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Kallos Named "Rising Star" in 40 Under 40

... each night, he asks himself whether he made the world a better place than it was when...

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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.

Updates

Press Release

"America is a nation of immigrants, from the pilgrims to today. We have always welcomed 'your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' from all over the world to our nation of opportunity. We must continue to give our newest residents an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "I am glad that this nation, that once provided safe harbor for refugees from Anti-Semitism, like my wife and grandparents, will become a safe haven once again."

 

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Press Coverage
Monday, November 17, 2014

It's no secret that New Yorkers don't think too much about pay phones any more. A quick stroll around the city will reveal that many pay phones don't work and many are just empty booths, lacking actual phones. But the pay phones are a vital piece of city infrastructure, especially in disaster situations. With the need to preserve that infrastructure and the opportunity to reimagine the public terminal, NYC's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) was tasked with finding a way to preserve pay phones while making them more useful to people in the 21st century.

To accomplish that, DoITT solicited proposals from companies around the world. After a lengthy process, the city has selected a proposal by a consortium of companies collectively called CityBridge. Over the next four to five years, CityBridge will build out what it is calling the LinkNYC network. Each individual terminal will be called a Link and will offer blazing-fast Wi-Fi, touch-screen interfaces, the ability to quickly make 911 and 311 calls, and free charging stations for mobile devices.

"The first payphone was installed in Chicago in 1898 and hasn't changed much since," says New York City Council Member Ben Kallos. "This will revolutionize the structure's design and bring us one step closer to universal broadband in public areas."

 

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Press Coverage
Ars Technica
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New York politicians say Comcast shouldn't be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable unless it provides free Internet service to all residents of public housing.

In a letter to the state Public Service Commission Wednesday, New York City Public AdvocateLetitia James and 21 other officials asked for the free Internet promise and numerous other provisions, including a commitment to offer at least gigabit speeds to paying customers. The commission recently delayed its vote on the merger until November 13 after state officials found "deficiencies" in Comcast's customer service and the merger application

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Press Coverage
New York Post
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The fastest Wi-Fi in town is coming to street corners around the city — and it won’t cost a cent to use.

City officials have reached a 12-year deal to install 10,000 kiosks in all five boroughs, they said, which according to one of the private operators involved will constitute the “largest and fastest” free Internet program in the world. 

City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who has pushed to expand wireless access, said the network would encourage other cities to follow New York’s lead.

“We are nearer than ever to universal broadband in public spaces and a meaningful step toward closing the digital divide,” he said.

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Press Coverage
City and State First Read
Monday, November 17, 2014

* The Public Service Commission should only approve the Time Warner Cable/Comcast merger if it benefits all New Yorkers by taking meaningful steps to achieve universal broadband in order to bridge our city's digital divide, New York City Councilman Benjamin Kallos writes in the Huffington Post: http://goo.gl/e7J2OQ

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Press Coverage
Huffington Post
Friday, November 14, 2014

The digital divide grows wider every moment and, with it, income inequality -- but we have a chance to significantly decrease it by requiring free and affordable universal broadband and consumer protections from the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. New York State's Public Service Commission is voting on whether such a merger is in the "public interest." The approval of New York State, home of the nation's top media market, New York City, is essential to the current merger.

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Press Release

New York, NY -- Council Member Ben Kallos released the following statement applauding the MTA today for releasing more data sets for developers to use: "Historical Bus Time datasets released today demonstrates a government empowering New Yorkers to use data to improve our lives. Thanks to the MTA for prioritizing open information, which I have been working with them and the Civic Tech community on using to improve service," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a civic free and open source software developer. 

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Voters would be able to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot at the same time under a bill to be introduced in the City Council this week.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) will sponsor the measure, meant to streamline what is now a slow process.

“Voters don’t actually plan their lives around election day,” Kallos said. “This is a transient city where people are moving to where affordable housing is. And this would help a huge group of voters to be able to register and get an absentee ballot.”

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