets. When I received reports of abandoned cars, terrible litter, fallen branches, and a slum-like appearance, I immediately went there to inspect it and then took action with various governmental agencies. The cars were removed, the litter and other debris were cleaned up. Summonses were issued as well. Unfortunately, some people have used this street as a dumping ground, so constant vigilance is necessary. We must fight attacks on our quality of life anywhere and everywhere, so if you see similar conditions anywhere, please call my office.
New Lights for Van Cortlandt Village
The City has begun to install old-fashioned, decorative street lighting in and around the Amalgamated Houses. I arranged these new street lights through multi-modal funding that I secured from the Assembly. The money flows through the State Department of Transportation. I have previously arranged for the installation of similar lights on West 231st Street, West 235th Street and Johnson Avenue, and Riverdale Avenue north of West 256th Street. I believe it is very important to do everything possible to make our neighborhoods look more attractive. These lights make the beautiful streets in the Amalgamated look even nicer.
|Little League parades throughout the district|
|Assemblyman Dinowitz is shown with "The Nationals," one of the teams of the Kingsbridge Little League at Cooney Grauer Field on Bailey Avenue. Assemblyman Dinowitz marched in the opening day parade of the South Riverdale Little League with hundreds of ballplayers. The Assemblyman’s son, Eric, played with this league when he was younger. Assemblyman Dinowitz is pictured with State Senator Eric Schneiderman and our local little leaguers.||Assemblyman Dinowitz attended the opening of the North Riverdale Baseball League. He remarked that this is the league where his daughter, Kara, played ball. Pictured are Congressman Eliot Engel, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and State Senator Jeffrey Klein. Assemblyman Dinowitz threw out the first pitch at the opening of the Wood-Lean Boys and Girls Club baseball season. He is shown at the opening ceremony with local Boy Scouts.|
|Assemblyman Dinowitz threw out the first pitch at the opening ceremony of the Mosholu Montefiore Little League. He is shown here with several of the players as well as City Council Member Oliver Koppell and Congressman Eliot Engel.|
Assemblyman Dinowitz Organizes Trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage
I organized a chartered bus trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in lower Manhattan. The trip was organized in conjunction with the Manhattan College Holocaust Resource Center.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust celebrates and pays tribute to the lives of those who died in the Holocaust. The Museum honors the civilization they built, their achievements and faith, their joys and hopes, and the vibrant Jewish community that is their legacy today.
What a wonderful trip! I am pleased that so many neighborhood residents, including seniors, and Manhattan College and Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy students, participated in our visit to the museum. I was amazed to learn that few Jewish New Yorkers have visited the museum. I think it is important that all New Yorkers- those who are Jewish and those who are not- learn about Jewish culture and history. I also wish to thank Con Edison, the New York Yankees, Blumenfeld Development and Ceruzzi Holdings, and PathMark Stores Inc. for their generous financial support of this event. Money raised covered all costs including round-trip transportation, admission tickets, lunch, and a guided tour.
|Assemblyman Dinowitz is helping to bring beautiful music to P.S. 7 thanks to a grant he secured for the Bronx Arts Ensemble, which was used to fund the purchase of musical instruments for the children of P.S. 7. He is pictured here with several of the musicians, along with Bronx Arts Ensemble Executive Director William Scribner, Principal Dita Wolf and Patrice Norrelle.|
Riverdale Jewish Community CouncilAssemblyman Dinowitz presented a check to the Riverdale Jewish Community Council to help fund several of the Council’s community activities. Pictured at the Council’s annual breakfast are Council Member Oliver Koppell, honorees Jim Higgins and Grace Bova of the Interfaith Caregivers, honoree Rev. Josephine Cameron, Assemblyman Dinowitz, Ari Hoffnung, honoree Daniel Perla of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Ted Weinstein, honoree Irving Latimer, and Congressman Eliot Engel.
|Assemblyman Dinowitz is joined at the Hebrew Home for the Aged by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, and Hebrew Home resident Nathan Suss.|
|Assemblyman Dinowitz and Ambassador Arye Mekel, the Israeli Consul General, are pictured at the New York State Assembly after discussing the election campaign in Israel.|
Dinowitz to Senate: Keep Guns from Criminals
In Albany I have taken a leadership role in prohibiting criminals from possessing guns. To continue our strong stance on gun control, the Assembly passed a package of gun control legislation on the first day of the 2006 session. The Assembly passed my bill, A.1170, which would close loopholes that permit convicted criminals from purchasing handguns if they are given waivers by their parole board.
The bill seeks to take guns off the street by doing three things. First, it repeals the exemption of felons to possess shoulder weapons like rifles or shotguns who are issued a certificate of good conduct to lawfully possess a rifle or shotgun. Second, it prevents felons who are issued certificates of relief from disabilities from obtaining firearms licenses. Third, it eliminates the ability of felons who are issued a certificate of good conduct to obtain a firearms license. A conviction of a violent felony in New York State should mean that a person is not entitled to possess any type of gun. My bill repeals and eliminates these loopholes from the law.
It’s outrageous that someone convicted of a violent offense can get a certificate of good conduct from the parole board and use it to acquire a gun. It’s even more outrageous that my bill has passed the Assembly on several occasions, but the Senate refuses to pass it. The Assembly is taking a firm position that people who physically hurt someone else forfeit their rights to own a gun. If the Senate were serious about taking guns off the street, it would pass this bill.
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.