Press Releases

November 3, 2015

"The Second Avenue Subway is long overdue. Completing Phase II in an expedient manner is essential for improving commutes in a borough that is only growing. We must keep construction on track, going north and then south," said Council Member Ben Kallos.

 

October 30, 2015

New York, NY –  Council Member Ben Kallos hosted an annual Senior Health Fair on Friday, October 30th at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. Sixteen nonprofits, government agencies, and health institutions conducted screenings, provided informational materials and giveaways to the over 50 seniors in attendance, and no-cost flu shots.

“All New Yorkers should have access to health and wellness resources and services," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "It is especially crucial that we make these resources and services accessible to seniors. It was my pleasure to partner with nonprofits, government agencies, and health institutions throughout the City to bring this event to seniors in my district.”

 

October 27, 2015

Council Member Kallos, joined by NYCHA Procurement Assistant Wendy Kendall and the Lexington Houses Tenant Association President Christina Johnson, celebrated the installation of new stoves and fridges for NYCHA residents on Tuesday morning.

 

October 22, 2015

A domestic violence and family law clinic was announced yesterday by Council Member Ben Kallos to be offered in his district office in partnership with the Urban Justice Center (UJC). Occurring the second Monday of every month, the clinic will offer constituents the opportunity to meet with a staff member from UJC's Domestic Violence Project to discuss issues including child custody, divorce, identity theft, and domestic violence. Council District 5 residents can reserve hour-long, one-on-one appointments through the Council Member's office. The first session will take place on November 9th from 2pm to 6pm. 
“Sadly, no one can escape domestic violence by virtue of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic class; it happens to all people and this clinic is here to help," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "It is crucial that everyone has access to professional advice to help them understand their rights so they can protect their interests and the interests of their families. I am pleased to partner with the incredible team at the Urban Justice Center's Domestic Violence Project to make these resources available to my constituents.”

 

October 15, 2015

This year, I am calling on the Rent Guidelines Board to vote for a rent rollback. Our tenants have endured an undue rent burden, with high increases year after year. Meanwhile, income cannot keep pace and only crept up by 2.3% between 2005 and 2013 in real terms.

Last year, the Board voted for a historic low 1% increase for one-year leases and 2.75% for two-year leases—but that did not correct for the disproportionately high increases of previous years.

The approved rent increases each year have largely been based upon the landlord’s operating costs, measured by the price index of operating cost (PIOC). This practice not only fails to consider tenants, but has also proven to be inaccurate: based upon data from the DOF, the PIOC has overstated landlord costs by 11% since 2005. This miscalculation led to unfairly high rent increases in past years, which must be corrected with a rent rollback.

Those increases have come with consequences. A unit is considered affordable if the rent is no higher than 30% of their household income. The median rent-to-income ratio of tenants in rent stabilized apartment is 36.4%. By this standard, a majority of rent-stabilized tenants have units that are not affordable. The stress of financial insecurity takes a toll on New Yorkers every day.

A rent rollback is also economically feasible for landlords. Even by the slanted standards of the PIOC, operating costs only increased by a mere .5% this year. We have an opportunity to correct for years of high rent increases and subsequent burden on tenants, without greatly burdening landlords. After so many years of only considering landlord costs, it is time to consider the needs of our tenants. This is a city of renters, but we will only remain one if we vigorously protect the affordable housing we already have. Please join us by voting for a rent rollback this year. 

 

October 15, 2015

This year, I am calling on the Rent Guidelines Board to vote for a rent rollback. Our tenants have endured an undue rent burden, with high increases year after year. Meanwhile, income cannot keep pace and only crept up by 2.3% between 2005 and 2013 in real terms.

Last year, the Board voted for a historic low 1% increase for one-year leases and 2.75% for two-year leases—but that did not correct for the disproportionately high increases of previous years.

The approved rent increases each year have largely been based upon the landlord’s operating costs, measured by the price index of operating cost (PIOC). This practice not only fails to consider tenants, but has also proven to be inaccurate: based upon data from the DOF, the PIOC has overstated landlord costs by 11% since 2005. This miscalculation led to unfairly high rent increases in past years, which must be corrected with a rent rollback.

Those increases have come with consequences. A unit is considered affordable if the rent is no higher than 30% of their household income. The median rent-to-income ratio of tenants in rent stabilized apartment is 36.4%. By this standard, a majority of rent-stabilized tenants have units that are not affordable. The stress of financial insecurity takes a toll on New Yorkers every day.

A rent rollback is also economically feasible for landlords. Even by the slanted standards of the PIOC, operating costs only increased by a mere .5% this year. We have an opportunity to correct for years of high rent increases and subsequent burden on tenants, without greatly burdening landlords. After so many years of only considering landlord costs, it is time to consider the needs of our tenants. This is a city of renters, but we will only remain one if we vigorously protect the affordable housing we already have. Please join us by voting for a rent rollback this year. 

 

October 8, 2015

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, said, “I commend FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and BFJ Planning for undertaking this thoughtful, responsive study. Our diverse neighborhoods are threatened by a perfect storm of development interests and outdated zoning laws. By acting now and working cooperatively with the City, together we can preserve local character and build contextually and sustainably to benefit the community.”

Download the Report (PDF - 49 MB)

 

October 1, 2015

The New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations held a hearing today to address the City’s dismal voter registration and turnoutnumbers. The legislation discussed improves the distribution and tracking of voterregistration forms, promotes absentee voting, and decreases the barriers to entry for those seeking to register.

"In 2016, New Yorkers will have at least four opportunities to vote: three separate primaries and a general election. Implementing these reforms ahead of the 2016 election will broaden the voter pool and allow more individuals to participate in our democracy,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations.

 

October 1, 2015

Last night as Hurricane Joaquin approached the East Coast, New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito joined Council Member Ben Kallos at the site of previous Superstorm Sandy flooding to train nearly 100 residents on preparing for emergencies and to distribute free Go Bags.

 

September 30, 2015

"The Stand for Tenant Safety (STS) coalition of 22 community organizations and 12 council members came together to develop ideas and implement solutions designed to improve the lives and safety of millions of New York City tenants," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Every day, my office receives calls and emails about construction in and around buildings, harassment of tenants, or building repairs that have been ignored. This comprehensive legislative reform package will provide critical and overdue transparency over the Department of Buildings, improve the department's enforcement mechanisms, and curtail the actions of bad landlords."

 

September 21, 2015

Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Walter Mosley, and Council Members Ben Kallos and Ruben Wills today called on the Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure that any deal between Time Warner Cable and Charter Communication include expanded low-cost broadband, low cost computers, consumer protections, and free technology training for low-income New Yorkers.

 

September 16, 2015

Council Member Ben Kallos met with Upper East Side business owners and cyclists at the Commercial Bike Safety event as he continued his push for increased bike safety.

 

September 9, 2015

Introduction 775 does not solve the problem it seeks to address. It does not provide a realistic timeline or any certainty around the landmarks process.

 

September 2, 2015

Statement on death of construction worker at 363 East 73rd Street:

"I want to express my condolences to the family and co-workers of the construction worker who died in a fall at 363 East 73rd Street on Tuesday," Council Member Ben Kallos said. "We must do all we can as a city to ensure workers receive the training, mentoring, a living wage, and benefits they need to be safe on the job."

 

September 1, 2015

Incentives Offered to Riders Who Complete Free 90-Minute Citi Bike Safety Class

 

September 1, 2015

"Live-casting meetings of the Board of Elections brings the agency into the 21st century," said Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, which has oversight over the BOE. “Thank you Executive Director Michael Ryan for starting with recording meetings and now taking the step of broadcasting them live. This is a win for democracy.”

 

August 31, 2015

Healthy Happy Meals legislation I introduced, could improve healthfulness of fast food for kids according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Linking incentives like toys to children’s meals with healthy options by default in my legislation would not only lead to healthier ordering but increase revenues, a win for business, parents and children.”

 

August 11, 2015

"100% affordable housing must be required for any new building on existing NYCHA developments. I commend the administration for putting out calls for 100% affordable projects at the first three sites in the infill program. Land is a finite resource in New York City, and we should leverage city-owned land by securing 100% affordable housing in all new building infill."

 

August 10, 2015

“The City Record is the most important newsletter you've never read. City contracts, public meetings and notices of major changes to our city's structure are routinely published in a hard edition, but not in a machine-readable format online -- until now. I am proud to have passed legislation unlocking searchable public information -- a treasure trove for those who want to better understand the city or simply need access to current information that affects them,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thanks to the Mayor for recognizing the essential importance of the City Record and BetaNYC and other civic partners for working to make this legislation into a reality. New Yorkers must be able to find the updates that affect them in a format that they use."

 

July 27, 2015

New York, NY— After reports of a Second Avenue construction worker falling and sustaining injuries, Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the East Side and Roosevelt Island, released the following statement: 

 

July 25, 2015

Council Member Ben Kallos announced a new vision for the East River Esplanade including a new master plan and investment from public/private partnership with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) has agreed to invest in the East River Esplanade as part of a ULURP voted on by the New York City Council Thursday, that was negotiated between his Council office and HSS.

 

July 24, 2015

I hereby request that the DEC not to renew the Air State Facility Permit for the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station in order to meet with your mission, obligations under law, to improve and protect the environment by preventing air pollution in order to enhance the health, safety, and welfare of New Yorkers, and to prevent and abate all air pollution, including hazardous particulates. The MTS will redirect waste and air pollution from out of state in order to release harmful exhaust from residential trash trucks, commercial trash trucks, tugs, equipment operating within MTS, harming air quality in a neighborhood with a hotspot, among the worst air quality in the city, where children already have high asthma rates. The DEC has a duty to put our environment and our residents over politics by not renewing this permit.

Download the PDF

 

July 23, 2015

Reduction of Paperwork and Waste Targeted to Increase Number of Benefits Recipients and
Generate over a Billion Dollars for New York City’s Economy

More than a half  million New Yorkers would have improved access to government benefits under legislation introduced today by Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee. According to the legislation, benefits would be provided automatically and renewed based on information the government already has from applications and forms to increase efficiency and reduce bureaucracy. Among the proposed reforms include a requirement that whenever a city agency receives an application for one benefit, the agency would must work with the person to determine eligibility for additional benefits.