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
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 Wins
The 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.|
Dinowitz Blasts Fire Department Plan to Close Woodlawn Firehouse
I am outraged by the Fire Department’s plan to move Ladder 39 out of Woodlawn. Joining me are Congressman Eliot Engel, City Council Member Oliver Koppell, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr., and Community Board 12 in opposing the city’s plan to close the Woodlawn Firehouse in May. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) will be moving Ladder 39 into Wakefield.
Woodlawn is a geographically isolated community, surrounded by Woodlawn Cemetery, the Major Deegan Expressway, Van Cortlandt Park, Yonkers, and the Bronx River Parkway. Closing this firehouse would lead to a significant increase in response time. Woodlawn is also in close proximity to the water filtration plant that is currently under construction in Van Cortlandt Park. In case of an emergency at that location, the Woodlawn Heights Firehouse would be the first to respond. This only emphasizes how important the firehouse is to the safety of the community.
Closing the Woodlawn Firehouse is irresponsible and reckless on the part of the FDNY. A skyrocketing response time in Woodlawn increases the likelihood of fire-related deaths or injuries. The FDNY needs to build a new firehouse in Woodlawn and provide a temporary firehouse in Woodlawn while the new one is being built.
|Assemblyman Dinowitz (center), along with hundreds of Woodlawn residents, is shown helping hold a huge banner at a march down Katonah Avenue in support of keeping Ladder 39 in Woodlawn and opposing the closing of the Woodlawn firehouse.|
|Assemblyman Dinowitz strongly opposes the closing of the Woodlawn firehouse and denounced the FDNY’s plan at a community rally in front of the firehouse where he was joined by other leaders. Pictured in front of the firehouse are Community Board 12 Chairman Father Richard Gorman, Congressman Eliot Engel, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President James Slevin, Assemblyman Dinowitz, City Council Member Oliver Koppell and State Senator Jeffrey Klein.|
|Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz helps bring beautiful music to PS/MS 280. The Bronx Arts Ensemble provided new musical instruments PS/MS 280 through funding secured by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. Pictured with students from PS/MS 280 are Principal Gary LaMotta, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Bronx Arts Ensemble Executive Director William Scribner, and guidance counselor Rhona Weiss.|
|Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Congressman Eliot Engel are joined by officers and leaders of the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Association at the 47th Precinct Community Council Breakfast. Pictured are Robert Thompson, Mike Sheridan, Christine Evans, Barbra Selesky, Harry Bott, Josephine Bastone, Assemblyman Dinowitz, Margaret Fogarty, Congressman Engel, Genevieve Thompson, Michael Egan and Kenneth Parr.|
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.