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About Ben Kallos

Confronted with corruption in Albany, Ben put voting records online so New Yorkers could finally hold politicians accountable. Since then he's run a government reform organization that successfully removed corruption from government and served as Policy Director for former Public Advocate Mark Green.

Ben grew up on the Upper East Side with his mother, who still lives in the neighborhood, and his grandparents, who fled anti-Semitism in Europe. A Bronx Science graduate, Ben knows that our public schools are more than just budget line.  He attended SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he paid his own way through.

In the City Council, Ben chairs the Committee on Governmental Operations, where he promotes transparency to ensure every dollar gets spent to improve your quality of life--from affordable housing to senior services to better schools.

Most Recent Newsletter

September News: Tenant Blacklist, Town Hall, and Preparing for Emergencies

While summer is a great time to slow down, we also use it as a chance to catch up, with the introduction of legislation to protect hundreds of thousands from the “Tenant Blacklist,” fight patronage, and open city owned and operated spaces for the arts after hours, as well as passing legislation I authored into law to plan for climate change and a more resilient waterfront.

You can prepare for hurricane season with storms like Hermine with the Office of Emergency Management and our Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) on September 29 on Roosevelt Island where you can get your free “Go Bag” or “Go Bag Kit.” RSVP to reserve your free Go Bag.

Please join me for our annual Town Hall this September to learn and ask questions about Pre-Kindergarten seats in the district, the completion of the Second Avenue Subway, Bus Service, Parks Improvements, Bike Safety, and get your free reusable bag. RSVP to reserve your free reusable bag.

How was your summer?

Sincerely

Ben Kallos
Council Member

P.S. We will hold First Friday this month on September 9th.

SPECIAL EVENTS

September 15, 6pm
Town Hall

September 29, 6:30pm
Emergency Preparedness
(Go Bags Giveaway
)
 

DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS

September 9
8am-10am
First Friday

September 13, 6pm
Policy Night

September 12, 19 & 26
6:30pm-8:30pm
Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assemblies

September 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29
3:30pm-6:30pm
Fresh Food Box
 

TOP HEADLINES

  1. Fighting “Tenant Blacklist” by Regulating Screening Companies
  2. Fighting Patronage
  3. Waterfronts and Resiliency, An Advisory Board Re-Established
  4. Emergency Preparedness CERT, Go Bag Giveaway
  5. Town Hall

ARTS

  1. Bill to Open City Owned Properties to the Arts
  2. ”Suicide Squad” Premiere Contest

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Moving the 91st Street Citi Bike Station
  2. Support Our Bus Drivers
  3. Gillen Brewer Students Take on Track Fires

COMMUNITY

  1. Suing to Protect Rent Freeze
  2. Register to Vote For President
  3. Supporting our Building Service Workers
  4. Girl Scouts Visit First Friday and Play Pokemon Go
  5. Preservation Pays, Challenge
  6. Participatory Budgeting:Neighborhood Assemblies Decided How to Spend $1 Million in the Community
  7. Adopt-A-Planter
  8. Fresh Food Box Continues at Office
  9. Affordable Rental Housing Opportunity, NYC Housing Connect
  10. Street Improvements Affect Available Parking
  11. Backing Folding Helmets

CITY COUNCIL UPDATES

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. Legal Clinic
  3. Here to Help
  4. Mobile District Hours
  5. Ben In Your Building

    EVENTS

    1. City Council Events
    2. Events Sponsored by My Office
    3. Community Events for Kids
    4. Community Events for Adults
    5. Resources

    Updates

    Press Coverage
    Gotham Gazette
    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Council Members Ben Kallos, Rory Lancman, and Elizabeth Crowley - all Democrats like de Blasio - have each submitted a request that legislation be crafted around regulating 501(c)(4) nonprofits. Kallos’ bill drafting request is “on point” with a recent proposal made by Citizens Union, a government reform group. That proposal would require that 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(3) organizations created at the behest of elected officials to promote their own image or agenda be treated like political committees under the city’s campaign finance laws. This would entail detailed disclosure of contributions and expenditures, limits on contributions similar to those for political candidates, and oversight by the Campaign Finance Board.

    “Anytime you’ve got elected officials whose political campaigns are limited in the money they can raise affiliated with 501(c)(4)s that engage in quasi-electoral activities that don’t have the same limits, that is a place we should be paying attention,” Kallos said in a phone interview. Kallos chairs the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, where the bills would likely be introduced and heard.

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    Gotham Gazette

    Kallos

    Council Member Ben Kallos (photo: John McCarten for the City Council)

    Council Members Ben Kallos, Rory Lancman, and Elizabeth Crowley - all Democrats like de Blasio - have each submitted a request that legislation be crafted around regulating 501(c)(4) nonprofits. Kallos’ bill drafting request is “on point” with a recent proposal made by Citizens Union, a government reform group. That proposal would require that 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(3) organizations created at the behest of elected officials to promote their own image or agenda be treated like political committees under the city’s campaign finance laws. This would entail detailed disclosure of contributions and expenditures, limits on contributions similar to those for political candidates, and oversight by the Campaign Finance Board.

     

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    the Jewish Voice.
    Wednesday, September 21, 2016

    The tenants have gained the backing of Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President and Ben Kallos, the City Councilman. Brewer said that the NYCHA’s promises have not been specific in telling residents what they stand to gain from the project.

    The NYCHA formally requested proposals from developers for the project on June 30. They said that they have tenant support for their plan to build 300 units, half at market rate and half affordable, in the public site of the playground. NYCHA officials, see the plan as a great way to raise desperately needed funds. The Housing Authority says it will use revenue from the new leases to fix the currently deteriorating apartments. NYCHA says the playground will be replaced in a different, yet-to-be-named location. They insist there has been plenty of communication with tenants.

    Read more

    Press Release
    Sunday, September 25, 2016

     

    "Electric vehicles are now the standard for New York City's fleet," said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operation. "Thank you to Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camillo for her partnership and responsiveness to requests for a more aggressive adoption of a fully electric fleet. Thank you Mayor de Blasio for keeping New York City at the forefront in the fight against climate change."

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    Our Town
    Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Bikes were the hot topic at the town hall held by Council Member Ben Kallos last Thursday.

    Bike lanes, bike shares and the enforcement of biking laws seemed to weigh heavily on the minds of the 70 or so attendees at the event. It was not the first time an audience largely comprised of senior citizens has turned out in full force at a community meeting to raise concerns about bikes.

    Department of Transportation Commissioner Luis Sanchez was present to address the issue, which he acknowledged but largely passed off to the city’s police department.

    “NYPD is responsible for enforcing the laws,” Sanchez said. “[DOT] doesn’t have the power to actually write tickets, but what we do is we go to the restaurant because the restaurant is supposed to have a roster of their cyclists. … If they don’t then we can issue a violation to the restaurant.”

    Sanchez and Kallos encouraged residents to go to their respective NYPD precinct community councils with specific questions or requests for more thorough enforcement.

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    Gothamist
    Monday, September 19, 2016

    In a letter delivered to NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye on September 1st, the Holmes Stakeholder Committee—which includes City Council Member Ben Kallos, Borough President Gale Brewer, and Holmes Tower residents—outlined their concerns with the selected site.

    Of three proposed sites, the stakeholders claim, the playground was chosen "amid widespread resistance from the community to development that would take away the park from the children."

    "The entirety of the Stakeholder Committee is not in favor [of the site], so there are a lot of questions about whether it really represents what residents chose," Paul Westrick, Kallos's Legislative Director, told Gothamist. Westrick added that although NYCHA held community engagement meetings this past February, they "were not well attended, and the public outreach they did wasn't really extensive." Because of a lack of community engagement, the stakeholders are requesting that the agency extend the proposal deadline from September 30th to November 30th.

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    New York Daily News
    Monday, September 19, 2016

    The Housing Authority insists that tenants of Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side have embraced its ambitious plan to raise cash by building luxury apartments on what’s now their playground.

    That’s news to them.

    The tenant “stakeholder committee” organized by NYCHA to vet the plan — along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilman Ben Kallos — made clear in a recent letter obtained by the Daily News that they never signed off on it.

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    Politico
    Monday, September 19, 2016

    But there is no protocol for communication between the attorney general’s office and the Council, and transparency records show that in December 2015, Hospital Audiences received additional funding from the Council.

    The Council did not raise red flags until April 2016 when, in a letter obtained by POLITICO New York, Dyer contacted Councilman Ben Kallos to explain the situation.

    Hospital Audiences had been awarded $123,100 in the 2016 fiscal year through several different grants from seven Council members: Kallos, Peter Koo, Daneek Miller, Karen Koslowitz, Jimmy Van Bramer, Inez Dickens and Mark Treyger.

     

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    League of Independent Theater
    Monday, September 12, 2016

    NY Council Member, and LIT endorsed candidate, Ben Kallos announced on Monday, Aug 22an incredible piece of legislation that allows community members to use City-owned buildings for rehearsals and performances. 

    Read more

    Press Coverage
    Roosevelt Island Daily
    Monday, September 12, 2016

    After running on a platform calling for more Pre-K funding, City Council Member Ben Kallos began delivering right away, increasing the number of seats in his district 5-fold, with Roosevelt Island alone gaining 49.

    It was an exhilarating moment for Roosevelt Island Parents' Network leader Eva Bosbach when Ben Kallos, early in his first term on the City Council, announced funding for 49 additional Pre K seats for the community.

    Along with vigorous moral and philosophical support, Kallos acted as navigator, guiding the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, led by Executive Director Pamela Stark, through the bureaucratic intricacies of the Department of Education in getting its application approved.

    At the same time, Bosbach and Susy del Campo Perea organize

     

    Read more