New York, NY— Following the news that the city will drop the proposed Uber moratorium, Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer, released the following statement:
“The city must not stand in the way of progress when it comes to technology. Banning a technology company’s growth, before study or investigation, sends the wrong message to startups. Instead, New York City should be attracting top tech talent and entrepreneurs as a safe place to do business and invest, if we are to truly be a city of the future.
Council Member Ben Kallos testified today on the need for mobile-first technologies and on for Verizon to provide FiOS for all New Yorkers as promised at a Public Service Commission hearing on the state of telecommunications in New York. Kallos called for the PSC to enforce public-private agreements and close the digital divide in New York City, where over a third of households below the poverty line do not have broadband at home. The New York City hearing, on July 15, is part of a series of six hearings across the state aimed at charting a way forward on telecommunications for the state. It has been 10 years since the PSC’s last telecommunications proceeding.
The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) on the opening of M86 Select Bus Service:
New York, NY— Today, Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) issued the following statement on the Rent Guidelines Board's decision to freeze rents for tenants in rent stabilized units:
New York, NY -- Senior and disabled New Yorkers would see improvements to hazardous sidewalk conditions if new legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos passes. The bill mandates that if property owners fail to perform needed sidewalk repairs, the city will issue penalties and then step in to provide the fixes and bill the party responsible. There are 889,219 New Yorkers with disabilities and nearly one million residents 65 or older, all of whom must safely get around.
New York, NY— The following statement can be attributed to New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations:
New York, NY— The following statement can be attributed to City Council Member Ben Kallos following the Landmarks Preservation Commission's reported decision to hear all 95 sites that had once been decalendered:
New York, NY — On Thursday, June 18, a group of social innovators beta launched an important new App – Intellibins – to enable and facilitate effective recycling choices and behaviors by citizens in New York City.
New York, NY — Sotheby’s is holding an art show with some of the most unique and invaluable pieces in the city—public school artwork. The Annual art show on June 16 and 17, organized by Council Member Ben Kallos and PS 183, featured 50 works of art per school from institutions across the district, including: PS 183, PS 77, PS 290, PS 151, Vanguard HS, PS 169, PS 6, PS 527, MS 177. Kallos distributed certificates to all participating students
New York, NY— The following statement can be attributed to City Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer, following the de Blasio administration's release of an audit of Verizon's fiber Internet services:
New York, NY — A “Bike Safety” initiative is launching with a partnership between Council Member Ben Kallos’ office, the Department of Transportation, the New York Police Department (NYPD), Citi Bike (Motivate), Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York, Council Member Kallos announced today. The program kicks off in the warm weather months when more New Yorkers tend to cycle.
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.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Mary Grace Belfi and her family in this difficult time. No one should have to go through what they are now going through. This devastating collision is a call to action to fight harder to ensure all can be safe in our streets. I hope the suspect who fled the scene will soon be apprehended."
New York, NY — A four-bill legislative package to improve how the city issues and collects fines for Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations, was announced today by New York City Council Members Ben Kallos and Julissa Ferreras. The Environmental Control Board (ECB) is a city tribunal that adjudicates “quality of life” violations issued by 13 city agencies. After the decision, the fines are collected by the Department of Finance or referred to the Law Department or a third-party debt collector. Of the debt referred to the Department of Finance, 90% has been issued a default judgment, making it extremely challenging to collect. Eighty-four percent of debt owed to is over two years old.
New York, NY— Today, Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) joined tenants, advocates and colleagues to call for a rent rollback in public testimony before the Rent Guidelines Board. The following is Council Member Kallos' testimony, as prepared for delivery:
New York, NY – The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), on the Mayor's plan to insource IT jobs:
"Government is getting more high tech by insourcing jobs. I am proud to have advocated for in-sourcing in the city budget at oversight hearings since I took office, and I look forward to seeing far more in-sourcing in future years. Congratulations to Mayor de Blasio on signing an agreement to in-source IT work when possible, saving the city up to $3.6 million this year."
New York, NY – The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), a software developer and Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, on FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's proposal to modernize the Lifeline program to include broadband:
"Lifeline provides low-income Americans with the utilities they need, which must include Internet. I have been advocating for Lifeline for Internet and thank FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler for his leadership on a Federal level. Lifeline is the tool we need to provide low-cost Internet to low-income New Yorkers for truly universal broadband that can finally begin to narrow the digital divide."
I was pleased to recently join the Communications Department at SUNY Albany, my alma mater, for their Commencement ceremony.
New York, NY— Pesticides in parks would be limited by a bill announced today by Council Member Ben Kallos among members of the kindergarten and first grade class at PS 290, who first advocated for the city legislation. The law, co-sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require that the city use only biological pesticides, derived from natural materials, instead of synthetic, traditional pesticides--except under necessary circumstances. The EPA maintains that biological pesticides tend to be less toxic and safer than synthetic pesticides. The bill will be introduced on May 27.
“With fireworks on the East River, Roosevelt Islanders and East Siders should have a great vantage point with which to view them,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am thrilled that the fireworks have been moved back to where many New Yorkers, from Brooklyn to Queens to Manhattan can enjoy them.”
Roosevelt Island, NY—After a 20-year-old was shot in the abdomen on April 25 in the Roosevelt Landings Complex, stakeholders announced the launch of a Law Enforcement Explorers Program to provide a safe and productive outlet for young Roosevelt Islanders. A May 27 event at Good Shepherd Center at 7 p.m., co-sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, the 114th Precinct, RIOC and the Public Safety Department will introduce the community to the Law Enforcement Explorers and young people sign up.
The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), a software developer and Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, on Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to invest $70 million to bring universal broadband to New York City:
“Access to the Internet is as essential to helping New Yorkers stay in touch, find jobs and learn--but a stunning 36 percent of our poorest families in New York City go without it. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for committing to invest $70 million to universal broadband, a bold and forward-looking move that will improve mobility and connect more families."