The corruption scandal that has rocked the Bronx political establishment confirms what many of us already feel about politics and has the ability to further alienate voters.
We must recognize that we have a serious problem in our own community and alter the political climate, or we will fail to achieve our full potential
A recent Riverdale Press editorial highlighted a category of behavior defined by R.J. Bradley-Ortiz, a community organizer for Citizen Action of New York. “We like to think of illegal corruption,” Mr. Bradley-Ortiz said. “But legal corruption exists. Too often, things happen that appall people, but they’re perfectly legal.”
Legal corruption is the dynamic that dominates our local political scene.
In my tenure as treasurer of our local development corporation, as a parents’ association president and as a community activist, I have had a ringside seat to what might be described as the “shenanigans” perpetrated by the chieftain of our local political establishment, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. Mr. Dinowitz was a central figure in The Riverdale Press’ exposé on court patronage. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mr. Dinowitz — in coordination with his local political allies — has hijacked our local community board, distributed public money in exchange for political support, used his government office to advance the fortunes of candidates he favors or can control, conspired with a local tabloid publisher to carry out his political vendettas and actively blocked progressive proposals that do not emanate from his office.
The Van Cortlandt Park Skating Rink is the latest example of Mr. Dinowitz blocking a transformative community proposal. He actively worked to scuttle the rink, but when overwhelming community support carried the day, he retreated, engaged in revisionist history, and then appeared at the grand opening to cut the ribbon.