Are two Assembly members really better than just one?


(re: “First time primary challenger to Dinowitz is first ever,” May 2)

I want to make some corrections and follow-up on the story about my candidacy for New York State Assembly in a previous edition.

This is not a west versus east issue or contest. I am running because the status quo that Jeffrey Dinowitz represents is no longer cutting it and leaves too many people out. I’m running because we need to change the conversation in this community. We should not settle for apathy and being OK with our neighbors feeling they don’t have a voice.

Instead, we need bold ideas and bold people. Throughout the campaign, I am going to hold Jeff Dinowitz accountable, informing our community of when he dodges or lies.

I mentioned in my interview that Dinowitz takes advantage of the ability of the majority party to decrease the size of their districts to protect themselves. The census determines how many people live in New York state. This population is then divided into 150 districts of equal population for the Assembly.

Unfortunately, the law allows for deviations where Assembly Democrats draw lines with a significantly smaller population than what 150 equal districts should look like, and draw districts with significantly larger populations in the mostly Republican-controlled upstate Assembly districts.

The senate Republicans have done this for decades with their districts, drawing overly large districts  in and around New York City, and smaller districts upstate where Republicans held seats.

If every Assembly district had the same population, there would be 129,187 people per district. Our community, the 81st Assembly District, has 126,402 people. Upstate, Assemblyman Jacob Ashby from Assembly District 107 (Rensselaer, Columbia and Washington counties) represents 133,185 people. Assemblyman Andrew Goodell of Onondaga County, who represents Assembly District 150, has 134,333 people.

Goodell represents 8,000 more people than Dinowitz. In fact, every neighboring Assembly district to the 81st is more populated than the 81st, with Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow covering 132,020 people in Mount Vernon and Yonkers.

This is how I know Dinowitz is lying about why he can’t take more of Norwood, Bedford Park or Wakefield.

I want to thank The Riverdale Press for its editorial that supports my claim that “there is more than enough wiggle room to stretch a boundary here, and tuck a boundary there, to at least allow full communities to have a single representative” (re: “Coloring inside the lines,” May 9). If Dinowitz wanted, he could have tried to take all of Norwood to close the deviation gap. He also could have negotiated with the Assembly Speaker to take more or less of Wakefield, if he wished.

Additionally, I find it odd Dinowitz brought up Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez as neither her nor her immediate predecessor were in office during the last redistricting, and I get along well with the Assemblywoman. She has been active in my neighborhood, and I have personally seen her in Norwood more than I have seen him during her time in office.

Dinowitz says my neighborhood is better served by having two Assembly members. Does that mean he thinks where he lives would be better served with two Assembly members? What if we divided the neighborhood at West 254th Street, or at Manhattan College Parkway, or split the district across the street from where Dinowitz lives, which is the reality for my neighbors and me?

Would Dinowitz be happy with that border?

Dinowitz used this argument about multiple elected officials on multiple occasions at the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club when referring to state senators and congressional members. Then why did he and several members of the club complain about the “blue building” and the club itself being in the 78th Assembly District prior to the last redistricting?

The neighborhood is better served with two Assembly members, right? According to Dinowitz’s quote, it is.

The author has announced a primary challenge against Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz for the 81st Assembly District.

George Diaz Jr.,