Dinowitz does represent my values, our values


(re: “Dinowitz doesn’t represent this community’s values,” Sept. 23)

I was taken aback by both the headline The Riverdale Press used on Adam Stoler’s recent Point of View, as well as the errors and malfeasance in Mr. Stoler’s words against Councilman Eric Dinowitz.

While I am not going point-by-point, I will highlight errors in this piece.

He speaks about the departure of a supermarket and bank from Knolls Crescent. Councilman Dinowitz was very much involved in protesting and trying to prevent Chase Bank from leaving, and he is a sponsor of a bill to put in strong protections for storefront businesses for lease renewal.

The supermarket Mr. Stoler speaks about left more than 15 years ago — way before Eric was our councilman. And right now, in the Knolls Crescent neighborhood where I live, we have two markets which generally serve the needs of the community.

Would Mr. Stoler want a supermarket to drive out Ben’s, a successful and well-liked family-run market?

And Mr. Stoler wants the Key Food parking lot to be redeveloped. This free parking lot is almost always nearly full, and is a crucial help for Riverdale shoppers in a neighborhood that has very limited street parking.

I do agree that Friedland Properties has been abusing its commercial tenants, and that there needs to be something done about both Friedland and other property owners throughout New York City that abuse all of us. We need commercial rent control and penalties for commercial property owners who keep their buildings empty by charging exorbitant rents and use these properties as tax deductions.

Councilman Dinowitz supports a vacancy tax, but this legislation needs to be enacted on the state level.

Mr. Stoler called Councilman Eric Dinowitz a “failed teacher.” How is this so for someone who was a superb teacher and union leader who ended every year with good ratings? Councilman Dinowitz taught special needs students. It takes a very patient and caring person — qualities Eric has — to go into this area of education.

His desire to help people brought him from the classroom to our district so he could be an effective leader as a councilman to get good things done for a larger group of people. Need I mention our local congressman also left education to serve in an elected capacity?

In the five months that Councilman Dinowitz has been in office, both he and his staff members have been working diligently for our community. Eric helped save Meg’s Garden, an outdoor learning area for Norwood students. He has sponsored bills in the council to protect our environment. He has directed millions of dollars in additional funding to many non-profits, including toward upgrades for North Central Bronx Hospital, and here in Spuyten Duyvil toward a full rehab of the staircase at Ewen Park, which is used daily by many students.

And even before he was elected, Eric was supporting the union workers at Key Food. Here in The Press, it was reported that Eric Dinowitz “was one of many who stood with the union workers in front of Key Food.”

While everything Councilman Dinowitz has worked on is important, for me personally, what he has been doing during this unprecedented and continuing pandemic to expand vaccinations and help with food insecurity rates at the top. And this he has done.

He has brought pop-up vaccination sites to the district, and has ensured that local schools serve as vaccination sites. He has hosted food giveaways and allocated more than $100,000 to food panties.

In addition, what we don’t see — but which happens daily — is the help to people in our district by the councilman’s staff to many individuals, including protecting tenant rights and ensuring parents of special needs students get the financial help they are entitled to.

And, of course, sadly after Ruth Mullen’s tragic death, working with the city’s transportation department to bring safety upgrades to the dangerous intersection of at Kappock Street and Johnson Avenue.

Mr. Stoler would have us organize against Councilman Dinowitz for the November election.

No! I say, first, please vote in the November election. And yes, vote for Councilman Dinowitz to show him we support all the work he has been doing for us.

And, in addition, please help our district by volunteering to help whichever way you can. Perhaps the councilman’s office can put in place a volunteer coordinator whom we can contact for volunteer opportunities.

It’s up to all of us — with Councilman Dinowitz’s support — to make this city council district here in the Bronx a safe, healthy and comfortable place to live.

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Bonnie Geller-Geld,