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About Ben Kallos

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos was praised by the New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013 to represent the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and East Harlem along with all 8.4 million New Yorkers in the New York City Council.  He 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. As Vice-Chair of the Jewish Caucus he has been an ardent advocate for Israel and supporter of Jewish causes.

As Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee where he has sought to root out patronage, de-privatize government, eliminate billions in waste, expand elections, and to use technology to improve access to government.  He has become a leading advocate for education, affordable housing, public health, sustainable development and transportation improvements and safety.  His office is open and transparent, with constituents invited to decide on how to spend one million dollars on local projects in the district as well as to join him in a conversation on the First Friday of each month, or he will go to them if they can gather ten neighbors for “Ben In Your Building.”

Most Recent Newsletter

December News: Holiday Party, New Park, Mayor's Management

Friend,

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the December Holidays. Please join me and my staff at our District Office for our annual Holiday Party this coming Tuesday, December 6, from 5pm to 7pm.

Many have reached out to me following this year’s Presidential Election results. As with all situations, we will move forward as we have on countless issues over the last three years, together. While some want to build walls, we must build connections by organizing communities in our buildings, block, neighborhood, borough, city, and state. Whether you want to focus on public education, access to reproductive health, affordable housing, public transportation, the environment, protecting our immigrants, or another issue, we are here, as always, to support and empower you.

As covered by The Wall Street Journal, the East River 50s Alliance and I helped obtain a stop work order on the demolition job connected to the proposed 950-foot Sutton Superscraper. We also formally submitted our rezoning proposal, the next big step towards capping the height of buildings in the Sutton Area at 260 feet. As Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, I worked with the City and Friends of the East River Esplanade to open the East 90th Street Pier Park.

As we celebrate the holidays, I reflect on how thankful I am to be your Council Member and for our partnership in making our community a better place. Whatever you need, whether it is a free menorah or help with housing, we are here to help.

Sincerely,

Ben Kallos
Council Member

P.S. First Friday is December 2nd and Policy Night is December 13th. Also be sure to RSVP for my State of the District event on Janaury 22, 2017 at Memorial Sloan Kettering. 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Holiday Party
  2. Stop Work Order Issued at Sutton Tower
  3. 90th Street Pier Opens as Park to Public
  4. Improvements to the Mayor’s Management Report
  5. Proclamation for Heroic Firefighters
  6. New This Month: Land Use and Landmarking Clinic with Historic Districts Council

ELECTION 2016

  1. The Presidential Election
  2. Long Lines on Election Day
  3. Homeless Outreach to Encourage Voting
  4. Registering as an Organ Donor Gets Easier and Disenfranchised Incarcerated Voters Get Absentee Ballots

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Bike Safety Program Reels in Results
  2. Protecting Tenants from 2nd Avenue Subway Displacement

HEALTH & SAFETY

  1. Universal Free School Lunch
  2. Obamacare Signup
  3. Preparing for Emergencies
  4. Free Smoke Detectors, Preventing Home Fires
  5. Medicare Enrollment Event

HOUSING

  1. Eastside Task Force for Homeless Outreach Meets to Make a Difference
  2. Supreme Court Denies Appeal to Remove Landmark
  3. Advocacy Protects NYC’s Integrated Communities from Proposed HUD Policy
  4. Tenants & Neighbors Protecting Our Affordable Housing
  5. Landmarks50 Alliance Luncheon
  6. Protecting affordable Housing on Roosevelt Island

EQUALITY

  1. Supporting Pay Equity for Female City Employees
  2. National Women’s History Museum
  3. Language Access

COMMUNITY

  1. Apply for Kindergarten
  2. Public Service Award from NCJFE and Blue Card Dinner
  3. Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway
  4. Constituent Spotlight: “Madam Secretary” Goes Green
  5. Pre-Turkey Day Shred-A-Thon
  6. Junior Tennis League and Meeting with Parents
  7. Welcoming Windward
  8. Goodwill Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  9. In the Community

OFFICE UPDATES

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. Progressive Caucus: 15 Priority Bills Passed
  3. Free Legal Clinics
  4. Here to Help
  5. Mobile District Hours
  6. Ben in Your Building

EVENTS AND RESOURCES

  1. City Council Events
  2. Government Meetings
  3. Community Boards
  4. New York Police Department
  5. Neighborhood and Tenant Association
  6. Community Events for Kids
  7. Community Events for Adults
  8. Resources Funded in Part by My Office

Updates

Newsletter

Friend,

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the December Holidays. Please join me and my staff at our District Office for our annual Holiday Party this coming Tuesday, December 6, from 5pm to 7pm.

Many have reached out to me following this year’s Presidential Election results. As with all situations, we will move forward as we have on countless issues over the last three years, together. While some want to build walls, we must build connections by organizing communities in our buildings, block, neighborhood, borough, city, and state. Whether you want to focus on public education, access to reproductive health, affordable housing, public transportation, the environment, protecting our immigrants, or another issue, we are here, as always, to support and empower you.

As covered by The Wall Street Journal, the East River 50s Alliance and I helped obtain a stop work order on the demolition job connected to the proposed 950-foot Sutton Superscraper. We also formally submitted our rezoning proposal, the next big step towards capping the height of buildings in the Sutton Area at 260 feet. As Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, I worked with the City and Friends of the East River Esplanade to open the East 90th Street Pier Park.

As we celebrate the holidays, I reflect on how thankful I am to be your Council Member and for our partnership in making our community a better place. Whatever you need, whether it is a free menorah or help with housing, we are here to help.

Sincerely,

Ben Kallos
Council Member

P.S. First Friday is December 2nd and Policy Night is December 13th. Also be sure to RSVP for my State of the District event on Janaury 22, 2017 at Memorial Sloan Kettering. 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Holiday Party
  2. Stop Work Order Issued at Sutton Tower
  3. 90th Street Pier Opens as Park to Public
  4. Improvements to the Mayor’s Management Report
  5. Proclamation for Heroic Firefighters
  6. New This Month: Land Use and Landmarking Clinic with Historic Districts Council

ELECTION 2016

  1. The Presidential Election
  2. Long Lines on Election Day
  3. Homeless Outreach to Encourage Voting
  4. Registering as an Organ Donor Gets Easier and Disenfranchised Incarcerated Voters Get Absentee Ballots

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Bike Safety Program Reels in Results
  2. Protecting Tenants from 2nd Avenue Subway Displacement

HEALTH & SAFETY

  1. Universal Free School Lunch
  2. Obamacare Signup
  3. Preparing for Emergencies
  4. Free Smoke Detectors, Preventing Home Fires
  5. Medicare Enrollment Event

HOUSING

  1. Eastside Task Force for Homeless Outreach Meets to Make a Difference
  2. Supreme Court Denies Appeal to Remove Landmark
  3. Advocacy Protects NYC’s Integrated Communities from Proposed HUD Policy
  4. Tenants & Neighbors Protecting Our Affordable Housing
  5. Landmarks50 Alliance Luncheon
  6. Protecting affordable Housing on Roosevelt Island

EQUALITY

  1. Supporting Pay Equity for Female City Employees
  2. National Women’s History Museum
  3. Language Access

COMMUNITY

  1. Apply for Kindergarten
  2. Public Service Award from NCJFE and Blue Card Dinner
  3. Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway
  4. Constituent Spotlight: “Madam Secretary” Goes Green
  5. Pre-Turkey Day Shred-A-Thon
  6. Junior Tennis League and Meeting with Parents
  7. Welcoming Windward
  8. Goodwill Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  9. In the Community

OFFICE UPDATES

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. Progressive Caucus: 15 Priority Bills Passed
  3. Free Legal Clinics
  4. Here to Help
  5. Mobile District Hours
  6. Ben in Your Building

EVENTS AND RESOURCES

  1. City Council Events
  2. Government Meetings
  3. Community Boards
  4. New York Police Department
  5. Neighborhood and Tenant Association
  6. Community Events for Kids
  7. Community Events for Adults
  8. Resources Funded in Part by My Office
Read more

Press Release
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

City Hall, New York- Members of the New York City Fire Department were honored this afternoon as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Ben Kallos and Elizabeth Crowley presented them with a Proclamation. The firefighters were recognized for their response and heroic actions to the October 27th 6-alarm fire at 324 East 93rd Street. 

Read more

Press Coverage
Wall Street Journal
Sunday, November 27, 2016

The plan, which the groups and officials said they were ready to formally propose to the City Planning Commission as early as this week, calls for buildings in the neighborhood to be no taller than 260 feet.

“I want to stop the march of 1,000-foot towers into residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat who is supporting the zoning change.

The groups hope it is approved before development work begins at the site. The proposed change also could discourage bidders at the auction, which was ordered by the court following a dispute between Bauhouse Group and its lenders, led by N. Richard Kalikow.

The zoning change isn’t the only hurdle the project faces. On Wednesday, the Department of Buildings blocked a permit needed to complete demolition of the site, after conducting an audit requested by Mr. Kallos.

The delay is a further setback, since the demolition was intended to enhance the site’s value to potential bidders.

The permit application, submitted as a result of a bankruptcy court order, was for stabilizing a building next door to the tower site, so demolition could proceed. But the buildings department blocked it.

Mr. Kallos said he was told that plans to protect tenants of the building, 426 E. 58th St., weren’t adequate.

Read more

Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Thursday, November 17, 2016

UPPER EAST SIDE — A "broken" voting system is to blame for the hourslong waits endured by voters during the election this year, say local elected officials who are calling for an overhaul including more polling sites and the option to mail in ballots.

Lines to vote in the next election could be shortened by opening new polling sites to spread out the crowds, Councilman Ben Kallos said.

"If you are part of a church, a synagogue, a nonprofit center, you could be incredibly helpful. If you're from a school and not a poll site let us know," he told residents during a Community Board 8 meeting Wednesday.

"We need to expand the number of poll sites. We can even put one in your lobby, as long as it is ADA accessible," he said.

Read more

Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette

City Council Member Ben Kallos, who chairs the committee on governmental operations, said in a phone interview that “All of these [reforms] should’ve happened before Election Day and if there’s an Albany special session it should be part of that agenda. The voters shouldn’t let their elected officials go back to Albany without getting this done.”

The City Council has consistently advocated for voting and election reform in its annual state legislative agenda, including early voting, instant runoff voting for citywide primaries, and public campaign financing at the state level. De Blasio has said he has concerns about instant runoff voting but hasn’t taken a full position. The mayor has consistently called for campaign finance reform, calling the city’s public matching system a gold standard that the state should follow. Cuomo has professed support for such a system but has not gotten one passed and enacted.

Kallos says he recognizes that the mayor hasn’t been able to prioritize election reform over other items on his agenda. “I think that we needed attention to this in 2014,” he said. “The mayor and I were able to advocate together for universal pre-kindergarten but election reforms weren’t on that list…I think that when we have so few people engaged in voting and such low turnout, people need to put good government on the same plane as things like universal pre-kindergarten.”

He emphasized that elected officials should look beyond their own self-interest and vote for election and voting reform, and that voters need to speak up. “Anyone who waited in line, anyone who had trouble voting, needs to make their voices heard to their elected officials,” Kallos said, “and Albany needs to finally make these changes even if it isn’t in the interest of incumbents…Ultimately in 2017, we will have a vote on the Constitutional Convention, and if Albany won’t act then the electors might.”

Read more

Press Release
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Yesterday, the Mayor’s Office of Operations announced that agency rule making and agency spending would now be more transparent with their inclusion in the Mayor’s Management Report (MMR) in response to requests by City Council Committee on Government Operations Chair Ben Kallos. The City Council also announced that it had sent a response to the MMR questioning indicators and performance with recommendations on improvements for the city.

“New Yorkers should know how their tax dollars are being invested to improve our city. The Mayor’s Management Report must show ‘the relationship between the program performance goals [and] corresponding expenditures’ as mandated by the Charter,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to the Director of Operations Mindy Tarlow for her partnership and commitment to improving the management of our city and reporting to the public.”

Read more

Press Release
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

 

For more information contact:

M. Ndigo Washington/646.730.6709 cell

 

On Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 12:00pm on the steps of City Hall, Councilwoman Inez Barron, Chair of the Committee on Higher Education will be joined by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, other Elected Officials and Student Leaders to announce the passage of Intro 1138-A. Invited speakers include: State Assemblyman Charles Barron, Public Advocate Letitia James, Chancellor James B. Milliken, University Student Chair Chika Onyejiukwa and Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen. 

 

"Access to a college education is access to opportunity," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a public university graduate. "Unfortunately, as college tuition is increasing everywhere, even in our City's public university system, that opportunity is shrinking. By examining how to maximize affordability at CUNY schools, Introduction 1138-A will go a long way toward ensuring opportunity through education remains within reach to all."

 

Read more

Press Coverage
Queens Chronicle
Thursday, November 10, 2016

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Committee on Governmental Operations, echoed the importance of homeless people being ensured their vote is counted.

“We must ensure that everyone who can vote is voting no matter their housing status,” he said.

Kallos and Wills also worked together on a law that allows those being detained in city jails to vote.

“And with so many people awaiting trial with an overwhelming majority of men of color who shouldn’t be in our system, they need to be protected and they need their rights protected,” Kallos said at the press conference.

Although at the time of the press conference it was too late to register to vote, Matt Borden, of the DHS, wanted to ensure that those who are eligible to cast ballots would be told how to do so.

Read more

Press Coverage
Our Town
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An analysis of data collected by the NYPD shows the success of several recent bicycle safety measures.

The study, performed by Council Ben Kallos’ office, looked at the NYPD’s “Details of Motor Vehicle Collisions in New York City” data from July 2012 to September 2016 for the 17th and 19th precincts.

Kallos and Council Member Daniel Garodnick, whose districts include these precincts, have led a push for greater bike safety and education programs in response to continuing concerns from residents between E. 26th and 96th Streets.

Read more

Press Release
Thursday, November 10, 2016

Following an increase in education, safety equipment, and enforcement, bike safety from 30th to 97th streets on Manhattan’s East Side has improved as a result of a program led by Council Member’s Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick.  Compared to last year, there have been fewer pedestrians and cyclists injured in collisions and a reduction in the number of collisions involving cyclists.

Read more