Kallos Named "Rising Star" in 40 Under 40

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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 grandparents, who fled anti-Semitism in Europe and his mother who still lives here, and who Ben currently supports in her battle against Parkinson's disease. Graduating from Bronx Science, Ben knows that our public schools are more than just budget line.  he also attended SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he paid his own way.

In the Council, Ben promotes transparency to ensure every dollar gets spent to improve your quality of life - from affordable housing to senior services to better schools.


Press Coverage
JP Updates
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reached for a comment, Council Member Ben Kallos told JP, “I am appalled by the attack that took place on the East Side. Violence, particularly if rooted in bias, is abhorrent and does not belong in our city. I am confident that the incident is receiving a swift and thorough investigation."

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Press Coverage
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Meals might soon need to get healthier. A New York City councilman is introducing legislation that would set stricter nutritional standards for meals served with toys.

The bill would prohibit fast food eateries from offering free toys or coupons if the kids' serving, like a McDonald's Happy Meal, contained more than 500 calories or 600 mg of sodium.

Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat from Manhattan, will introduce the bill on Thursday.

The measure is designed to help fight childhood obesity. If the bill eventually passes, restaurants that violate the measure will have to pay fines. A call to a McDonald's spokesman was not immediately returned.   

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Press Coverage
CNN Money
Friday, August 22, 2014

The McDonald's (MCD) kids meals, as well as those from Burger King (BKW) and Wendy's, are in the cross hairs of the New York City Council, which is considering restrictions on any fast food meals that includes a toy.

Councilman Benjamin Kallos introduced a "Healthy Happy Meals" bill Thursday that requires them to have no more than 500 calories and 600 milligrams of sodium.

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Press Coverage
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The city is partnering with several organizations, including the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation and open-data solutions firm Ontodia, to “unlock and analyze municipal decision-making information stored in the City Record — going back more than 15 years,” the city announced. That will include more than 4,000 daily publications of the City Record, which includes data on government procurement, public hearings and meetings as well as hiring.

The law will go into effect in August 2015, but the Department of Citywide Administrative Services is expected to make the necessary changes before then to ensure its timely implementation.

“Hard copies and PDFs of the City Record are distributed daily, but putting the information online in a format that can be analyzed will help us understand the stories behind them,” Council Member Ben Kallos told StateTech.

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Press Release

New York, NY–The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, on the newly-adopted reforms in the appointment process to the New York City Board of Elections: 

"Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito is adding an unprecedented transparent and open process for appointing a Board of Elections Commissioner. The Speaker's voluntary improvement of appointment practices to the Board of Elections by having a public Rules Committee hearing demonstrates once again her commitment to fair decision-making that empowers members and the public."

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Happy Meals will need to become healthier meals if one city councilman gets his way.

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos plans to introduce a bill requiring strict new health standards on fast food kids meals that offer free items like toys.

The legislation would ban fast food restaurants from including the freebies if the meals exceed 500 calories and more than 600 milligrams of sodium.

Restaurants would also be forced to include at least half a cup of fruit or vegetables, or a serving of whole-grain products in kids meals.

First-time offenders would face a fine of $200 to $500.

A third offense could cost as much as $2,500.

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Press Coverage
Friday, August 22, 2014

If McDonald's didn't hand out toys, kids would eat better — at least that's the theory of one New York City council member who wants to ban the restaurant from giving out the goodies in its Happy Meal boxes.

And it's not just McDonald's. It's all restaurants that offer toys in meals.

"I remember, as a kid, pestering my mother because I wanted that toy," said City Councilman Ben Kallos, CBS New York reported.

With that in mind, Mr. Kallos introduced a bill to ban toys in kids' meals — at McDonald's and at other establishments — that have too many calories, CBS New York reported. The bill's called the "Healthy Happy Meals" and it comes with a calorie limit of 500 calories.

"We're trying to make sure that any happy meal is a healthy happy meal and making sure that any incentives, be they toys or anything else, are tied to healthy meal choices and healthy eating," Mr. Kallos said, CBS News reported.

The bill would also mandate the meals serve a piece of fruit or vegetable, or a serving of whole grain.

"An estimated one-fourth of a child's meals come from restaurants or fast food places. These could be healthy calories," Mr. Kallos said, CBS News reported. "It is difficult enough for parents to give their children healthy food without the fast-food industry spending hundreds of million dollars per year advertising to children and nearly half of that on toys."

Mr. Kallos isn't alone in his view.

Fellow Councilman Corey Johnson, also a Democrat, said this: "Children's meals at fast-food restaurants are often unhealthy, yet they come with a toy. We should not be incentivizing unhealthy food when kids are not ready to make healthy choices," CBS News reported.


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Press Coverage
Think Progress
Friday, August 22, 2014

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos (D) has introduced a “Health Happy Meals” measure that would ban toys in kids’ meals that fall short of strict dietary guidelines. In order for restaurants to give away free toys with kids’ food, they’ll have to offer meals that don’t contain more than 500 calories and 600 milligrams of sodium.

Although several food industry giants promised to stop marketing junk food to kids back in 2009, outside studies have found they didn’t exactly follow through. Fast food companies continue to target their products to children using games, toys, and cartoon characters, and kids are now more likely to recognize unhealthy food brands over healthy ones. The World Health Organization warns that the push to market fast food to children has been “disastrously effective” and has ultimately contributed to the global obesity epidemic.

The rates of obesity among children have more than doubled over the past 30 years, and medical services stemming from childhood obesity cost the United States an estimated $14 billion each year. Nonetheless, policies hoping to encourage kids to eat more healthy meals have faced an uphill battle; a recent effort to make school lunches healthier has been met with controversy, and House Republicans recently threatened to vote to weaken those new nutrition standards.

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Press Coverage
Huffington Post
Monday, August 25, 2014

New Yorkers and silence: they're not exactly BFFs. And as it turns out, when it comes to violence against women, that's a good thing.

Recent national and local attention to the epidemic of sexual assault on campuses--including headlines about incidents at Columbia--has shined a new light on the role men can and must play in stopping such violence. A recent NPR story showed how positive peer pressure from men has a significant impact on preventing rape.

And on Tuesday, August 26, they're collaborating for a cause. Comics from MTV, Comedy Central, SNL, and HBO will take to the stage at the Gotham Comedy Club for "Dudes Against Violence Against Women: Because DUH." Nationally-known comedian Dean Obeidallah conceived the project and sought the partnership of Breakthrough, a global human rights organization working to make violence and discrimination against women unacceptable. The event is designed to celebrate and inspire men leading culture change to challenge violence against women.

The group of of volunteers he rallied to help produce the show is also almost entirely male. Local leaders including City Council members Ben Kallos and Brad Lander, along with Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson, have lent their support as well.

It's a sign of New York men leading the way. So come on, New Yorkers...follow.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Second Avenue has long been a cause of strife for New Yorkers on the East side. From restaurant owners losing profits due to subway construction to pedestrians being forced onto the street thanks to closed sidewalks, the avenue has been the source of no shortage of headaches.

Now, a new problem has come into focus: taxi accidents.

Over the course of the past three years, from January 2012 to May 2014, accidents involving taxicabs on Second Avenue between 59th Street and 96th Street have risen by approximately 45 percent, according to an Our Town analysis. While accidents totaled 96 for the five-month period from January to May in 2012, they rose to a startling 139 during the same period in 2014.

Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, said, “Every New Yorker should feel safe walking down the street, which is why traffic and safety issues are so important in our community,” he said. “Any trends that show collisions on the rise, from commercial or personal vehicles, must be closely watched by city government.”

Councilman Kallos urged residents to contact him via his web site if they are concerned about an unsafe intersection or a street issue they felt needed fixing.

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