Other Updates

Press Release
Thursday, March 16, 2017

National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. Called for by
New York City Council Resolution

Resolution in Support of American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission recommendation for a new Smithsonian Museum for American Women’s History on the National Mall
 

New York, NY – A National Women’s History Museum is being called for by a New York City Council Resolution introduced as we commemorate Women’s History month. The resolution introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, along with Council Members Karen Koslowitz, Jimmy Van Bramer, Laurie Cumbo and Elizabeth Crowley calls on the Federal Government to create a National Women’s History Museum in Washington D.C.
 
In July 2014, Council Member Kallos and Cumbo introduced Resolution 354, which was adopted on September 10, 2014, calling on the United States Senate to pass and the President to sign H.R. 3979 of 2014 sponsored by Congress Members Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), which was signed by President Obama on December 19, 2014, becoming Public Law 113-291 and established the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission. On November 16, 2016, the Commission presented a report to the President and Congress calling for the creation by the Smithsonian of an American Museum of Women’s History on the national mall.

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Press Release
Thursday, February 16, 2017


NEW YORK -- Today, Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Ben Kallos released the following joint statement in response to the House of Representatives voting yes on resolutions H.J. Res 66 and H.J Res 67 to block state- and municipal-based retirement savings plans.

“Forcing America’s elders to live out their golden years in poverty does not make America great again. States and municipalities pushed to create retirement systems precisely because the Federal government has failed our seniors. Doubling down on this failure and preventing cities like New York from helping employees save for their future is despicable, even by this Congress’ abysmal standards.

“After research and policy analysis, consultation with experts, and dialogue with retirees and future retirees, we laid out a common sense plan that helps New Yorkers save without burdening taxpayers. Congress should either help our efforts to advance retirement security or get out of the way so local governments can help seniors live with dignity.”

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Press Release
Thursday, February 9, 2017

PA James, CM Kallos Condemn House Move to Block Municipal-Based Retirement Savings

Resolutions would Repeal DOL Rules; Leave Millions without Retirement Savings Plans

NEW YORK -- Today, Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Member Ben Kallos released the following joint statement in response to House resolutions H.J. Res 66 and H.J Res 67 to block state- and municipal-based retirement savings plans.

“Our government was created to protect and advance hardworking Americans, not champion policies that hinder our ability to succeed. The new resolutions introduced in the House to prevent cities and states from creating retirement savings plans for individuals are ill-conceived and seem to favor the financial services industry over everyday Americans. Millions of Americans do not have access to these critical tools for their future and, in New York City, more than half of our workers are projected to be in or near poverty when they retire, as a result. By blocking municipalities from creating this safety net, our federal government is hurting working Americans and working New Yorkers. Congress should be supporting these efforts, not tearing them down.”

Public Advocate James and Council Member Ben Kallos have been leaders in creating a New York City-wide retirement savings plan. In February 2015, they co-sponsored legislation to study the creation of a retirement security plan for New York City private sector workers. In June 2015, Public Advocate James released a report documenting the precarious state of retirement savings for New Yorkers. In February 2016, Public Advocate James and Council Member Kallos joined Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce a plan for New York to become the first city in the country to create a retirement savings program for private sector employees.

 

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Thursday, January 26, 2017

"New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis that is severely impacting our most vulnerable residents, with currently 23,365 children are living in our city's shelter system," Kallos said. "We should be doing everything we can to prevent more families from ending up in already crowded shelters."

Hevesi's plan previously has been backed by 111 state Assembly members from both parties, a group of eight breakaway Senate Democrats who help make up a leadership coalition with the Republicans, and a range of other public officials.

Hevesi has said his plan would cost the state and feds $450 million, but it would ultimately save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by relying less on costly shelters. It would also be a big savings for the city, he has said.

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Press Coverage
The Real Deal
Thursday, January 19, 2017

One of the more contentious bills would require construction workers involved in projects of a certain size that receive $1 million or more in any kind of government assistance to receive state-approved training. Contractors would be required to participate in apprenticeship programs approved by the New York State Department of Labor if working on projects that are 100,000 square feet or more or have 50 or more residential units. A similar bill was introduced in 2013, but was revived by Council member Ben Kallos. Kallos noted on Wednesday that since 2012, 72 percent of construction-related accidents occurred on sites where contractors didn’t participate in apprenticeship programs.

“No one should die from a construction accident that could have been prevented with proper education, apprenticeship, and protections for a worker’s right to say no to a dangerous situation,” he said in a statement.

Brian Sampson, president of the New York chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, a nonunion organization, said the bill wrongly equates the apprenticeship programs with safety. He argued that the law would force workers to either join a union — since unions already participate in the programs — or apply for a program independently, which can take six to 18 months. He said this is likely to put hundreds of workers out of jobs.

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Press Release
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New York, NY – Government invests billions every year in subsidies for private construction in New York City without training or transparency for the projects. The reintroduction of the Safe Jobs Act (Intro.1432) would require transparency around Federal, State or City government assistance received by developers and contractors whose construction workers would be required to receive training and graduate from State Department of Labor approved programs.
 
“No one should die from a construction accident that could have been prevented with proper education, apprenticeship, and protections for a worker's right to say no to a dangerous situation,” said Council Member Ben Kallos a union-side labor lawyer. “Any project that receives taxpayer dollars must pay a living wage, invest in workers with training and apprenticeship, and provide protection for worker's rights.”
 
Construction-related fatalities remain a serious problem in New York City almost doubling in Fiscal Year 2015 to 10 from an average of 5.5 the previous four years. Injuries have also increased by more than 50% to 324 injured workers in 2015 according to the Department of Buildings. Since 2012, 72% of the injuries at construction sites occurred at locations where employers did not participate in state-approved training or apprenticeship programs that this bill would require.

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Press Coverage
New York Times
Friday, January 6, 2017

 

A bill introduced last month by City Council member Ben Kallos would try to end this ridiculous time warp. It would require building owners to finish repair work in six months, so that sheds can be removed. If work on a building ever stopped for seven or more consecutive days, landlords would have to take the sheds down or risk being fined.

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Friday, December 30, 2016

Per the de Blasio administration, “only 43 percent of working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for retirement,” but they are often subject to large fees, and “even those who have started to save do not have much: 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.”

The city-focused ruling from the Department of Labor, which applies only to municipalities of a certain size, comes after DOL paved the way for state-run programs earlier this year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo already has a commission studying the issue. A state program could supercede a city one, though it would also depend on the details of the programs if the city were to launch one before the state. It is too early to tell which level of government will act first. In the city, Public Advocate James and City Council Member Ben Kallos are expected to lead on introducing legislation at the City Council, and the bill would likely go through Kallos' governmental operations committee.

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Press Coverage
Upper East Side Patch,NYC
Friday, December 23, 2016

Three City Council members — Jumaane Williams, Ben Kallos and Carlos Mechaca — released a statement offering their condolences to the worker's families and pledging to make sure developers are held accountable when a job site is unsafe.

The joint statement reads:

"We're saddened to offer our prayers of peace and comfort to the family and friends of yet another young man who lost his life on a New York City construction site. If it is even possible to make such news worse, getting it during the holiday season must be unimaginable. My thoughts are with them.

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Press Coverage
ABC7
Monday, November 28, 2016

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.

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Press Release
Monday, August 22, 2016

New York, NY – Artists and community groups seeking a space to perform or meet would be able to search and rent city-owned or operated spaces online under “City Spaces” legislation authored by Council Member Ben Kallos with Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Laurie Cumbo and Helen Rosenthal. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) that  manages a large portfolio of the city’s properties, will be required to post all suitable properties and accompanying information to a publicly accessible website where artists or anyone can rent municipal spaces.

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Press Coverage
Curbed
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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.

 

 

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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.

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Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com

"We are rebuilding the East River Esplanade brick by brick and dollar by dollar to connect 60th street to 125th street in one seamless park," Kallos said in a statement on July 11. "John Finley Walk from 81st street to 84th will receive the attention it needs to go from roadway to greenway."

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The final piece of the funding puzzle that has been missing from the East River Esplanade project fell into place last month when the City Council approved roughly $2 million for several revitalization purposes. Combined with the $45 million rounded up by Councilman Ben Kallos from various sources in past years, funding for the project has reached just over $47 million, though that may not be the final tally.

“A lot of East Siders are envious of the West Side parks,” Kallos said. “When I came into office, the East River Esplanade was literally falling into the river and in some places still is.”

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Press Coverage
Broadway World
Monday, June 20, 2016

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Allyson Schlesinger, Market President, Citi and City Council Member Ben Kallos to welcome the annual event.

"Adventures NYC provides New Yorkers an opportunity to tap into the adventurous spirit that lives within all of us," said Commissioner Silver. 

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Press Coverage
Politico
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Councilman Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, and Councilman James Vacca, chair of the Committee on Technology, are introducing the bill that seeks to mirror a feature available on the website of the New York State Senate.

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Press Coverage
Curbed
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Here's a breakdown of some of the other changes introduced by the Council. Members of the Land Use Committee who objected to the measures, including Councilman Ben Kallos, were against the deadlines, particularly for historic districts, and were concerned about the absence of extensions,according to YIMBY. The bill has also been opposed by the Historic Districts Council.

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Press Coverage
WFUV
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Historic Districts Council Board Member Jeffrey Kroessler, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman, New York City Council Members Ben Kallos, Corey Johnson, and Rosie Mendez.

Bill 775 is supposed to streamline landmark designation. But advocates say putting a strict time limit on how long properties and historic districts can be considered would leave them vulnerable to demolition. 

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

“When you talk about previous wage salary, you establish a floor,” said James. “And as a result of that floor, which is discriminatory in nature, you start off with a discriminatory base. So we really want to prohibit city agencies from asking about previous salary information of job applicants.”

City Council Member Ben Kallos, the only man who serves on the Council’s Committee on Women’s Issues, also believes wage disclosure will be an important tool in working towards pay equity.

 

“You can look up every public employee’s salary and we know what their gender is,” Kallos told Gotham Gazette in a phone interview. “Why can’t we do an automatic and internal audit comparing folks to their collective bargaining and make sure people are getting paid what they’re supposed to? The entire point of the civil service is supposed to be equity and treating people based on what they know, not who they know or what their gender is.”

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Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Several City Council members asked the chancellor when free lunch will be a reality for all students.

“I want to wake up in a city where every kid has the opportunity for free lunch,” Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos said at the budget hearing.

“I’m not saying ‘no,’” Fariña said. “It’s all a matter of priorities. We have to take it one step at a time.”

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The United States, Suriname, and Papua New Guinea are the only three, out of 185 countries with available data, that do not require the availability of paid parental leave.

“Women's issues are everyone's issues," said Council Member Ben Kallos, the only man on the City Council’s five-member Committee on Women's Issues, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. "We need a focused effort on issues like reproductive health and pay equity in order for everybody to rise together.”

Framing access to comprehensive reproductive health care as a “women’s issue” seems to ignore the link between a woman’s reproductive rights and her participation in the broader economy and society. As the Supreme Court majority wrote in a 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

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Press Coverage
New York Real Estate Journal
Monday, April 11, 2016

New York, NY The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts has named Jack Resnick & Sons’ Steel Park as the 2016 POPS-Star Award winner in the nonprofit organization’s 33rd Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony. The winners were revealed during the Annual Meeting held on Tuesday, March 29th at the Cosmopolitan Club.

The annual awards ceremony recognizes the exemplary restoration, renovation and advocacy work on the Upper East Side over the last year.  In addition to Jack Resnick & Sons, the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts honored Susan Henshaw Jones & the Museum of the City of New York, Unite to Save the Frick, 20 East 93rd Street, the Apple Store of the Upper East Side and Orwasher’s Bakery.

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Press Release
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New York, NY — Overflowing trash cans that have led to trash on the sidewalk along the East 86th Street commercial corridor will be addressed with an increase in city trash can pick up from once to twice day as ordered by Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia upon the request of Council Member Ben Kallos.

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