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The tenants have gained the backing of Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President and Ben Kallos, the City Councilman. Brewer said that the NYCHA’s promises have not been specific in telling residents what they stand to gain from the project.
The NYCHA formally requested proposals from developers for the project on June 30. They said that they have tenant support for their plan to build 300 units, half at market rate and half affordable, in the public site of the playground. NYCHA officials, see the plan as a great way to raise desperately needed funds. The Housing Authority says it will use revenue from the new leases to fix the currently deteriorating apartments. NYCHA says the playground will be replaced in a different, yet-to-be-named location. They insist there has been plenty of communication with tenants.
Bikes were the hot topic at the town hall held by Council Member Ben Kallos last Thursday.
Bike lanes, bike shares and the enforcement of biking laws seemed to weigh heavily on the minds of the 70 or so attendees at the event. It was not the first time an audience largely comprised of senior citizens has turned out in full force at a community meeting to raise concerns about bikes.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Luis Sanchez was present to address the issue, which he acknowledged but largely passed off to the city’s police department.
“NYPD is responsible for enforcing the laws,” Sanchez said. “[DOT] doesn’t have the power to actually write tickets, but what we do is we go to the restaurant because the restaurant is supposed to have a roster of their cyclists. … If they don’t then we can issue a violation to the restaurant.”
Sanchez and Kallos encouraged residents to go to their respective NYPD precinct community councils with specific questions or requests for more thorough enforcement.
The Housing Authority insists that tenants of Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side have embraced its ambitious plan to raise cash by building luxury apartments on what’s now their playground.
That’s news to them.
The tenant “stakeholder committee” organized by NYCHA to vet the plan — along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilman Ben Kallos — made clear in a recent letter obtained by the Daily News that they never signed off on it.
In a letter delivered to NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye on September 1st, the Holmes Stakeholder Committee—which includes City Council Member Ben Kallos, Borough President Gale Brewer, and Holmes Tower residents—outlined their concerns with the selected site.
Of three proposed sites, the stakeholders claim, the playground was chosen "amid widespread resistance from the community to development that would take away the park from the children."
"The entirety of the Stakeholder Committee is not in favor [of the site], so there are a lot of questions about whether it really represents what residents chose," Paul Westrick, Kallos's Legislative Director, told Gothamist. Westrick added that although NYCHA held community engagement meetings this past February, they "were not well attended, and the public outreach they did wasn't really extensive." Because of a lack of community engagement, the stakeholders are requesting that the agency extend the proposal deadline from September 30th to November 30th.
But there is no protocol for communication between the attorney general’s office and the Council, and transparency records show that in December 2015, Hospital Audiences received additional funding from the Council.
The Council did not raise red flags until April 2016 when, in a letter obtained by POLITICO New York, Dyer contacted Councilman Ben Kallos to explain the situation.
Hospital Audiences had been awarded $123,100 in the 2016 fiscal year through several different grants from seven Council members: Kallos, Peter Koo, Daneek Miller, Karen Koslowitz, Jimmy Van Bramer, Inez Dickens and Mark Treyger.
Community Involvement in Action
GBS students are taught about the importance of community involvement and being informed about current events. When Joey and Eli shared their concern about the increasing number of track fires in the subway system, they decided to take action in the local community. Working together, they hand wrote a letter, which we shared with our local City Council member, Ben Kallos. Councilman Kallos invited Joey and Eli to come and pick him up in his office, where they got to take a tour. Then, Councilman Kallos came with us back to Gillen Brewer, where Joey and Eli gave him a tour of the school. After the tour, Councilman Kallos visited the Puffins classroom to discuss this civic issu`e and to answer questions from the students.
After running on a platform calling for more Pre-K funding, City Council Member Ben Kallos began delivering right away, increasing the number of seats in his district 5-fold, with Roosevelt Island alone gaining 49.
It was an exhilarating moment for Roosevelt Island Parents' Network leader Eva Bosbach when Ben Kallos, early in his first term on the City Council, announced funding for 49 additional Pre K seats for the community.
Along with vigorous moral and philosophical support, Kallos acted as navigator, guiding the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery, led by Executive Director Pamela Stark, through the bureaucratic intricacies of the Department of Education in getting its application approved.
At the same time, Bosbach and Susy del Campo Perea organize
NY Council Member, and LIT endorsed candidate, Ben Kallos announced on Monday, Aug 22an incredible piece of legislation that allows community members to use City-owned buildings for rehearsals and performances.
Councilman Ben Kallos said he has written a letter to DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia requesting more information about the plan.
“The big concern that many constituents have is whether or not commercial carters as part of a franchising system would be required to dump in the neighborhoods that they pick up, or whether they might use this marine transfer station to force all the private carters who have franchises for Manhattan to dump on the Upper East Side,” Kallos said.
The Mayor's Office of Data Analytics and Councilman Ben Kallos are seeking feedback on proposed geospatial open data standardsbeginning Friday.
The proposed standards follow fromlegislationintroduced by Kallos and signed into law last year to improve on the city's open data law. It mandates the establishment of a technical standard that requires every public data set containing address information to utilize a standard layout. The law states that if there is a dataset for which an agency cannot use such a layout, the agency must provide the city and the Council with the reasons preventing it from doing so and a date by which it will be able to comply.
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"Our goal is to make government location-aware and the best way to do that is to standardize geographic information across of all our datasets, so that folks can just throw it on a map easily," Kallos said.
Con el objetivo de proteger a los inquilinos de Nueva York, el concejal Ben Kallos, con el apoyo de la defensora del pueblo Letitia James y la presidenta de Manhattan Gale Brewer, presentó este martes una propuesta de ley que busca regular a las empresas hacer el chequeos de los arrendatarios y crean las llamadas “listas negras de inquilinos”, con el fin de que estas compañías otorguen información justa sobre los residentes.
CM Ben Kallos is working #PreservationPays (Historic Districts Council)
You'll find some more interesting facts about the buildings in the Historic Districts Council's slideshow "How Historic Preservation Benefits New York City," below. The slides also describe how historic preservation—as a driver of New York City's multi-billion-dollar tourism trade, a creator of good paying jobs, and an attractive option for affordable housing—is a positive force for the financial well-being of the city.
With a chorus of “ayes,” the New York City Council passed legislation on August 16 that reconstitutes the Waterfront Management Advisory Board(WMAB), and with the stroke of a pen, Mayor de Blasio made it law on August 31. “As we build more sustainable, resilient, equitable waterfronts across the five boroughs, we’ll be counting on the voices of New Yorkers to help us,” he said before he signed the bill into law.
An important forum for governmental and civic representatives to work together to shape waterfront projects, the WMAB was created in 1977 but then mostly dormant for 30 years. After strong advocacy by the Waterfront Alliance and other groups, it was revived in 2009, but was active only for about four years.
One issue that adds to the confusion is a communication gap between city agencies, who have to explain complex projects to the public, and board members, who must parse civic-planning jargon to understand how new projects will impact them. A solution to this would be for each board to have professional planning staff, something envisioned by the city charter but very rarely achieved in practice. Councilmember Ben Kallos introduced a bill in March 2015 requiring the appointment of at least one planner for every four community boards. The bill has yet to go to a vote.
The bill, introduced by Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) and Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, would add a council member, the commissioner of Parks and Recreation, and the commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development to the WMAB. It would also expand the number of public members of the board to 18, half to be appointed by the mayor and half to be appointed by the City Council speaker.
"When I was appointed chair of the Council's committee on waterfronts, I learned that this board had been inactive for so long," said Rose. "That was unacceptable to me, especially in light of all the new development taking place along our waterfronts. This bill will expand the size of the board to incorporate more community stakeholders, and to engage more city agencies. It is my hope that the expansion of the WMAB will help us better oversee development on our waterfronts and improve their overall upkeep."
The dreaded tenant blacklist that debriefs landlords on whether prospective renters have appeared in housing court is still making it hard for those on the list to rent apartments in New York City. Now, Councilman Ben Kallos has introduced legislation to the City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee that would require the blacklist to paint a fuller picture of why certain tenants have ended up in housing court, the Times reports. Unsurprisingly, things aren’t always as they seem on the database.
New proposed legislation aims to help tenants blacklisted for their history in housing court.
Councilman Benjamin Kallos on Tuesday introduced legislation to the council’s Consumer Affairs Committee that would force screening companies to provide landlords with fuller descriptions of housing court cases. The measure is intended to combat overzealous tenant blacklists, which are compiled by tenant-screening data companies based on housing court records.
Housing attorneys argue that the blacklist is riddled with errors and fails to show when a tenant won a case, the New York Times reported. After two years of being homeless, Margot Miller, 68, recently was denied housing at an apartment for low-income seniors when the owner discovered that she had been sued by her previous landlord.
"When there aren't public postings, that's a good indication there may be patronage involved, or worse yet conflicts of interest," Kallos told the New York Daily News. "New Yorkers would know about the 350,000 jobs the city has, and the city could expand its pool of qualified applicants."
CreditMichelle V. Agins/The New York Times
After two years of being homeless, napping in stores open all night and more recently staying in a convent in Harlem, Margot Miller found out in March that her luck was about to change: She had qualified for an apartment for low-income older adults.
“This is to inform you that a rental unit has become available,” the letter from the building’s owner, Prince Hall Plaza, began.
Elated, Ms. Miller, 68, said she immediately went to the building’s office to claim the apartment. But after a background check, she said, the building reversed course.
“I go there, I’m all excited,” Ms. Miller said. “The woman there then does something on the computer. Then she said, ‘You can’t have this.’”
She was disqualified, the woman told her. Not because of her credit score. (At 760, hers was stellar.) And not because of a criminal record. (She had none.)
Exclusive: NYC pol pushes anti-patronage bill requiring government jobs to be posted for two weeks before hiring
"When there aren't public postings, that's a good indication there may be patronage involved, or worse yet conflicts of interest," Kallos said. "New Yorkers would know about the 350,000 jobs the city has, and the city could expand its pool of qualified applicants," Kallos said.
"This is a major victory for our coalition and for countless New Yorkers. Through intense advocacy and organizing, we demanded a better plan with deeper affordability, and that’s what the New York City Council has secured. We are very grateful to City Council Members Jumaane Williams, Ritchie Torres, Donovan Richards, and Ben Kallos for their tireless leadership on behalf of the most vulnerable low-income New Yorkers. They played a crucial role in securing a stronger, more robust affordable housing and rezoning plan,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Campaign Director of Real Affordability for All.
Councilman Ben Kallos opposed the new Citi Bike station last year and plans on working with the DOT to get it moved.
Recently the councilman suggested the agency move it around the corner against Ruppert Park on Second Avenue between East 90th and East 91st streets.
“This is a very uphill battle,” Kallos said. “Citi Bike has not moved very many locations, except to the extent that we’re able to work with the community for minimal changes.”
A coalition of city and state elected officials, transport officials and activists have come to together to push for effective fixes that would improve overall bus service. The group includes elected officials such as Borough President Eric Adams, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assembly Member Ron Kim, City Council Members Chaim Deutsch, Vincent Gentile, Ben Kallos and Peter Koo, Director of the NYC TransitCenter Tabitha Decker, Executive Director and Tri-State Transportation Campaign Board Member of the MTA Veronica Vanterpool, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance John Raskin, Campaign Associate of NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign Jaqi Cohen, bus rider activist from Queens Jeanne Majors and bus riders.
Also out for stretches of time for medical reasons were Annabel Palma (D-Bronx), who was gone from last July to October, Debi Rose (D-Staten Island), from January to March, and Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan), from September to December.
Posting perfect attendance were Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), Republican minority leader Steve Matteo, and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
It has been six months since I became your City Council Member. In these six months, we have built a stronger community together. Through it all, the City has become more fair and compassionate, thanks to measures such as:
- Expanding Senior Citizen Income Exemption (SCRIE);
- Funding Universal Pre-K; and
- Paid sick leave, all of which I was proud to support and advocate for.
I have also been fighting to improve our neighborhood and city as a whole:
- As Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee of the New York City Council, I have taken on waste and corruption;
- Introduced legislation to make our often cynicism-inducing government more transparent.
- Took the fight against the Marine Transfer Station to another level; and
- Protected our neighborhood by prioritizing safe streets, healthy food, safe construction, science education and affordable housing.
Now, I want to hear from you: Have you received assistance from our office? Have you and I gotten the chance to meet? Have you been happy with the direction of the City and the advocacy I've taken on? Please reply with your feedback and ideas.
This is just the beginning. I hope you'll take a chance to share your feedback at this six-month stage so we can continue to grow, learn and build a better neighborhood together.
Last week, I celebrated 100 days representing you in the New York City Council. In just this short time, I have already been able to achieve many of the promises made before I took office. With a few well on their way, it seems that they weren't promises but plans.
You can see for yourself by reading my policy book, but here are a few items from the book that we've been able to accomplish by working together:
- I was front and center in the movement that won $300 million in pre-kindergarten funding for New York City with to make us a nationwide leader by giving every child a fair start;
- I am committing millions in funding to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in our schools;
- Stop and frisk reform has become a reality; and
- I co-sponsored the bill to expand paid sick leave to half a million New Yorkers so we can all be healthier.
There is still much more to do. I am more committed than ever to taking on the challenges and seizing on the opportunities that face our neighborhood and city. As your Council Member, I am taking on the tough fights on your behalf:
- I am fighting the marine transfer station on 91st Street every day, reorienting the debate to focusing on increasing recycling and reducing waste citywide;
- I am protecting residents from unsafe construction and being kicked out of their affordable housing;
- I am bringing accountability to city agencies, from the Board of Elections to community boards;
- I am advocating for ferry service for Roosevelt Island; and
- I am working to provide educational support outside the classroom by supporting community learning schools.
And I am proud to maintain an attendance record of 100% -- because you deserve a representative that shows up!
This April, you can vote on how to spend $1 million in your neighborhood. This program, participatory budgeting, has been piloted with great success in many neighborhoods around the world and here in New York City.
It has been a busy month of budgeting, oversight and advocacy on your behalf. As always, my office is a space for you to meet your needs and interact with the major issues in your neighborhood. Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter for events from my office and the community.
For those of you celebrating this month, I wish you a joyous Easter or Pesach, a chance to celebrate the beliefs we hold dear. As we gratefully welcome the spring, let's renew our spirit of engagement and work together on the issues that face our community.
Council Member Ben Kallos
District Five: Upper East Side, Midtown East, El Barrio and Roosevelt Island
After two months in office, I am working around the clock to ensure you have the services you need, while also fighting to expand pre-K to all children, open up government for public participation, fight the marine transfer station slated to be built in our neighborhood and ensure all New Yorkers have the services they need.
I hope you are staying warm and dry as we face another winter storm. New York City is expected to get up to a foot of snow, with a winter storm warning in effect until 6AM on Friday. My office is your resource to make sure you stay safe and that your city keeps on working for you in spite of the conditions outside.
In my first month as your City Council Member, I am focused on making our schools better and our city government more transparent. We’re already working to assist members of our community with their needs – whether it’s helping you navigate local government or delivering meals to homebound seniors after following our first winter storm.
You’ve given me a remarkable responsibility: to represent you in City Hall. Under previous Council Member Jessica Lappin’s leadership, our community thrived — a legacy I will diligently continue. I am honored to now represent the community where I grew up and where my mother still lives. My office will always accessible be and available to you and can be reached by calling 212-860-1950, visiting us at 244 East 93rd Street, or emailing bkalloscouncil [dot] nyc [dot] gov.
We have important work to do together. Every child should receive the same world-class education that I did at Bronx High School of Science. We can work together to implement innovative solutions such as identifying new spaces for schools in our neighborhood, making pre-k universally available to help children get a fair start, and creating CUNY college loan forgiveness programs to help our city’s economy thrive.
Older New Yorkers and their caregivers must be supported so they can be healthy and independent. My mother is a senior who lives in the district, and I am committed to keeping senior centers open and protecting vital services like Meal on Wheels.
We must protect and expand affordable housing. Those who made our neighborhood what it is today deserve to see the benefits of their lifetimes of hard work. New development, which will come with the completion of the Second Avenue Subway, must include affordable housing for middle-class New Yorkers. We also have standing battles to continue. I am a member of Asphalt Green’s Triathlon Team and will continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station. I am working to build a broad coalition of elected officials and community leaders in 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 can defeat it.
If we invest in each other — our time, energy and compassion — our government can work better for all of us. Please join me, so that together we can build a better city.
Council Member Ben Kallos
District Five: Upper East Side, Midtown East, El Barrio and Roosevelt Island
In this Issue:
- Participatory Budgeting
- City Council Inauguration
- Supporting Early Education for all New York City Children
- Committee of Governmental Operations
- Recently Married
- Fighting the Marine Transfer Station
- Safer Streets
- Transportation Forums
- Join A Policy Committee
- Summer Reading Challenge
- Summer Fellowship
As we head full steam toward the election, I am taking a moment to reflect on the support I have received in this important year of my life from you, my friends and family. I hope that you will be able to take an evening to join me and my campaign at my Birthday Celebration, 7pm this Wednesday, and 230 Fifth Avenue.
We're taking action in February, with the following events. We hope you will join us in working to improve our community.
Thank you for your financial support that kept us in the lead for 2013. We've once again outraised all of our opponents combined and could never have done it without your help. We've made it well past the halfway point for a fully funded City Council campaign by raising almost $50,000, with only $30,000 left to raise.
Happy New Year! 2012 was an amazing year, full of challenges to overcome, super storms and threats of apocolypse, unbridled success like the re-election of Barack Obama, landing the mars rover, discovering the Higgs Boson, and even sky diving faster than the speed of sound from space. We enter 2013 in a world where more is possible than the year before. What preconceived norms can we shatter in 2013? I would love to know your New Year's resolution for how you will make the world a better place in 2013.
- Supporting Small Business on Roosevelt Island
- Join Your Community Board
- Seniors and Social Services
- Reinventing the Payphone
- Holiday Party Pictures
- New Year's Party Invitation
- First 2013 Filing