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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 Coverage
New York Daily News
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 

 

Ortiz is not the first city pol to draft a bill to curb the services.

Last month, City Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn)proposed capping fare increases at 100% of the regular rate. And Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) wants the city to compete by launching its own taxi-hailing app.

Complaints against the services have grown with their popularity.

Just Monday, the Twitterverse exploded in outrage after Uber capitalized on a hostage crisis in Sydney by pumping up fares for riders trying to flee the area. Earlier this month, a judge in Madrid ordered a temporary shutdown of the rideshare service, calling it unfair competition.

 

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Press Coverage
NY1
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 

Some local polling places may open two weeks ahead of schedule if the City Council signs off on some new legislation.

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos is introducing a bill Wednesday.

Currently, 33 states and Washington DC already allow voters to cast ballots early, making it easier for everyone to get to the polls.

Kallos' bill would apply only to primaries and general elections for mayor, City Council and other municipal offices.

State and federal elections would not be affected.

Kallos wants at least 51 polling sites -- that's one in each City Council district -- to open two Tuesdays before Election Day.

They would operate on weekdays and on weekends until the Friday before Election Day.

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Press Coverage
Queens Gazette
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley was joined by other councilmembers and other advocates last week on the steps of City Hall, issuing a rallying call to the city’s Fire Department to hire more women firefighters.

Currently, Crowley said, there are only 44 female firefighters serving in the FDNY, comprising less than one percent of a 10,500-member workforce.

Where's theThe rally included Crowley (D–Glendale), the chair of the Council’s Committees on Fire and Criminal Justice and also co-chair of the Women’s Caucus; the United Women Firefighters; Councilmembers Helen Rosenthal, Laurie Cumbo and Ben Kallos, and other advocate  

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 

New Yorkers would be able to cast ballots in municipal elections early — really early — under legislation that is set to be introduced before the City Council on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), would open select polling places for two weeks leading up to election day for elections for mayor, council and other city offices but not for state or federal elections. The bill would apply to both primaries and the general election.

The city would have to open at least 51 polling sites — one in each City Council district — from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, until the Friday before the election.

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Press Coverage
The Epoch Times
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 

NEW YORK—The city is making its presence known in the battle to keep hydraulic fracturing out of the state.

A new bill, expected to be introduced Wednesday, will effectively ban hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in New York City.

Council members Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal, and Costa Constantinides are sponsoring the bill to support the local municipalities in upstate New York that have successfully banned fracking in their towns. They hope that other municipalities will be encouraged to amend local laws as well.

“We are standing in solidarity with those towns in banning hydrofracking in our municipality in hopes that we can do this across the state and across the nation,” said Council member Kallos in a telephone interview.

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 

 

"Many more New Yorkers should have the opportunity to serve on their local community boards and share their valuable perspectives," Council Member Kallos said by email Tuesday. "I want to create a culture of mentorship and knowledge-sharing, so residents who have been on for a long time can help train new members as they move to an informal role."

The city's 59 Community Boards represent slightly smaller areas of the city than city council districts, of which there are 51, and focus largely on qualify of life issues. But Community Boards also play a vital role in the land use process (also known as ULURP). Developers must see their projects passed through Community Boards before getting them to the City Council. The Boards are the first line of defense for projects and often the best place to negotiate things like affordable housing, park space, or schools in exchange for development.

 

 

 

 

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 

New Yorkers would be able to cast their ballots early under new legislation set to be introduced in the City Council Wednesday.

The bill sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) would open select polling places for local elections two weeks before election day.

“New York is currently last in the nation for voter turnout,” Kallos said. “And part of that is because two thirds of the United States and Washington DC offer early voting to residents, and New York doesn’t.”

“New Yorkers should be able to vote when it is convenient for them, not when it is convenient for elected officials,”

 

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Press Coverage
EWeek
Monday, December 15, 2014

 

In New York City, Councilman Benjamin Kallos introduced an "e-hail" bill on Dec. 8 that would allow taxicab passengers to use a mobile app to electronically summon one of the city's 20,000 yellow cabs that traverse the city's streets, as well as additional green taxis that serve northern Manhattan, according to Sarah Anders, a Kallos spokeswoman. The proposal, which still has quite a road to travel before ever being finalized into law, has "generated a lot of interest from New Yorkers," said Anders.

Kallos' proposal came because "he wanted New Yorkers to have the opportunity to pick up yellow and green cabs on their phones conveniently," said Anders. "They know the fares [they'll be charged] in advance, and they trust yellow and green cabs. The future of e-hailing is inevitable, and we think this fits very well into that idea. We're very optimistic."

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Press Release

New York, NY – Following the New York Court of Appeals' decision in Wallach vs. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein vs. Town of Middlefield to allow municipalities to ban fracking within their limits, Council Members Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal and Costa Constantinides have introduced a bill for New York City to stand in solidarity with Otsego County’s Middlefield and Tompkins County’s Dryden in banning hydro-fracking. The move is a strong statement from New York City against fracking in the city, surrounding areas and the state. 
 

According to FracTracker.org, New York City would be joining 80 municipalities with a ban, 100 with moratorium in place, and 87 making a push for a ban or moratorium. Though there are many unknowns about hydrofracking, it has already been shown to pose serious dangers to human health and the environment, including:

     

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    Press Release

     

    New York, NY – New Yorkers may soon be able to vote early, according to a bill being introduced today by City Council Members Ben Kallos and Costa Constantinides with support of members of the City Council's Progressive Caucus. The bill would allow residents to vote in municipal elections early, from the second Tuesdayprior to the election to the Friday prior to the election from 8am-8pm during the week and from 9am-5pm on the weekend in at least one polling place in each of the fifty-one council districts.
    Two-thirds of US States and Washington, D.C. offer early voting to residents. New York State, however, currently only allows early voting through absentee ballots with an excuse such as an unavoidable absence or an illness. In those cases, one can vote by mail or in person at the Board of Elections Office. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, 27% of nonvoters said that the reason they did not vote was because they were too busy or could not get time off.
     
    “New Yorkers should be able to vote when it is convenient for them, not when it is convenient for elected officials,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, which oversees the Board of Elections. “It should be easier for more New Yorkers to participate and to vote, so we can raise our city’s participation rates from one of the lowest in the nation. One step is removing the barrier to voting created by having elections on only one day.”

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