Press Releases

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.

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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.


July 22, 2015

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:


July 17, 2015

“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.


July 16, 2015

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, Oklahoma State Rep. Jason Murphey, Montgomery County, MD Council Member Hans Riemer, and Washington, DC Council Member David Grosso joined Cambridge Councillor Nadeem Mazen in sending the letter.


July 16, 2015

 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.


July 13, 2015

The following statement can be attributed to Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) on the opening of M86 Select Bus Service:


June 29, 2015

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:


June 26, 2015

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.


June 23, 2015

New York, NY— The following statement can be attributed to New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations: 


June 19, 2015

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:


June 19, 2015

 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.


June 18, 2015

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


June 18, 2015

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: 


June 16, 2015

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. 


June 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. 


June 12, 2015

Following NBC4 and AP reports of a woman, Mary Grace Belfi, severely injured after being hit at 86th and First Avenue by a cyclist, Council Member Ben Kallos released the following statement:

"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."