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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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the committee, posed questions aimed at debunking Schulkin’s claims about voter identification requirements. Ryan, in response, reiterated that New York State does not require any identification for voting, only a signature. Only in rare instances, first-time voters may be required to produce identification if their voter registration is incomplete.
When Kallos asked if Schulkin’s claims about voters being bussed to multiple polling sites held any water, Ryan said, “Those issues have never come to my attention, not during my time as a commissioner going back to 2010 or in the three-plus years that I’ve been the executive director.” The state attorney general’s office also told Gotham Gazette earlier this month that the AG’s office has not received complaints of widespread voter impersonation fraud that Schulkin mentioned.
“Uber engages with regulators and complies with regulation,” City Council member Ben Kallos said. “And Airbnb does whatever it wants in violation of the law.”
Councilman Ben Kallos, whose district includes the East 80s, said he would have preferred the subway to open years ago, as it's been planned since the 1920s, but now is better than never.
But Kallos said he thinks while "100 years is a long time to wait for a subway," when the line finally opens it will be a welcome sight.
"The Second Avenue Subway will [lure] a lot of the riders from Lexington over to," said Kallos. "Businesses that are now here will have the benefit of more traffic, both foot traffic and subway traffic. The neighborhood will get Second Avenue back."
To the relief of many Upper East Siders who have wanted the change for years, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has disallowed left turns onto E. 79th Street for cars heading north on York Avenue.
Though there was never a turn signal at that intersection, the light would remain green for drivers going north on York after the other three lights had turned red so the northbound cars could make a left turn. This confused pedestrians, who would think all lights were red and would cross the street without realizing some of them were in the path of the northbound cars who still had a green light.
“This is an intersection where I myself have felt unsafe,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, who helped accomplish the safety improvement. “I brought the concern to the Department of Transportation and we went over multiple different options.”
After deciding that eliminating left turns all together was the best move, Kallos and the DOT took it to the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association for a vote.
Betty Cooper Wallerstein, president and founder of the neighborhood association, is happy to see the intersection made safer, but frustrated that it took more than four years to do so.
“People are used to, when the traffic stops, crossing,” Wallerstein said. “The streets have to be safe for blind people, too. It never, never, never should have taken so many years to correct that mistake.”
City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the council’s Committee on Governmental Operations, which oversees the CFB, said in a statement last week that he hoped to see a “a thorough and open search for a new chair who will be independent, non-partisan, and non-political” in their role.
“It is of supreme importance that the next chair be someone who has the stature and integrity to not only stand up to candidates and any elected officials but guide the board through election years independently,” Kallos said.
Notably, de Blasio was faced with a somewhat similar choice when selecting a chair for a mandated commission to study and reccomend compensation levels for the city's elected officials. De Blasio chose Schwarz, Jr. in what was a universally applauded decision.
Unless you’re standing right in front of Maz Mezcal, on E. 86th Street between First and Second Avenues, you’ll probably miss it. The restaurant is hidden from view from most directions, due to extensive fencing and machinery. That’s all part of the construction of the Second Avenue subway, which has had a negative impact on business.
“It’s been horrendous,” said Mary Silva, owner of Maz Mezcal. “Business – at least mine and most everyone’s that I’ve spoken to – has dropped anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.”
In order to offset the financial consequences Maz Mezcal and its peers are facing, the Department of Finance is offering them the opportunity to have any fines forgiven that they’ve racked up during the construction. Council Member Ben Kallos encouraged the community to take advantage of the program, which will allow Second Ave. business owners and buildings to have any penalties and interest voided for violations such as snow on the sidewalk, working without a permit, improper trash disposal and failure to conduct required inspections, among others.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get to square one ahead of some legislation I’ve introduced that would actually put their businesses at risk if they haven’t been good neighbors,” Kallos said.
At Kallos’ press conference last week, Finance Department Commissioner Jacques Jiha said almost 700,000 violations have gone into judgment since the construction on the subway began.
The end result is that anyone who's ever been brought into housing court by their landlord ends up penalized, and tenants are discouraged from classic methods of protecting their rights, such as withholding rent. While there's been some movement to improve the lists—City Council memberBenjamin J. Kallos has introduced legislation to include more information about the actual cases, for instance—is there any reason we can't do away with this practice altogether?
The letter — signed by Councilman Ben Kallos, State Senator Liz Krueger, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and State Assembly members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright — listed several reasons why East 72nd Street deserves select bus service.
"With high bus-dependent populations, infrequent local service, crosstown bus service, hospitals, community support and opening of the Second Avenue Subway with a station at 72nd Street, now is the perfect opportunity to increase ridership by restoring M15 Select Bus Service at 72nd Street," read the letter.
During Wednesday night's meeting the board also voted to adopt a resolution to ask NYC Transit for increased local bus service to the stop for the next six months. Since select bus service was instituted on the M15 line, local bus service has deteriorated, in some cases being four times as slow as before select bus service, according to a press release.
“Residents feel abandoned by our buses. Watching five Select Buses go by what used to be a Limited stop makes seniors with limited mobility feel abandoned as they wait for a local bus that never seems to come,” said Kallos in a press release. “Seniors and children live in one-third of the households near 72nd Street and they must be able to rely on bus service to get where they are going.”
Although the community board was in overwhelming favor of both resolutions, the body is simply advisory. The ultimate decision on whether to extend select bus service to East 72nd Street must be made by NYC Transit.
Councilman Ben Kallos, who heads the committee on governmental operations, said he hopes the mayor will appoint “a person of stature who can stand up to any elected official and any candidate, who is nonpartisan and nonpolitical.”
“The turnstiles should be a pathway to economic opportunity, not another barrier,” Raskin said. “It means people are not able to use public transportation to access jobs and economic opportunity and the life of the community. And that is wrong.”
Advocates, including Council Members Ben Kallos and Ydanis Rodriguez, said the city has enough money to pay for the program.
“That is a reasonable price to pay to keep the trains and buses accessible for every New Yorker who must depend on mass transit to get to work and job interviews, attend college and job training programs, obtain needed health care, and enable their families to take advantage of the richness of the city’s cultural life,” wrote the officials in a joint letter to the mayor signed by 27 council members.
The board voted to support that request and Councilman Ben Kallos, who names 79th and York Avenue a dangerous intersection in his "Livable Streets" report, worked with them to get the DOT to solve the issue over the past six months.
“Every day I saw pedestrians crossing York Avenue getting caught by surprise as they dodged northbound cars that barreled through the intersection at 79th Street,” Kallos said in a statement.
State agencies can now leverage an open source tool to help ensure that individuals eligible for income-based human service benefits actually receive them.
The software is Benefit Assist, and it was first launched in 2015 by Intuit for that company’s TurboTax users. Benefit Assist sifts through tax information to help determine a person’s eligibility for benefits from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and Medicare.
Now, Intuit has partnered with New York City Council Member Ben Kallos and the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make its eligibility software free and open source code, according to the company.
An online tool from tax preparation company Intuit that can easily determine whether an application is eligible for food stamps or other benefits is now freely available through a federal agency to states, local governments or nonprofit organizations.
Councilman Ben Kallos has been pushing for legislation that would require the city to use income tax filings to determine eligibility for public benefits.
Last year, Intuit made the Benefit Assist tool available to help users of TurboTax determine whether they were eligible for an array of programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare and many others.
Borelli, who sits on the Council’s governmental operations committee, which has oversight of the Board of Elections, wrote to committee chair Ben Kallos, a Democrat from Manhattan, requesting the hearing. Kallos told Gotham Gazette on Thursday that he disagrees with Borelli about the need for a state voter identification law and said that he will bring up the fraud allegations by BOE Commissioner Alan Schulkin at an already-planned elections oversight hearing in October.
Council Member Kallos told Gotham Gazette he “fervently” disagrees with Borelli. “I do not believe that we need voter identification,” he said. “I believe it is a tool used to disenfranchise voters.”
Kallos said he was “troubled and concerned” about Schulkin’s comments in the video and would bring the issue up at an oversight hearing already in the works before Borelli sent his letter -- the City Council holds a hearing ahead of election administration.
“Everything that was said is troubling,” Kallos said of the video, which released the same day that Kallos hosted an IDNYC pop-up registration event on Roosevelt Island. “We hope to have oversight of the BOE...to find out what happened, whether any of these views had an impact in the conduct of any of the presidential primary elections or any election since this man has been appointed to the BOE.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it has teamed with financial software maker Intuit
(Washington, DC) The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicessaid it has teamed with financial software maker Intuit to release the company's Benefit Assist software as free, open source code on GitHub. The move will allow anyone to freely use, share and improve upon Benefit Assist. The goal is to help people more easily determine eligibility and apply for income-based government benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps and free mobile phone service.
City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who has been a fierce proponent of CB8’s mission to end private management of the park, said he is ready to allocate funds for this cause.
“I have already represented to the parks department that I would be interested in investing capital funding from my office,” Kallos said, adding there was additional money available from Borough President Gale Brewer and the state.
“I am willing to put my money where my mouth is in investing in this park,” Kallos said.
CB8 has brought up the idea of establishing a conservancy for the park that would raise money for maintenance and other expenses.
The parks department has indicated that if it decides to revert the Queensboro Oval to public management, it would take more than three years to create a fully accessible park.
Kallos insisted that in that scenario, the park should not go unused. Sutton East, he said, could remain in the space during the months it has a license to run its tennis facility provided that it return the park to its original condition during the summer months –– as its license currently requires.
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.
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!
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
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
27. Cooking with Kallos
28. Where's my FiOS?
29. Fighting Corruption at the Board of Elections
31. Insourcing IT jobs
32. Getting Laws Online the Right Way
33. Personal Democracy Forum
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
16. Fire at East 78th Street
17. Community Board Appointments
18. 81st St Bridge
19. Establishing Friends of Ruppert Park
20. The Big Swim
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
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
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 BenKallos.com/PB
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!
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
44. NYU GovLab Course
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.
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!
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
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!
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 atBenKallos.com/Events.
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.
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,
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
I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a joyful winter holiday season. It is approaching one year since I became your city Council Member, and I could not be more excited to continue our work together.
If we have not yet met in person, let's not let a full year go by. On December 23, I will host a holiday party at my office from 4-7pm. I hope you can make it! Or, please join me at First Friday on December 5th from 8am-10am at my district office at 244 East 93rd Street. The event is open to all. Additionally, I am happy to come to you. For more details, look below or feel free to call me.
Today is Giving Tuesday, a day to celebrate the pleasure of giving back. Whether through Giving Tuesday or volunteering at your favorite causes, how do you give back to the community? I look forward to hearing from you.
I wish you happy holidays surrounded by friends and loved ones.