City Hall – Today, the New York City Council passed a package of legislation aimed at reforming the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). In the past developers have been able to circumvent city zoning laws restricting building forms, use, height, density, through the BSA even though local Community Boards and elected officials objected to their decisions. This legislation aims to reform applications, decisions, notifications, staffing and transparency around the BSA to be more accountable to the public. The BSA is a five-member body tasked with reviewing requests for variances and special permits related to affordable housing and city planning in the zoning law. The package includes nine bills and featured bipartisan support from sponsors including Governmental Operations Chair Ben Kallos, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Minority Leader Steven Matteo and Council Members Karen Koslowitz (D-29) and Donovan Richards (D-31).
New York, NY – In spite of policies and funding to provide public school students with access to dental, vision, substance abuse, reproductive health vaccines, and contraception in their public schools' actual performance goes unmeasured with some services provided onsite, others offsite, and others not at all.
“The city has policies in place to provide every health service they need and expect parents to be satisfied knowing they exist. I am concerned that the city is giving parents a false sense of security when the truth is that we don’t know which public school students have access to which services,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “We should know exactly which health services are available to which public schools so that we can ensure all 1.1 million public school students have access to the health services they need.”
Under legislation proposed by Council Member Ben Kallos for each healthcare area the Department of Education would have to report on the service offered, the location of services as onsite or offsite, cost of services to students, and the number of participants receiving services at each public school. The Department of Education would also have to set annual strategies to increase access, special initiatives, pilot schools, comparison of pilot schools to standard schools and compare year to year performance.
Commutes are getting better on the Upper East Side. The lines that extended half a block on East 79th Street at York and First Avenues are a thing of the past. Waiting five minutes or more just for people to pay and board is no more.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) NYC Transit and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) together today began service on a new Select Bus Service (SBS) route along 79th Street in Manhattan. This busy 2-mile crosstown corridor links Manhattan’s Upper East Side to the Upper West Side and serves over 14,000 riders daily. The M79 is the 13th Select Bus Service route Citywide and the 7th in Manhattan. Using SBS’s signature combination of dedicated bus lanes, curbside fare collection, all-door boarding and transit-signal priority, the new line is expected to both reduce travel times and increase reliability.
79 New Buses Headed to East Side to Replace Oldest Buses in Fleet
M14, M15, M101, M102, & M103
New York, NY – Manhattan’s East Side, where seniors and others depend on buses with slow service and long waits, is getting 79 new buses to help alleviate these issues. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA’s announcement of the new buses followed strong, data-driven advocacy from Council Member Ben Kallos, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and the East 79th Street Neighborhood.
The community and elected officials brought the issue of “missing buses” to the attention of then-MTA Bus Company President Darryl Irick at a meeting convened by Senator Liz Krueger. The MTA shared that bus lines based out of the Tuskegee Depot were amongst the oldest in the system, leading to more frequent than usual breakdowns, and agreed to prioritize these buses for replacement.
The MTA is now bringing 79 new buses with free Wi-Fi and USB charging to the Tuskegee Depot, which will provide 3 to 5 new buses per week to the M14, M15, M101, M102, and M103 lines.
The East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, led by Betty Cooper-Wallerstein, has been fighting for improved bus service for decades, from awarding bus operators for a job well done to distributing survey cards for residents to provide feedback on their experiences with the buses. This advocacy has ensured that quality bus service remains a top priority for elected officials who receive these cards with service complaints.
In 2014, Council Member Ben Kallos presented at Beta NYC's National Day of Civic Hacking event and facilitated a conversation on using MTA BusTime data to track every bus in the system at all times in order to analyze bus service. Nathan Johnson took up this challenge. In his analysis, he found “missing buses,” where fewer buses ran per hour than were scheduled.
In discussions facilitated by TWU Local 100 with bus operators from the Tuskegee Bus Depot, they identified frequent breakdowns and insufficient buses as two primary causes of “missing buses.” Council Member Kallos identified these issues in multiple letters and meetings with the MTA, BetaNYC, and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).
Further analysis by the Bus Turnaround Coalition at BusTurnaround.nyc found:
- M15: has the highest ridership in Manhattan at 46,029 daily riders, with more than 1 of 8 buses arriving bunched and an average speed of only 4.8 mph.
- M101: is one of the top ten most bunched buses in the city at 1 of 6 buses arriving bunched, with the fourth highest ridership in Manhattan at 26,127 riders per day, and an average speed of only 4.9 mph.
GovAPI Act Would Provide Interface for Digital Requests and Submission for All Government Information As Proposed by City Council Member Kallos New York, NY – Long lines, hold music and bureaucratic forms could soon be replaced by an app for that as the private sector innovates government thanks to new legislation (Int.1594) introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos that would require that all information received or transmitted by city government to be available through an Application Program Interface (API).
“Government, there should be an app for that. We need to build an API for government, so that the private sector can innovate and bring government into the 21st century. New Yorkers should be able to use government services as simply as new apps deliver food or a car when you need one,” said New York City Council Member Ben Kallos a free and open source software developer.
Any time a paper form, an operator, or website requests information like a name, email, income, or other details that information could just as easily be provided by an app through an API. Similarly, anytime the city shares information on whether you qualified for public benefits, are registered to vote, or owe taxes that could just as easily be provided by an app through an API. An Application Programming Interface or API provides a set of definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software, or in general terms, it provides a translation dictionary for different software to communicate to make it easier for developers to program new applications.
Since taking office I have been fighting to keep the East River Esplanade from falling into the river. As Co-chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Maloney, I have secured $49 million in private and public dollars to maintain and rehabilitate a crumbling Esplanade. A portion of the $35 million in funding that I secured in partnership with the Mayor was already being used to shore up the portion of the Esplanade that fell into the river behind Gracie Mansion with work to begin this Summer. I am disappointed that despite having the funding and identifying this portion of the Esplanade, that work did not begin in time to prevent the collapse.
Earlier this year and last week I advocated for $169 million dollars from the City’s budget to rehabilitate the Esplanade. The City Council’s budget response also prioritized the $169 million necessary to keep the East River Esplanade from falling into the river from 60th to 125th Street. I welcome the $100 million in funding from Mayor de Balsio to connect the East River Esplanade from 53rd to 61st Street but stress the importance of supporting existing infrastructure and budgeting for new infrastructure to be created so that this never happens again.
“Getting equal pay for equal work should not be an issue New York City residents are still battling in 2017,” said Councilmember Ben Kallos. “What someone earned at a previous job should have no bearing on salary negotiations with a potential employer. Introduction 1253 will help close the wage gap between women and men as well as minorities and whites. Thank you to Public Advocate James for her leadership on this issue that is so central to making our City more equitable. Thank you also to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for supporting this groundbreaking legislation.”
New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and transportation advocates today announced that an array of transit improvements over the last year have transformed the Upper East Side from a so-called “transit desert” into a “Transit Garden.” They stood together at a new Q station stop at 2nd Avenue and 86th Street, celebrating the numerous transit, traffic, and safety improvements that now complement the new Second Avenue Subway -- including faster MTA Select Bus Service (SBS), a new Second Avenue protected bike lane and Citi Bike. The Commissioner also released a progress report on the success of the M86 SBS route, while noting TLC data showing a 32 percent decrease in taxi trips from the Upper East Side to Midtown since Q train service began. She also noted that starting next year, the Upper East Side would be serviced by the new NYC Ferry.
New York, NY - Four-year-olds and their parents rallied alongside elected officials at St Catherine’s Park on the Upper East Side to demand that the Department of Education to fulfill its duty to the Community and provide a Universal Pre-K seat for the over almost 300 four-year-old’s who were not offered seats in the neighborhood.
In 2014 WNYC reported that 2,767 four-year-olds only had 151 pre-kindergarten seats. Since taking office Council Member Kallos has worked with community leaders and organization, providers and the Department of Education to bring hundreds of seats to his district and joined with Council Member Garodnick to bring dozens to the Upper East Side, quadrupling the number of seats for the 2016-17 school year to 618.
This year, the Upper East Side lost seats, while applications increased leaving over 900 four-year-olds with only 596 seats on the Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, and Midtown East. Children have been assigned to schools not even list as choices by parents as far away as the financial district.
On April 17, Council Member Kallos authored a letter with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Assembly Member Dan Quart and Council Member Dan Garodnick, to the Department of Education demanding seats for every four-year-old in the neighborhood.
Now the elected officials join with four-year-olds, parents, to demand a pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds on the Upper East Side in their neighborhood.
Pensions for All to Help New Yorkers Save for Retirement Introduced by Public Advocate James and Council Member Kallos
President Trump Called Upon to Veto Congressional Resolution That Would
Block States from Providing Retirement Accounts to Residents
New York City – Following the passage of House Joint Resolutions 66 and 67 by Rep. Walberg (R-MI) and Rep. Rooney (R-FL) on March 30, 2017, to roll back regulations permitting States and Municipalities to offer retirement savings plans, Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Ben Kallos are introducing legislation (Intro:1574 and Intro:1580), Saving Access New York, that would allow every private sector worker in New York City to save pre-tax for retirement even if their employer did not offer a 401K. On April 13, President Trump signed H.J. Resolution 67 pertaining to municipalities into law. Public Advocate James and Council Member Kallos are now calling on President Trump to veto the remaining Congressional legislation and empower Americans throughout this nation to take personal responsibility to save for their retirements.
Bill would Increase City’s Waste Diversion and Recycling Rates
New York, NY – In order to support the City’s Zero Waste goal by 2030 and improve the city’s dismal recycling rate, legislation introduced by Council Member Kallos would require source separation to be available in any place of public accommodation with bins for trash, recycling, and compost. Additional legislation would require New York City reach its goal of Zero Waste - diverting all waste from landfills — by 2030, regardless of the next Mayor. Both bills will be introduced on April 25th at the City Council's stated meeting.
“The city has set a goal of Zero Waste by 2030 without an Executive Order or a plan to get there. Now that the city has set a goal, it is time to put into the law. The city should be looking for ways to reduce waste we send to landfills instead of wasting hundreds of millions building marine transfer-to-landfill stations,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents a Marine Transfer Station currently under construction on the border of East Harlem. “Recycling should be a habit. New Yorkers should be able to recycle whether they are home, at work, in a park, or catching a quick bite to eat. Recycling by places that offer public accommodation can and must be better.”
New York, NY – Light pollution can harm wildlife and make it hard to stargaze let alone for New Yorkers to get a good night’s sleep. Under new legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos, street lights would be “fully shielded” to stop them from shining up into the sky or the windows of nearby residents, instead only illuminating the sidewalks and streets intended.
“New York City may be the city that ‘never sleeps’, but that shouldn’t be because of a street light outside your bedroom window. Fully shielded light fixtures will brighten up the day with fewer sleep deprived New Yorkers walking around in a bad mood,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Fully shielded light fixtures will reduce light pollution to conserve energy, protect wildlife, improve stargazing, and help New Yorkers get a good night’s sleep.”
We are writing to strongly urge the Department of Education to take all feasible steps to provide pre-kindergarten seats in the community for all the four-year-olds living on the Upper East Side (59th to 96th Street) who applied for the 2017–2018 school year. We are deeply concerned that if the number of pre-kindergarten classes is not significantly increased, hundreds of families will be left without realistic options.
New York, NY – Tenants and advocates with the Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) Coalition will testify at a hearing today beginning at 10 AM for five of the twelve bills in the STS legislative package which aims to reform the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). The STS Coalition is a citywide alliance of grassroots tenant organizations and legal service groups collaborating with the Progressive Caucus and the eleven City Council prime sponsors to push for greater protection for tenants, especially in regards to the use of construction as harassment by landlords.
The five bills that will be heard at the Committee on Housing and Buildings hearing encompass:
· Construction Task Force (Intro 0926): This bill would create a task force on construction work in occupied multiple dwellings.
· Building Code Violations (Intro 0931): This bill would provide that building code violations adjudicated before Environmental Control Board would constitute tax liens on the property.
· Tenant Protection Plans (Intro 0936): This bill amends information required in tenant protection plans (TPP) and prescribes measures to ensure compliance with the TPP.
· Permit Oversight (Intro 0938): This bill requires increased oversight of construction contractors who have engaged in work without a required permit.
· Construction Bill of Rights (Intro 0960): This bill creates a safe construction bill of rights.
These bills together give tenants better protection from dangerous construction and help DOB to enforce already existing laws. Without these bills, unscrupulous landlords can use loopholes in the city’s enforcement to create hazardous construction conditions to push tenants out of their homes.
"Construction as harassment continues to be a huge problem in our communities. We are saying that enough is enough and calling on the administration to implement reforms to the Department of Buildings that will help to end this practice," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus.
"The Stand for Tenant Safety legislative package sets out to correct the behavior of the worst landlords, who will face the threat of foreclosure if they fail to fix long-ignored repairs," said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice Chair for Policy of the Progressive Caucus. "For too long some landlords and building owners have neither fixed reoccurring problems on their properties nor paid the fines that go along with those violations, putting tenants in unsafe conditions sometimes for years on end."
"Tenant harassment, which often comes in the form of illegal or unscrupulous construction work, robs New Yorkers of their homes and exacerbates the city’s affordable housing crisis. This month, the City Council is reviewing several critical bills – collectively called Stand for Tenant Safety – designed to ensure that the Department of Buildings will prevent abusive construction work and serve New York City tenants, not just owners and contractors. The Stand for Tenant Safety bill package will ultimately make it easier to hold abusive landlords accountable and help tenants protect their homes,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Vice-Chair for Budget Advocacy of the Progressive Caucus.
“As the lead sponsors of another part of this vital DOB reform package, we are pleased that these five bills are moving forward,” said Council Members Margaret S. Chin and Carlos Menchaca, members of the Progressive Caucus, who jointly introduced Intro 918, a bill to fix a flawed inspection system favoring landlords at the expense of tenants. “Unfortunately, for far too many New Yorkers, the problem of tenant harassment and displacement by landlords is only getting worse. We are proud to join a growing number of Council colleagues, advocates and tenants to demand action to protect the quality of life of residents and to keep families in their homes.”
Background: In partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Council Member Ben Kallos worked to bring the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for application to the Innovation Center’s Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model to public health institutions throughout New York City. STATEMENT:
Even the best medical treatment offered here in New York City can’t succeed when patients can’t take care of themselves. For far too long, we’ve only focused on treating medical conditions, without treating the underlying causes in the community that lead to them. Automatic Benefits legislation would require anyone applying or who qualifies for one human service benefits from the government to be screened for and provided with all other applicable benefits so that New Yorkers get not some but all of the help they need.
Thank you to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovations for investing in, encouraging, and studying what happens when you connect patients with community service providers to address their health-related social needs.
I am proud to represent New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) which was one of 32 organizations selected nationwide for Assistance and Alignment Tracks of the Accountable Health Communities Model. New York Presbyterian Hospital is on the Alignment Track to encourage partner alignment to ensure that community services are available and responsive to the needs of beneficiaries.
New York, NY - Fidel F. Del Valle, Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge of the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and Council Member Ben Kallos kicked off OATH’s CourtESy (Court’s Education for Seniors) Program today at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, on the Upper East Side. Through the new CourtESy program, OATH aims to bring information about the hearing process directly to our City’s senior citizens.
The forum explained what to do when a resident or property owner receives a summons and highlighted OATH’s Remote Hearing Methods, which give residents who received summonses the ability to fight the tickets at their convenience and without having to travel to attend the OATH hearing in person. “As the City’s central independent administrative law court, OATH’s top priority is to make it as easy as possible for those who have been issued summonses from City enforcement agencies to have their day in court,” said OATH Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge, Fidel F. Del Valle. “OATH recognizes that there are many reason why it may be difficult to attend a hearing in person so we have worked diligently to make it possible for recipients of the most commonly issued summonses to fight those summonses remotely by using OATH’s Hearings Online, Hearings by Mail, Hearings by Phone or Video (webcam) Hearings. Through our CourtESy program, OATH is working to make sure that the City’s senior residents know about these convenient hearing methods and how to utilize them effectively.”
"The rent freezes have begun to correct decades of rent increases given to landlords even when there was no inflation year after year. New York's 1 million rent-stabilized tenants deserve the rent freezes after years of rent increases that outpaced the consumer price index," said Councilmember Ben Kallos.
NEW YORK, March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following last week's construction accident that left a hoist dangerously dangling hundreds of feet in the air above thousands of passersby, today construction workers, elected officials, and community activists gathered at 200 E59th Street to call attention to this unsafe Gilbane job site and their subcontractor, Tradeoff, firing of a worker who requested a safety harness on the job.
Without stringent safety and training standards for construction workers in New York City, accidents of this kind and retaliatory firings will continue to happen and worker's lives will remain at risk. Activists today are urging the New York City Council to pass lifesaving legislation, Intro 1447, that would set safety and training standards for all construction workers in New York City.
Thank you for reaching out with your concerns about a mentally ill woman on the Upper East Side. We share your compassion for her well-being and concern for the safety of those around her, and we want to advise you of our best options here.
As many of you have noted in your comments, she is suffering from a mental illness, and as a City and a community, we must do everything we can to get her the help that she needs. As you likely know, mental illness in itself is not a crime, but physical assault of any kind, including spitting on someone, is -- and it will not be tolerated.
New York, NY – The cost of trash in New York City is soaring from $63.39 a ton in 2007 to $129.81 a ton in 2016. . Overall city spending on
waste export is increasing from an average of $300 million from 2010 to 2014 to $360 million this year to $420 million in 2021. Driving the increased spending is the long-term contracts for four Marine Transfer Stations three of which are slated to begin operations in 2018 and 2019. Both are according to a new report by the New York City Independent Budget Office.
“New York City is throwing money in the trash by continuing to build marine transfer stations. The City should save hundreds of millions of dollars a year by continuing to send all residential waste from Manhattan directly to New Jersey by truck instead of by barge through Staten Island,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.
New York, NY – Supportive housing for seventeen women and children is being welcomed on the Upper East Side at 316 East 91st Street by every local elected official, Community Board 8, faith and non-profit leaders, as well as principals, parents, and children who attend schools across the street from the proposed site.
Win, led by former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, will lease 17 two-bedroom apartments to be built by RiverOak and Azimuth Development in a seven-story building at 316 East 91st Street. The site will also contain a Sunshine Early Learning Center for children and housing and support for homeless women and their children.
22,973 children and 17,548 parents make up more than two-thirds of New York City’s homeless population which has reached crisis levels. In response Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer launched the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) to connect city agencies with non-profits and faith-based institutions providing direct services to the homeless and to build new supportive housing on the Upper East Side.
“You can’t solve the homeless crisis without providing the transitional services and supports necessary to keep people leaving shelter, out of shelter. Moms and their kids still need our help once they walk out of the shelter doors and permanent supportive housing provides the kind of wraparound services that will help them gain greater skills, more independence, and keep them from sliding back from their gains,” said Christine Quinn, President and CEO of Win. “The support and work of city officials like Councilman Ben Kallos should be an example to everyone. Homelessness isn’t someone else’s problem, it’s all of ours —and we need all hands on deck to help solve it."
“Our city’s homeless women and children need supportive housing that can help them succeed, and that’s what they are getting from Win. New York City needs more supportive housing in every neighborhood to get more than forty thousand parents and children out of shelters and into permanent housing,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Founder of the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS). “‘Give me your tired, your poor … Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,’ you are welcomed here on the Upper East Side where we will feed you, clothe you, and build you supportive housing. Thank you to Win for bringing more supportive housing to the Upper East Side, Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services members for their leadership, fellow elected officials, Community Board 8 Manhattan, and to our principals, parents who are teaching us how important it is to welcome and support homeless individuals.”
National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. Called for by
New York City Council Resolution
Resolution in Support of American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission recommendation for a new Smithsonian Museum for American Women’s History on the National Mall
New York, NY – A National Women’s History Museum is being called for by a New York City Council Resolution introduced as we commemorate Women’s History month. The resolution introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, along with Council Members Karen Koslowitz, Jimmy Van Bramer, Laurie Cumbo and Elizabeth Crowley calls on the Federal Government to create a National Women’s History Museum in Washington D.C.
In July 2014, Council Member Kallos and Cumbo introduced Resolution 354, which was adopted on September 10, 2014, calling on the United States Senate to pass and the President to sign H.R. 3979 of 2014 sponsored by Congress Members Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), which was signed by President Obama on December 19, 2014, becoming Public Law 113-291 and established the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission. On November 16, 2016, the Commission presented a report to the President and Congress calling for the creation by the Smithsonian of an American Museum of Women’s History on the national mall.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
March 16, 2017
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James
Affordable High-Speed Internet for New York City’s Low-Income Families and Seniors Announced by Charter Communications, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos
Spectrum Internet Assist to Help Bridge Digital Divide with $14.99 per month
30 Mbps Broadband for Low-Income Families and Seniors
NEW YORK CITY – March 16, 2017 – Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today was joined by New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos to announce the introduction of a new low-cost, high-speed broadband product, Spectrum Internet Assist, in its service areas in New York City.
The announcement was made at the Stanley Isaacs Community Center at the New York City Housing Authority’s Stanley Isaacs and Holmes Towers on East 93rd St. in Manhattan, where eligible families and seniors learned about Spectrum Internet Assist.
Priced at $14.99 per month, Spectrum Internet Assist offers eligible customers speeds up to 30/4 Mbps, which meets and even exceeds the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of “high-speed.” Spectrum Internet Assist includes standard features like email boxes, internet security software and a modem at no additional charge.
Spectrum Internet Assist is now available throughout Charter’s legacy service area, and will continue to be rolled out market-by-market, with a goal of covering the remaining Charter footprint by mid-2017.
CITY HALL - Today, Council Members Rafael Salamanca, Jr., James Vacca, Ben Kallos, Corey Johnson and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced the introduction of legislation drafted in response to the Hunts Point tragedy that occurred late last year.
On December 7, 2016 two girls under the age of two were killed when a valve blew off a radiator in their Bronx apartment and filled their bedroom with scalding steam. The apartment was identified as a cluster site under the duress of the New York City Department of Homeless Services.
At the time, Council Member Salamanca and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced that they would be introducing legislation to rectify the problems surrounding the tragedy. Council Members Vacca, Kallos and Johnson had previously been crafting legislation pertinent to these issues and are joining in sponsoring the following:
Intro 1489 (Kallos & Salamanca) - This legislation requires owners to install and maintain radiator covers.
Ryan Monell at 646-584-0463 or
rmonellcouncil [dot] nyc [dot] gov