Public Safety Updates

Press Release
Thursday, March 16, 2017

CITY HALL - Today, Council Members Rafael Salamanca, Jr., James Vacca, Ben Kallos, Corey Johnson and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced the introduction of legislation drafted in response to the Hunts Point tragedy that occurred late last year.
 
On December 7, 2016 two girls under the age of two were killed when a valve blew off a radiator in their Bronx apartment and filled their bedroom with scalding steam.  The apartment was identified as a cluster site under the duress of the New York City Department of Homeless Services. 
 
At the time, Council Member Salamanca and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced that they would be introducing legislation to rectify the problems surrounding the tragedy. Council Members Vacca, Kallos and Johnson  had previously been crafting legislation pertinent to these issues and are joining in sponsoring the following:
 
Intro 1489 (Kallos & Salamanca) - This legislation requires owners to install and maintain radiator covers.

 

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Contact: 
Ryan Monell at 646-584-0463 or 
rmonellatcouncil [dot] nyc [dot] gov

 

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Press Coverage
City Land
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Council Member Elizabeth Crowley was combative when questioning Chandler. Citing the Committee’s report, Crowley noted that while permits issued by the DOB were up 15 percent from 2014 to 2016, fatalities had gone up 100 percent in that same time. She laid blame for the rise in deaths on a “lapse in safety standards and supervision on the behalf of the DOB.” Crowley, sponsor of the prevailing wage bill, was baffled that the DOB would oppose requiring prevailing wages and apprenticeship training, which she pointed out that the School Construction Authority already requires for all its developments.

Council Member Benjamin Kallos expressed concerns over DOB’s testimony against apprenticeship programs. Kallos noted, and DOB conceded, that there are apprenticeship programs offered in a range of languages other than English, so language may not be such a bar. Further, when asked how many programs require a G.E.D. or its equivalent, the DOB was unable to provide an answer because it did not track such things. Kallos asked DOB to reconsider its position based on the lack of data to back the DOB’s assertions.

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Press Coverage
Thursday, December 15, 2016

The plague of pointless scaffolding encrusting Downtown sidewalks for years on end may finally have a cure.

Property owners would have six months to shore up their aging buildings and then take down sidewalk sheds, or else face “heavy penalties” under a new bill introduced by Councilmember Ben Kallos.

Area residents living under the shadow of the sidewalk sheds that have loomed over Downtown for years were overjoyed upon learning that the Upper East Side legislator is attempting to tackle the root of so many of Downtown’s quality-of-life issues, according to the president of the Financial District Neighborhood Association

“I think this is a great starting point, and it’s laudable that someone is doing this,” said Patrick Kennell.

The bill gives landlords three months to complete construction that requires scaffolding or sidewalk sheds for the job, along with an option to apply for an additional three-month extension. After that period expires, however, the city would be entitled to step in to complete any remaining work and take down the scaffolding, before kicking the bill back to the property owners for any costs incurred by the city — likely in the form of liens or by garnishing landlords’ rent earnings, according to Kallos spokesman Josh Jamieson.

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Press Release
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

City Hall, New York- Members of the New York City Fire Department were honored this afternoon as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Ben Kallos and Elizabeth Crowley presented them with a Proclamation. The firefighters were recognized for their response and heroic actions to the October 27th 6-alarm fire at 324 East 93rd Street. 

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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.

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Press Release
Thursday, November 10, 2016

Following an increase in education, safety equipment, and enforcement, bike safety from 30th to 97th streets on Manhattan’s East Side has improved as a result of a program led by Council Member’s Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick.  Compared to last year, there have been fewer pedestrians and cyclists injured in collisions and a reduction in the number of collisions involving cyclists.

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Press Coverage

A group of gun violence survivors joined lawmakers in Manhattan Wednesday to call out Congress for laying down to the NRA.

The “sit-in” at Carl Schurz Park on E. 86th St. was led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) who demanded that House Speaker Paul Ryan hold a vote on legislation aimed at tightening background checks and preventing terror suspects from buying guns.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last week’s focus on cycling was also a collaboration with Councilmembers Ben Kallos’ and Dan Garodnick’s offices, which collectively represent the area from about East 92nd Street to about East 34th Street and have prioritized bike safety, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program. The 19th Precinct first handed out pamphlets and then switched to handing out tickets. On Thursday afternoon, they estimated that they had issued around 100 tickets during the previous two days. The officers present declined to comment on the record, but expressed their understanding for and awareness of community concerns.

Kallos’ office has been prioritizing bike safety since he took office in 2014, and reports significant improvement. A recent press release announcing the expansion of the bike safety program to cover Midtown East touted a 15 percent decrease in bike and pedestrian collisions as of August 2015, and a 52 percent increase in enforcement.

 

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Press Coverage
New York Times
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Shutting off gas to buildings on the Upper East Side has been a more common occurrence since a gas leak led to an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in East Harlem two years ago, said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat whose district includes Yorkshire Towers.

“Ever since there was an explosion related to gas, we’ve seen Con Edison being very aggressive with gas shut-offs all over the district,” Mr. Kallos said. “If Con Ed says there’s an issue, we have to trust them.”

His office, he said, has become more adept at persuading Con Ed and the Buildings Department to speed up the process of restoring service as soon as possible after repairs are made.

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Press Coverage
Crain's New York
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Operating a crane is an inherently dangerous job, and the risks are significantly greater in a densely populated urban environment like New York City. Nationwide, approximately 89 crane-related fatalities occurred per year in construction work and between the years of 1984 and 1994—502 fatalities in 479 crane accidents. With numbers like these, safety is paramount. Because of New York City’s uniquely difficult conditions, it is critical that we have the most stringent examination and licensing procedure for individuals permitted to operate cranes.

For decades, New York City has had such a rigorous system; it is required under our building code. Crane operators licensed by the Department of Buildings are some of the best in the world. That is not luck, but the result of a longstanding crane licensing regulatory scheme. The agency developed and administered a written examination for applicants for crane operator licenses that specifically tests them on New York City's conditions and requirements. It also gave a practical examination to see how applicants operated a crane, and required that before being eligible to even sit for an examination that applicants have a certain number of years’ experience working in New York City under the supervision of a licensed crane operator.

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Press Release
Friday, April 8, 2016

Free Safety Vests, Lights and Bells Distributed to Hundreds Who Participated in Ninety Minute Safety Training in English, Spanish and ChineseNew York, NY – Last night, over one hundred fast food delivery bike workers joined Council Member Ben Kallos for training by the Department of Transportation in English, Spanish and Chinese on traffic rules and bike safety.

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Press Coverage
Manhattan Express
Thursday, February 11, 2016

Councilmember Ben Kallos said the city is currently experiencing a construction boom, similar he said to the pre-recession one he witnessed while working as chief of staff to former East Side State Assemblymember Jonathan Bing.

In 2008, two crane collapses on the Upper East Side happened less than three months apart. According to Department of Buildings accident records, an incident on March 15 of that year left seven people dead and 22 injured after a tower crane collapsed at 303 East 51st Street. Shortly afterwards, on May 30, another crane collapsed at 335 East 91st Street, leaving two dead and one injured.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Tuesday, January 12, 2016

East side councilmember wants to meet every person in the district

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Press Coverage
Crain's New York
Monday, November 23, 2015

Meanwhile, a bill in the City Council that was introduced to do an end-run around the court case altogether has been sitting in the Committee on Housing and Buildings for years. The legislation would have codified the rules favorably to Local 14.

"I don't want to trust the safety of our people to a national exam when we need to make sure [operators] are prepared to do the work and have the experience here," said City Councilman Benjamin Kallos, the sponsor of the proposed legislation.

The bill has a veto-proof 34 co-sponsors. But with the city's Law Department on the opposite side, the mayor would not be likely to ever sign it.

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Press Release
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the New York Police Department, the Office of Court Administration, and the Legal Aid Society today announced “Clean Slate,” an upcoming warrant forgiveness event where New Yorkers with open summons warrants for qualifying crimes can have them cleared from their record, without fear of arrest.

New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos said: “I hope New Yorkers take advantage of this important opportunity to resolve warrants, get a clean slate, and move on with their lives. I would like to thank District Attorney Vance for his leadership on this issue, as well as the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, and the NYPD for making Clean Slate possible.”

Clean Slate Flyer

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Press Release
Thursday, October 1, 2015

Last night as Hurricane Joaquin approached the East Coast, New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito joined Council Member Ben Kallos at the site of previous Superstorm Sandy flooding to train nearly 100 residents on preparing for emergencies and to distribute free Go Bags.

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Press Coverage
Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Councilman Ben Kallos, an Upper East Side Democrat, said there was more aggressive panhandling, street homelessness and people disobeying traffic laws in his district.

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Press Release

Following NBC4 and AP reports of a woman, Mary Grace Belfi, severely injured after being hit at 86th and First Avenue by a cyclist, Council Member Ben Kallos released the following statement:

"My thoughts and prayers are with Mary Grace Belfi and her family in this difficult time. No one should have to go through what they are now going through. This devastating collision is a call to action to fight harder to ensure all can be safe in our streets. I hope the suspect who fled the scene will soon be apprehended."

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Press Release

"Our children must be protected on crowded streets, and that's where crossing guards come in. I am visiting every school in my district, and the demand for more crossing guards--from parents, teachers and students alike--was one of the top-identified needs," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "We need the funds to hire more crossing guards and identify more dangerous intersections where they can be stationed. We also need to invest in our crossing guards, who keep our children safe, with increased hours and health insurance."

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Here is how you can help: If you see someone sleeping on the street whom you think is homeless, please call 311 within one hour and ask for them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” The operator will connect you with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) who will ask about where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer you a call back to report on the status of your call. The whole process should take less than five minutes.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Monday, November 24, 2014

Walking, driving or biking in the neighborhood, you may have noticed an increase in the number of safety vests worn by delivery bikers. This is in large part a result of my BikeSafe program, designed to empower residents through partnership to play a role in making their own neighborhood safer.

The steps of the BikeSafe program are as follows:

1. Educational Forum: We delivered free Safety Vests, bells and lights for the 80 stores that RSVPed and attended.

2. More Safety Vests: If you see or receive a bike delivery from a person with NO safety vest displaying business name and ID number, report it to the business, 311 and my office.

3. Report Unsafe Biking: If you see wrong way or unsafe biking, remember the business name and identification number from the safety vest then report it to the store, 311 and my office. Tell the store that you can wait longer for deliveries so bikes can be slower and safer for everyone.

4. Enforcement: When you call 311, DOT and NYPD will be notified and will take the appropriate steps to resolve the issue.

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