Dinowitz fails to lead, and I'm going to run against him


This letter is to discuss the continuing failure of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.

We have seen minimal improvements over the past several decades in the 81st Assembly District, improvements so incremental that it seems like we are going backward instead. We are enduring a housing crisis, an increase in homelessness, the continuation of drug-related crimes, the deterioration of the MTA, the breakdown of family and community unity, and a lack of positive extra-curricular activities for students.

Many of these are supposed to be addressed, in some cases even solved, by those we elect. Many of our elected officials have failed. Many lack the imagination to come up with new ideas to tackle these issues. Worse, many are too complacent because they are rarely, if ever, made to answer to us, the people.

My name is George Diaz Jr., and I live in Norwood. For the first time since 1994, we have a challenge to the status quo. I am writing to share that I am forming a committee to challenge Jeffrey Dinowitz in the Democratic primary for the 81st Assembly District.

I am running to be the representative for the entirety of the district made up of Wakefield, Woodlawn, Norwood, Bedford Park, Van Cortlandt Village, Marble Hill, Kingsbridge, Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale and Fieldston. At a recent rally in front of the Assemblyman’s office, Dinowitz questioned whether I live in “81st proper.” This question came when I stood with Northwest Bronx Indivisible and Empire State Indivisible to hold him accountable for his inconsistent statements about getting big money, corporate and special interests money out of our government.

The current system allows landlord, developers, charter school groups and hospital corporations to hold disproportional sway over many of our elected officials. Dinowitz took money from Montefiore, yet he didn’t miss an opportunity to get on camera when the nurses at Montefiore picketed in front of the hospital over unsafe conditions.

We need someone who wants to represent the entire community instead of someone who slices and dices neighborhoods in half or thirds in order to keep neighborhoods from realizing their potential and political power. Dinowitz took less than half of Wakefield and took half of Norwood to keep someone from Wakefield or Norwood from challenging him. He is part of cutting Bedford Park into three districts.

By cutting up our neighborhoods, it allows him to shift responsibility for subway issues. While I live in the 81st District, my library where I go to vote, the school I graduated from in eighth grade, and the Norwood-205th Street Station which I use almost daily, are all within three blocks of where I live. Yet somehow they are in a different district.

I want to finally see the 205th Street station get cleaned, renovated and have an elevator installed. The station looks like a cave. It has grime and slime, walls stained from decades of water damage, damaged tiles and pillars. We need someone who will demand that the MTA install elevators at every station when they do major capital projects, including the 241st Street and Nereid Avenue stations on the 2 and 5 lines, and the West 242nd, 238th and 225th street stations on the 1 line. Also the Woodlawn station for both the 4 line and Metro-North, both Bedford Park Boulevard stations, and all of the Metro-North stations.

I’m not looking to dig holes because there’s a camera. I want to do the work I did as a staff member for former Councilman Oliver Koppell. I’ve marched, picketed, volunteered, fought for tenant rights, and fought for the living wage we now have.

We need someone who will actually do the work we need, instead of just talking. We need someone who understands how families struggle to pay rent and utilities, who sacrifice to send their children to parochial or private schools because they are dissatisfied with their public school options or worried about their children’s safety.

We need a representative in Albany who doesn’t just go along to get along. We need someone who will stand up to the Assembly Speaker and the governor when necessary, and reach out to other members of the Assembly to change the narrative.

We need someone who will actually push for campaign finance reform and not buckle. We can no longer allow a Democrat who goes against the will of the people he represents by supporting pseudo-Democrats like Jeff Klein who blocked many of the bills Dinowitz claimed to support.

I am fighting for our future. Please join me in  this fight.

George Diaz Jr.,