To the editor:
(re: “Dinowitz family too important,” May 6)
Why is criticism to Eric Dinowitz’s election to the city council predicated on the fact that he is the son of an Assemblyman? All of the arguments run counter to the achievements Eric has accomplished on his own.
For the past seven years, Eric has been our district leader, which is an unpaid position that requires untold hours of community service, which Eric has done expertly. He helped register voters, knocked on doors (pre-pandemic) for people, worked to increase the number of early voting sites, and improve mail-in balloting.
He fought against cuts to Riverdale bus service, pressured the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for an elevator at Mosholu Avenue, and stood up to Key Food in support of essential workers.
As chair of Community Board 8’s aging committee, Eric worked hard to help senior citizens. All of this work took time and commitment, which Eric — he, himself — did.
Since elected our councilman, Eric’s commitment to our community continues. He has run multiple food drives to provide food to families in need, sponsored important legislation to address the housing crisis, and called on the Rent Guidelines Board to freeze rents this year.
He also has been holding outdoor office hours to speak with constituents in a safe, socially distanced way.
Eric’s past work as a special education teacher speaks volumes to the type of person Eric is. To teach students with special needs requires someone who has exceptional patience and love to share. These are traits Eric has.
Eric left mid-academic year to begin a new chapter in his life — first as a candidate, and now as an elected councilman. It’s not an easy decision to leave teaching, and Eric waited until the last moment to do so.
I bet if it was possible to be both a councilman and a teacher at the same time, he would have. As a retired New York City teacher, I can say that two school terms are exactly what they imply, each one is its own term. New students are added to classes, teachers are shifted around, and schedules are changed.
Look at the lesson Eric has given his students, the lesson of participatory democracy. He, by his own example, has shown his students that any person with drive and dedication can run his office. And, in Eric’s case, win.
I am sure he is in touch with his students, and that they are looking forward to visit their teacher at City Hall. What a perfect lesson this is.