Spring 2016 Bulletin
All government should work like your kitchen sink’s faucet: you should be able to rely on it and not have to deal with bureaucracy to make it work. I spent my second year in office seeking to fix government so it works seamlessly to meet your needs and serve our community and city. In the past year my office and I:
- Made government more transparent with seven laws opening up the city’s legislation, law, and elections.
- Brought additional Pre-K seats to the East Side and Roosevelt Island, as we expanded to 60,000 seats citywide.
- Invested $5 million in STEM education in our local public schools and expanded free lunch citywide.
- Secured $45 million from the city and private institutions to revitalize the East River Esplanade.
- Moved the ramp to 92nd Street while continuing to fight the Marine Transfer Station.
- Focused on changes to the management of the city to improve quality of life.
Thank you for your partnership in making all of our shared goals a reality. We’ve proven over the past two years that together we can accomplish greatness. You can read more from my midterm report at BenKallos.com/newsletters/midterm
Council Member, District 5
BETTER MANAGEMENT OF THE CITY
Wall Street Journal
December 11, 2015
‘City Chided for Setting the Bar Too Low’
“... Ben Kallos, a Manhattan councilman holding an oversight hearing on the city Monday, said questions should be asked when tougher targets aren’t set from year to year.”
We are working to fix the Mayor’s Management Report to improve conditions in our city. My analysis revealed that management performance targets were not set more than half the time and when they were one-third of the time targets were set below current standards, which if followed would make conditions in our city worse. I chaired a Committee on Governmental Operations hearing to improve our city’s management report so conditions improve.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Thousands of quality of life violations such as not cleaning or shoveling sidewalks, excessive trash, or noisy construction before or after hours are issued to the Environmental Control Board every year. Many of these fines go unpaid to the tune of $1.6 billion. I have introduced a legislative package to ensure that if the city issues a fine, the fine gets paid, and businesses that repeatedly flaunt the rules would see their licenses and permits revoked.
December 4, 2015
‘NYC Landlords Hiding Affordable Housing Units?
Have you ever looked for affordable housing in New York City? A recent report from ProPublica showed that landlords have failed to register 200,000 affordable housing units with the city, many of which were subsidized with your taxes. I introduced a bill to force landlords to register so you can find an affordable place to live. The bill would also ease your search process by creating a universal application for new and existing affordable housing.
January 22, 2016
‘East Side Skyscrapers Could Be Capped Under New City Council Zoning Plan...’
“We are drawing a line on the march of superscrapers at billionaire’s row to protect our city’s residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos.”
I am proud to lead the most sweeping residential re-zoning plan by a community group in New York City history, filed in January by the East River Fifties Alliance with Council Member Garodnick, Borough President Brewer, and Senator Krueger. The new zoning plan for the area between 52nd and 59th Streets, east of 1st Avenue, would restrict superscrapers in the neighborhood with a contextual height cap of up to 260 feet, incentives for schools, and a requirement for mandatory inclusionary housing. Please join us BenKallos.com/ StopSuperscrapers
EAST RIVER ESPLANADE: I was proud to break ground on revitalizing several blocks of the East River Esplanade with the Rockefeller University, NYC Parks Department, Manhattan Borough President Brewer and my East River Esplanade Task Force Co-Chair Congress Member Maloney. This follows a $35 million investment from the City and begins work towards our “Vision for the Esplanade” announced in the last newsletter, through which we will see a reinvestment in our Esplanade through public-private partnerships with Rockefeller, Hospital for Special Surgery and the Friends of the East River Esplanade Conservancy.
CARL SCHURZ PARK PLAYGROUND: Thank you to the children, parents, grandparents and community members who provided guidance for the Parks Department on how to spend $1.3 million earmarked from Council District 5 to upgrade Carl Schurz Park Playground.
Read more at BenKallos.com/Parks
SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY: I have joined Congress Member Carolyn Maloney on numerous occasions to force the MTA to finish the Second Avenue Subway construction “on time” by December 2016. We remain on track for completion and are fighting the MTA’s decision to stall working on Phase 2 construction into East Harlem.
SELECT BUS SERVICE
New York Times
July 19, 2015
‘Express Bus Service Shows Promise in N.Y.’
“Ben Kallos, a city councilman, added that time saved translates into revenue for businesses whose taxes help pay for further transit improvements: a virtuous circle.”
Select Bus Service has brought off-board fare payment to the M86, following my advocacy to improve crosstown service. The block-long lines we all know too well should be a thing of the past as the bus gets 20 percent faster. I continue to advocate for the expansion of this service to other crosstown buses.
FREE WI-FI ON LEXINGTON SUBWAY: Free Wi-Fi and public safety callboxes along with cell phone service are now available on the Lexington Avenue subway following my advocacy at City Council hearings. Enjoy your connected commute.
June 16, 2015
‘Cyclists Must Get on Board With NYC Safety’
Council Member Ben Kallos has “announced plans to add bike patrols across the Upper East Side in a pilot program...They’ll combine that enforcement with educational programming and incentives, like free Citi Bike day memberships for those who take safety classes. And they’ll even throw in free vests, lights and bells for commercial cyclists who complete the training.”
The Bike Safety Program got results with increased enforcement by 52 percent, 18 percent fewer bike and vehicle collisions, and 15 percent lower bike and pedestrian collisions. If you see a commercial cyclist without a vest, call 311 and my office.
LANDMARKS AND PRESERVATION
New York Times
September 1, 2015
‘Preservationists Fight Bill Setting Time Limit on Landmarks Decisions in New York’
“We don’t want to create a situation where landlords can game the system and run out the clock,” said Councilman Ben Kallos ... who is a member of the Landmarks Subcommittee and an opponent of the bill.
I love the East Side I grew up in and want to preserve the neighborhood as a place to raise a family and grow old. Working with Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Borough President Brewer we have protected the mid-blocks on the Upper East Side from height increases in the zoning plan and continue to fight legislation that would gut the landmarks law on its 50th anniversary.
HOW TO HELP THE HOMELESS
Homelessness has been on the rise with 23,416 children, 17,071 family members and 12,845 single adults in our shelter system, as well as more than 3,100 people on the streets as of Christmas. I have been working with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), community leaders, and service organizations to launch the East Side Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS). We hope to get unsheltered people living on the street the help they need. To help, please use the NYC 311 app or call to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team,” who will offer shelter, three meals a day, and job training.
VOTE ON HOW TO SPEND $1 MILLION
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 process is run by residents just like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB
August 31, 2015
‘Will Mandating ‘Healthy Happy Meals’ Solve Childhood Obesity?
Research by NYU found that “Healthy Happy Meals” legislation I introduced that ties incentives like toys to healthy kids meals would reduce unhealthy calories consumed by children that leads to obesity.
I am proud to have authored laws and resolutions that will improve democracy, transparency in government and championed women’s issues.
Pro-Voter Law Expansion (Law 63 of ’14) - requires 25 city agencies to provide voter registration forms and assist individuals with completing them, so everyone gets registered.
Online Voter Guide (Law 43 of ‘14) - saving the environment and money, while increasing access to information in off-year uncontested elections.
Teens on Community Boards (Res. 115 of ‘14) – opens community boards to our best and brightest 16 and 17 year olds
TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT:
Open Legislation (Res. 184 of ’14, co-sponsor) – as part of the Council’s rules reform process, I provided language requiring posting legislation online and public engagement.
Open Mapping (Law 108 of ’15) - standardizes address and geospatial information so Open Data has location information.
Law Online (Law 37 of ‘14, co-prime sponsor) – puts our city’s law online for you to search, download, and read.
City Record Online (Law 38 of ‘14) – public notices from the city, previously published in a daily newspaper, are now online and fully searchable so you can learn what is happening in your community.
National Women’s History Museum (Res. 354 of ‘14) –
supporting Congress Member Maloney’s successful passage.
Learn more and comment on legislation at BenKallos.com/legislation
November 10, 2015
Kallos “Pushing Mandatory Air Quality Tests Near Garbage Stations Through New Bill”
“We’re looking at knowing [pollution levels] on an hour to hour, day to day basis because there are 35,000 children playing in a park near this garbage dump.”
MARINE TRANSFER STATION
We continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station and thanks to your support we’ve already accomplished:
- 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
UNIVERSAL PRE-K: My office worked to open additional pre-k seats on the East Side and Roosevelt Island. If you need help finding a slot or want to open a new site, please let me know.
ART SHOW: As a lover of the arts, I am proud to host an annual public school art show featuring student work at Sotheby’s. Learn more at BenKallos.com/ArtShow
MOCK VOTING: I am piloting Mock Voting at schools in the district to teach students the importance of civic engagement. Join our mock vote for president in April.
SCHOOL TOURS: I have toured nearly every school in the district to meet with principals, teachers, students and parents. This has been a valuable way to get to know each school in the district to address their needs. Please set up your tour now.
HERE TO HELP
- SENIORS: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride
- HOUSING: Affordable units, rent freezes, legal clinic
- JOBS: Search & training, veterans, senior and youth employment
- FAMILIES: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs
- FINANCES: Cash assistance, 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 2pm - 5pm
- Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center: 2nd Tues
- Lexington Houses: 2nd Wed
- Lenox Hill Neighborhood House: 4th Tues
- Roosevelt Island Senior Center: 4th Wed
By appointment from 3pm - 6pm
HOUSING: 1st and 3rd Monday; 2nd and 4th Thursday
FAMILY LAW: 2nd Monday
MEET BEN AT THE OFFICE
First Friday, First Friday, 8am - 10am
Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
Policy Night, Second Tuesday, 6pm - 7pm
Organize to make your ideas a reality
Ben in Your Building Gather 10 neighbors and I will come to you!
SAVE THE DATE
Attorney General’s Investor Education
March 15, 6pm, Church of the Epiphany
1393 York Ave
Earth Day Forum
April 21, 6:30pm, Lenox Hill
331 E. 70th St.
Tenant Rights and SCRIE Screening
May 19, 6pm, Stanley Issacs
415 E. 93rd St.
Roosevelt Island Town Hall
June 28, 6:30pm, Good Shepherd
543 Main St.
RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events