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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

June News: Voter Bill Passed, Anti-Corruption Reforms Advanced, Pre-K Seats Added

 
Friend,
 
With summer on its way, May and June are the time to get things done in the neighborhood and at the City Council. This past month, we passed a bill to give voters all the information they need on their phone or online, which could have helped prevent April's election problems. We held a hearing with oversight of the City's deed restrictions policies that led to the widely scrutinized deals around a nursing home on Rivington Street and a cultural center on St. Nicholas Avenue. And our anti-corruption campaign finance reform legislative package won the critical support of the Mayor.
 
On the local level, we won 90 additional Universal Pre-Kindergarten seats in the district, through partnership with the Department of Education. The Department of Buildings granted a stop work order on the building planned to be the tallest skyscraper on the Upper East Side, following a letter I sent with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer calling into question its legality. And with the warm weather here, we relaunched our bike safety program with Council Member Dan Garodnick and expanded it to cover all of Community Board 8 and the 17th Precinct in Community Board 6.
 
This month, we will continue the community visioning process for John Finley Walk, hold the second public meeting for the 86th Stereet Business Improvement District --which is rapidly gaining support from local property owners, businesses, and residents -- host a town hall on Roosevelt Island, and inaugurate the summer months by bringing back Cooking with Kallos.
 
I hope I will see you at any of these exciting events, and don't forget: Tomorrow is First Friday! Come to my office between 8AM and 10AM for a conversation with me and your neighbors. And as always, you can also join me for Policy Night, Mobile Hours, Legal Clinics; or I can come to you for "Ben In Your Building" or at your co-op or condo annual meeting.
 
Regards,
 
 
Ben Kallos
Council Member
 
 

SPECIAL EVENTS:

June 7, 6PM
John Finley Walk Visioning

June 8, 8AM - 10AM
86th Street Business Improvement District Public Meeting

June 28, 6:30 PM
Roosevelt Island Town Hall

June 25, 11AM - 1PM
Queensboro Oval Gathering

UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 13 & 28, 10AM - 3PM
Free Legal Assistance

June 25, 10AM
Cooking with Kallos

MONTHLY EVENTS:

June 3, 8AM - 10AM
First Friday

June 14, 6PM
Policy Night

June 23, 6PM
CitiBike Street Skills

Headlines 

  1. Deed Restrictions, Rivington, St. Nicholas and More
  2. Voter Information Portal Passes New York City Council 
  3. Administration Announces Support for Our Campaign Finance Reform Package
  4. Open Budget in New York City Achieved
  5. Building Automatic Benefits
  6. Stop Work Order for the UES’ Tallest Skyscraper
  7. East 86th Street Business Improvement District Holds Initial Public Meeting
  8. More Pre-K Seats for UES and Roosevelt Island

Housing and Preservation

  1. Calling for a Rent Rollback
  2. Rallying to Stop Superscrapers
  3. Working to Restore Gas at Yorkshire Towers
  4. Historic Districts Council Grassroots Preservation Award

Transportation, Parks and the Environment 

  1. Bike Safety Program Expands
  2. Community Board 8 Bike Lanes Vote
  3. Bike Month: Free Helmet Giveaway, Bike to Work Day, 5 Boro Bike Tour and More
  4. Free Reusable Bags to Prepare for Single-Use Bag Reduction Law
  5. CB8 Speaks: The Queensboro Oval
  6. Making the Most of Our Waterfront
  7. Support Our Conservancies

Health and Nutrition

  1. School Food
  2. Health Policy Colloquium
  3. Funding the Emergency Food Assistance Program

Governmental Operations and Technology

  1. Nearly Half Billion Dollars in Savings 
  2. Seminar on Ethics in Politics
  3. A Digital Playbook for NYC
  4. Open Summit
  5. Attend PDF 2016

Community

  1. Roosevelt Island Town Hall
  2. East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association
  3. 40th Anniversary of Roosevelt Island Tram
  4. Cooking with Kallos
  5. New Commanding Officers at the 19th and 17th Precincts
  6. Fighting for Building Service Workers at The Hamilton
  7. Light Up Literacy Culminating Event 
  8. Crane Safety
  9. Criminal Justice Reform Act
  10. CKJ Shabbat
  11. Summer Youth Programs
  12. Asphalt Green Big Swim
  13. The Tank
  14. Thai Ministry of Finance
  15. Join me for Street Fairs and Parades this Summer

Office Updates

  1. Summer Reading Challenge
  2. Join Coro’s Immigrant Civic Leadership Program
  3. In the Neighborhood
  4. Legislative Corner
  5. Legal Clinics
  6. Here to Help
  7. Mobile District Hours
  8. Ben in Your Building
  9. City Council Events
  10. Community Events
  11. Community Resources

Updates

Press Coverage
Politico

A bill introduced in the City Council on Tuesday seeks to expand on and codify the practice of optimizing city websites based on the analytics of their visitors.

Councilman Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Government Operations, introduced the legislation. It would require the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to ensure that all agencies use web analytics in maintaining and designing their websites.

Read more

Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Since the presidential primaries, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened an investigation into the BOE and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has launched an audit into the agency’s operations and management, callingthe BOE “consistently disorganized, chaotic, and ineffective.” City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the Council’s government operations committee, has promised to hold an oversight hearing on the BOE, though he also grilled BOE officials at the agency’s executive budget hearing May 13.

“Hope springs eternal,” Kallos replied dryly when asked if he believed the heightened scrutiny the BOE is currently facing would help to bring about any changes to the way the agency operates. “I hope that by bringing the commissioners to the City Council to be held personally accountable, we may get the change we are seeking,” Kallos said.

 

 

 

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Before the vote, the Rent Justice Coalition organized various tenant advocacy groups, including Make the Road New York and the Lower East Side-based GOLES to protest in front of Cooper Union and demand a rent rollback. Various elected officials were also present. City Council member Ben Kallos, who represents the 5th district, explained that 22 members of the council had written a letter to the RBG advocating for rent rollbacks, explaining that the drop of the PIOP should be taken into account when attempting to alleviate the pressure on rent-stabilized tenants, the majority of which are considered rent-burdened since over half of them pay about 36.4 percent of their income toward rent (affordable housing is classified as taking up less than 30 percent of a family’s income per month, Roberts had explained).

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Press Coverage
The Indypendent
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

After last night’s vote, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos stated that, “the Rent Guidelines Board has shown that last year's rent freeze was more than a symbolic gesture, and tenants have the power to be heard. We will continue to fight to make up for years of too-high rent increases.”

 

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Press Coverage
Our Town

A group of families celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday by participating in a union strike at 1735 York Avenue and E. 90th Street.

Members of 32BJ who work at the building — along with their children, some of the tenants, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Ben Kallos — were there to protest their treatment by Bonjour Capital, which bought the building from Glenwood Management. The strike started last Thursday and ended Monday morning

Read more

Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Thursday, June 23, 2016

“I have one job. That job is to vote,” said City Council Member Ben Kallos, who has not abstained on a vote since joining the Council in 2014. “It is the one power, the one privilege that I have that no one else has and I take it seriously, and come to a decision every time. I was elected by the people to vote and for constituents to know where I stand on these issues.”

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

“This year, striking a fair balance for tenants and landlords means voting for a rent rollback,” they wrote in a letter authored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan). The rollback is justified because the costs borne by landlords, the measure the board uses to set its annual increases, have actually gone down, they said.

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Press Release
Monday, June 20, 2016

I am Council Member Ben Kallos, representing the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and El Barrio. That’s @BenKallos on Twitter and Instagram.
 
Good afternoon to the Rent Guidelines Board Chair Hon. Kathleen A. Roberts, Public Members Flax, Joza, Rahman and Schaub, Owner Members Walsh and Serafy, and Tenant Members Epstein and Garcia. 
 
To New Yorkers here today, and especially tenants, thank you for attending this hearing. I am proud to stand with you today.
 
This year, I am calling on the Rent Guidelines Board to vote for a rent rollback.
 
Last year, the Board voted for a historic rent freeze for one-year leases, the first of its kind, and that began to correct for the disproportionately high increases of previous years.
 

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Press Coverage
Cornell Chronicle
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Global City Sampling Day gives us an opportunity to learn about more than 600 different microbes riding the subway with New Yorkers every day. We are grateful to Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Christopher Mason, and hundreds of volunteers who are helping us learn more about our city's health one swab at a time," said Councilman Ben Kallos (5th District), who will help initiate the New York City collection by swabbing a subway station on the Upper East Side with project principal investigator Dr. Mason.

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