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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

Affordable High-Speed Broadband Internet for Low-Income Youth & Seniors

Today, over one million low-income youth and seniors now have access to affordable high-speed internet.

As of 2015, more than 730,000 households in New York City do not have broadband, nearly 1 in 4 in Brooklyn and 1 in 3 in the Bronx, leaving them on the wrong side of the digital divide.

In 2013, I promised to secure affordable broadband for low-income New Yorkers from our internet franchisers. In 2015, when Charter Communications sought to merge with Time Warner Cable, I joined Public Advocate James testifying at hearings and advocating for the Public Service Commission to require any company acquiring Time Warner Cable help bridge the digital divide by providing low-income residents with low-cost high-speed broadband Internet which was secured by Governor Andrew Cuomo and an order of the Public Service Commission. Today, over one million low-income youth and seniors will have access low-cost high-speed broadband Internet. Learn more from the release, the announcement, or coverage in the New York Daily News, DNAinfo, and NBC

Spectrum Internet Assist
$14.99 per month for 30 Mbps downloads and 4 Mbps uploads, email and more
No contract, no cost for modem and no activation fees

Spectrum Internet Assist Eligibility
Families with children in public schools who receive free or reduced cost lunch
Seniors (over 65) who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Prospective enrollees must clear outstanding debt to Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks from previous 12 months and may not have had broadband subscription within 30 days of signing up.

Visit SpectrumInternetAssist.com or Call 844-525-1574

We are one step closer to "Universal Broadband" and I will continue to fight until every New Yorker has access to affordable high-speed Internet and no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Updates

Press Release
Thursday, March 16, 2017

CITY HALL - Today, Council Members Rafael Salamanca, Jr., James Vacca, Ben Kallos, Corey Johnson and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced the introduction of legislation drafted in response to the Hunts Point tragedy that occurred late last year.
 
On December 7, 2016 two girls under the age of two were killed when a valve blew off a radiator in their Bronx apartment and filled their bedroom with scalding steam.  The apartment was identified as a cluster site under the duress of the New York City Department of Homeless Services. 
 
At the time, Council Member Salamanca and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced that they would be introducing legislation to rectify the problems surrounding the tragedy. Council Members Vacca, Kallos and Johnson  had previously been crafting legislation pertinent to these issues and are joining in sponsoring the following:
 
Intro 1489 (Kallos & Salamanca) - This legislation requires owners to install and maintain radiator covers.

 

###

Contact: 
Ryan Monell at 646-584-0463 or 
rmonellatcouncil [dot] nyc [dot] gov

 

Read more

Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Carter, who heads the city’s Law Department, testified before the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations that the state and federal investigations into the mayor and his aides necessitated the hiring of outside counsel. “The ongoing investigations are criminal in nature,” Carter told Council Member Ben Kallos, the committee chair, “and I know from my 40 years of experience in law enforcement that that is a…specialized area of practice that requires experience because of the delicacy of the judgments to be made.”

Carter noted that the investigations involve an area of practice “particularly sensitive to conflicts of interest” and dozens of witnesses, some of whom insisted on independent counsel, thus the hiring of at least 11 outside law firms for the legal defense.

Read more

Press Coverage
New York Post
Monday, March 13, 2017

His request comes after US intelligence and law enforcement agencies released a January report in the final days of the Obama administration that found the Russian government employed cyberattacks to undermine Hillary Clinton and boost Donald Trump.

Considering the request for additional funding, Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the committee chair, asked Ryan why he isn’t taking up de Blasio on an offer for an extra $20 million provided the agency agrees to a series of reforms, including establishing a blue-ribbon panel to identify failures.

Ryan cited “philosophical” differences with the administration for not taking the money.

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Press Coverage
The Architect's Newspaper
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Local resident group, Carnegie Hill Neighbors (CHN), has been feverishly fighting the development since it was given the go-ahead in summer 2015. In March 2016, CHN enlisted the services of planning expert George M. Janes to help the cause.

After looking at the zoning drawings, Janes said he noticed a “tactic to subdivide the lot” so that DDG’s building would no longer face on to East 88th Street. By avoiding this, the firm escaped further zoning laws triggered by coming up to the street’s edge.

Two months later, councilmember Ben Kallos and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer penned a letter to the city flagging the issue and calling for construction to be halted. They succeeded and work stopped in May.

Read more

Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, addressed the budget disparity, although he did not make it a focus of the hearing.

Kallos pointed out that the notoriously dysfunctional BOE has proposed its largest budget increase in years, and also has not proposed any savings, referencing the mayor’s preliminary budget promise to identify $500 million in additional agency savings in time for the executive budget. “The cost increase you’re proposing is actually more than 10 percent of the existing savings that the mayor’s asking for,” Kallos said.

Ryan pointed out that the BOE is not beholden to the city. “Unlike some other agencies, the Board is an independent board and while we are certainly sensitive to requests, wherever they may come from...we do operate a bit differently from some of the other agencies,” Ryan said.

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Press Coverage
The Lo-Down
Monday, March 13, 2017

Asked by Council member Ben Kallos whether, “poor performance” led to Morales’ firing, Camilo said,  “It’s not a topic that I can get into.” She also declined to say whether Morales is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Camilo asserted that she made the decision to fire her deputy commissioner and then informed first Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris. De Blasio has said he knew nothing about it.

Morales’ lawyer has called the timing of the dismissal suspicious.

The lifting of deed restrictions at Rivington House cleared the way for the sale of the former nursing home to luxury condo developers for $116 million.

 

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Press Coverage
New York Post
Monday, March 13, 2017

A top city official wasn’t fired because of his role in a controversial land deal that allowed a non-profit nursing home to be converted to luxury housing — but his boss refused to say Monday if he was ousted because of other federal investigations.

The axed official, Ricardo Morales, who served as a deputy commissioner at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was at the center of two deals now being probed by federal investigators.

One was the lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home, that eventually led to its sale for luxury condos.

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Press Coverage
New York Post
Monday, March 13, 2017

The city’s top lawyer predicted Monday that taxpayers will have to shell out “a few million dollars more” for the legal bills of mayoral aides swept up in several corruption probes.

And that’s on top of the $10.5 million already spent on outside lawyers.

Corporation Counsel Zach Carter described the additional legal costs as not “a large magnitude” and said it appears the federal probes are “winding down and concluding.”

“We believe that there will be a few million dollars more expended, but I can’t give you an exact figure,” Carter testified at a City Council budget hearing. “I don’t believe that it will be a large magnitude of expenditures.”

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Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Friday, March 10, 2017

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who has been pushing for the stops to be returned, posted photos on Thursday of MTA workers installing the ticketing machines.

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Press Coverage
Curbed
Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Wall Street Journal reports that on Wednesday, three new bills to protect POPS were introduced in the City Council, sponsored by Council members Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick. The first of the three bills would raise penalties for building owners from $4,000 to $10,000 for first offenses, and to $20,000 for additional offenses. Under the bill, a fine of up to $2,500 could be imposed for each month a violation goes unattended.

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