News for November

Dear Friend,

During an eventful and at times difficult year, it can be hard to find time to pause, reflect and give thanks. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to be thankful for our blessings and the community surrounding us. If you are interested in volunteering this month, please contact my office, so I can help connect you with volunteer opportunities in the district.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve. You may have heard me at community events mention the amount of time I have left in office (as of today, 3 years, 1 month and 23 days!). The reason I place so much emphasis on the time left is that every moment is a valuable one that I hope to use to improve our neighborhoods and city.  What are you most thankful for?

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents

1. Ebola Response
2. Marine Transfer Station
3. Livable Streets
4. Bike Safety Forum
5. Working to Close the Digital Divide
6. Increasing Voter Registration
7. Digital Democracy
8. Protecting Affordable Housing
9. A Healthy, Sustainable City
10. Senior Health Fair
11. Honoring 17th Precinct Community Council Leadership
12. School Tours
13. Ben In Your Building
14. Tech City
15. Meeting with International Politicians
16. Chess in Schools
17. Heating Facts
18. CitiBike Expansion
19. Participatory Budgeting: Call for Delegates
20. Winter/Spring Internships and Fellowships
21. Dog of the District and Cat of the Council
22. Legislative Corner
23. In the Neighborhood
24. City Council Events
25. Community Events

Ebola Response

On October 23, the first New Yorker tested positive with Ebola, a disease that has broken out in West Africa. The patient is being treated at Bellevue. Along with many officials, I am receiving updates from the New York City Department of Health, who are emphasizing that the risk to the average New Yorker is extremely low. More information is available on this info sheet or at the Department of Health's website.

On October 29, I was pleased to host Dr. Daskalakis of the New York City Department of Health at a Town Hall, where he gave a presentation on the disease. Our community thanks him for the willingness to share this important information with the public.
 

Marine Transfer Station

Costs Triples as MTS Approaches Two-Thirds of a Billion Dollars

I requested a report on costs from the Independent Budget Office, and the results show that the Marine Transfer Station would triple the city's trash costs. I call on the administration to reconsider in light of this information. Read more about it in the New York Post or watch on NY1.

Children's March

Last month, I joined a Pledge 2 Protect community meeting to share latest efforts in the fight against the Marine Transfer Station and a children's protest against the facility. 

More to Do

Partnering with you, we have also:

  • Exposed the skyrocketing costs of the 91st St. Marine Transfer Station;
  • Helped build a citywide coalition with partners in Brooklyn;
  • Helped organize efforts to call on the State Department of Environmental Conservation to hold a public hearing on the 91st St. MTS permit, and not renew it;
  • Participated in rallies, the month of Civil Disobedience, and the Children's March against the MTS.

Now, I am seeking legislative options to build a greener city and stop the MTS. I need you in this with me. Now is not the time to give up on this fight. To sign up for more frequent updates, sign my petition against the dump, and learn more, please visit Please visit BenKallos.com/MTS.

Livable Streets

All New Yorkers deserve safe, easy to navigate streets. This month, I released a "Livable Streets" report with information gathered from community members on unsafe areas or requests for improvement. The report will serve as the basis for work with the NYPD and Department of Transportation to improve our streets.

You can read more about it in the Daily NewsDNAInfo, and Our Town, or read the report and share your feedback on our streets at BenKallos.com/livable-streets.

Bike Safety Forum

I held a bike safety forum with Captain Federoff of the 19th Precinct, who shared the latest news in our quest to ensure our streets stay safe for all. Residents at the event offered a variety of perspectives, shared their views and asked questions. Issues discussed included delivery bike safety and safety courses for cyclists. Thanks to the Captain for joining us!

Working to Close the Digital Divide

The New York Times recently covered my campaign with Public Advocate Letitia James and 22 other elected officials to close the digital divide. We urged the New York State Public Service Commission to ensure any merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast includes low-cost or affordable broadband for the millions of New Yorkers without it; consumer protections; and infrastructure investment. Read more in The New York Times.

When the Public Service Commission votes on the merger on November 13, they must ensure that we close the ever-widening digital divide in this city and protect all families.

Increasing Voter Registration

This month, I introduced two bills to make registering to vote as easy as possible. Our city is in a crisis of participation, and signing up more New Yorkers will help. On October 22nd, I introduced Int. 508-2014which would allow New Yorkers to register to vote online through a secure Board of Elections website. Read more in the Daily NewsI also introduced Int. 493-2014, which expands agency-based voter registration and improves compliance with the law. Read more in thDaily News.

Digital Democracy

I was honored to be featured as an open government advocate in Capital New York. You can read the article online: "Citing City Hall transition, councilman sees open-government opportunityBen Kallos, one of the Council's most active and outspoken members on issues involving data and technology, thinks that open-government advocates have a special opportunity at the moment."

The article emphasizes efforts to make the City Council's work more accessible online, increase transparency in the FOIL process and more.

Fighting for Affordable Housing

I continue to fight against illegal hotels, because they threaten our renterand limit our much-needed affordable housing stock. The campaign against illegal hotels was featured this month in the New York Observer's BetaBeat blog.

A Healthy, Sustainable City

I discussed how to build a healthier and more environmentally friendly city with Edible Manhattan. They wrote: 

"City Councilman Ben Kallos has come a long way from his days at The Bronx High School of Science, though not so far from its rooftop greenhouse, where he tilled the soil as a teenager. The council member has been at the forefront of pushing New York City’s food agenda to new heights, from providing 1.1 million children with free lunches and dinners to making fresh fruits and vegetables available at NYCHA housing developments to cooking for his constituents at the Greenmarkets." Read the full article online.

Senior Health Fair

On October 7, we hosted our first-ever Senior Health Fair.

The Health Fair was free and open to the public.  Seniors had access to flu shots at no cost and pneumonia shots, blood pressure screenings and body-mass index calculations.  The fair also featured free exercise classes and speakers from Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Asphalt Green, and Stanley Isaacs Senior Center.   

Social service experts were available to screen applicants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to obtain food stamps, and seniors received direct assistance with Medicare Open Enrollment and Home Sharing. 

Staff from the Office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli helped attendees find unclaimed funds from New York State. The Attorney General's office also presented on identity theft.

Featured organizations also included the Jewish Museum, Carter Burden, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, the 19th Precinct, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), American Heart Association, Medicare Rights Center, Community Service Society and Rockefeller University.
 

Honoring 17th Precinct Community Council Leadership

Jay Litwin served for decades on the 17th Precinct Community Council Board. Together with Assembly Members Richard Gottfried and Dan Quart and Council Member Dan Garodnick, I honored Jay Litwin for his exemplary community involvement with an official city proclamation. 

School Tours

This month, I began meeting with and touring the schools in our district, including PS290, East Side Middle School, Urban Academy and Talent Unlimited High School. I have also enjoyed meeting with Student Councils. We discussed many important opportunities through my office:

Funding opportunities;
Civics Class;
Mock Voting;
Vote with Kids;
Voter Registration Drives;
Meeting student Councils;
Summer reading challenge; and
Attending your graduation ceremonies.

If you are a teacher, parent, student or school administrator, I have been in contact with your principals, and welcome any communication you would like to have with my office. Please call or email me at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com or 212-860-1950.

Ben in Your Building

If you can host 10 neighbors or more, I will be happy to personally join you to answer questions and discuss the latest issues. Please email scheduleratbenkallos [dot] com or call 212-860-1950 and ask to speak to Adam in order to schedule a "Ben in Your Building" event. 

Tech City 

In order to commemorate the launch of ".nyc" domain names, I joined Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball, DoItt Commissioner Anne Roest, New York City's Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others. ".nyc" domain names are only for New York City residents--and nothing says NYC like a .nyc domain name. You can now visit BenKallos.nyc to access my site. I also joined the Mayor to unveil digital.nyc, one-stop hub for tech opportunities, jobs and news in our city. This is a good step forward.

Meeting with International Politicians

It was an honor to be asked to partner with the State Department to host activists and politicians from Turkey to discuss open government methods in the US. I hope to continue as an ambassador to discuss democracy and open government.

Chess in Schools

It was a pleasure to join 600 New York City school students, parents and coaches for the Chess-in-the-Schools Annual Columbus Day Tournament. I have long been an advocate for the benefits of chess in our school system and am a big fan of the film Brooklyn Castle, about the transformative power of chess, and organized a screening when the movie opened in 2012.

Heating Facts About Your Building

Did you know that the heating guidelines change each year on October 1st? Between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit inside. Between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, if the temperature outside falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit inside. Learn more at nyc.gov.

If you are having problems with heat in your building, if it as emergency, please call 911 and if it is not please report it online or to 311. As always, please also follow up with my office.

CitiBike Expansion

CitiBike officials announced the program will double in size by 2017, while also improving service and technology. As a founding member of CitiBike, I am pleased to see bike share come uptown, and was happy to be there for the announcement of the expansion. The program will expand without cost to taxpayers, and I am committed to working with the community and businesses to find the best locations. Where do you want to see a CitiBike station? Click here to choose or vote on locations. 

Participatory Budgeting: Call for Delegates

How would you spend $1 million in our neighborhood? 

Participatory Budgeting empowers you to decide how one million of your tax dollars will get spent. Whether you will become a budget delegate, attend a budget expo, or just show up to vote on the final projects, I hope you will join me in getting involved, so we can champion the ideas that we believe will improve our neighborhood. 

We had five neighborhood assemblies across the district in September and October, and are now beginning the process of developing and selecting the projects. If you are interested in becoming a budget delegate and moving your ideas forward, please email bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com.

You can learn more or submit your ideas for projects to be funded at BenKallos.com/pb.
 

Winter/Spring Internships and Fellowships

Now recruiting!

Interns and fellows at our Council office learn firsthand about city government, work closely with senior staff and are encouraged to pursue a project of their own choosing.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to an internship with my government office, please email //internshipatbenkallos [dot] com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">internshipatbenkallos [dot] com with a resume and cover letter. Visit BenKallos.com/fellowship to learn more.

Dog of the District and Cat of the Council

Do you have the best cat or dog around? I think I do: My cat, Pandora, who was adopted from Bideawee.

We will be accepting Thanksgiving themed photos of your dogs and cats until November 12, 2014. We will feature them on our site and allow residents to vote online through November 21st at BenKallos.com/CatsAndDogs as to which pets they would like to crown "Dog of the District" and "Cat of the Council."

Please submit your picture to infoatbenkallos [dot] com (subject: Pet%20contest)  by November 12, 2014, for voting through November 21st. The winners will receive a certificate from the Council Member and will be featured on BenKallos.com.

Legislative Corner

Learn more about the laws that affect the daily lives of New Yorkers, or visit BenKallos.com/legislation.
 
Here are a couple of important bills I have co-sponsored this month:

  1. Int. 295-2014, introduced by Council Member Garodnick, allows New Yorkers in medium to large companies to pay for certain qualified transportation benefits from their pre-tax earnings, potentially saving hundreds of dollars per year on subway fare cards. Public transit plays a major role in promoting sustainability and providing a low emissions alternative to driving. This has now passed and been signed into law, and I am happy to have supported the measure. 
  2. Int. 0507-2014, co-sponsored by Council Member Debi Rose, would rexpand the role of the Waterfront Management Advisory board, with the aim of beautifying our waterfront spaces.

In the Neighborhood

This month, I joined plenty of community events and celebrations. Here are just a few: 

Lexington Houses Tenant Assocation; 19th Precinct Community Council; Sukkot Dinner at UES Chabad; It's My Park Day; Yorkville Community School Fall Festival; Manhattan Country Day School Festival; CivicMakers Tech in Government Conference; DC37 Conference; RI Halloween Parade; 17th Precinct Community Council; Colonial Dames of America; P2P Community Meeting

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

City Council Events

Please note: 
First Friday and Policy Night are CANCELED this month
Policy Night falls on Veterans Day, a Federal Holiday, and I have an unavoidable conflict on First Friday: Jury Duty!

11/9: JASA Pondering Politics Class Taught by Council Member Kallos 
11AM-11:55AM, John Jay College North Hall, 445 W. 59th Street, Room 3305
Class on local government and civic participation with questions from audience. Open to public. RSVP.

11/10: Emergency Response Preparedness Forum from NY Governor Cuomo
6:00PM, Julia Richman Education Complex, 317 East 67th Street (btwn. 1st and 2nd Avenues) 
Training participants (one per family) will receive a free Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Starter KitParticipants must register in advance at www.prepare.ny.govRSVP.

11/14: Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Event
1:15pm-2:15pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 E 93rd St.
Medicare 2015 Update by the Medicare Rights Center. Medicare Savings Programs and extra help for the Part D Prescription Drug Benefit by the Medicare Rights Center. RSVP.

11/15: Scan Van with my Office and Roosevelt Island Women's Health Organization
9AM-4PM, Church of the Good Shepherd, 534 Main StreetRoosevelt Island
Come receive a FREE mammogram. We are sponsoring a Scan Van event with Project Renewal to offer eligible women a mammogram at no cost. All women over 40 who have not had a mammogram in the past year are welcome to the event. All insurance plans are accepted.
 You must make an appointment in advance. Call 1-800-564-6868 to reserve your appointment. Please email infoatbenkallos [dot] com (infoatbenkallos [dot] com) for any additional details. 

11/20: Community Conversation about the new Roosevelt Island Library
6:00PM-8:00PM, Good Shepherd Community Center, 543 Main Street
Join us to share your thoughts on programs and services for the new home of the Roosevelt Island Library, as well as a hear an update on the planning process. RSVP.

Mobile District Hours

Get assistance wherever you are located. Please join us at mobile district hours:

Roosevelt Island Senior Center: Fourth Wednesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.
Lexington Houses: Second Wednesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House: Second Tuesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.
Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center: Fourth Tuesday of the month, 4-7PM. RSVP.

11/3 and 11/17: FREE Legal Housing Clinic
3-6pm, District Office at 244 East 93rd Street

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. Call 212-860-1950 or email RSVPatBenKallos [dot] com to reserve a time slot. We look forward to helping you! Please email infoatbenkallos [dot] com for any additional details.

Community Events 

11/6: Lecture - Breast Cancer and Bone Health
5pm - 6:30pm, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street
Learn about how breast cancer affects bone health and ways to prevent osteoporosis and slow down loss of bone mass at the lecture hosted by Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Hospital for Special Surgery. To register, please visit Hospital for Special Surgery. For more information, call Maddy Meislin at 212-606-1613 or email ppedathss [dot] edu.

11/6: East 79th Street Neighborhood Association Meeting
6pm - 7:30pm, Temple Shaaray Tefila, 250 East 79th Street
The East 79th Street Neighborhood Associations monthly meeting will feature a police report from the 19th Precinct concerning neighborhood safety, including accident statistics, a guest speaker, and updates from elected officials.

11/7: Ansonia Music Outreach Presents: Phoenix Ensemble
1:15pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
Phoenix Ensemble is the resident chamber music group of Ansonia Music Outreach, which are both dedicated to bringing art music to a wider audience. They will be performing some light classical music and jazz.

11/7: Workshop - Saving Money on Medicare Costs
10am - 11am, Center @ Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 343 East 70th Street
Each month, the Legal Advocacy Department at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House presents a workshop on a different topic. In November, the workshop will be about saving money on medicare costs. Learn more here and call 212-744-5905 for more information. 

11/8: Volunteer Gardening at Carl Schurz Park
9:30am - 12:30pm, Carl Schurz Park, 86th Street Mall at East End Avenue
Join the Carl Schurz Park Volunteer Gardeners, an adult group that meets monthly to work in the park. Children must be accompanied by adults, learn more here.

 11/9: Second Sundays - Aimua Eghobamien
2pm, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Auditorium, 331 East 70th Street
As part of their Second Sundays, a performance series with professional music, dance, and theater groups, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House will present a performance by Aimua Eghobamien, a British singer-songwriter. Suggested donation is $5, children 12 and under are free. Learn morehere.

11/11: Mindful Moments: Self Care for Family Caregivers
6:30pm, Uris Auditorium, Weill Cornell Medical College, 1300 York Avenue (at 69th St.)
As part of the Fall 2014 seminar series NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College will present a seminar on self care for family caregivers. Sarah Waxse, LCSW, will present. Seminar is free, please visit Weill Cornell or call 212-821-0888 for more information. 

11/12: 2014-2015 Benefits Workshop
2:15pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
The Social Action Committee at the Isaacs Center will present a information about benefits and entitlements for seniors, including Medicare Open Enrollment, Medicaid, SNAP, SCRIE, and more. Light refreshments will be served. 

11/13: Sacagawea: Bird Woman
4pm, Yorkville Library, 222 East 79th Street
Presented by Urban Stages, acclaimed Assiniboine playwright William S Yellow Robe Jr. will bring the story of Sacagawea, famous for her role as guide on the Lewis and Clarke expedition, to life. Recommended for children 6 and older, learn more here.

11/16: Special One-Day Pass to Sundays at JASA
9am - 3:30pm, John Jay College, North Hall, 445 West 59th Street (b/t Columbus and Amsterdam Ave)
Join Sundays at JASA, a college-level continuing education program for adults 55 and older, onNovember 16 with a special one-day pass. For $10, participants can attend as many class as they would like, including Pondering Politics with New York State Senator Liz Krueger, 19th Century Philosophy, Laughter Yoga, and more. Learn more and register at JASA.

11/17: Abracadabra
4pm, 67th Street Library, 328 East 67th Street
Bring your children to witness the magic and comedy of Children’s Magician Evan Paquette who uses magic to entertain and promote learning, presented by the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company. Following the interactive magic show, he will also lead a hands-on workshop for children. Recommended for ages 4 to 8, learn more here.

11/18: National Memory Screening Day
2pm - 6pm, 96th Street Library, 112 East 96th Street
On National Memory Screening Day, a health care profession will be conducting free, confidential memory screenings. The screenings will take 5 - 10 minutes, please register by in advance in person at the 96th Street Library or by calling 212-289-0908. Learn more here.

11/18: Medicaid: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know… And Didn’t Know Who to Ask
2:15pm, Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 415 East 93rd Street
Join Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center for a special presentation on everything you need to know about Medicaid. 

11/18: Escape: The Heyday of Caribbean Glamour, A Book Talk
6:30pm, Arader Gallery, 1016 Madison Avenue (b/t 78th and 79th)
FRIENDS of the Upper East will present a talk by Hermes Mallea on his latest photography book, Escape: The Heyday of Caribbean Glamour. In it, Mr. Mallea provides an picturesque insight into the glamorous past of Caribbean estates and resorts. Learn more and register here. $15 for members, $20 for non-members.