Fall Bulletin 2016

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Download Newsletter in PDF

New York City’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget of $82.1 billion comes with funding increases to many programs that residents have come to rely on. This year’s budget has initiatives I am proud to have fought for, including:

  • $38.5 million added to Summer Youth Employment Program budget to fund 60,000 summer jobs for the city’s youth, 72 of which worked with Council Members of the Progressive Caucus
  • $4.9 million in additional funds for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which increased funding for the purchase of food for those in need by over 40 percent

Programs I voted in favor of include:

  • $1.8 million in base lined funding for 1,400 seniors currently on waitlists
  • $16 million for 3,223 additional elementary school after school seats for a total of 6,600
  • $17.5 million to fund 26,000 after-school seats for middle-school youth in School’s Out NYC
  • $43 million in base lined funding to improve libraries
  • $10 million for cultural organizations
  • $22 million in base lined funding for District Attorneys, to create Alternatives to Incarceration Unit, reduce gun-related and other violent crimes
  • $2.5 million for Vision Zero education and outreach

To stay on top of the work I am doing and opportunities to have a say in our community, please sign up to receive our monthly newsletter at BenKallos.com/Subscribe


Ben Kallos
Council Member, District 5



Councilman Fights de Blasio over Lawsuit Payouts

City will see a reduction in planned spending over the next five years of $430 million for judgments and claims - money paid out by the City in lawsuit settlements and judgments. The savings follow multiple hearings where I pressed the Law Department and the Office of Management and Budget to provide a return on investment (ROI) for taxpayers funding of new attorneys to defend frivolous lawsuits and handle cases from start to finish.


Fiscal responsibility means saving in good times to get us through the bad ones. I have advocated, each year, for saving more in advance of a potential economic downturn. I am pleased that the City increased its reserves to an estimated at $8.76 billion:

  • $1 billion for the general reserve
  • $500 million maintained for capital stabilization reserve
  • $250 million for the Retiree Health Benefits Trust


I am proud to have worked toward making New York City’s budget open and available to the public online. After I introduced legislation for the City to post the budget on the open data portal, the City actually did. For the first time, anyone can look at how New York City is spending $82.1 billion.



180 EAST 88th STREET
The New York Times
Developer Ordered to Stop Work on Upper East Side Luxury Apartment Tower
“I am glad we won before it was too late,” Kallos said.

Manhattan Borough President Brewer and I sent a letter proving that the proposed height of 180 East 88th St. – a 521-foot skyscraper – violated the law. As a result the City issued a stop work order: a rare victory for residents in the battle against skyscrapers that are too tall for our neighborhoods. Now the developers must submit new plans that follow the law. Together we thwarted the creation of a “4-foot lot loophole” precedent and with it what would have been the tallest building north of 72nd Street. Please join the fight at BenKallos.com/Petition/StopSuperscrapers


The Wall Street Journal
Bankruptcy is Bellwether of NY’s Condo Market

The plans for a proposed superscraper at 58th Street and Sutton Place, which I have been fighting with the community, began to fall apart as Bauhouse Group filed for bankruptcy following foreclosure on its loans. The lender cited our rezoning proposal as a factor in its foreclosure. I am proud to lead the effort to rezone this neighborhood and stop the superscraper with the East River Fifties Alliance and co-applicants Manhattan Borough President Brewer, State Senator Krueger, and Council Member Garodnick. Join the fight against the Sutton Superscraper at BenKallos.com/Petition/StopSuperscrapers



Daily News
City Council Members Pushing Rent Rollback for City’s 1 million Rent-Stabilized Apartments

Another year of strong advocacy had paid off: the Rent Guidelines Board voted for a zero percent increase on one-year lease renewals for rent stabilized apartments and a two-percent increase on two-year leases. In working toward this freeze, I testified in front of the Rent Guidelines Board multiple times and co-authored a letter that was signed by 21 Council Members calling for a rent rollback. Although we did not get the rollback, we have now won historic rent freezes two years in a row, providing much needed relief to tenant who have been seen too-high increases on their rent for years. Fight for a Rent Roll Back at BenKallos.com/Petition/RentRollBack



Fox 5 New York
Pre-K Crunch
“We had 2,500 4 year olds apply for only 515 seats on the Upper East Side. We need more seats for our kids,” said Kallos

Since taking office I have worked with parents, schools, providers and the Department of Education to make more free pre-kindergarten seats available for residents of the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. There were 123 open sears in the district when the first year of UPK. Together we have succeded in quadrupling the number of seats to over 552. To start organizing for next year, or if you are in need of a seat please email UPKatbenkallos [dot] com (UPKatbenkallos [dot] com).


As a lover of the arts, I am proud to host an annual public school art show featuring student work at Sotheby’s, last held in February, continuing a rich tradition of promoting arts in City Council District Five. Learn more at BenKallos.com/ArtShow


With voter turnout under 25 percent in the City’s 2013 general election, I am piloting Mock Voting at schools in the district to teach them the importance of civic engagement. Mock vote for president in November!


I have visited every school in the district to better support principals, teachers, students and parents. How can I help your school?



Rebuild the East River Esplanade: $47 Million Secured

When I came into office, the East River Esplanade was literally falling into the river. Working with Congress Member Maloney as co-chair of the East River Esplanade Task force I have secured $35 million from the City budget, $10 million through partnership with institutions such as Rockefeller University and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) to rebuild and care for the Esplanade forever. This year I allocated an additional $2 million for the revitalization of the East River Esplanade to:

  • Renovate from 68th to 70th with new planters plantings and irrigation to seamlessly connect Rockefeller’s portion from 62nd to 69th with HSS’ portion from 70th to 72nd
  • Improve John Finley Walk from 81st to 84th Street, following recommendations of a CIVITAS study that I helped fund. Removing broken gates, adding new planters and demarcating passive and active recreation zones



Bike Lanes & CitiBike Expansion: Following months of public hearings at Community Board 8, CitiBike will expand to 96th Street and bike lanes will be added to Second Avenue, 70th and 71st Streets and 77th and 78th Streets.

Bike Safety: We’ve expanded our Bike Safety Program with Council Member Garodnick to cover the Upper East Side and Midtown East. The program includes education in bike lanes, bike shops, schools and parks, safety equipment giveaways, and increased enforcement. As of last August, the 19th Precinct had stepped up enforcement 52 percent. The results have been 18 percent fewer bike and vehicle collisions and 15 percent lower bike and pedestrian collisions year to date. If you see unsafe cycling, call me and 311.

2nd Ave Subway: I have joined Congress Member Carolyn Maloney on numerous occasions to force the MTA accountable to finish the Second Avenue Subway construction on time by December 2016.

Free WiFi: I am proud to have advocated to turn old pay phones into new LinkNYC kiosks providing free calls and wifi to the city. Visit Link.NYC




NBC News
New Large Trash Cans Purchased by Kallos
“My office spent $20,000 on new trash cans to help clean up this neighborhood,” said Kallos

I am focused on cleaning up the Upper East Side. I worked with Sanitation Commissioner Garcia to bring twice-a-day garbage pickup to 86th Street and bought 38 new large trash cans with the “District 5” label to keep our neighborhood clean and litter free. However, the only sustainable way to keep East 86th Street clean is a Business Improvement District. Learn more and support the effort at BenKallos.com/BID



Crain’s New York Business
New York City Levies Fines, But Fails to Collect over Half Billion for Landlords

“The city issues quality-of-life violations when people violate construction safety rules, start construction before or after hours, or have dangerous sidewalk conditions – and nobody seems to care,” said Kallos

Every day, I receive calls and emails about quality of life problems like trash on sidewalks and dangerous construction. A 311 complaint might result in a violation but they are difficult to collect and were often ignored by bad actors or repeat offenders, to the tune of $1.6 billion that went uncollected. Laws I authored will help identify who is responsible and consider outstanding or repeat violations before issuing new permits, licenses, and registrations necessary to do business. My laws will force bad actors to change their behavior so quality of life in the city improves.  



As amended and passed by the City Council, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (MIH/ZQA) will require new affordable housing to be built whenever developers are given additional height or density to build in Manhattan.

In ZQA I fought for and won:

  • No height increases in R8B districts protecting the quiet midblock with a 75 foot heigh cap on the East Side.
  • Reduced height increases, bringing the maximum R10A increase from 50 feet to 25 feet with different heights for narrow and wide streets of 210 feet and 235 feet.
  • Protected seniors from being squeezed into 275 square foot micro units.
  • Protected the Sliver Law which prevents towers narrower than 40 feet wide.

In MIH I fought for and won:

  • Housing for lower income New Yorkers at 40 percent of Area Median Income (AMI): $31,000 for a family of three.
  • Additional option for 20 percent at 40 percent of AMI.
  • Required HPD to track, register, and monitor new affordable housing as would be required by Introduction 1015, legislation I authored.

Learn more at BenKallos.com/MIH-ZQA



Each year, residents in my district ages 14 older get to vote on how to spend one million dollars in the community through Participatory Budgeting. The ballot is decided and the pricess is run by residents just like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB


Propose projects at Assemblies, then become a Delegate to determine feasibility, costs and which ideas make the ballot.


SEPTEMBER 12, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Chapin School, 100 East End Avenue


SEPTEMBER 19, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Stanley Issacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street


SEPTEMBER 26, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street
RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events



We continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station and thanks to your support we’ve already accomplished:

  • Brought attention to dangers of garbage trucks in residential neighborhoods following tragic death of local resident hit by a garbage truck;
  • Moved the ramp one block north to protect 35,000 children from all over the city who play at Asphalt Green in partnership with P2P and the local community;
  • Introduced air quality monitoring legislation to protect us from pollution;
  • Forced commitments from DSNY under oath to limit use to only 1,800 of the total 5,200 tons per day capacity, keeping more than 300 garbage trucks off our streets;
  • Advocated for and secured funding for guardrails on garbage trucks and other large city vehicles;
  • Advocated for and won a citywide goal of zero waste to make Marine Transfer-to-landfill obsolete by 2030;
  • Exposed high costs increasing from $93/ton to $278/ton for a total price tag of $632 million;
  • Built a three borough coalition against garbage dumps in residential neighborhoods;

As we continue to fight this ill-conceived Marine Transfer State you can join and stay updated on the fight at BenKallos.com/MTS



The New York Times
An Uphill Fight to Curb the Pull of NYC’s Lobbyists
“The city should not be providing public dollars to amplify the already strong voices of special interests,” said Kallos

I continue to fight to pass my legislation to start matching public dollars for contributions bundled by someone doing city business with them. Public matching of campaign dollars should not benefit lobbyists, they should only amplify the voices of local residents.

“I want to get to the bottom of what happened at Rivington, St. Nicholas and other sites,” said Kallos. "The Council has a responsibility to hold on oversight hearing on dead restrictions.”

The lifting of deed restrictions at a nursing home on Rivington Street and a cultural center on St. Nicholas Avenue have brought attention to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), which I oversee as chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. I pushed DCAS to “come clean” and was shocked to learn that there were 15 more deed restriction alterations in the pipeline that had been put on hold. I have joined Borough President Brewer and Council Member Chin in introducing a bill that would add necessary transparency and community review to deed restrictions.

Daily News
Lawyer vying for spot as Board of Elections commissioner agrees to give up lobbying
“I’m glad that she has seen that there might be an appearance of impropriety and both she and her firm have agreed to cease her lobbying activity,” said Kallos



I am proud to have authored laws and resolutions that will improve transparency ethics in government, quality of life and democracy in government and championed women’s issues.

Prohibiting Outside Income (Law 20 of ’16) – The City Council now works full time for the people without the influence of other souces of income.
Eliminating “Legal Bribery” (Res. 980 of ’16) – Former Speakers used to reward Council Member allies with payments in lieu of compensation, or “lulus,” a practice that the Daily News called “legal bribery.” My resolution banned it from the City Council.

Catching Scofflaws (Law 45 of ’16) – Information added to all quality of life violations will help identify who is responsible and collect fines.
Stopping Repeat Offenders (Law 47 of ’16) – City agencies that issue quality of life violations are now required to deny, suspend, or revoke licenses and permits for unpaid fines or repeat offenders.

Voter Information Portal (Law 65 of ’16) – Will empower voters to track an absentee ballot, find poll site location, view ballots, and verify registration status and that votes were counted.


Pro-Voter Law Expansion (Law 63 of ’14)
Online Voter Guide (Law 43 of ’14)
Teens on Community Board (Res. 115 of ’14)

Open Legislation (Res. 184 of ’14, cosponsor)
Law Online (Law 37 of ’14, co-prime sponsor)
City Record Online (Law 38 of ’14)
Open Mapping (Law 08 of ’15)

National Women’s History Museum (Res. 354 of ’14)

Learn more and comment on legislation at BenKallos.com/Legislation



SENIORS: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride

HOUSING: Affordable units, rent freezes, legal clinic

JOBS: Search & training resources, veterans, senior and youth employment

FAMILIES: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs

FINANCES: Cash assistance resources, tax credits, home energy assistance

NUTRITION: Food Stamps (SNAP), WIC, free meals for all ages

We can also help resolve 311 complaints.



We bring our office to you each month from 11 am – 2 pm

  • Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center: 2nd Tuesday
  • Carter Burden Center: 3rd Wednesday
  • Roosevelt Island Senior Center: 4th Wednesday

Appointments after 5 pm available upon request.



THURSDAYS, 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Order and pay just $12
(cash, credit/debit, SNAP, greenmarket bucks)
Pick up farm fresh produce the following week at my district office.
Learn more at BenKallos.com/FreshFoodBox



By appointment from 3 pm – 6 pm
HOUSING: 1st and 3rd Monday; 1st Wednesday
LIFE PLANNING: 3rd Wednesday



First Friday, First Friday, 8 am – 10 am, District Office
Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.

Policy Night, Second Tuesday, 6 pm – 7 pm, District Office
Organize to make your ideas a reality.

Ben in Your Building Gather 10 neighbors and I will come to you!



September 15, 6 pm
Memorial Sloan Kettering 430 East 67th St.

September 29, 6:30 pm
Good Shepherd, 543 Main St.
Roosevelt Island

October 13, 11 am – 2 pm
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House 331 East 70th St.

December 6, 5 pm – 7 pm
District Office, 244 East 93rd St.

January 22, 2017, 1 pm
Memorial Sloan Kettering
430 East 67th St.

RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events

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