August Update

Happy summer.
 
In August, our neighborhoods tend to empty out with many of us on vacation. But there’s plenty to do for those of us staying behind. In fact, I strongly encourage you to have a look at the “Community Events” section at the bottom. From outdoor concerts to summer movies in the park, there is much to do in our neighborhood in August. 
 
Enjoy the warm weather, and, as always, please reach out for assistance or just to express your thoughts and ideas.

Sincerely,

Ben Kallos

Table of Contents

1. Passing Laws
2. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
3. Conflict in the Middle East
5. Free Law Founders
6. Labeled a Hero by the Daily News
7. Free Housing Clinic
8. Fighting Waste 
9. Advocating for Net Neutrality
10. Park Avenue Historic District
11. Summer of Science
12. Partnering with Manhattan Borough President Brewer for Transparency
14. Mental Health Resources
15. Fighting Unsafe Factory Farms
16. Supporting Women's History 
17. Delivery Bike Forum
18. GrowNYC Fresh FoodBox
19. Safer Sex Resources
20. Vision Zero Map
21.Taste of Jewish Culture Festival
22. Cooking with Kallos
23. Around the Community
24. Legislation Corner
25. Mobile District Hours
26. Events from Our Office
27. Community Events

Passing Laws

I am proud to have passed my first law! New York City will be a more open and fair city after the passage of two bills: Law Online and City Record Online. Law Online puts all of our charter and code online, continuously updating, so New Yorkers can access the laws that govern them for free. City Record Online ensures the whole print City Record, containing important City information,  including procurement, is online and searchable for all to see. Together with my colleagues Council Members Brad Lander and James Vacca, I am proud to help ensure that more New Yorkers are engaged and aware of City rules and information. To learn more, you can read the legislationpress release and coverage in the Epoch Times
Fighting the Marine Transfer Station

I continue to rally alongside the community against the Marine Transfer Station, including at a well-attended Pledge 2 Protect rally on July 10. I am also working to achieve Zero Waste. There is so much that we can do better: Smart, green solutions that do not burden communities and improve quality of life. After meeting with officials in San Francisco that have seen so much success, I will be pushing for these solutions in coming months as I stand with the community to fight the Marine Transfer Station. I hope you will bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com (send me) your ideas for smarter waste and a more environmentally friendly New York. If you are against the MTS, please sign the petition at BenKallos.com/MTS.

Conflict in the Middle East

As conflict continues in the Middle East, New Yorkers are reminded of our close ties to the region. Growing up, I visited Israel on numerous occasions, including to study and spend time with family. Now, my heart is broken at the conflict and the young lives being lost. I joined Rabbi Arthur Schneier at Park East Synagogue, where I was Bar Mitzvahed, in a memorial service for the Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered. I stand with Senator Schumer in believing that our government should not support any government that harbors terrorism. Like so many New Yorkers, I am praying for peace and justice.

Free Law Founders

This month, we announced the Free Law Founders, a group of Open Government advocates and elected officials from coast to coast. I am proud to help lead this group as we push for a democracy platform to help legislatures work better, open information and easily accessible laws. Read the press release and coverage in Government Executive and NationSwell.

Labeled a Hero by the Daily News

In a Daily News editorial "Lulu heroes and zeroes: End the City Council’s legal bribery," nine of my colleagues and I were recognized for refusing a stipend for additional responsibilities called a “lulu." All Council Members should be paid the same and don’t need extra salary to do the jobs they were elected to do.  Here is what the Daily News had to say:

"On Friday, City Council … rewarded loyal members with something extra in their paychecks. It was lulu day, the twice a-year payment of stipends on top of the members’ already healthy $112,500 salaries. The cash…is supposed to compensate for the extra duties of leadership. In practice, it’s a wasteful and corrupting joke. Wasteful because fully 47 of 51 members qualify, giving the lie to the claim that the payments are owed for work above and beyond the ordinary. Corrupting because, by doling out the dough, the speaker wields undue influence over members … They believe that all Council members should be paid the same and put principle before personal interest. Salute their integrity."

Free Housing Clinic

I am excited to announce a free legal housing clinic at my office. Partnering with Eviction Intervention Services (EIS),
to answer any legal questions regarding housing with pro-bono legal assistance for residents in need of help on August 4th and 18thYou must make an appointment in advance. Email //RSVPatBenKallos [dot] com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">RSVPatBenKallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950 to reserve a time slot. We look forward to helping you! Please email infoatbenkallos [dot] com for any additional details.

Fighting to Recover $1.5 billion

Fighting waste and saving taxpayer dollars is a main focus of my time in the City Council. Ever since learning that the City is owed $1.5 billion in fines, I have been searching for solutions to the problem. I look forward to introducing legislation with Finance Chair Council Member Julissa Ferreras to remedy the issue and save city money. Read more about it in Capital New York. As also reported in Capital New York, I also identified $4 billion in cost overruns at hearing of my committee. $5.5 billion in waste is an unbelievable amount, and I look forward to finding savings for taxpayers.

Advocating for Net Neutrality

Every New Yorker deserves fair access to a free, open Internet. With the FCC opening public comment on new rules that could threaten speed and equal access to sites, I joined my colleagues in advocating for to keep the Internet free and open. Read about it in the Washington Post.

Park Avenue Historic District

I am pleased that we have successfully designated the Park Avenue Historic District to maintain our neighborhood's history and character. Thanks to my predecessor Jessica Lappin, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Friends of the Upper East Side's Tara Kelly and all who worked to preserve our neighborhood.

Summer of Science

I was happy to visit and speak with students from low-income families at Breakthrough New York as they learn to code and gain the digital literacy to promote future success. I was also happy to join the Science Explorers at the 67th St. Library, with children doing fun experiments to foster a lifetime of enjoying science. You can watch the videos of the coding program and science explorers online.

Partnering with Manhattan Borough President Brewer For Transparency

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and I introduced three pieces of legislation that will make New York City more open and improve our government's communication with the people:
 

Mental Health Resources

Last week, our community suffered a tragic loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the man who died. If you believe that you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, the Samaritans provide immediately accessible ongoing emotional support to those who are in distress or suicidal at (212)-673-3000. For more resources, call our office at 212-860-1950 or visit Samaritans.

Fighting Unsafe Factory Farms

I introduced resolution 353 calling on Washington to ban unnecessary use of antibiotics in factory farms. Learn more by reading the legislation and coverage at EcoWatch.com. Then, sign my petition!

Delivery Bike Forum

It was a full house at a forum on safety for restaurants with delivery cyclists. They heard crucial safety information and took home free safety vests, bells and more.

As a reminder, you can help create safer streets. If you see unsafe commercial cycling, call 311 to report the issue and tell the restaurant. Then, follow up with my office. Visit BenKallos.com/BikeSafe.

GrowNYC Fresh FoodBox
 It was an honor to help announce a new location at Stanley Isaacs and Holmes Towers for GrowNYC's incredible Fresh Foodbox initiative, bringing low-cost, healthy food to New Yorkers. Read the press release and watch the video.

Safer Sex Resources

You can pick up free condoms and information to promote safer sex and reproductive choice in a dispenser located in the entrance to my office. I am proud to stand up for a woman's right to control her reproductive fate, especially after the Supreme Court's terrible Hobby Lobby decision. Please stop by anytime during business hours.

Vision Zero Map

You can offer specific feedback on safety conditions at specific directly to the Department of Transportation. Vision Zero depends on you, so please use the Vision Zero Map to share your ideas. You can also fill out a form on street conditions and desired amenities at BenKallos.com/livable-streets.
 
Taste of Jewish Culture Festival

I had a great time at The Workmen's Circle's Taste of Jewish Culture Festival! I enjoyed delicious food from: Baz Bagels, Bread Bakery, Brooklyn Seltzer, Brooklyn Sesame, The Gefilteria, Knish Nosh, Kossar's, Mile End Deli, Peck's, The Pickle Guys, Scharf & Zoyer, Shelsky's of Brooklyn, Taïm Falafel, and more. See more photographs on Facebook.

Cooking with Kallos

The second "Cooking with Kallos" demonstration at the 92nd St. Green Market, showcased healthy, fun, cooking. We made healthier borscht.
Around the Community

This month, I joined plenty of community events and celebrations. Here are just a few: CB8 full board meeting; CB8 Environment and Sanitation meeting about MTS; Holmes Towers family day; Cooking with Kallos at the 92nd St. Greenmarket; Taste of Jewish culture festival, and a screening of An American Tail at Carl Schurz.

If you would like me to join you at a community event, please email scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950. If my schedule permits, I will be happy to attend.

Legislation Corner

Learn more about the laws that affect the daily lives of New Yorkers, or visit BenKallos.com/legislation.
 
A few bills I have co-sponsored:

  1. Fair Wages

Int. 386, introduced by Council Member Miller, addresses issues related to workplace fairness. Currently, not all custodial and service employees are paid at the same rate commensurate with experience. This bill addresses those shortcomings and ensures that all employees have the opportunity to be paid at the same rate as their counterparts.

  1. Verifying Parking Placards

Int. 326, introduced by Council Member Garodnick, will help traffic enforcement agents address issues with fraudulent parking placards that allow some to illegally park with impunity. The bill requires city-issued placards to be equipped with bar codes which traffic enforcement agents can scan to verify their validity.

  1. Environmentally-Friendly Businesses

Int. 008, introduced by Council Member Gentile, encourages City businesses to be more environmentally friendly by creating a list of categories where reasonable distinctions can be made between environmentally friendly businesses and non-environmentally friendly businesses. Businesses meeting the established criteria can apply for the designation through the Department of Small Businesses Services.

Mobile District Hours

Get assistance wherever you are located. Please see our mobile district hours:

Roosevelt Island Senior Center: First Wednesday of the month, 4-7PMRSVPLexington Houses: Second Wednesday of the month, 4-7PMRSVPLenox Hill Neighborhood House: Second Tuesday of the month, 4-7PMRSVPStanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center: Fourth Tuesday of the month, 4-7PM RSVP Events from Our Office
8/4 and 8/18: FREE Legal Housing Clinic
If you have any legal questions regarding housing, please come join us and reserve a time to speak with a volunteer attorney. This event was organized with assistance from Eviction Intervention Services (EIS). We are excited to announce this new service, and look forward to assisting you on legal housing matters.

You must make an appointment in advance. Email //RSVPatBenKallos [dot] com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">RSVPatBenKallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950 to reserve a time slot. We look forward to helping you! Please email infoatbenkallos [dot] com for any additional details. 8/12: Policy Night 
Second Tuesday of Each Month, District Office at 244 East 93rd St.

If you are looking to become more involved in your community, please consider joining a District Five policy committee. We need residents who are interested in advancing progressive and innovative agenda items, with the experience and enthusiasm to help formulate city policy. Committees, which include education, environment, senior services and more, will meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30PM. Please RSVP Online, email rsvpatbenkallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950 to let us know you'll be joining us. Thursdays in August, 6PM - 8PM: Sunset Performances at Four Freedoms Park
co-sponsored by Council Member Kallos

August 7, Laolu and the Afromysterics (Afro-Reggae) RSVP 
August 14, Jose Conde Quartet (Latin Funk) RSVP
August 21, Tom do Brasil (Brazilian Bossa Nova) RSVP
August 28, Brooklyn Nomads (Middle Eastern Folk) RSVP 

The Katchke Farm Food Station will be selling beer, wine, and tastes from around the world from 4pm-7:30pm.
Learn more at http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/news/entry/sunset-performances-at-the-park

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6:30PM, 7/8 - 11/25: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) through GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box Program
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street

For more information, please contact Sara Bateman at 770-841-6827 or lenoxhillcsaatlenoxhill [dot] org
Pre-purchase fruits and vegetables for $10 and eggs for $3.50 for the following week. Cash, credit/debit & EBT accepted.

8/26, 7PM: Dudes Against Violence Against Women
Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd St.
An evening of comedy presented by Dean Obeidallah and Breakthrough, a global human rights organization working to make violence and discrimination against women unacceptable. Purchase Tickets.
 

Community Events

Tuesdays in August, 3PM - 4PM: Tai-Chi with Health Advocates for Older People
Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 East 88th Street

Thursdays in August, 2PM - 3PM: Chair Yoga with Health Advocates for Older People
Our Lady of Peace, 237 East 62nd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue

Saturdays in August, 11AM - 12PM and Saturdays in August: Chair Yoga with Health Advocates for Older People
St. Joseph’s Church, 404 East 87th Street between 1st & York Avenue

Fridays in August, 4:15PM - 5:15PM: Ballroom Dancing with Health Advocates for Older People
Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 East 87th Street

Saturdays in August, 12:30PM: Matinee Movies
Church of the Holy Trinity, 341 East 87th Street
8/9 - Match Point
8/16 - The Book Thief
8/23 - Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom
8/30 - Elaine Stritch: Shoot me

8/5, 5PM-9PM: Turtle Bay Night Out Against Crime
Sponsored by 17th Precinct Community Council
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (East 47th, First/Second)
Music, food, community tables
For information call 212-826-3228

8/6, 6PM-9PM: Uptown Bounce at El Museo Del Barrio
El Museo Del Barrio, 104th and Fifth Ave
“Uptown Bounce: Throwback”, the second event in a special summer series El Museo is hosting in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York. At El Museo, hear artist Perla de Leon describe her experience photographing the Bronx in the 1980s, enjoyed art-making inspired by El Barrio, and dance to throwback hits courtesy of DJ duo D’Marquesina who will be spinning all night long. To RSVP, click here.  For more information, visit www.elmuseo.org or www.mcny.org

8/13, 1PM: Illustrating Our Landmarks
Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street.
Society of Illustrators is holding an Illustrating Our Landmarks event to display the work of the winners of the Society’s competition for depictions of NYC’s landmarks. RSVP required.

Family Workshops at FDR Four Freedoms Park
Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island

8/4, 10:30AM-12PM: My Model Monument
Families design and build their ideal park using self-drying clay. Ages 6+

8/14, 10:30AM-12PM: FDR's Floating Whitehouse
Families create their own sailboats from recycled materials, decorating their sails with imagery associated with freedom and democracy. Ages 6+

8/21, 10:30AM-12PM: Our Panoramic Skyline
Families discuss shapes and textures in the New York City skyline, creating a panoramic mural from recycles materials. Ages 3+

8/28, 10:30AM-12PM: A Mobile for My Room
Families will build a hanging mobile about what they hold dear. Ages 3+

These family workshops are designed for children to be working with their grown-ups. The cost is $5 per child and free for adults (18+) and Conservancy Charter Members.Learn more at http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/events/entry/family-workshops

9/11: East 79th Street Neighborhood Association Monthly Meeting
6:00PM, location to be announced
Special Guest Speaker NY State Senator Liz Krueger

No monthly meeting will be held in August. E 79th St. Neighborhood Association will resume meetings in September.

9/27 and 9/28: Gracie Square Art Show
10AM-5PM, Carl Schurz Park, East End Ave and E 86th St.