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Roma Torre

Sometimes it feels like once scaffolding goes up in the city, it stays up forever. But building owners could soon be facing a deadline for taking it down.

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos is pushing a bill that would put strict limits on how long scaffolding can be installed on city buildings.

The story was first reported by The New York Times.

The measure would give building owners up to six months to finish repairs so the scaffolding can be removed. 

If the repairs aren’t completed in time, the city would finish the work and charge the owner.

The city requires scaffolding to protect pedestrians from falling debris during repair work.

Supporters of the bill say the structures are ugly and hurt business. 

Critics say building owners don’t always have the money on hand to make expensive repairs.


CBS New York
Marcia Kramer

A New York City councilman has declared war on building scaffolding, claiming landlords should be forced to take them down if no work is being done.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) is seeking a new law that imposes a time limit of 90 days to fix a dangerous condition, with the possibility of a 90 day extension if needed.

“Sidewalk sheds are the guest that you invite to your home but never leaves,” he tells CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer.


Carolina Leid

In response, Councilman Ben Kallos is proposing a law requiring time limits.

"I put in a proposal that would give landlords three to six months to do the work. They wouldn't be able to stop that work at any point for more than seven days. And if they don't do the work, the city needs to step in and do the work ourselves and make bad landlords pay," Councilman Kallos said.


New York Times
Winnie Hu

The new bill will be introduced Tuesday by Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side. If passed, it would give a building owner three months, with the possibility of a three-month extension, to make repairs to a facade so that scaffolding can be removed in a timely manner. If the work is not completed in that time, the city will step in to do it, and charge the owner for the work. The proposal would allow exceptions for factors such as bad weather, permit delays or in cases where removing scaffolding would be deemed dangerous to public safety.

“A specific timeline for landlords to get the work done will finally work toward holding someone accountable for scaffolding that goes up and never comes down,” Mr. Kallos said.

While the bill is likely to draw support from many residents and businesses, it faces strong opposition from many building owners. Carl Hum, a senior vice president for the Real Estate Board of New York, a leading real estate trade group with more than 17,000 members, said the proposal was “ill conceived and should be reconsidered.”

Frank Ricci, the director of governmental affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 building owners and managers, said that owners sometimes do not have the money on hand to make costly repairs.


NBC News 4 New York
Andrew Siff

Sidewalk scaffolding are a nuisance, an eyesore, and they're up for too long, New Yorkers complain. A city lawmaker is proposing a plan to fix this. Andrew Siff reports.


Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid

When asked if his committee was the appropriate venue for the campaign finance bills, he said it was the speaker’s office that made the decision. “I have no experience with campaign finance bills, I deal with ethics issues,” he said, in a sense echoing the critique made by others who’ve questioned why campaign finance bills were heard in his committee as opposed to their typical place, government operations, the committee chaired by Council Member Ben Kallos.

The proposals have created some degree of internal tension within the Council for multiple reasons, including the committee venue. Additionally, before the bills were introduced, Council Member Kallos was openly skeptical of the effect they might have, telling the New York Times, “I am concerned about undermining the best parts of a system that has worked for the people.”

Council Member Brad Lander, sponsor of one of the new bills, disagrees. First, Lander told Politico New York that the Times report had mischaracterized the bills under consideration. On Tuesday, shortly after the speaker’s news conference, Lander told Gotham Gazette the concerns over the bills would be addressed through amendments and that criticism of their timing was unfounded. That the bills were heard through the standards and ethics committee rather than the governmental operations committee made little difference, he said, since the same people and advocacy groups would testify even if there were separate hearings. He also noted that Kallos, the governmental operations chair, was present at the hearing as well.


Zoe Rsenberg Tanay Warerkar

A consortium of community members and elected officials continue to rally against a skyscraper proposed for a low-rise residential block on East 58th Street. The East River Fifties Alliance, which includes officials like City Council Members Dan Garodnick and Ben Kallos, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and neighborhood stakeholders, are not letting up on their fight against Bauhouse Group’s proposed 950-foot tower at 426-432 East 58th Street despite last week’s court ordered auction of the site due to the developer’s mounting fiscal troubles.


Upper East Side Patch,NYC
Brenden Krisel

The Department of Buildings (DOB) issued an order to stop work on the demolition of three existing 5-story buildings at 428, 430 and 432 East 58th Street because safety measures have not been put in place to protect tenants living in the adjacent 426 East 58th Street, according to DOB files.

The stop work order was issued following an audit request from City Councilman Ben Kallos, the Wall Street Journal reported. Kallos told the Journal that the developers had requested an application to stabilize 426 East 58th Street in order to complete demolition on the adjacent three-buildings.



Representatives from the FDNY, along with firefighters from Rescue 1 and Engines 53, 91, 58, 76, 44 will be on hand to receive a Proclamation from Council Member Ben Kallos at City Hall.

81-year-old Jim Duffy was trapped on the fifth floor of an apartment building on East 93rd Street that quickly became engulfed by fire.


Wall Street Journal
Josh Barbanel

The plan, which the groups and officials said they were ready to formally propose to the City Planning Commission as early as this week, calls for buildings in the neighborhood to be no taller than 260 feet.

“I want to stop the march of 1,000-foot towers into residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat who is supporting the zoning change.

The groups hope it is approved before development work begins at the site. The proposed change also could discourage bidders at the auction, which was ordered by the court following a dispute between Bauhouse Group and its lenders, led by N. Richard Kalikow.

The zoning change isn’t the only hurdle the project faces. On Wednesday, the Department of Buildings blocked a permit needed to complete demolition of the site, after conducting an audit requested by Mr. Kallos.

The delay is a further setback, since the demolition was intended to enhance the site’s value to potential bidders.

The permit application, submitted as a result of a bankruptcy court order, was for stabilizing a building next door to the tower site, so demolition could proceed. But the buildings department blocked it.

Mr. Kallos said he was told that plans to protect tenants of the building, 426 E. 58th St., weren’t adequate.
Shaye Weaver

UPPER EAST SIDE — A "broken" voting system is to blame for the hourslong waits endured by voters during the election this year, say local elected officials who are calling for an overhaul including more polling sites and the option to mail in ballots.

Lines to vote in the next election could be shortened by opening new polling sites to spread out the crowds, Councilman Ben Kallos said.

"If you are part of a church, a synagogue, a nonprofit center, you could be incredibly helpful. If you're from a school and not a poll site let us know," he told residents during a Community Board 8 meeting Wednesday.

"We need to expand the number of poll sites. We can even put one in your lobby, as long as it is ADA accessible," he said.


Queens Chronicle
Nicholas Theodorou

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Committee on Governmental Operations, echoed the importance of homeless people being ensured their vote is counted.

“We must ensure that everyone who can vote is voting no matter their housing status,” he said.

Kallos and Wills also worked together on a law that allows those being detained in city jails to vote.

“And with so many people awaiting trial with an overwhelming majority of men of color who shouldn’t be in our system, they need to be protected and they need their rights protected,” Kallos said at the press conference.

Although at the time of the press conference it was too late to register to vote, Matt Borden, of the DHS, wanted to ensure that those who are eligible to cast ballots would be told how to do so.


New York Times
J. David Goodman

The number of polling places in New York City has declined in recent years, with the 1,205 operating this year about the same as in 2012 but down from 1,349 in 2008, when President Obama was elected to his first term. Many polling places were consolidated to comply with federal regulations related to people with disabilities, said Councilman Ben Kallos, an Upper East Side Democrat who leads the governmental operations committee.

Over the same period, the number of active registered voters has increased to 4.5 million from 4.1 million.



Wall Street Journal
Josh Dawsey

Even before dawn broke in New York City on Tuesday, the lines of voters stretched down the block.

With reports of high voter turnout, some voters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens said they waited hours to cast their ballots. Officials reported broken scanner machines and confusion at some polling sites.

“There were massive, massive lines and fire-code issues because so many people couldn’t get inside,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, referring to a polling site on the Upper East Side.

Still, early indications showed that the city’s Board of Elections had fewer problems Tuesday, compared with the presidential primaries in April.


Nathan Tempey

2014 report by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, formed following problems with the 2012 presidential election, concluded that "no voter should have to wait more than half an hour," and that where that happens, "corrective measures should be deployed." And as research cited by the New York Times today found:

Early voters, urban voters and minority voters are all more likely to wait and wait and wait. In predominantly minority communities, the lines are about twice as long as in predominantly white ones[...]And minority voters are six times as likely as whites to wait longer than an hour to vote.

Citing the presidential commission's report, Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, chairman of the Council Committee on Governmental Operations, wrote, "At poll sites across the city, New Yorkers are reporting long lines. The consolidation of poll sites crammed too many election districts into mega-poll sites and left New Yorkers waiting on mega-lines. For safety, the fire code limits how many people can occupy a space and the number of voters at certain poll sites is dangerously close to those limits. We need additional, wheelchair-accessible poll sites to reduce lines and ensure a safe voting experience."

Perhaps even more troubling than technical and logistical malfunctions is poll worker misdirection, based on false understandings of law and procedure. At PS 142 in Carroll Gardens, reader Nicole Yoblick wrote:

The people working at my booth giving out forms were instructing us that we have to vote ALL democratic or ALL republican, that we could not pick and choose or the machines would reject the form when scanned. They said it had happened multiple times already...So we would not be allowed to vote for a democratic president and a republican senator. This is wrong!"


Sabina Mollot

On Halloween, dozens of tenants holding spooky signs rallied at City Hall to bash landlords as vampires if they engage in predatory equity.

The event was held prior to a City Council hearing on a package of bills that were aimed at stopping the practice.

Predatory equity is generally defined as when a landlord purchases a property with a high level of debt that could only be expected to be paid if the owner aggressively tries to get rid of rent-regulated tenants and replace them with higher paying ones.

Tactics that could be considered aggressive by landlords include harassment via frivolous lawsuits, a lack of basic maintenance, illegal fees, constant buyout offers or construction that’s unsafe or seems gratuitously disruptive.

One of the City Council members pushing legislation, Dan Garodnick, gave the example of Stuyvesant Town’s sale to Tishman Speyer a decade ago as a prime example of predatory equity.

“This is when landlords overpay for buildings with the speculation that they will be able to deregulate units and drive out tenants,” he said. “You’re not making them enough money, so they will try anything to get you out of there. This is harassment.”

The other council members pushing bills were Ben Kallos, Ritchie Torres, Vincent Gentile, Helen Rosenthal and Jumaane Willians, who’s also chair of the council Housing Committee. One of the bills would require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to create and maintain a watch list of owners who’ve engaged in predatory activity.


AM New York
Vincent Barone

Private developments are popping up right alongside the construction of MTA contractors. Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), whose district encompasses the new Upper East Side subway line, has watched two new developments rise from across the street of his district office.

Kallos said the line brings concerns, like the scale of new buildings, pricing out of residents and potential overcrowding at schools if the greater accessibility attracts more residents—“Not only are our trains crowded, but so are our schools,” he said.

“A concern is protecting my residents and making sure that those residing in rent-regulated housing are protected,” Kallos said, noting that his office will be open to all constituents with lease questions.

“For the businesses that survive the construction, they’ll have the benefit of increased foot traffic,” he added. “Sadly, for those who didn’t, we hope to see many of the empty storefronts revitalized.”

Commute times of Second Avenue residents could increase between 10 and 15 minutes, Streeteasy estimates show. Transit experts fear that villainizing mass transit as a driver of rent hikes or gentrification is counterproductive to building a more equitable city.


Our Town
Madeleine Thompson

An analysis of data collected by the NYPD shows the success of several recent bicycle safety measures.

The study, performed by Council Ben Kallos’ office, looked at the NYPD’s “Details of Motor Vehicle Collisions in New York City” data from July 2012 to September 2016 for the 17th and 19th precincts.

Kallos and Council Member Daniel Garodnick, whose districts include these precincts, have led a push for greater bike safety and education programs in response to continuing concerns from residents between E. 26th and 96th Streets.


New York Post
Rich Calder

“I am deeply concerned about whether a patronage-run Board of Elections can run an election properly,” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said on Monday.

Kallos, who chairs the council’s Government Operations Committee, added that he left an oversight hearing last month still believing voters are in for long lines and snafus, despite recent efforts to increase the number of poll workers to 36,000 and boost voting technology at the 1,205 poll sites.

Michael Ryan, the agency’s executive director, brushed the criticism aside, telling The Post he and his staff are more than ready for the big day.


Main Street WIRE
Dana Agman

“The presidential elections have made it hard for me to sleep,” says Council member Ben Kallos who is deeply disturbed by the national discourse.

“It is hard for me to believe that so many people in a country that I love are responding to some of this speech,” he said, referring to the hateful speech and incitement on the part of Donald Trump.

“My grandparents came to this country as immigrants… my wife is an immigrant. This is a nation of immigrants and the rhetoric around immigration is of huge concern to me.” He is concerned that “[a Trump presidency] would be a problem for Roosevelt Island which has one of the larger immigrant populations in my district, let alone the city.”

We sat down with the Councilmember to get his take on a variety of issues concerning the Island.


Main Street WIRE
Joyce M. Short

The New York Junior Tennis and Learning winter program is supported by the generosity of New York City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos. If you’d like to thank him for his efforts, please stop by the club on Saturday, November 19 at 7 am, when he’ll be playing with us and having breakfast with our kids. Breakfast is a regular event at our site with the cooperation of NYJTL parents.


Upper East Side Patch,NYC
Brendan Krisel

“No more having to peer through bars to see our beautiful waterways at the 90th Street pier thanks to our new park. I am committed to examining every inch of the East Side to find more park space that residents can use year round,” Council Member Ben Kallos said in a statement.



Wall Street Journal
Mara Gay

Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, and others have said the board should be nonpartisan. Political parties hold too much sway in the appointments, he said.

“At the end of the day when you have an institution run by patronage, where people are there because of who they know and not what they know, I will never be confident that they will be able to run a smooth election,” said Mr. Kallos, who leads a council committee that has oversight of the board.


Manhattan Express
Jackson Chen

In terms of funding for these waterfront projects, $35 million has been secured from Mayor Bill de Blasio, $10 million from Rockefeller University, $6 million from the City Council, and an additional $2 million from Councilmember Ben Kallos.

“We are dedicated to getting every single square inch of park space that we can,” Kallos said. “Because even with this addition, this district is still going to rank amongst the bottom according to New Yorkers for Parks in terms of the Open Space Index.”


Our Town
Amy Zimmer

Under another law, introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos, HPD’s third-party transfer program — which allows the city to foreclose and sell distressed buildings to pre-qualified third parties — would be expanded to include buildings whose owners have incurred large numbers of unsatisfied building violations.

The legislation aims to put pressure on landlords who fail to address recurring building problems and fail to pay the fines incurred on those violations.

HPD officials have been working with the Council as part of a task force on how to reform the sales of distressed properties and said they hope to study the issue further based on the group’s findings.


Dear Neighbor,You’ve given me a remarkable responsibility: to represent you in City Hall.Under previous Council Member Jessica Lappin’s leadership, our communitythrived — a legacy I will diligently continue. I am honored to now representthe community where I grew up and where my mother still lives. My officewill always accessible be and available to you and can be reached bycalling 212-860-1950, visiting us at 244 East 93rd Street, or emailingbkallosatcouncil [dot] nyc [dot] gov. We have important work to do together. Every child should receive the sameworld-class education that I did at Bronx High School of Science. We can worktogether to implement innovative solutions such as identifying new spacesfor schools in our neighborhood, making pre-k universally available to helpchildren get a fair start, and creating CUNY college loan forgiveness programsto help our city’s economy thrive. Older New Yorkers and their caregivers must be supported so they can behealthy and independent. My mother is a senior who lives in the district, and Iam committed to keeping senior centers open and protecting vital services likeMeal on Wheels. We must protect and expand affordable housing. Those who made our neighborhoodwhat it is today deserve to see the benefits of their lifetimes of hardwork. New development, which will come with the completion of the SecondAvenue Subway, must include affordable housing for middle-class New Yorkers.We also have standing battles to continue. I am a member of Asphalt Green’sTriathlon Team and will continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station. I amworking to build a broad coalition of elected officials and community leadersin opposition to any dump in a residential neighborhood. It won’t be easy,it won’t happen right away, and I will need your help — but together, we candefeat it. If we invest in each other — our time, energy and compassion — our governmentcan work better for all of us. Please join me, so that together we canbuild a better city. Sincerely,Council Member Ben KallosDistrict Five: Upper East Side, Midtown East, El Barrio and Roosevelt Island

What a month!

Between some blockbuster Supreme Court decisions, the city budget passing, a rent freeze triumph, the DEC finally opening up its comment period on the ill-conceived 91st Street Marine Transfer station and the announcement of a long-planned bike safety blitz, it all seemed to come together in June.

In July, we will hold a forum on superscrapers and how we can fight them as well as one on local jobs to repair NYCHA. I hope you will join us.

Now that July Fourth is just around the corner, I am looking forward to celebrating our country's progress with family and friends. I will proudly watch the fireworks knowing that healthcare is protected for those most in need and LGBTQ Americans can marry who they love. (Speaking of fireworks, they will be taking place over the East River this year, and should be visible from both the East Side and Roosevelt Island.)

How will you celebrate July Fourth? As always, feel free to send me a note letting me know your plans. Happy Independence Day, and have a great month!


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents
1. Calling on the DEC to the Stop the MTS
2. We Won a Rent Freeze
3. Bike Safety Blitz
4. Fighting Superscrapers
5. Celebrating Marriage Equality
6. A Win for Landmarks
7. Jobs Forum for NYCHA and Low-Income Residents
8. LegislationLab
9. Improving Quality of Life
10. A Budget for all New Yorkers
11. Participatory Budgeting for Roosevelt Island and Lexington Houses
12. Annual Public School Sotheby's Art Show
13. Council Member for a Day
14. Fighting Pesticides with PS 290
15. Meet our Newest Community Board Members
16. Graduation Speeches

17. Safer Sidewalks for Seniors and Disabled New Yorkers
18. Citi Bike Locations and Safety

19. Cornell Tech Groundbreaking
20. Tour of Roosevelt Island with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
21. Second Avenue Subway Progress
22. Second Avenue Shopper App
23. 125 Years of Park East and 85 Years of Rabbi Arthur Schneier
24. Roosevelt Island Lamppost Dedication
25. Street Fairs
26. Adopt-A-Planter
27. Cooking with Kallos

Upgrading Government
28. Where's my FiOS?
29. Fighting Corruption at the Board of Elections
30. Intellibins
31. Insourcing IT jobs
32. Getting Laws Online the Right Way
33. Personal Democracy Forum

Office Updates
34. Legislative Corner
35. Summer Reading Challenge
36. In the Neighborhood
37. Summer Interns
38. Here to Help
39. Mobile District Hours
40. Ben in Your Building

Community Resources
41. Free Summer Meals
42. Affordable Housing
43. Bike New York
44. City Council Events
45. Community Events

This year's budget will make life easier, better and safer for New Yorkers of all backgrounds, now and in the future. Right here on the East Side and Roosevelt Island, I have prioritized funding worthy projects, schools and nonprofits that will strengthen our community.

This month we fought and won some big and small victories. None of these victories could have happened without a strong partnership between the community and my office. What we can accomplish working together represents so much more than what I can accomplish alone. 

I worked with the Sutton Area Community organized around stopping a 900 story superscraper and won a resolution in support from Community Board 6; fought alongside parents on Roosevelt Island in a citywide coalition to restore funding for summer programs for thousands of children; and saw Zero Waste adopted in the City's long term plan, something I have advocated for with the community since before my election. Zero Waste will make the already obsolete garbage dump even more so when we send no trash to landfills in 2030. None of these fights are over, but together we can win.

Will you join the fight? Meet me for First Friday, lead the change at Policy Night, or organize neighbors for Ben in Your Building, so we can mobilize for victory!

Have a happy, healthy June.


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents
1. Fighting Superscrapers
2. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
3. Winning Back Funding for Summer Youth Programs
4. Pesticides in Parks
5. Fighting Child Hunger: Lunch for Learning and Breakfast After The Bell
6. Crossing Guards and School Safety Agents
7. Debate Tournament at Julia Richman Educational Complex
8. Roosevelt Island Law Enforcement Explorers
9. Roosevelt Island Town Hall and Restoring Funds
10. Shop Second Avenue
11. Construction at 89th and 1st
12. Fighting Identity Theft
13. Preserving Landmarks
14. Cyber Bullying
15. Fourth of July Fireworks
16. UES Historic Districts Scavenger Hunt
17. Jewish Heritage Month
18. NY Cares Day of Service
19. Street Fairs
20. Adopt-A-Planter
Affordable Housing
21. Calling for a Rent Freeze in 2015
22. Rally to Strengthen Rent Laws
23. 5% Reduction in Street Homelessness
24. $33 Million for NYCHA In District
25. Vision Zero: Year One
26. Safe Biking
27. Citi Bike Locations
Upgrading Government
28. Internet Week
29. Getting Money out of Politics
30. GovTech Profiles
31. $70 million Broadband Pledge
32. Transparency Commission
33. Civic Hall Law Day
Office Updates
34. Summer Reading Challenge
35. SUNY Albany Communications Department Commencement
36. Honoring The Nation for 150 Years
37. Celebrating the Arts with the Tank
38. Central Park Medical Unit New Ambulances
39. Celebrate Israel
40. In the Neighborhood
41. Summer Internship with New Hours Available
42. Here to Help
43. Ben in Your Building
44. Legislative Corner
Community Resources
45. Affordable Housing
46. Bike New York
47. Free Assistance with Life-Planning Documents
48. New York Council for the Humanities Reading & Discussion Program
49. Tree Census
50. City Council Events
51. Community Events

The results are in for participatory budgeting!

It has been a busy month between that and gearing up for a fight on the luxury mega-tower planned for Sutton Place. 

I hope to see you at First Friday tomorrow morning to discuss it all (as a reminder, it is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at my District Office at 244 East 93rd St. RSVP online.) You can also join the Attorney General's office and me on May 5th on preventing identity theft. RSVP. There will also be a Roosevelt Island Town Hall on the 21st.

This April, New Yorkers celebrated holidays with their loved ones, or simply celebrated spring. I enjoyed a Passover Seder with friends and family. How did you celebrate the spring or the holidays?

I hope to hear from you soon.


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents

1. Participatory Budgeting
2. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
3. Let in the Light, Not the Superscrapers
4. Passover Seder
5. 50th Anniversary of the Landmarks Law
6. Free School Meals
7. Safety for Schoolchildren
8. Debt-Free College
9. Better Subsidized Childcare
10. Council Member for a Day
11. Fighting Corruption Through the Civil Service
12. Fair Treatment for Airport Workers
13. Fight for $15
14. Small Business Hearing
15. Budget
16. Fire at East 78th Street
17. Community Board Appointments
18. 81st St Bridge
19. Establishing Friends of Ruppert Park
20. The Big Swim
21. Adopt-A-Planter
22. Tree Census
23. Cherry Blossom Festival
24. Hack Roosevelt Island
25. ASC Ribbon Cutting
Civic Technology and Participation
26. Register to Vote with Your Lease
27. CityCouncil2.0
28. CUNY Law Panel
29. Open Standards With Carl Malamud
30. Open Government Leaders Around the World
31. Five Borough Tech Tour
32. GovLab Class
Office Updates
33. Ben in Your Building
34. Here to Help
35. Summer Internship
36. Legislative Corner
37. In the Neighborhood
38. City Council Events
39. Mobile District Hours
40. Community Events

Spring is finally here, and the days are getting a little bit longer and warmer.

This month, I held budget hearings; fought against the marine transfer station; advocated to make it easier for parents to return to the workforce; demanded better bus service; worked to prevent sky-high zoning in our neighborhoods; and more. There are many more updates in the email below.

I hope to see you at First Friday tomorrow morning from 8-10 a.m. at my district office to discuss these issues and more. 

In April, you are empowered to vote on how to spend $1 million in our neighborhood this month. To pledge to vote, find voting times and see the projects on the ballot, please visit


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents
1. Participatory Budgeting: You Decide How to Spend $1 Million
2. Fighting Against the Marine Transfer Station
3. Fighting for Public Schools
4. Supporting our Schools
5. School Crossing Guards
6. Council Member for a Day
7. Summer Reading Challenge
8. Chess in the Schools
9. NYC FIRST Robotics Regional Competition
10. Student Voter Registration Day
11. Helping Parents Get Back to Work
12. Funding Life Sciences in New York City
13. Raise the Wage!
Affordable Housing
14. Fighting Against Overdevelopment
15. Protesting Church Closings
16. Real Affordability for All
17. Extending Rent Laws
18. Rent Rollback
19. Assisting Tenants
20. Funds for NYCHA
21. Affordable Housing Opportunity
22. Better Bus Service
23. Ferry Service
A Better Budget
24. Progress at the Board of Elections
25. NEW City Records Portal
26. Oversight Hearings
27. NYLCV Perfect Score and Green Construction
28. Food Justice
29. Roosevelt Island AVAC System Tour
30. OTTY Awards
31. Honoring Big Brothers Big Sisters
32. Celebrating Easter in the Community
33. Save Small Business
34. Community Board 8
35. Three Alarm Fire
36. Free Tax Assistance
37. Mount Vernon Hotel Museum
38. Free Senior Fitness Class
39. Asphalt Green Big Swim at Asphalt Green AquaCenter
Civic Technology and Participation
40. Increasing Participation: Absentee Ballot Tracking & Same Day Registration
41. New Age of Civic Tech
42. Senior Cyber Citizens
43. DemocracyOS
44. NYU GovLab Course
Office Updates
45. Ben in Your Building
46. PlaNYC Community Ideas
47. Summer Youth Employment
48. Here to Help
49. City Council Interns
50. Legislative Corner
51. In the Neighborhood
52. City Council Events
53. Mobile District Hours
54. Community Events

Ferry service is coming to the East Side, according to an announcement made by the Mayor during his State of the City speech last month -- including a "nerd boat," connecting the East Side, Roosevelt Island and Astoria, which I have long advocated for.

The Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Plan for Manhattan was released, a comprehensive plan for the DOT, NYPD, and other agencies that I contributed to through my "Livable Streets" initiative.

When it is complete, will you be taking the ferry? Write me a note and let me know your plans.

To top it off, I celebrated my birthday this month, and Valentine's Day with my wife. All in all, it has been a great February -- and it is shaping up to be a great March. Please join me this month at First Friday, Policy Night, a housing legal clinic, or a participatory budgeting expo. With all these options, I hope to see you soon!


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents

1. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
2. Ferry Service on the East Side
3. Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Plan
4. Participatory Budgeting - You Decide How to Spend $1 Million
5. Net Neutrality Won
6. Protecting New Yorkers
7. Towing Transparency Bill
8. Protecting Public Schools
9. State of the District
10. Helping the Homeless
11. Meetup
12. Online Tracking of Absentee Applications and Ballots
13. Free Broadband for NYCHA Residents
14. City Council Bill Drafting Unit
15. Whole Foods Opening
16. CIVITAS East River Esplanade Vision Plan
17. Fighting for Affordable Housing
18. Civic Tech Town Hall at CodeAcross NYC
19. LGBT Center Ribbon Cutting
20. Ribbon Cutting at New Urban Justice Center Home
21. Jewish People's Choice Awards
22. CitiBike Expansion
23. Standing Against Anti-Semitism with Chief Rabbi of France
24. Learning from World Cities
25. Affordable Housing 
26. FREE Senior Fitness Class
27. Free Legal Housing Clinic
28. Free Course on Civic Tech at NYU
29. Teaching about Government
30. Luce Leaders Awards
31. Civil Service and Labor Hearing 
32. Here to Help
33. City Council Interns
34. Legislative Corner
35. In the Neighborhood
36. City Council Events
37. Community Events

I hope you are staying warm! The temperatures have dropped and snow has begun to fall, so if you need city services, please contact 311 and my office. The good news is that Staten Island Chuck did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day. Let's hope he is right, and that we are due for an early spring.

My birthday is coming up this week, and I am happy to reflect on the past year. If you have not already seen my year in review newsletter, please have a look. I was also honored to be profiled after one year in the City Council in Our Town.

I look forward to seeing you at my "State of the District" this Sunday. If you have not reserved your seat, please RSVP.

Below, you can read about protecting tenants, increasing youth participation, helping the homeless through the annual HOPE street survey, protecting our schools, a CitiBike Expansion forum, lowering the cost of college, a new course I am teaching for free at NYU, and more.

You will also see how I celebrated Martin Luther King Day. What did you do to commemorate the day? Write back to this newsletter and let me know!


Ben Kallos

Table of Contents

1. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
2. State of the District
3. Public School Funding
4. Helping the Homeless
5. Citi Bike Forum
6. Free Course at NYU
7. Winter Snow
8. Honoring Our Officers
9. Martin Luther King Day
10. Tenant Blacklist
11. Free CUNY
12. E-Hails in New York City 
13. Youth Vote
14. Better Bus Service
15. Church Closings in the District
16. Protecting Privacy and Security
17. Fighting for Affordable Housing
18. Digital Democracy
19. Women’s Issues Committee Hearing: HPV and Choice
20. Honoring Big Brother Big Sister
21. Youth on Community Boards
22. Remembering Teri Slater
24. Dental Van
25. One Year In
26. Free Senior Fitness
27. Here to Help
28. City Council Interns
29. In the Neighborhood
30. City Council Events
31. Community Events

It has been one year since I began serving as your City Council Member. I am deeply proud of the work we have done together and excited for the road ahead. Though there certainly have been difficult times, especially in recent days and months, it is time for our city to come together in mourning of those we have lost and with resolve to move forward.

I look forward to meeting you at an upcoming event--or perhaps my holiday party tonight, 12/23, from 4-7p.m. at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street. You can RSVP

If you would like to compare my goals with actions over the past year, please have a look at my 2013 Policy Book. I am proud of these achievements--but I know there's much, much more to do. Thank you for your support this year. I am looking forward to the next three.


Ben Kallos


Happy New Year!

A new year brings new hope, opportunity for growth, and the optimism that the next year will improve upon the last. Thank you for an incredible past year, and here's to an even better 2015 as we build on the progress already made. Please join me as I report to you on the "State of the District" on February 8, 2015. RSVP to attend.

Also, please consider joining your community board. If you are interested in joining a community board, please apply today! As a former community board member,I know that joining the board is a great way to get involved in your neighborhood. Applications close on January 30th.

Whether they be personal desires or wishes for the good of our community and our city, I would like to hear your thoughts about what 2015 holds. What are your New Year's resolutions?

Best wishes to you and your loved ones in the new year,

Ben Kallos

Table of Contents

1. Fight Against the Marine Transfer Station
2. Hail a Yellow Cab on Your Phone
3. Join Your Community Board
4. Bike Safe
5. Commission On Public Information and Communication
6. Early Vote
7. Downsizing Victory
8. Celebrating the Holidays
9. Proclamation for Carol Tweedy 
10. Fracking Banned in New York State
11. Honoring the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association for 30 Years of Service
12. Fighting for a World Class Education
13. Local Progress Conference
14. Equality for Women in FDNY
15. Universal Broadband Advocacy Continues with Hearing on Comcast Merger
16. Honored by Labor Press
17. Carl Schurz Literary Landmark
18. Ben in Your Building
19. Mayor's Management Report
20. Free Senior Fitness Class
21. Here to Help
22. Become an Intern
23. In the Neighborhood
24. City Council Events
25. Neighborhood Events