New York City Council Member Ben Kallos serves as Chair of the Comittee on Governmental Operations and a member of the Committees on Land Use, State & Federal Legislation, Women's Issues and the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses.
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The legislation seeks to solve the following longstanding problems with affordable housing:
- Non-Registration – owners fail to register thousands of buildings with tens of thousands of units for which they receive hundreds of millions in tax breaks each year.
- Paper Applications – applicants must mail an application request, receive the application by mail, return the application by mail, and wait hoping nothing got lost in the mail.
- Lotteries and Rejections – three quarters of applications have been rejected in lotteries because individuals apply for the wrong affordable housing for their income.
- Waiting List Corruption – investigations revealed dozens of instances of corruption and bribery surrounding waiting lists for affordable housing.
- Numerous Individual Places to Apply – Multiple websites offered by DHCR,HPD, HDC and non-profits like Met Council as well as at individual affordable housing buildings.
The legislation would provide the following solutions:
- Owner Registration – owners of rent regulated or affordable housing receiving government subsidies would be required to register each unit online with the city on an annual basis.
- Enforcement and Fines – enforcement would be required by HPD, with a private right of action for individuals, with penalties that escalated from $100 per month per unit to $2,000 per month per unit.
- Preventing Warehousing – where is not already illegal, it would be illegal to warehouse any affordable housing unit for which a government subsidy was received.
- Protection from Illegal Rents – tenants could verify the legality of their rent by entering personal information and current rent to receive their rent history from HPD.
- Manager and Superintendent Information – currently filed by owners under the housing maintenance code, this information would be available online for the public.
- Matching Residents with Single Application for All Affordable Housing – residents could enter their financial and household information to be matched through a single online application to all affordable housing opportunities for which they qualify.
- Lotteries and Waiting List Transparency – anonymous unique identifiers for both units and applicants providing privacy protection through online tracking of the lottery process and waiting lists by all by web, email or text, along with whether an applicant received a preference and a list of the possible reasons for that preference.
- Privacy – privacy protections would be provided for victims of domestic violence with units receiving tenant based financial assistance such as SCRIE, DRIE, or HASA excluded.
This bill would eliminate the possibility of matching, with public funds, any contribution to a candidate for local office that is bundled by a lobbyist or person who has, or may have, business dealings with the City.
This bill would allow for the earlier disbursement of limited amounts of public money to qualifying candidates who wish to participate in the City’s public matching campaign finance system during their campaigns. It would change the earliest possible date for disbursement from following the finalization of the candidates who qualify for the ballot to shortly after the deadline for certification for participation in the public matching program.
This bill would modify the standard for contributions raised and spent by candidates who participate in the City’s public funding matching program in order to be eligible to participate in the first official debate for the office they seek. It would change the formula for eligibility from having raised 20% of the threshold for public funding for the office they seek to having raised and spent 2.5% of the expenditure limit for such office. The effect of this would be to increase the minimum funds raised to between 300% and 400% of the previous minimums.
This bill would allow voters to opt-out of receiving a printed copy of the Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Guide, which is currently prepared and mailed to every household with a registered voter prior to local elections. It would also require the Campaign Finance Board to produce a Voter Guide, though not necessarily in a printed format, for state and federal election races.
The bill would require that the city conduct air quality monitoring in areas of the city close to marine transfer stations.
This bill would expand the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Third Party Transfer program, which allows the City to foreclose and sell distressed residential buildings to pre-qualified third parties, to include buildings whose owners have incurred large amounts of unsatisfied building violations.
This bill would provide that building code violations adjudicated before Environmental Control Board (ECB) in which a judgment has been entered against owners of certain residential and commercial buildings, but have not been paid by such owners, constitute tax liens on the property of such owners, which would subject the building of such to be foreclosed upon by the City if the judgment remains unpaid.
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature and the People of the State of New York to amend the State Constitution, and the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign legislation amending the Election Law to establish same-day and online voter registration.
This bill would require that every public data set containing address information will present that information in the same format, along with geospatial reference data, such as latitude and longitude. It would also require the convening of a working group to develop that format standard.
Upon passage the bill would initially provide:
- “Automatic Benefits Notices” would be provided to applicants for one benefit when they are likely to qualify for additional benefits, along with a copy of the other application and instructions.
- Automatic pre-filled applications and renewals would be provided using information from previous applications to pre-fill other benefits applications for which they are likely to qualify.
- Providing assistance with completion of applications over the phone through 311, online, or in person at city agencies.
- In all cases individuals would be able to receive materials electronically and decline benefits.
The forward thinking bill would phase in with new features as federal and state laws change:
- “Automatic Benefits” would automatically provide applicants with all additional benefits for which they qualify without additional applications, when their initial application provided all the necessary information. This would phase in when federal or state laws allowed for consolidation or waiver of applications.
- “Automatic Benefits Notices from Tax Filings” would be provided to tax filers with benefits for which they were pre-qualified along with copies of applications and instructions. This would phase in when Federal or State laws allowed for sharing of tax filing information between Federal, State and City governments.
- “Automatic Benefits Pre-Filled Applications from Tax Filings” would be provided to tax filers with benefits for which they were pre-qualified along with pre-filled copies of applications and instructions. This would phase in when Federal or State laws allowed for sharing of tax filing information between Federal, State and City governments and pre-filling of applications.
- “Automatic Benefits from Tax Filings” would be provided to tax filers with benefits for which they qualified without further application. This would phase in when federal or state laws allowed for sharing of tax filing information between federal, state and city governments and consolidation or waiver of applications.
In order to fulfill mandates required by the bill the government would be required to provide:
- “Automatic Benefits Renewal” to automatically renew benefits using information that government already has sufficient to maintain an individuals continued eligibility for benefits.
- “Universal Benefits Application” combining existing public benefits applications into a single application for all public benefits.
- Technological infrastructure for the system using free and open source software, through a process that allowed the Federal as well as State and municipal governments to join in the process in order to minimize costs and promote sharing among governments.
Resolution calling upon Congress to pass and the President to sign, as well as the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign, legislation to permit a single universal application for public benefits, as well as to use tax filings or information already in an agency's possession to automatically provide eligible individuals with the public benefits.
The bill mandates that if property owners fail to perform needed sidewalk repairs, the city will issue penalties and then step in to provide the fixes and bill the party responsible. The legislation is specifically focused on the ramps that connect crosswalks to sidewalks, many of which have fallen into a state of disrepair. In a study, the Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York has found that 75% out of 1,000 curbs in lower Manhattan were hazardous for disabled residents.
This bill would require city agencies that issue notices of violation that are returnable to the Environmental Control Board for adjudication to include the borough, block and lot number and building identification number, as applicable, of any property referenced in a notice of violation. Finally, the bill provides that a notice of violation is still enforceable even if it does not include the required identifying information.
This bill would require that, when an agency issues a notice of violation to an individual or entity that does not meet the standard for a valid notice of violation established by the Environmental Control Board or Office of Administrative Tribunals, as applicable, the agency amend the notice of violation if possible. The notice of violation would then be provided to the alleged violator in the same manner as an original notice of violation and a new hearing date would be assigned.
This bill would allow a city agency that issues notices of violation returnable to the Environmental Control Board (ECB) to suspend or revoke licenses and permits issued by that agency, or deny applicants for such licenses or permits, where the licensee, permittee or applicant has failed to pay penalties previously imposed by the ECB. Suspension, revocation or denial could take place where the permittee, licensee or applicant had $50,000 in unpaid ECB debt after two years or $25,000 in unpaid ECB debt after four years, or where the licensee, permittee or applicant had $10,000 in unpaid ECB debt, was party to an installment plan and had missed three or more consecutive payments.
This bill would prohibit city agencies from applying to any property owned or leased by the city any chemically based pesticide.
Congress and the states authority to regulate the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
The bill would make the New York City Administration for Child Services (ACS), which provides subsidized childcare programs to 120,000 low-income children each year, more transparent and accountable. It would require reporting on several aspects of the childcare programs, notably closures, applications, and placements, in order to ensure that they best serve the city's children.
This bill would require the Department of Education to provide data, related to student participation in various free school breakfast, free salad bar, and free afterschool meals, to the Council and on their website. The report would provide information about initiatives and programs aimed at increasing student participation in the free meals. Additionally, the data would provide the total number have a salad bar in the cafeteria.
The bill would require landlords to distribute voter registration forms, in multiple languages if requested, to every tenant when signing a new lease, as well as provide assistance in submission of the forms.
The legislation would expand New York City’s Workforce1 job centers and online information hub to include resources and training for parents returning to work after taking time off. This would include technology training, public-private partnerships, specialized resume assistance, proactive outreach and expanded online information to help parents return to work.
The bill would dedicate urban planners to each of New York City's 59 community boards. Community boards play an important advisory role in decisions over a neighborhood's growth and a dedicated urban planner for each board would provide them with vital information to help make these decisions.
The bill would require the use of recycled concrete in all new street construction projects, in order to reduce carbon emissions during production. Specifically, it would require that at least 30% of the concrete used comes from recycled sources.
Requires that the location of cars towed due to temporary parking restrictions, such as film shoots or parades, is available on the Department of Transportation website or by calling 311.
A resolution calling upon Congress to pass the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act and for the FCC to reclassify broadband as a common carrier, in order to ensure net neutrality.
This bill would require the Board of Elections to provide a secure website through which registered voters could track the status of their absentee application and ballot, including the following: receipt of application for absentee ballot by Board of Elections; approval or rejection of application, and reason if rejected; status of ballot being mailed; receipt of completed ballot by Board of Elections; and status of counting completed ballot and reason if rejected.
Prevent landlords from using information from housing court records to discriminate against tenants when they have satisfied the terms of an order issued in housing court. The so-called blacklists contain an estimated hundreds of thousands of names of would-be renters, and are often used by landlords to deny future housing to potential tenants. The legislation would allow tenants to file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights and fine landlords if a violation was found.
Improves upon the Young Adult Voter Registration Act, incluing by requiring distribution of registration forms to high school students in class as well as provided coded forms in order to facilitate tracking.
This bill would require each city agency that collects personal information to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive security program to protect that information. As part of the comprehensive security program agencies would need to develop safeguards for protecting personal information, including ongoing employee training, restrictions on physical access to information, disciplinary measures for violation of security program rules, regular monitoring of the security program operations, and periodic review of the security program components.
If the security program is electronic, the program would be required to include secure authentication protocols, unique identifier technologies, control of data security passwords, firewall security protection, and encryption of all transmitted personal information on public or wireless networks, portable media, or shared with third-party service providers
This bill would require each city agency that collects personal information to develop a system to protect the privacy of that information. The system of protection would include appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality of personal records and would also require the destruction of those records once the purpose of collecting that information is achieved.
This bill would require the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to develop an e-hail application which would allow customers to electronically hail a yellow taxicab or a green street hail vehicle. The application would be the only application used by yellow taxicab or green street hail drivers to accept electronic hails. The bill would require that the application be capable of allowing customers to electronically hail an accessible vehicle. The bill would also require the TLC to develop a program to allow third-party applications to submit electronic hail requests to drivers through the application.
Would allow residents to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot at the same time.
Requires the New York City Board of Elections to create a secure website to allow any eligible resident to submit a voter registration application.
Adds 15 additional agencies to the current list of agenices which are required to have, and offer, voter registration forms to anyone seeking agency services. It also required that agencies, if requested, assist individuals in filling out the forms and submit them to the New York City Board of Elections.
Kids’ meals that include toys as incentives would meet specific nutritional standards that include:
- 500 calories or less;
- 600 mgs of sodium or less;
- Fewer than 35% of calories from fat;
- Fewer than 10% of calories from saturated fats;
- Fewer than 10% of calories from added sugars; and
- A serving of fruit, vegetable or whole grains.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to notification of community boards of changes of regulations relating to traffic.
Resolution supporting a statewide and national ban on nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock production and calling upon the United States Congress to pass and the President to sign the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act (S. 1256) and the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1150).
Resolution calling upon the United States Senate to pass and President to sign companion legislation to H.R. 863, which would establish a commission to study the creation of a National Women's History Museum.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to providing public notice of production permits.
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring that no videotape, or its contents, produced by an agency be destroyed or otherwise disposed of and that the head of each agency transmit to the municipal reference and research center such material in a timely manner.
“Public Online Information Act” (POIA) mandates that materials that are “public information” or subject to “public inspection” be made accessible to the public timely fashion and user-friendly format online through the agency’s website, a centralized website and through an open application program interface (API) to provide sharable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps. While Open Data has made great strides in making government information available warehouses full of materials are still being generated that are not making it online because they are only “public information” or are only subject to “public inspection.” This changes all that and will put materials online like:
- All city contracts;
- Department of building technical standards, accident investigations, and waivers;
- Transcripts from public hearings that are keyword searchable;
This legislation is modeled on federal bill by the same name introduced this year by Congress Member Steve Israel (D-NY) as H.R. 4312 and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) as S. 549. It also supplements Open Data, Local Law 11 of 2012, passed by former Council Member Gale Brewer, the current Manhattan Borough President.
“eNotices” will mandate that public notices be accessible online to New Yorkers while expanding and specifying the definition of “public notices.” In addition to publication in newspapers, the City Record, or posts on bulletin boards and lampposts, residents will also have access to notifications on electronically centralized websites with open application program interface (API) to provide shareable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps to disseminate items of local importance.
"City Record Online” introduced with Council Member Jimmy Vacca, mandates the improvement of the existing City Record On-Line (CROL) website by mandating that all items currently in the paper copy of the City Record published by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) be included in the web version with an open application program interface (API) to empower developers to create their own apps to track the city’s contract bids and awards.
Free and Open Source Software Act (FOSSA), would minimize city contracts for proprietary software in favor of free and open source software (FOSS) that can be shared between government agencies and bodies instead of propriety programs that currently require the city and other municipalities, including the state, to pay private vendors over and over again for the same code. FOSS provides the city with power over the code and the freedom to study, modify, upgrade, improve, customize, maintain and redistribute within agencies and to other cities or states. Free software means code that is free from proprietary constraints, not free of charge.
Civic Commons Act, would encourage the collaborative software purchasing of free and open source software among agencies, cities and states to pool resources, avoid duplicated effort, create portable expertise, grow jobs, and reduce costs. A Civic Commons FOSS portal would be created to facilitate collaborative software purchasing and host the collaborative FOSS source code as well as FOSS projects identified as useful for government use. Civic Commons is currently a project of Code for America, a not-for-profit hosted at Commons.CodeForAmerica.org with more information available at wiki.CivicCommons.org.
“OpenMaps,” introduced by Kallos and Vacca, mandates that data sets behind government maps, like those at NYCityMap (http://maps.nyc.gov/), become open and shareable so residents, civic hackers and developers can create apps to help:
- Drivers find off-street parking at garages and lots;
- Bicyclists find CityRacks and bicycle parking shelters;
- Residents find free access to broadband and wi-fi;And government services of all kinds, including youth, aging, health, parks, cultural, and education services.
“Open GIS,” introduced by Kallos, Rodriguez and Lander, creates a new level of specificity for NYC Crime Map (http://maps.nyc.gov/crime/), specifying the exact location of the incident using GPS coordinates along with date and time for every violation, crime and arrest – including the exact location on the street where collisions occur. Current forms only record nearest intersection or street address, leaving the public without the specific corner or crosswalk on a street or pathway within a park where incidents occurred. The legislation will empower the NYPD, DOT and safety advocates in the public with the knowledge to address safety concerns with the precision necessary to prevent future otherwise preventable incidents, in line with the mission of Vision Zero.
Open FOIL would create a centralized, searchable database of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests sent to City agencies. The online database would allow members of the public to both file FOIL requests and search previous ones. Information would include the date each request was filed and documentation of its progress. The site would be developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the Office of Operations.
Resolution to Amend the Rules of the Council in relation to improving the responsiveness, transparency, fairness, and inclusiveness of the City Council.
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign into law A.2448 and S.4142, which would allow sixteen and seventeen year olds to be appointed to New York City Community Boards.