“16-year-olds will be joining Community Boards, thanks to a resolution I introduced with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer that become law last year,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, who served on Community Board 8 Manhattan. “Community Boards are becoming more representative of their communities because of a system of reforms implemented by Manhattan Borough President Brewer, including group interviews to see how new applicants and re-applicants alike work together when solving problems. We look forward to providing residents with a stronger voice through their Community Boards.”
New York, NY— New Yorkers could receive more than a lease from new landlords, if election reform legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos passes. Kallos’ bill would require landlords to distribute voter registration forms for every tenant signing a lease for a vacant apartment—including forms in Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Bengali upon request. Landlords can additionally provide assistance or submit the forms directly to the Board of Elections upon request.
Yesterday, the New York City Council released the official FY 2016 preliminary budget response priorities, which calls for a $2 million funding increase for the Office of Special Enforcement's (OSE) budget, for a total of $3.6 million to strengthen enforcement of illegal hotels. The list of priority budget recommendations outlines that the increased funding would be used to hire 25 additional staff, expanding upon its current 11-person staff, to support a more proactive and robust enforcement operation. Additionally, the budget response calls on the Administration to involve other ticketing agencies, and increase transparency in OSE budgeting by providing a clear and complete description of OSE's budget and staffing.
Council Member Ben Kallos applauded the new City Council digital reforms announced today, which he worked closely with other Council Members and civic technologists to craft. Under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, the Council 2.0 digital roadmap includes a plan for more engagement and innovative tools, changes to the City Council website and an Open Application Processing Interface (API) that allows app-makers to create their own tools with information from the City Council’s legislative website. Kallos helped shape the open technology plan that was part of rules reform, alongside Council Members Lander, Williams, Cabrera and Greenfield.
Council 2.0 will engage diverse New Yorkers and make government more transparent. Speaker Mark-Viverito: Plan will “make the Council more responsive, transparent, and open for every resident in this city”
"Our children must be protected on crowded streets, and that's where crossing guards come in. I am visiting every school in my district, and the demand for more crossing guards--from parents, teachers and students alike--was one of the top-identified needs," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "We need the funds to hire more crossing guards and identify more dangerous intersections where they can be stationed. We also need to invest in our crossing guards, who keep our children safe, with increased hours and health insurance."
“We are a nation of immigrants, including my grandparents who came here to escape antisemitism, and the grandparents of so many. We must continue to accept all those 'yearning to breathe free',” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “The state invests resources in every person the second they set foot in our soil. By welcoming people with open arms, we guarantee a return on that investment. I applaud Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti for urging the immediate implementation of President Obama's immigration reforms."
“Early this morning, a two-alarm fire tore through an apartment building at 78th near Second Avenue. Four people were injured in the fire, one critically. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families in this difficult time.
Yet again, the FDNY have been our heroes, and the fire is under control. Thanks to the FDNY for all they do to protect New Yorkers. The site is closed to traffic, and DOB and FDNY are investigating. My office is reaching out to offer assistance to those affected, and I urge anyone from the building to please contact my office so I can help.”
"This $3 billion federal grant will help repair the NYCHA developments most hard-hit during Sandy, and, equally importantly, fortify them for future storms. During the storm, Stanley Isaacs in my district flooded, leaving many residents in despair. These funds will help secure Stanley Isaacs, and other NYCHA developments, so residents do not have to go through that struggle again," said Council Member Ben Kallos.
“City records are getting out of the archives and onto the Internet, where anyone will have access to a virtual treasure trove of information. Many of the records we need to hold government accountable will now be online,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Chair of the Government Operations Committee with oversight over the Department of Records and Information Services. “Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Pauline Toole for leadership on transparency and technology initiatives to modernize government. This portal is a great example of government building technology the right way, using city employees to develop free and open source software that will benefit not only our city, but every other government seeking to bring the same transparency to the people.”
"The life sciences are essential to New York City's success as a modern city. Investing in technology to better human health advances our society and powers our economy," said Councilmember Ben Kallos. "As the proud representative of New York's City's biotech hub, I believe that expanding and growing the life sciences are key to our city's success."
"We're taking back the waterfront and improving commutes through expanded ferry service for New Yorkers," said Councilmember Ben Kallos. "Among other routes that will improve East Siders' commutes, the 'Nerd Boat' will connect tech hubs of Cornell NYC Tech on Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, Astoria, and Midtown Manhattan. Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for investing in our waterfront and transportation through ferry service which I have been proud to advocate for. I look forward to seeing ferry service go swiftly into operation."
New York, NY— Council Member Ben Kallos introduced a bill today dedicating urban planners to assist New York City’s 59 community boards with the intent of giving communities a tool to fight against some of the most major over-development. Urban planners would join the Borough President’s office but assist individual community boards.
New York, NY— Parents returning to the workforce will have the City’s support, if legislation sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos, Laurie Cumbo and Robert Cornegy passes. The legislation would expand New York City’s Workforce1 job centers and online information hub to include resources and training for parents returning to work after taking time off. They called for technology training, public-private partnerships, specialized resume assistance, proactive outreach and expanded online information to help parents return to work.
“Early this morning, FDNY battled a three-alarm fire at 66th and 1st. Yesterday, at a seven-alarm East Village Fire, the FDNY worked hard to put out a massive blaze. In both instances, they showed that they are truly New York's bravest, and their hard work and courage saved lives. We owe them an incredible debt of gratitude. Thank you, FDNY. My office has reached out to offer assistance to the displaced in this morning's fire. Any person affected seeking assistance can contact my office at 212-860-1950."
At the New York City Council Sanitation Committee FY16 preliminary budget hearing today, Council Member Ben Kallos slammed the unsustainable and rising costs of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan—specifically the planned marine transfer stations at 91st Street and Southwest Brooklyn.
“For many New Yorkers, buses are the only option for going crosstown. That means that we need more and better bus service. I thank NYC Transit for close attention to reforming and improving the service on many of our lines, and ask them to make needed improvements to crosstown service,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.
"A threat to working New Yorkers from Gray Line bus company during ongoing negotiations is unacceptable. Guides help show the greatness of our city, and they should not be laid off or threatened. A great city deserves great guides. Nor can in-person guides be replaced by machines, for both safety and quality of experience. I applaud Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for leading the way on this issue," said Council Member Ben Kallos.
Finding your car when it gets towed is about to get easier thank to legislation introduced today in the City Council by Council Member Ben Kallos. Owners of cars towed due to temporary parking restrictions would be able to find where their car was moved through the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) website or by calling 311. Currently, this is only available for vehicles taken to impound lots because of regular parking violations.
“Imagine arriving at your parking spot to find its gone, not knowing if it is stolen or towed, without being able to find out where it is, unless you’ve got the time to walk every block of your neighborhood,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Anytime you can’t find your car, New Yorkers should be able to find them online or by calling 311.”
In the wake of the FCC ruling on net neutrality, New York City Council Member and free and open source software developer Ben Kallos said:
"Universal broadband is best supported by a free and open Internet, which the FCC guaranteed today by reclassifying the Internet as a utility.
As a city of more than 8.4 million residents, over a third of whom are foreign born, New York has long advocated for Net Neutrality. Our growing tech industry, which has brought a new wave of middle class jobs back to New York, relies on the equality of access that the FCC granted today.
In addition to the FCC, thank you to President Obama, Governor Cuomo, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and my colleagues in the City Council, Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Corey Johnson, Karen Koslowitz, Stephen Levin, Antonio Reynoso, Ydanis Rodriguez, and Ruben Wills, as well as the nearly four million Americans who submitted public comments to the FCC, for helping to protect the Internet’s foundation of democracy and equality.”
"Our nation faces a $6.8 trillion retirement deficit, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security, which this legislation seeks to solve," said Council Member Ben Kallos, an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Attorney. "Erosion of pensions in the public sector and retirements benefits in the private sector have left our working families without a way to save a nest egg for retirement. Providing small businesses in the private sector with the tools they need to offer their employees better retirement benefits will go a long way towards filling the retirement deficit and providing workers the retirement they deserve. It has been a pleasure to work with Effective New York founder Bill Samuels on this big idea and thank you to Public Advocate James for her leadership on this and other issues of income security and inequality."
“Vision zero will help end preventable traffic collisions. I am proud to have worked with the de Blasio administration to gather feedback from my community in order to create safe and livable streets for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, who mailed 60,000 constituents soliciting dangerous intersection and street improvements for a livable streets report. “Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, and Chief Chan for working with my office, district, and constituents to improve street safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.” Download the Report.
Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) came out strongly against Intro 495 this morning at a hearing on the legislation, issuing the following statement:
"Introduction 495, is not waste equity, it is waste inequity. Rather than relieving burdens on environmental justice communities, it simply creates new environmental justice communities..."
“Internet service has become a necessary utility for the general public to communicate with one another and government. Whether receiving emergency information during a storm, applying for services or communicating via video chat with family, all Americans deserve equal access to an open internet,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a Free and Open Source Software Developer. “President Obama, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler and Mayor de Blasio agree: We must protect net neutrality.”