To the editor:
(re: “Housing is a human right, and why we support shelter,” Nov. 11)
We, the Riverdale voters, are to blame for the swift decline of our beloved neighborhood.
It is astonishing how poorly our elected officials represent the wishes of our community — and, in many cases, actively vote against it. The latest straw was U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman voting against the infrastructure bill that this community so badly needs after years of neglect that have left all of our transportation options — Metro-North, the subway, the Henry Hudson Bridge, streets and highways — in various states of disrepair.
Or how he and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi are actively championing to bring a homeless shelter to our streets that are already reeling from drugs and crime not seen since the ‘70s (I know! I was here!).
Even the dynamic Dinowitz duo have done nothing but cement their dynastic legacy without enacting any meaningful change. The elder Dinowitz — Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz — says he’s against the homeless shelter, but won’t do anything to stop it. The younger Dinowitz — Councilman Eric Dinowitz — refuses to stand up to the city institutions that seem intent on “spreading the pain” across all New York City neighborhoods.
By not blocking the homeless shelter, Eric Dinowitz is showing he cares more about virtue signaling for some esoteric concept of “housing” than the needs and wishes and safety of the constituents that voted him into office. Ask any of the parents dropping their kids off at neighborhood schools, and the opposition to the shelter is overwhelming.
Ask my senior citizen friends who already fear sitting at a bench along Broadway whether they think the shelter will contribute to the decay of the neighborhood, and the response is overwhelming.
I have been on this planet for many decades, most of them living in Riverdale. And through all of them, I voted Democratic. I never thought I would say this, but the failure of all our elected officials — Bowman, Biaggi, Dinowitz Sr. and Jr. — to represent the values of us Riverdalians who prided ourselves on building a community that we could be proud of like good schools, safe streets, vibrant businesses and religious harmony, has me thinking of voting Republican for the first time in 80 years.
I see the weak justifications that these elected officials write in The Riverdale Press in response to the criticisms lobbed against them. How they are making our streets unsafe with proposed homeless shelters. How they are destroying our children’s education by keeping them out of school last year.
How the Dinowitz duo speak a lot of empty platitudes, but don’t actually get anything done. How Bowman votes against infrastructure funding that Riverdale so badly needs. And it really makes me pine for the old days.
Riverdale is nowhere near what it once was, and it is heading in the wrong direction at an increasing pace because of the people that we — my neighbors and I — voted for.
I plead with you, my beloved neighbors, do not simply vote the party line anymore. Those in the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club: Do not just blindly vote for the Dinowitzes. Vote for people who will fight for the things that have made Riverdale special, and can make it special again.
With respect and love for our community, our current crop of elected officials has to go.