Press Releases

June 5, 2014

WHO: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Ben Kallos


WHAT: Open Government Workshop at Personal Democracy Forum


WHEN: 1:00PM, Friday, June 6th



Personal Democracy Forum


MAIN ENTRANCE: NYU Skirball Center at 566 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012; Corner of LaGuardia Place and Washington Square South




May 29, 2014


New York, NY – Free and Open Source Software developer turned New York City Council Member Ben Kallos today introduced legislation mandating a preference for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and creating a Civic Commons website to facilitate collaborative purchasing of software between agencies, cities, states and the federal government to save taxpayer dollars.



May 29, 2014


 The City Council today introduced two mapping transparency bills to make government information more meaningful by tying it to space and time.


May 29, 2014


Today, New York City Council Member Ben Kallos is introducing three bills designed to bring New York City’s public data into the 21st Century through increased transparency and accessibility online: “eNotices,” “Public Online Information Act" (POIA) and "City Record On-Line" (CROL). 


May 22, 2014

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Dan Quart, Council Member Dan Garodnick and Council Member Ben Kallos today urgently requested a 60-day pause to review the exploding costs of the 91st St. Marine Transfer Station similar to the recent pause and review of the costly and delayed Emergency Communications Transformation Program.


May 19, 2014


New York, New York – Following Mayor de Blasio's keynote address at Internet Week New York today, Council Member Ben Kallos (District Five, Manhattan), Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, released the following statement: 


May 14, 2014

Council Members Lander, Kallos Intro Bill to Give Food Advocates a Seat at the Table 
 New York, New York (May 14, 2014) – Council Members Brad Lander and Ben Kallos today introduced Int 0329-2014, a bill to create a 17-member New York City Food Policy Council to tackle the most pressing food policy issues. The NYC Food Policy Council will apply grassroots organizing know-how and expertise to issues such as rising obesity rates, reforming the school lunch system, and bringing locally-grown, sustainable food to New York City. 1.4 million New Yorkers struggle with hunger, according to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. More than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight or obese. According to the Food Empowerment Project, an estimated 750,000 New York City residents live in food deserts.


May 14, 2014

 After key community improvements negotiated between Council Member Ben Kallos and The Rockefeller University, the City Council voted today to approve the university’s proposal for a new laboratory building over the FDR Drive. Rockefeller University and Council Member Ben Kallos, in whose Upper East Side district the project will be built, announced the improvements at the vote:


May 14, 2014

 Following the announcement of the City Council's rules reforms, the following statement on technological reforms can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (District Five):




May 14, 2014

Council Member Ben Kallos is introducing a resolution today to create a single, consolidated primary for New York State, saving taxpayers $50 million. Currently, New York has dual primaries – a federal primary in June and a state and local primary in September. A consolidated primary, long advocated for by good government groups, is currently the subject of a timing debate in the State Senate. The Council resolution calls on the governor to sign into law A.8198, the overwhelmingly passed Assembly bill sponsored by Speaker Silver to consolidate primaries, and for the Senate to pass and the governor to sign S.6204, the accompanying bill sponsored by Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in the State Senate. Consolidating primaries would save taxpayers $50 million, according to the New York Times, and many good government groups believe it will improve turnout and reduce confusion. The Senate G.O.P. has advocated for an August consolidated primary, when many New Yorkers are on vacation. If unresolved, New York defaults to a dual primary.


May 14, 2014

 Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Members Ben Kallos and James Vacca are introducing an Open FOIL bill today to create a centralized, searchable database of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests sent to City agencies.


May 9, 2014

New York, New York – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Council Member Ben Kallos (District Five) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer today praised Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to invest $35 million in the East River Esplanade, a stretch of public, open space along the East River from 60th to 125th St. in dire need of restoration. The funding in the Mayor's Executive Budget Proposal represents a crucial start to the total of $115 million over ten years needed to repair the seawall to prevent spending $430 million on the repair later, according to the Parks Department. Maloney and Kallos co-chair the East River Esplanade Task Force, a group of community members and elected officials advocating for improvements to the park.  


April 30, 2014

Council Member Ben Kallos introduced The Construction Safety Act at yesterday's stated meeting, two bills designed to ensure New York City maintains the most stringent construction safety regulations in the nation. The Construction Safety Act, Intro 298, co-sponsored by Council Members Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley, Vincent Gentile, Antonio Reynoso and Ruben Wills, and Intro 299, co-sponsored by Council Members Peter Koo, Rory I. Lancman, Stephen Levin, Mark Levine, Alan Maisel, I. Daneek Miller, Ydanis Rodriguez and Donovan Richards, will seek to maintain the high safety standards that improved significantly after two 2008 collapses. During the final months of the Bloomberg administration the Department of Buildings introduced new regulations to weaken these standards.



April 28, 2014

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) today joined City Council Members Mark Levine and Benjamin Kallos to highlight their efforts to secure reparations from SNCF, the French rail company that transported 76,000 Jews and thousands of others to concentration camps during World War II, and to hold accountable any company that profited from the Holocaust.


April 25, 2014

Last night, amid community concerns about safety along the Second Avenue Subway construction, Council Member Ben Kallos held a safety forum and walk, and re-launched “Light Up Second Avenue,” a program to improve lighting and increase safety. 


April 24, 2014

  Today Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Organization, applauded the New York City Council’s response to the Mayor’s FY 2015 Preliminary Budget and FY 2014 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report. Kallos praised the budget response as promoting transparency and efficiency in government, and increased opportunity for all New Yorkers.


April 17, 2014

Public Advocate Letitia James will be joined by food advocates on the steps of City Hall to announce a proposal that would provide universal free lunch for all New York City public school students. Over 75% of city public school students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. That’s an estimated 780,000 students.  


April 15, 2014

 Council Member Ben Kallos joined students and educators of P.S. 290 and other Manhattan schools to protest this year’s New York State English Language Arts (ELA) Exam, following the conviction of educators across the City that this year’s exam was unfair, incompetent and contrary to their teaching. 



April 15, 2014

 Council Members Ben Kallos, Jimmy Vacca and Mark Levineintroduced a resolution today adopting sweeping reforms to the recruitment and appointment process for community boards and calling on borough presidents to do the same. Resolution 164, co-sponsored by Council Members Danny Dromm, Antonio Reynoso, Carlos Menchaca, Brad Lander, Ydanis Rodriguez, Ritchie Torres and Debi Rose, includes recommendations for instituting member term limits, instituting independent screening panels for applicants and requiring conflict of interest forms of applicants.


April 10, 2014

Elected officials, Housing Alliance Against Downsizing (HAAD) and hundreds of tenants from 28 former Mitchell-Lama buildings protested HPD’s downsizing of elderly, medically challenged and single-parent tenants who are being forced to downsize into 0-bedroom and 1-bedroom apartments, demanding a moratorium on the disastrously-implemented policy. 


April 9, 2014

New York, New York -- Council Member Ben Kallos is demanding an independent review of the skyrocketing costs to build and operate new Marine Transfer Station costs in the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan. In a letter to the Independent Budgeting Office, Kallos calls for an updated investigation into the Upper Manhattan Marine Transfer Station costs due to dramatic changes since the IBO’s last review in 2012. Estimated capital costs have gone from $43.9 million in 2002-2005 to $121.8 million in 2008-2009 to $181.6 million in 2013-2014 while it has been estimated that the barged trash will cost New Yorkers a billion dollars over 20 years; $600 million more than the current system. 


April 4, 2014

NEW YORK, NY -- The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council announced new leadership for the 2014-2017 legislative session today. The five officers were determined by majority vote of the Progressive Caucus members, and are as follows:


  • Co-Chairs: Council Member Donovan Richards (CC 31, Queens) and Council Member Antonio Reynoso (CC 34, Brooklyn)

  • Vice-Chair for Policy: Council Member Ben Kallos (CC 5, Manhattan)

  • Vice-Chair for Budget Advocacy: Council Member Helen Rosenthal (CC 6, Manhattan)

  • Treasurer: Council Member Margaret Chin (CC 1, Manhattan)


“I look forward to working with the Progressive Caucus to advance a bold and innovative agenda so the city serves every New Yorker, no matter what background or neighborhood,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Through collaboration and with input from all members, the policies of the Progressive Caucus will translate into better education and jobs, more affordable housing, and greater government accountability.”


April 2, 2014

City Hall – City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members today released locations where New Yorkers can cast a ballot in the week-long 2014 Participatory Budgeting vote. Launched in 2011, with the goal of making budgeting decisions more transparent and to give New Yorkers a greater say in how their tax dollars are spent, Participatory Budgeting has grown to encompass 10 Council Districts, allowing New Yorkers to directly decide how allocate more than $10 million dollars for neighborhood projects.
“Participatory budgeting helps engage New Yorkers with the Council by empowering community residents to make decisions about how City funds are spent,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I’m proud to have helped start this important initiative and encourage all New Yorkers in participating districts to cast their ballots for the projects they would like to see funded in the year ahead.”


April 1, 2014

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and  over a dozen members of the City Council distributed flyers at subway stations across the City this morning to alert New Yorkers about the first day of the Earned Sick Time Act going into effect.Passed by the City Council in February and signed into law by Mayor de Blasio last month, the Earned Sick Time Act provides paid sick time coverage for all businesses with five or more employees.