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A top city official wasn’t fired because of his role in a controversial land deal that allowed a non-profit nursing home to be converted to luxury housing — but his boss refused to say Monday if he was ousted because of other federal investigations.
The axed official, Ricardo Morales, who served as a deputy commissioner at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was at the center of two deals now being probed by federal investigators.
One was the lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home, that eventually led to its sale for luxury condos.
The city’s top lawyer predicted Monday that taxpayers will have to shell out “a few million dollars more” for the legal bills of mayoral aides swept up in several corruption probes.
And that’s on top of the $10.5 million already spent on outside lawyers.
Corporation Counsel Zach Carter described the additional legal costs as not “a large magnitude” and said it appears the federal probes are “winding down and concluding.”
“We believe that there will be a few million dollars more expended, but I can’t give you an exact figure,” Carter testified at a City Council budget hearing. “I don’t believe that it will be a large magnitude of expenditures.”
Residents, Community Board 8 (CB8) members, and other elected officials, including Council Member Ben Kallos, have complained that the agreement with Sutton East Tennis prohibits the larger public from using the public park for all but about two months of the year when the space is converted to a softball field.
City Councilman Ben Kallos, who has been pushing for the stops to be returned, posted photos on Thursday of MTA workers installing the ticketing machines.
If you work in Manhattan and have the gift/luxury of a lunch break, you’ve probably used a POPS without knowing it.
POPS, or privately owned public spaces, can be sunny or shaded plazas or sitting areas in indoor atriums, where you can enjoy your sandwich away from the desk.
At worst, these POPS are barren, vacant lobbies, or simply (and illegally) inaccessible.
Why does that matter beyond the fact that you can’t find a place to nibble your sandwich? Because there’s no such thing as a free POPS: each one was set aside for the public by property owners or developers in exchange for building bigger or taller towers and thus renting out more commercial space.
A new City Council effort aiming to get developers to stick to their end of the bargain has a particularly juicy case study: Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, which was able to build taller in exchange for setting aside public spaces.
The public part of Trump Tower has received significant attention since Trump descended the escalator in June 2015 to announce his presidential run.
The Wall Street Journal reports that on Wednesday, three new bills to protect POPS were introduced in the City Council, sponsored by Council members Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick. The first of the three bills would raise penalties for building owners from $4,000 to $10,000 for first offenses, and to $20,000 for additional offenses. Under the bill, a fine of up to $2,500 could be imposed for each month a violation goes unattended.
How many students apply to each New York City school, how many get in, and where do they come from? We could soon find out
While some of that information is already publicly available, Kallos wants to gather more details and make it available in a single report.
He also hopes to expand the bill to include information about Pre-K for All applications to help reveal what he sees as unmet need. Kallos said that 54 percent of families who applied for pre-K on the Upper East Side, part of his district, were not offered seats in their zip code in 2015.
“The Mayor’s promise of ‘Pre-Kindergarten for All’ must include enough seats in every neighborhood,” Kallos said in a statement. “Parents in my district are giving up on our public schools and with it our government, and parents who can’t afford private school are being forced out.”
Council member Ben Kallos of Manhattan, a sponsor of the legislation, said the attention surrounding Mr. Trump’s campaign led to enforcement efforts that other buildings had escaped. Council member Daniel Garodnick is also a sponsor of the legislation.
Councilman Ben Kallos is expected to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would require the Education Department to release additional data such as the number of applications each school receives, how many offers it extends and where students live. Credit Emon Hassan for The New York Times
Mr. Kallos said that his constituents routinely complain of being turned away from nearby prekindergarten classrooms or gifted and talented programs, for which they have qualified, because there is not enough room.
This legislation would show where students end up when they leave their neighborhoods to attend school, as many do. Mr. Kallos said that most elementary schools in his district were populated with students from the area, but at Ella Baker School, at 317 East 67th Street, which serves students from prekindergarten through eighth grade, most of the students are from elsewhere.
City Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents a broad swath of Midtown East and the Upper East Side, on Wednesday introduced a bill requiring expanded disclosure on school enrollment, part of an effort to address a space crunch that has half of the city's public school students attending overcrowded schools.
Under the terms of the proposed bill, the Department of Education would make publicly available aggregated and disaggregated data on the number of applications and admissions granted for each school in the city, as well as enrollment numbers and expected open seats for the next school year. This data would be further broken down by grade level and the community school and council districts of residence for students, as well as their zip codes.
"We need to better track what schools people are applying to, how many folks are being turned away from schools, and have a better sense of where they're ending up so we can re-adjust programming," Kallos told Gothamist.
The council members, including Margaret Chin, Corey Johnson, Rosie Mendez, Daniel Garodnick, Ben Kallos, Mark Levine and Ydanis Rodriguez, expressed concern that the regulatory agreement had been crafted without significant input from HDFC stakeholders, that the regulation was “one-size-fits-all,” that additional restrictions could hurt stakeholders’ leveraging ability, among other concerns.
“Look out Silicon Valley, here comes Silicon Alley, supported by a city government that is providing the funding, space, and data the tech sector needs to thrive,” stated New York City Council Member Ben Kallos.
Councilman Ben Kallos, who attended the CB8 meeting on Wednesday, supported finding new use for the Queenboro Oval, telling tennis players to "get on the Roosevelt Island tram" to play at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club or to back the creation of a non-profit that could maintain tennis courts at the location.
He pointed to the Riverside Clay Tennis Association which maintains courts at Riverside Park near West 96th Street.
"If you don't want to worry about the RFP and don't want Parks to have to worry about ethics laws, the best thing you can do is get the community board to pass a resolution saying that it wants to work with a nonprofit like Riverside and I can give funding from my office to get that started," Kallos said.
“New York State should be a national role model for voter access and voting rights, with same-day registration, early voting, and no-excuse absentee voting,” said NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. “I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s efforts to get these voting reforms passed, and in the City Council we will continue to support that effort with resolutions calling on the state legislature to do the right thing.”
Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, has been pushing the city to do better for years and, at his request, the latest reports now show spending information by general categories of appropriation. But, he points out, the report still fails to connect budgeting with agency goals, despite being mandated by the city charter. “The MMR should be treated as an investment document,” Kallos said in a phone interview, “and spending should be tied to specific programmatic performance goals so New York City residents know how their tax dollars are being spent and can advocate for them to be increased or decreased.”
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley was combative when questioning Chandler. Citing the Committee’s report, Crowley noted that while permits issued by the DOB were up 15 percent from 2014 to 2016, fatalities had gone up 100 percent in that same time. She laid blame for the rise in deaths on a “lapse in safety standards and supervision on the behalf of the DOB.” Crowley, sponsor of the prevailing wage bill, was baffled that the DOB would oppose requiring prevailing wages and apprenticeship training, which she pointed out that the School Construction Authority already requires for all its developments.
Council Member Benjamin Kallos expressed concerns over DOB’s testimony against apprenticeship programs. Kallos noted, and DOB conceded, that there are apprenticeship programs offered in a range of languages other than English, so language may not be such a bar. Further, when asked how many programs require a G.E.D. or its equivalent, the DOB was unable to provide an answer because it did not track such things. Kallos asked DOB to reconsider its position based on the lack of data to back the DOB’s assertions.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Department of Sanitation and City Councilman Ben Kallos were handing out free reusable bags to help residents prepare for the implementation of a new ‘carryout bag law.’
However, the law is not without opposition.
Walking out the Fairway market on East 86th Street, Chris told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones that he likes the reusable bags, and uses them all the time. He also runs a delivery service.
EXCLUSIVE: City Council Progressive Caucus backs Queens assemblyman's statewide plan to subsidize rent for 'vulnerable residents'
"New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis that is severely impacting our most vulnerable residents, with currently 23,365 children are living in our city's shelter system," Kallos said. "We should be doing everything we can to prevent more families from ending up in already crowded shelters."
Hevesi's plan previously has been backed by 111 state Assembly members from both parties, a group of eight breakaway Senate Democrats who help make up a leadership coalition with the Republicans, and a range of other public officials.
Hevesi has said his plan would cost the state and feds $450 million, but it would ultimately save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by relying less on costly shelters. It would also be a big savings for the city, he has said.
The business model has worked well for the company, which was founded in the paper era in 1934, and has helped countless residents who want to find information about their community’s laws and see how they compare with others.
“We don’t believe we own these codes,” Wolf said. “We believe we are a service provider. We take the raw ordinances and put the codes online.”
The information, he says, doesn’t belong to his company. “It is not our information; it is the public’s information.”
New York City recently became a client of American Legal Publishing.
Ben Kallos, a city council member who helped nudge the city toward embracing a new system for publishing its laws, said making laws easily available to the public should be a no-brainer.
“If it is just out there and publicly available, residents can actually read laws, interact with them and use them and be empowered.”
One of the more contentious bills would require construction workers involved in projects of a certain size that receive $1 million or more in any kind of government assistance to receive state-approved training. Contractors would be required to participate in apprenticeship programs approved by the New York State Department of Labor if working on projects that are 100,000 square feet or more or have 50 or more residential units. A similar bill was introduced in 2013, but was revived by Council member Ben Kallos. Kallos noted on Wednesday that since 2012, 72 percent of construction-related accidents occurred on sites where contractors didn’t participate in apprenticeship programs.
“No one should die from a construction accident that could have been prevented with proper education, apprenticeship, and protections for a worker’s right to say no to a dangerous situation,” he said in a statement.
Brian Sampson, president of the New York chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, a nonunion organization, said the bill wrongly equates the apprenticeship programs with safety. He argued that the law would force workers to either join a union — since unions already participate in the programs — or apply for a program independently, which can take six to 18 months. He said this is likely to put hundreds of workers out of jobs.
Occupying a prominent site that formerly hosted the Vanderbilt mansion at the south end of Grand Army Plaza, the building was designed Ely Jacques Kahn in a Modern Classical style. Bergdorf Goodman was among the original tenants, and grew to become one of the City’s iconic department stores, ultimately purchasing the entire building.
The vernacular Italianate 412 East 85th Street House was built circa 1860, and is a rare surviving wood-framed house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The house has had a series of owners, and undergone some minor alterations, but remains largely intact. The house’s owners, Catherine De Vido and Susan Jordan, supported landmark designation. Council Member Ben Kallos, Gale Brewer, and preservationist organizations also urged Landmarks to designate the property.
The Harlem Branch of the YMCA, now the Jackie Robinson YMCA Youth Center, was completed in 1919 to designs by architect John Jackson. At the time of its construction, YMCAs were racially segregated, and the Harlem Branch was built for the use of African Americans. The building served as a center for Harlem intellectual and social life, and Harlem Renaissance luminaries such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and Paul Robeson are associated with the YMCA. There was no opposition to designation on the November 12thhearing. Chair Srinivasan said the cultural and social history associated with the building made it “a standout.”
Citi Bike has seen nearly 37 million trips completed since its inception in 2013, with few serious injuries and no deaths—but with more riders joining the bike share, they see further safety measures as a necessary step. (Learn everything you need to be a safer rider with the Bicycling Complete Book of Road Cycling Skills.)
“As Citi Bike ridership soars even during the dark winter months, it is important that we look for new innovative ways to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers safe,” said Council Member Ben Kallos in a press release. “By testing out the Blaze Laserlights, the city is showing its commitment to safety in our streets.”
“As Citi Bike ridership soars even during the dark winter months, it is important that we look for new innovative ways to keep pedestrians, cyclists and drivers safe,” said city council member Ben Kallos. “By testing out the Blaze Laserlights the city is showing its commitment to safety in our streets.”
A bill introduced last month by City Council member Ben Kallos would try to end this ridiculous time warp. It would require building owners to finish repair work in six months, so that sheds can be removed. If work on a building ever stopped for seven or more consecutive days, landlords would have to take the sheds down or risk being fined.
Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side, said his grandfather used the vehicular elevator while serving as a doctor at Coler-Goldwater Hospital. Kallos first remembers taking the tram with elementary school classmates in the 1980s. “We had a birthday party on Roosevelt Island, and that’s the first time I remember going there,” he said. “At the time, the only way you were going to get there was on the tram.”
The tram served as an '80s backdrop not only for Kallos’s childhood memories, but also for high-flying scenes in the cheesy 1981 Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks, where Sly’s character pilots a helicopter in a bid to rescue hostages held in one of the tram cabins.
Finally, the subway opened in 1989. The next year, the city came to an interim agreement with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the state authority that manages the island, to continue operating the tram, which remained popular.
New York City’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget of $82.1 billion comes with funding increases to many programs that residents have come to rely on. This year’s budget has initiatives I am proud to have fought for, including:
- $38.5 million added to Summer Youth Employment Program budget to fund 60,000 summer jobs for the city’s youth, 72 of which worked with Council Members of the Progressive Caucus
- $4.9 million in additional funds for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which increased funding for the purchase of food for those in need by over 40 percent
Programs I voted in favor of include:
- $1.8 million in base lined funding for 1,400 seniors currently on waitlists
- $16 million for 3,223 additional elementary school after school seats for a total of 6,600
- $17.5 million to fund 26,000 after-school seats for middle-school youth in School’s Out NYC
- $43 million in base lined funding to improve libraries
- $10 million for cultural organizations
- $22 million in base lined funding for District Attorneys, to create Alternatives to Incarceration Unit, reduce gun-related and other violent crimes
- $2.5 million for Vision Zero education and outreach
To stay on top of the work I am doing and opportunities to have a say in our community, please sign up to receive our monthly newsletter at BenKallos.com/Subscribe
Council Member, District 5
While summer is a great time to slow down, we also use it as a chance to catch up, with the introduction of legislation to protect hundreds of thousands from the “Tenant Blacklist,” fight patronage, and open city owned and operated spaces for the arts after hours, as well as passing legislation I authored into law to plan for climate change and a more resilient waterfront.
Please join me for our annual Town Hall this September to learn and ask questions about Pre-Kindergarten seats in the district, the completion of the Second Avenue Subway, Bus Service, Parks Improvements, Bike Safety, and get your free reusable bag. RSVP to reserve your free reusable bag.
How was your summer?
P.S. We will hold First Friday this month on September 9th.
September 15, 6pm
(Go Bags Giveaway)
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
September 13, 6pm
- Fighting “Tenant Blacklist” by Regulating Screening Companies
- Fighting Patronage
- Waterfronts and Resiliency, An Advisory Board Re-Established
- Emergency Preparedness CERT, Go Bag Giveaway
- Town Hall
- Moving the 91st Street Citi Bike Station
- Support Our Bus Drivers
- Gillen Brewer Students Take on Track Fires
- Suing to Protect Rent Freeze
- Register to Vote For President
- Supporting our Building Service Workers
- Girl Scouts Visit First Friday and Play Pokemon Go
- Preservation Pays, Challenge
- Participatory Budgeting:Neighborhood Assemblies Decided How to Spend $1 Million in the Community
- Fresh Food Box Continues at Office
- Affordable Rental Housing Opportunity, NYC Housing Connect
- Street Improvements Affect Available Parking
- Backing Folding Helmets
CITY COUNCIL UPDATES
I hope you had a chance to relax and enjoy yourself this month, maybe at Carl Schurz Park, where the New York Classical Theatre gave us our very own Shakespeare in the Park, with very well attended performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We secured dozens of additional Pre-Kindergarten seats for the East Side, which allow four year olds to go to school in their own neighborhoods. I allocated $2 million this year to revitalize the East River Esplanade. This adds to $45 million I have previously secured as Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Task Force with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney. And in Ruppert Park, I helped fund Big Belly solar compactor trash cans to keep the park clean and pest free.
The Department of Investigation released its independent query into why the city removed deed restrictions on the Rivington Street nursing home, allowing it to be turned into luxury condos. The report confirmed that the best interest of the city was not given due consideration in this deal. I plan to hold a Council hearing in the fall to ask more questions and discuss proposals for how we can prevent a similar deal from happening again.
Don't forget on Thursdays from 3:30pm to 6:30pm, until November 17, you can get a GrowNYC Fresh Food Box full of farm fresh produce for only $12 at my district office (order the week before). There are only a few weeks left of the summer -- make sure you are outside enjoying them.
P.S. We will hold First Friday this month on August 12, not 5.
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Deed Restrictions Initial Investigation Findings
- More Pre-K seats to the Upper East Side
- Better Bus Service
- Investing Additional $2 Million in East River Esplanade
- Shakespeare in Our Park
- Cleaning Up Ruppert Park
- Fresh Food Box
- Cooking with Kallos
- Reusable Bags
- Celebrating 40 Years of GrowNYC
- Kicking Off City of Water Day
- Catskill Challenge with Governor Cuomo
- Studying Microbes in Subways
- Pokémon Go “PokéStop” at Our Office
- Law.com: Leading the Civic Revolution
- United Nations Civic Camp
- STEM Institute for Public School Teacher
- Free Course from NYU’s GovLab
CITY COUNCIL UPDATES
- Perfect Attendance
- Legislative Corner
- Legal Clinic
- Here to Help
- Mobile District Hours
- Ben In Your Building
This year's budget reflected years of hard work with hundreds of millions in savings, billions set aside for a rainy day and investments in our district's parks and public schools. I continue to fight to protect our tenants and preserve our neighborhoods helping rent stabilized tenants win a second consecutive rent freeze.
As Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, I've invested nearly $2 million in the Esplanade including adding irrigation, renovating, removing fences, and greening. I am also working with Community Board 8 to de-privatize our Queensboro Oval Park under the bridge and open it for the public, please circulate and sign the petition at BenKallos.com/petition/oval
The Department of Transportation (DOT) will be completing the CitiBike rollout above 86th street, reducing the size of some stations, and infilling with new stations, a process I look forward to working with you to ensure takes you into consideration. DOT will also be painting crosstown bike lanes without taking away any traffic lanes or parking. We are also working with the newly formed East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association to restore the East 72nd stop for M15 Select Bus Service, please circulate and sign the petition at BenKallos.com/petition/m15sbs
As Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations I continue to fight special interests with legislation to limit their influence, oversight hearings, and stopping lobbyists from running our elections.
Stay-cation with me this July in the city and enjoy free Music at Sunset at Four Freedoms Park and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Carl Schurz Park, both supported with funding from my office and let me know what you think.
On Thursdays from 3:30pm to 6:30pm, starting this July 7 running through November 17, you can now get a GrowNYC Fresh Food Box full of farm fresh produce for only $12 at my district office.
Happy Fourth of July!
July 7, 14, 21, 28:
July 10, 12PM
July 12, 14-17, 7PM
July 12, 6PM
July 28, 6:30PM
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Budget Savings & Transparency
- Council Member Item Funding
- Celebrating Pride and Controlling Guns
- Cleaning Up 86th Street New Trash Cans and BID
- Fighting to Protect Our Landmarks
- We Won Another Rent Freeze
Transportation and Parks
- Crosstown Bike Lanes
- Bike Share Completion, Infill and Reduction
- Bike Safety
- Restore the M15 SBS Stop at 72nd Street
- Rally for the Queensboro Oval
- Pre-K Seats for the East Side and Roosevelt Island
- Chapin Reduces Hours of Construction
- Global Sampling Day
- Rockefeller University’s Expansion Begins
- Food Policy Award & Free School Lunch Support from Rachael Ray
- Cultural After School Adventures Performances
- Congratulations Graduates
- Fighting Special Interests
- Keeping Lobbyists from Running Elections
- Fighting Corruption at All Levels
- Public Comment and Analytics Bills
- Voter Information Portal Becomes Law
- One Job to Do: Voting
- Gender Pay Gap
- Free Feminine Hygiene Products
- Supporting the Striking Workers at the Hamilton
- Macy’s Fair Contract Rally
- Verizon Workers Strike Ends in Success
- Supporting Our Immigrant Families
- Get Your Fresh Food Box at My District Office
- Shakespeare in Our Park
- 180 East 88th Street Skyscraper Update
- Roosevelt Island Town Hall
- Literary Landmarks Dedicated to Remarque and Doctorow
- DOROT Turns 40
- Roosevelt Island Shabbat
- Street Fairs and Parades
- Participatory Budgeting
- Summer Reading Challenge
- Join Coro’s New York City Youth Council
- In the Neighborhood
- Legislative Corner
- Legal Clinics
- Here to Help
- Mobile District Hours
- Ben in Your Building
With summer on its way, May and June are the time to get things done in the neighborhood and at the City Council. This past month, we passed a bill to give voters all the information they need on their phone or online, which could have helped prevent April's election problems. We held a hearing with oversight of the City's deed restrictions policies that led to the widely scrutinized deals around a nursing home on Rivington Street and a cultural center on St. Nicholas Avenue. And our anti-corruption campaign finance reform legislative package won the critical support of the Mayor.
On the local level, we won 90 additional Universal Pre-Kindergarten seats in the district, through partnership with the Department of Education. The Department of Buildings granted a stop work order on the building planned to be the tallest skyscraper on the Upper East Side, following a letter I sent with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer calling into question its legality. And with the warm weather here, we relaunched our bike safety program with Council Member Dan Garodnick and expanded it to cover all of Community Board 8 and the 17th Precinct in Community Board 6.
This month, we will continue the community visioning process for John Finley Walk, hold the second public meeting for the 86th Stereet Business Improvement District --which is rapidly gaining support from local property owners, businesses, and residents -- host a town hall on Roosevelt Island, and inaugurate the summer months by bringing back Cooking with Kallos.
I hope I will see you at any of these exciting events, and don't forget: Tomorrow is First Friday! Come to my office between 8AM and 10AM for a conversation with me and your neighbors. And as always, you can also join me for Policy Night, Mobile Hours, Legal Clinics; or I can come to you for "Ben In Your Building" or at your co-op or condo annual meeting.
June 7, 6PM
June 8, 8AM - 10AM
June 28, 6:30 PM
June 25, 11AM - 1PM
June 25, 10AM
June 3, 8AM - 10AM
June 14, 6PM
June 23, 6PM
- Deed Restrictions, Rivington, St. Nicholas and More
- Voter Information Portal Passes New York City Council
- Administration Announces Support for Our Campaign Finance Reform Package
- Open Budget in New York City Achieved
- Building Automatic Benefits
- Stop Work Order for the UES’ Tallest Skyscraper
- East 86th Street Business Improvement District Holds Initial Public Meeting
- More Pre-K Seats for UES and Roosevelt Island
Housing and Preservation
- Calling for a Rent Rollback
- Rallying to Stop Superscrapers
- Working to Restore Gas at Yorkshire Towers
- Historic Districts Council Grassroots Preservation Award
Transportation, Parks and the Environment
- Bike Safety Program Expands
- Community Board 8 Bike Lanes Vote
- Bike Month: Free Helmet Giveaway, Bike to Work Day, 5 Boro Bike Tour and More
- Free Reusable Bags to Prepare for Single-Use Bag Reduction Law
- CB8 Speaks: The Queensboro Oval
- Making the Most of Our Waterfront
- Support Our Conservancies
Health and Nutrition
Governmental Operations and Technology
- Nearly Half Billion Dollars in Savings
- Seminar on Ethics in Politics
- A Digital Playbook for NYC
- Open Summit
- Attend PDF 2016
- Roosevelt Island Town Hall
- East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association
- 40th Anniversary of Roosevelt Island Tram
- Cooking with Kallos
- New Commanding Officers at the 19th and 17th Precincts
- Fighting for Building Service Workers at The Hamilton
- Light Up Literacy Culminating Event
- Crane Safety
- Criminal Justice Reform Act
- CKJ Shabbat
- Summer Youth Programs
- Asphalt Green Big Swim
- The Tank
- Thai Ministry of Finance
- Join me for Street Fairs and Parades this Summer
With the promise of warm weather this month I continue to focus on improving quality of life, fighting corruption, and a budget that is responsive to you.
Nearly 2,000 residents turned out to vote in person or online on how to spend $1 million as part of Participatory Budgeting, investing your tax dollars in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education with green roofs for two schools, laptops for ten schools. Read the results and more information below.
We’ve focused on quality of life by cleaning up our streets, improving city management, launching free public wifi, helping our homeless, and passing new enforcement laws. Quality of life legislation I authored was signed into law to recover $1.6 billion and prevent businesses from repeatedly leaving trash on the streets, engaging in dangerous construction, or excessive noise. As chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, I am working to address the Board of Elections’ presidential primary failures, as covered by the New York Times, and the improper sale of a nursing home at 45 Rivington Street.
Good news came to 86th Street, as I announced twice-a-day trash pickup with Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and our work with community and business leaders to form an 86th Street Business Improvement District for a full and sustainable solution made substantial progress. Come to support a Business Improvement District (BID) to clean up East 86th Street once and for all at a public meeting on Wednesday, May 18.
This month I hope you will join us to learn about your rights as a tenant and how to reduce rent stabilized rents with a rent roll back at our housing forum on May 19. As always join me monthly for First Friday, Policy Night, Mobile Hours, Legal Clinics; or I can come to you for "Ben In Your Building" or at your cooperative or condominium annual meeting.
How did you celebrate your Easter, Passover or Spring Break?
May 6, 1PM
May 14, 11AM
May 16, 10AM - 3PM
May 6, 8AM - 10AM
May 10, 6PM
May 26, 6PM
We continued our fight against the construction of the Marine Transfer Station as the tragic death of East Sider Jodi McGrath further substantiated concerns about garbage trucks driving down side streets in this dense residential neighborhood. `
I introduced legislation this month to empower residents to engage our government and participate in our democracy. Government should work for its residents, not special interests. By reforming antiquated ballot access laws and making large campaign donations unnecessary, we can increase the pool of viable candidates for office and give voters real choice on the ballot. By centralizing the City’s websites and information into a single app through Single Sign On legislation, we are streamlining a vast bureaucracy and allowing residents to access the information they need.
On the affordable housing front, I helped negotiate significant amendments into the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposals and saw an encouraging update in our fight against the superscraper at Sutton Place.
Join more than 2,000 residents who have already voted in deciding how $1 Million is spent on projects in the community. Vote online today or in person in my office or at the remaining sites by April 3.
For free reusable bags and helpful information, sign up for composting and electronics recycling in your building and much more at an Earth Day Forum. What will your Earth Day resolution be?
P.S. I hope we will see you in my office this Friday, April 1st at First Friday. This is not a joke, but bring a good joke if you’ve got one.
Starting Monday, March 28 through Thursday, March 31 you can request a digital ballot to vote online at BenKallos.com/PB/Digital
Join more than 1,000 of your neighbors who have already cast their votes to decide on how to spend $1 million in our community today through April 3rd as part of Participatory Budgeting.
Anyone 14 or over can vote online or in person at our district office or a mobile voting site for the entirety of vote week.
March 26th – April 3rd:
Monday – Friday: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday – Sunday: 11:00AM – 5:00PM
All government should work like your kitchen sink’s faucet: you should be able to rely on it and not have to deal with bureaucracy to make it work. I spent my second year in office seeking to fix government so it works seamlessly to meet your needs and serve our community and city. In the past year my office and I:
- Made government more transparent with seven laws opening up the city’s legislation, law, and elections.
- Brought additional Pre-K seats to the East Side and Roosevelt Island, as we expanded to 60,000 seats citywide.
- Invested $5 million in STEM education in our local public schools and expanded free lunch citywide.
- Secured $45 million from the city and private institutions to revitalize the East River Esplanade.
- Moved the ramp to 92nd Street while continuing to fight the Marine Transfer Station.
- Focused on changes to the management of the city to improve quality of life.
Thank you for your partnership in making all of our shared goals a reality. We’ve proven over the past two years that together we can accomplish greatness. You can read more from my midterm report at BenKallos.com/newsletters/midterm
Council Member, District 5