Press Releases

October 22, 2014

Intro 508 to allow New York City residents to register online was introduced today by Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations and Progressive Caucus Members Co-Chairs Antonio Reynoso and Donovan Richards, as well as Council Members Danny Dromm, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Stephen Levin, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Debi Rose, and Carlos Menchaca. The bill requires the Board of Elections to provide a secure website for registration. Twenty four States offer online voter registration in some form, many with a fully paperless process that can be submitted directly online. New York City consistently struggles with voter participation and turnout.


October 8, 2014

New York, NY--Oct 7, 2014--A City Council bill introduced today by Council Member Julissa Ferreras and co-sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos aims to improve transparency at the Environmental Control Board (ECB). The outstanding debt to the City of New York for ECB judegements is $1.5 billion, of which 84% is over 24 months old.   



October 3, 2014

Part I: Dangerous Intersections (PDF)Part II: Street Improvements (PDF)

New York, NY– A crowd-sourced safe streets report released by the office of City Council Member Ben Kallos today consolidated public feedback identifying dangerous intersections, street corners that have become inaccessible to the disabled. The report also features necessary improvements to transit and the streetscape such as desired areas for bike racks and seating. The two-part report follows a mailing by the Council Member to 60,000 households in the district (available on the bottom of the release), five forums and numerous public appearances seeking to empower residents to improve their streets.

Resident feedback in the report shows:

  • Dangerous intersections in District 5 from Midtown East to the Upper East Side, including a top ten list;
  • Bus transit remains a priority, despite cuts in service, as seniors in the district are too far from other transit options;
  • High demand for bus shelters, benches and countdown clocks;
  • Streets and corners are poorly maintained in certain locations, making some corners inaccessible for walkers and wheelchairs while other conditions contribute to trip and falls;
  • Bike lanes remain highly controversial in this area of Manhattan.


October 2, 2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled Digital.NYC, a first-of-its-kind online platform that will serve as a centralized hub for the City’s tech ecosystem, providing information and resources to help turn ideas into businesses, deliver valuable tools for digital startups, and connect New Yorkers to opportunities in the City’s tech ecosystem.


September 29, 2014

NEW YORK -- Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn) was joined City Councilman Ben Kallos and Trudy Mason, Manhattan Representative, MTA Citizens Advisory Committee as she presented a check to Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President, MTA Capital Construction for more than $203 million in federal funds appropriated for the current fiscal year. 

The East Side Access Project will be the first major expansion of the Long Island Railroad in generations.  The project will create a stop at Grand Central Terminal which would reduce the burden on Penn Station and afford faster, easier access to the East Side. Presently LIRR passengers have to go all the way to the West Side and then take a subway back to the East Side.

"East Siders will travel more freely when East Side Access opens and the Second Avenue Subway opens. Federal funds are integral to these important transit projects, and I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for her efforts to secure resources," said City Council Member Ben Kallos.


September 17, 2014

The following statement can attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee (which oversees the Board of Elections) following a City Council hearing to consider Board of Elections Commissioner appointments:


September 10, 2014

New York, NY -- New York City has added its to voice to the growing call for a National Women’s History Museum in DC, after a resolution in support passed the City Council today. The Council, under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, passed Resolution 354, calling for the Senate to end delays and pass legislation advancing the museum's formation on the National Mall. Congresswoman Maloney successfully passed legislation to move forward with a National Women’s History Museum in the House of Representatives 383-33, but two Senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, are holding up the companion bill in the Senate, which has the support of all 20 women senators. 

Council Members Ben Kallos and Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee, co-sponsored the resolution in support of federal bill H.R. 863 by Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and urging passage of its companion bill in the Senate. The museum would be supported through donations already being raised by 501(c)3 organization, National Women's History Museum.


September 10, 2014

“With Minerva Tantoco in the historic role of Chief Technology Officer, New York City will continue to grow as one of the most creative, well-run and thriving 21st century cities. Minerva will bring the same innovation to New York City as she has brought to major corporations like UBS as well as agile start-ups,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for continuing to prioritize technology as central to New York City life. I look forward to working with Minerva, and watching her inspire the next generation of young men and women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”


September 8, 2014

The NYC Century Bike Tour is a one-of-a-kind cycling event. That’s
because all of the routes – 35, 55, 75, or 100 miles – are designed to
show riders the diversity of New York’s neighborhoods and how to
navigate them safely. To illustrate bicyclists’ right to the road,
there are no street closings during the tour – bicyclists ride with
traffic and obey traffic laws.

“There are few things as beautiful as an early morning sea of bikers
coursing through the veins and arteries of New York City’s pathways,
said City Council Member Ben Kallos. “The NYC Century Bike Tour
represents New York City neighborhoods in all our diversity, from the
scenic Rockaways to the Bronx—a real taste of our city’s vast and
varied parks and transportation infrastructure.”


September 5, 2014

Congresswoman Maloney, Council Members Ben Kallos and Laurie Cumbo, Former Congresswoman, Comptroller and DA Elizabeth Holtzman, Elected Officials Push for National Women’s History Museum in DC


August 27, 2014

New York, NY–The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, on the newly-adopted reforms in the appointment process to the New York City Board of Elections: 

"Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito is adding an unprecedented transparent and open process for appointing a Board of Elections Commissioner. The Speaker's voluntary improvement of appointment practices to the Board of Elections by having a public Rules Committee hearing demonstrates once again her commitment to fair decision-making that empowers members and the public."


August 21, 2014

New York, NY– Kids’ meals that include toys as incentives would meet specific nutritional standards under a City Council “Healthy Happy Meals” bill to be introduced today. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos and co-sponsored by Council Members Stephen Levin and Corey Johnson and originally introduced by former Council Member Leroy Comrie in 2011, sets standards for the calories, sodium and fat of the incentivized restaurant meals and would require the inclusion of a fruit, vegetable or whole grain serving.


August 18, 2014

 The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) on improvements to Checkbook NYC:


August 8, 2014

“Open government means laws and notices are online, where New Yorkers expect to find them,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Now, public information printed daily in the City Record, such as meetings, contracts, and City planning, will be online, complete and up to date, so residents can make informed choices and data analysts can help us achieve a smarter city. Putting the law online upholds Hammurabi’s legacy of making the law public on stone tablets millenia ago. In the 21st Century, that means putting all laws online, continuously updated, and Council Member Lander’s Open Law legislation does exactly that. Under Mayor de Blasio, technology and open government to spur business, improve government and close the digital divide, are priorities. I thank him, Speaker Mark-Viverito, and all the activists who worked on this for turning these ideas into law.”


August 7, 2014

The Free Law Founders (FLF) today announced that The Sunlight Foundation has joined the FLF coalition to overhaul how America’s state-and-local governments make laws, deliver access to legislative and law data, and engage citizens online. Sunlight joins the growing network of government officials, citizens and civic software developers working to reinvent how democracy works on the Internet with the FLF, including: NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell, Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, Boston Principal Data Scientist Curt Savoie, The MIT Human Dynamics Lab, The OpenGov Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation.


August 5, 2014

“The best city in the world is about to get better with its own dot NYC domain—and it is only for New Yorkers. Businesses can show that they are local and proud New Yorkers by getting their dot NYC,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “This opportunity to support our City’s small businesses and grow jobs with dot NYC is thanks to Thomas Lowenhaupt, who has made his singular vision into a reality through years of unwavering advocacy; the understanding and support of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer during her years in the Council; and the leadership on technology of Mayor Bill de Blasio. I look forward to working with all of them to make sure that businesses know that if they want to make sure they have a chance to reserve their dot NYC, the landrush over the next 60 days is the best time to do it, before they miss out and dot NYC is first come, first served.”


July 29, 2014

Today, Council Member Ben Kallos joined representatives from GrowNYC to roll out the 2014 summer Fresh Foodbox Program and celebrate the launch of a new pick up location at Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center. At the newly added location at 415 East 93rd Street, Council Member Kallos spoke to dozens of residents to spread awareness to New Yorkers about the Fresh Foodbox Program.


July 29, 2014

Council Member Ben Kallos is proud to unveil a new pick up location for Fresh Foodbox Program at Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center as a way to increase access to fresh, healthy foods for neighborhood residents.


July 24, 2014

The New York City Council today passed legislation to put all New York City laws online through the City's website and expand the City Record Online.
Int. 149, “The Law Online,” Prime Sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander and also sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos and James Vacca, will ensure all New York City law—charter and administrative code—gets put online in a searchable and user-friendly format.


July 24, 2014

Today, Council Member Ben Kallos introduced a resolution supporting a statewide and national ban on non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock production—a process that puts Americans’ health at risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than two million Americans fall ill each year with antibiotic resistant infections, with 23,000 people dying from these infections.


July 24, 2014

Traffic changes made by the Department of Transportation would require a month’s notice to Community Boards, under legislation introduced today by Council Member Ben Kallos and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.  Under the “traffic notice” bill, community boards—the most on-the-ground community representation—would receive a minimum of one month’s notice for street direction changes, parking, turn regulations and more.

The bill will allow communities an opportunity to raise red flags or to prepare for and disseminate information about new traffic rules.

“Communities need to be informed about changes in traffic patterns – in order to ensure effectiveness and fair enforcement, as well as provide an opportunity for input when relevant. My office has been working with Community Boards and City agencies to improve traffic safety and help inform the Vision Zero initiative, and a key part of these efforts is doing more to improve transparency,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“No community should be taken by surprise by traffic changes,” said Council Member Kallos. “Our streets are places we rely on to travel and commute. Community members must have a say and a stake in the changes that affect their neighborhoods. Community boards are the first line of defense for communities, and increasing the information available to them will improve transparency and the decisions made.”


July 16, 2014

U.S. open government leaders today announced the formation of The Free Law Founders (FLF), a nation-wide partnership of local elected officials, non-profit software developers, educators, and city attorneys dedicated to upgrading how citizens can access America’s laws, legislation and the lawmaking process itself on the Internet.  Spearheaded by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell and Seamus Kraft of The OpenGov Foundation, the Free Law Founders have accepted the challenge of creating the modern tools, data standards and processes our state and local governments need to meet the growing challenges of democracy in the Internet Age.  Open to anyone willing to help accomplish these goals across the country, Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, Washington, D.C. Council Chief Counsel David Zvenyach, Boston’s Department of Innovation and Technology, and more have already signed up to contribute.


July 1, 2014

New York, NY – New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos today released seven key government reform bills for online public debate and drafting in Madison, a free policymaking platform developed by the nonprofit OpenGov Foundation. Madison gives citizens direct access to their legislators and the legislative process itself, lowering the barrier between citizens and their government on their own time, and on their own terms. Councilmember Kallos is the second city legislator in America to harness the power of collaborative Internet-based legislating, joining Washington, D.C. Councilmember David Grosso on the cutting edge of American democracy.  To get involved, New Yorkers simply need to log on to start legislating in partnership with Kallos.



June 30, 2014

Ben Kallos, Council Member of the 5th District, is proud to honor Sharon Hill upon her retirement in celebration of her career of outstanding service and extraordinary achievements as Principal of P.S. 290, The Manhattan New School


June 29, 2014

New York, NY— Members of the Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization of subway and bus riders, thanked members of the City Council on Sunday for allocating City funds to expand the successful “bus countdown clock” program that has been popular in in its first two locations on Staten Island.  The clocks are installed and maintained by the City Department of Transportation (DOT) and are built on new MTA technology that shows where the bus really is at any given moment.

Riders Alliance members had requested that the City Council allocate discretionary funds to bring bus countdown clocks to more communities around the city, and 11 City Council Members responded with funds.   In total, Council Members allocated almost $2.8 million, enough to install more than 100 bus countdown clocks.

Bus countdown clocks will now be appearing in the following City Council districts:

·         Bronx:  Fernando Cabrera ($113,000); Andrew Cohen ($40,000)

·         Brooklyn:  Brad Lander ($240,000); Mark Treyger ($100,000)

·         Manhattan: Margaret Chin ($260,000); Dan Garodnick ($950,000); Corey Johnson ($35,000); Ben Kallos ($640,000)

·         Queens: Eric Ulrich ($180,000); Mark Weprin ($35,000)

·         Staten Island: Steven Matteo ($200,000)