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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

Newsletter is Back and There's a Lot of Good News to Share

Dear Neighbor,

The newsletter is back! We send the newsletter once a month so we don't clutter your mailbox and keep you up to date on everything going on in the community, as well as opportunities to influence government decisions by making your voice heard.

Thank you to all the residents who came out to the polls in the Primary and General Elections, where we won with 7,847 votes at 75% and 22,514 votes at 81% respectively. This is a testament to our partnership and shows that empowering residents helps to govern honestly and inclusively—and it's the best way to get things done.

During the blackout period when we could not send government newsletters because of our pending elections, we won Universal School Lunch, launched ferry service and opened Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, rolled out bus countdown clocks, broke ground on $35 million in improvements to the East River Esplanade, signed tenant safety legislation I authored into law, and I was even recognized as one of the best Council Members by City and State.

Last month we broke ground on $1 million in renovations to the East River Esplanade in partnership with the Hospital for Special Surgery, cut the ribbon on a new laboratory building with Memorial Sloan Kettering, made progress on rezoning Sutton to stop supertall skyscrapers, passed two bills so that schools ensure no child goes hungry and train teachers to support GSAs, passed legislation to open the city's $85 billion budget and welcomed the Technion Israel Institute of Technology world tour.

As November starts I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and take this opportunity to invite everyone to my annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 5th, 5-7pm. RSVP

Regards,


Ben Kallos
Council Member

 

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

November 27
9:45AM - 11PM
Medicare Open Enrollment Event

November 27
6:30PM-8:30PM
Community Town Hall, Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island

November 30
6:30PM
College Affordability Excelsior Scholarship Forum

December 7
7:30PM
Mayor's Town Hall

January 7
1PM-3PM
State of the District 

DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS

November 14
6PM – 7PM
Brainstorming with Ben

November 30
6:30PM-7PM
CitiBike Street Skills Class

December  5
5PM – 7PM
Holiday Party

SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS

  1. August
  2. September
  3. October

OVERDEVELOPMENT

  1. Sutton Rezoning at City Planning Commission
  2. Scaffolding Bill Gets Hearing
  3. Marijuana Smoking at 180 East 88th Street
  4. Height Protections for Upper East Side

EDUCATION

  1. Ensuring No Child Goes Hungry (Bill Passed)
  2. Support GSAs in Public Schools (Bill Passed)
  3. Silicon Island: Technion Israel Institute of Technology World Tour
  4. Fighting to Fund Hunter Science Campus Construction

PARKS & ENVIRONMENT

  1. Breaking Ground on East River Esplanade Construction at HSS
  2. It's My Park Day
  3. Banning Toxic Pesticides from Parks
  4. Climate Works for All Building Retrofits

PUBLIC HEALTH

  1. New MSK Center for Laboratory Medicine Ribbon Cutting
  2. Senior Health Fair Success
  3. American Academy Committee on Nutrition and Obesity
  4. Asphalt Green Swim Meet

GOOD GOVERNMENT

  1. Open Budget (Bill Passed)
  2. Oversight of Mayor's Management
  3. Questioning City Technology Costs

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Plan to Fight Double Parking and Move Deliveries Off-Hours
  2. Bike Safety Helmet Fitting
  3. Bernie, Bill and Ben

COMMUNITY

  1. Protesting Gun Violence with Congress Member Maloney
  2. Know Your Rights for Immigrants at Islamic Cultural Center
  3. Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach
  4. Youth Action March
  5. Building Service Worker Helping Hand Award
  6. Honoring former Community Board Chair David Liston
  7. Halloween Neighborhood Celebrations

OFFICE UPDATES

  1. Legislative Corner
  2. Free Legal Clinics
  3. Here to Help
  4. Ben in Your Building

EVENTS 

  1. City Council Events
  2. Community Board Meetings
  3. New York City Police Department
  4. Community Events For Adults
  5. Community Events For Children

Updates

Press Release
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Searchable and Computer Readable Budget Will Open Up $85 Billion in Spending for Public Review

 

New York, NY – How New York City spends $85 billion just got more transparent with the passing of legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos that requires all budget documents released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to be publicly released on its website and the Open Data Portal in a searchable and computer readable format, instead of only printed or in lengthy PDFs.

 “New Yorkers should be able to search the city’s budget to see how every penny of their tax dollars is being spent,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer, and open data advocate. “Thank you to Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for their partnership in advocacy for an Open Budget.”

Read more

Press Release
Monday, October 30, 2017

New York, NY- What is for breakfast lunch, and dinner along with how many children actually eat it is on the menu and passing the City Council thanks to legislation authored by Council Member Kallos. The Department of Education will now report on all school meals for 1.1 million public school children and on planning measures to increase participation in programs like Breakfast After the Bell and the newly announced Universal Free Lunch.
                                                                                      
"No public school child should go hungry in one of the wealthiest cities in the world," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "With the addition of universal lunch, New York City offers a number of options for meals to our students. But we must make sure our kids and families are participating and the food they are served is nutritious.”

"Intro 773-B enables us to ensure that the Free School Lunch for All and Breakfast After the Bell initiatives reach their full potential.  Given the extraordinarily high cost of living in New York City many families are struggling to make ends meet and school meals guarantee that students have the fuel they need to thrive in school." said Liz Accles, Executive Director, Community Food Advocates.

Read more

Press Release
Monday, October 30, 2017

New York, NY – Today, the New York City Council Education Committee passed Introduction 1638,authored by East Side Middle School students, who are representatives to the Manhattan Leadership Council, and introduced by Council Member Kallos and Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm. This legislation requires reporting on which middle and high schools have a Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club, the number of teachers, principals, and administrators at each school who have received lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and gender non-conforming (LGBTQGNC) training.

A GSA is a student run club that provides a safe place for LGBTQ students and their allies to meet, have discussions, offer support, and plan events and activities, usually with the aim of raising awareness. According to Advocates for Children of New York, the presence of a GSA in school decreases anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment and makes students feel safer and more comfortable.

This legislation was introduced in response to a doubling in the number of hate crimes in New York City since last year, with anti-transgender incidents cited by the NYPD as a major cause. According to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in their 2013 National School Climate Survey, “74% of students were verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55 % because of their gender expression. As a result of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, 30 % missed at least one day of school in the past month.” However, “LGBT students in schools with an LGBT-inclusive curriculum were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation.”

“The rise of hate crimes nationally and in the City means it is more important than ever that the City supports our LGBTQ youth through these student-run clubs,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Education Chair Danny Dromm for his lifetime of leadership on education and in the LGBTQ community, it is an honor to partner with him and the students on this legislation. New York City has always been a leader on LGBTQ issues and that includes supporting our students I am proud of the entire City Council for seeing the need for this legislation”

Read more

Press Release
Monday, October 30, 2017

Today, the Climate Works for All coalition released its plan to reduce NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12%, by requiring comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits at the city’s large buildings.

Buildings in NYC contribute to 70% of the city’s emissions.  While Mayor de Blasio has announced a commitment to mandate the reduction of on-site fossil fuel usage in large buildings, Climate Works for All, a broad coalition of labor, environmental justice, faith, and community organizations, argues that the retrofits must go further and include the use of electricity from the grid and central steam as well.

The City will only meet its ambitious target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 if it requires a whole building approach.

“The Climate Works for All plan is a strong step forward for New York City’s sustainability efforts and a positive example for cities across the country,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice-Chair of the City Council Progressive Caucus. “By paying attention to the way large buildings are built and focusing on the environment, we will demonstrate that we can create an environmental agenda filled with opportunity for workers and that helps the environment. The Progressive Caucus has endorsed a Climate Works for All proposal on building retrofits that protects affordable housing and we look forward to continuing our work to come up with the best legislative package possible.”

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Press Coverage
Forbes
Saturday, October 28, 2017

VIPs from corporate business, politics, VC and academia spoke and were honored during the program, among them Sanford Weill, Andrew Tisch, Ronald Lauder, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, Benchmark venture partner Scott Belsky and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos (who coined the term Silicon Island for the new campus overlooking central Manhattan and Long Island City).

Now all it takes is critical mass for the new campus to take off and really become a Silicon Island!

At Cornell Tech (a joining of Cornell University and Technion in an initiative led by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to create the campus as a springboard by NYC tech), the focus was on how the institution's focus on research, entrepreneurship and intellectual rigor will have an economic impact on New York City. 

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Press Coverage
NBC News 4 New York
Friday, October 27, 2017

NYC Council Member Ben Kallos (D – Upper East Side) said it is difficult to understand how DDG safety managers could be unaware of the smoke breaks, given how blatant some laborers were about their pot smoking.

"It’s pretty hard to believe that a developer would have workers go literally across the street, smoke up, and then come back to the site and then deny that they know what is going on," Kallos said. "That’s a problem."

 
Read more

Press Coverage
Curbed
Thursday, October 26, 2017

The 27 City Council members who have announced their support for the project by way of a letter to the MTA board and its chairman, Joe Lhota, include Jimmy Van Bramer, Margaret Chin, Laurie Cumbo, Rafael Espinal, Ben Kallos, Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, and Jumaane Williams.

Read more

Press Coverage
Crain's New York
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill late last year to stop Airbnb hosts from turning their apartments into de facto hotels, bigger fines were supposed to deter a practice elected officials argued took much-needed apartments off the rental market.

But more than six months after city inspectors’ first round of enforcement, the de Blasio administration has collected only a fraction of the issued fines, which added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a Crain’s analysis. In large part, the trouble is rooted in the city’s long-flawed collection system—where cases and appeals can take months to process and landlords have little reason to pay up—which could ultimately defang efforts to curb illegal home sharing.

Read more