Updates

Press Coverage
Curbed
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council members Daniel Garodnick and Ben Kallos, and State Senator Liz Krueger were all co-applicants on this zoning change proposal, and hailed the community board’s decision as a first victory.

“This is victory for thousands of residents from hundreds of buildings in and out of the neighborhood who have organized a grassroots application that would use height as an incentive to include affordable housing in any new building,” Kallos said in a statement.

 

Community Board 6 will now provide its comments to the City Planning Commission, as will the Manhattan Borough President’s office. The Planning Commission and the City Council will then seal the fate of this zoning change proposal.

Gamma declined to issue Curbed a comment, but Gamma president Jonathan Kalikow said the following to Real Estate Weekly:

Read more


Press Coverage
Upper East Side Patch
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sutton Place Plan To Limit Buildings' Height Clears Hurdle  

SUTTON PLACE, NY — A plan to cap how how buildings can be in the Sutton Place neighborhood — a small residential area sandwiched between the Upper East Side and Midtown East — has cleared a hurdle. Manhattan Community Board 6 voted unanimously Tuesday night to support the application, filed by neighborhood resident group the East River Fifties Association.

“We have been working with the Department of City Planning for almost two years in order to get this far, Alan Kersh, president of the East River Fifties Association, said in a statement.

"Now, we are more energized than ever. We hope to move this initiative to completion with a ‘yes’ vote from the City Planning Commission and then final approval from the full City Council."

The next step for the rezoning proposal is a ruling by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who has previously announced support for the application.

The East River Fifties Alliance plan would cap new developments — built within the confines of East 52nd to 59th streets East of First Avenue — at 260 feet tall. Additionally, developers would be required to set aside 20 percent of their building's residential units at below market rate prices in exchange for bonus Floor Area Ratio (the amount legally allowed square footage in relation to the size of the building lot).

The alliance submitted their proposal to the Department of City Planning over fears that Sutton Place's relaxed and outdated zoning regulations would make the area a ripe target for extremely tall "Megatowers."

But rezoning advocates shouldn't be over the over the moon about the Community Board approval. Both the Community Board and the Borough President's rulings are considered advisory votes in the public review process, Department of City Planning staffers told Patch. The plan still needs to be approved by City Planning and the City Council.

It does have supporters in the City Council including local representative Ben Kallos, who celebrated Tuesday night's vote.

"This is victory for thousands of residents from hundreds of buildings in and out of the neighborhood who have organized a grassroots application that would use height as an incentive to include affordable housing in any new building," Kallos said in a statement.

 

Read more


Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

New York City’s $85.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year funds the programs and services that we rely on in our neighborhoods and keeps our city running, including public schools, transit, parks, youth and senior centers, quality of life enforcement, and of course the programs my office brings to serve you directly.

Over the years, I am proud to have secured or allocated funding for priorities in our community:

  • $100 million in additional funding secured for the East River Esplanade
  • $100 million in capital funding for improvements to public library systems
  • $50 million for 79 new buses on the M15, M101, M102, and M103 for delivery by end of 2018 and $1.7 million for Select Bus Service on the M79
  • $30 million to operate three new ferry stops that will open on Roosevelt Island this summer and East 60th and East 90th Streets in 2018
  • $22.9 million to support our seniors
  • $16 million to maintain youth afterschool programs
  • $12.5 million to expand free lunch from middle schools to include grade schools students
  • $200 million for NYCHA maintenance and repairs
  • $200,000 from the NYC Clean Up Initiative used for new large trash cans to keep our neighborhood clean

To get involved and active on issues that have a direct impact on your community and make your voice heard in local government, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at BenKallos.com/Subscribe

Sincerely,

Ben Kallos
Council Member, District 5

Read more


Press Coverage
NY1
Thursday, June 22, 2017

"I think every New Yorker is tired of super tall towers going in that have no place in residential neighborhoods, and for the first time residents have banded together and fought back," Manhattan City Councilman Ben Kallos said.

Read more


Legislation
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Under the legislation, following a noise complaint about construction or a commercial establishment the DEP would have to send an inspector within two hours or at a later date but within an hour of the time the original complaint was received. Which means that if you make a complaint about noise from a bar Friday at 9PM, DEP should send an inspector by 11PM. If they can’t, an inspector will be sent that Saturday or the following Friday at 9PM.

- Read more


Press Coverage
Politico
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

As City Councilman Ben Kallos greeted constituents during an Easter egg hunt in Sutton Place Park two years ago, a resident approached him to discuss a less benign matter: Word had spread that a developer intended to build a luxury skyscraper on nearby East 58th Street.

He handed Kallos a nine-page packet of marketing materials prepared by Cushman & Wakefield.

"The Sutton Place Development is an ultra-luxury, as of right, ground up opportunity which will reach over 900 feet tall," the brochure boasted. It predicted the tower would be "an obvious choice for local and foreign buyers."

The councilman immediately notified the neighborhood paper, attended co-op board meetings and informed the local community board, which passed a resolution raising concerns about the plan.

And so began an unusual land use dispute that has outlived the previous developer, spanned two city planning commissioners and pitted a well-funded community group, East River Fifties Alliance, against the new developer and Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration.

Read more


Press Coverage
New York Post
Monday, June 19, 2017

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, a mayoral ally on education, countered that “charter schools shouldn’t be playing politics with children as pawns."

“Holding the public-school system hostage for charter-school expansion isn’t right,” said Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side. “Parents in my district aren’t asking for more charter school seats. They’re asking for more seats in traditional public schools.”

Read more


Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Extending the deadline would also level the playing field between first-time candidates and seasoned politicians, argued Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the committee and prime sponsor of the legislation. “Experienced candidates, or candidates retaining lawyers or compliance professions, may be knowledgable about the financial disclosure deadlines,” Kallos said. “New candidates, however, may lack such experience or the funds for experienced campaign staff.”

Kallos recalled that he failed to meet the disclosure deadline himself when he ran for City Council in 2013, noting that campaign novices are often not aware of the disclosure requirements until it is too late. “There is a potential for such candidates to be disproportionately impacted and found out of compliance before they are ever notified of the requirement,” he said.

Read more


Press Release
Monday, June 19, 2017

"After 40 years we are opening indoor tennis to the public this summer. For a $100 annual tennis pass from NYC Parks, you can play tennis on air-conditioned indoor courts all summer long that would normally cost as much as $225 an hour. Now it is up to the public to show such high demand for these courts that we have to expand the program," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Thank you to Commissioner Mitchell Silver and NYC Parks for working with Eastside elected officials to open indoor tennis to the public this summer as we continue our work to expand parks space in the district."

 

Read more


Press Release
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Thank you to New York City Transit for your diligent evaluation of bus service routes, but we must express concern with regards to insufficient public notice and object to service cuts of up to 33% to four bus lines crucial to the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Midtown.

Bus Service Route Recommendations:

  • M31 - Reject increase in PM Peak headway from 8 to 9 minutes (12.5%).
  • M57 - Reject increase in AM Peak headway from 10 to 12 minutes (20%) and Evening headway from 12 to 15 minutes (25%).
  • M66 - Reject increase in AM Peak headway from 4 to 4.5 minutes (12.5%) and PM Peak headway from 3.5 to 4 minutes (14%).
  • M72 - Reject increase in AM Peak headway from 9 to 10 minutes (11%), PM Peak headway from 8 to 9 minutes (12.5%), and Evening headways from 15 to 20 minutes (33%).
Read more


Press Coverage
ABC7
Friday, June 16, 2017

The New York City Health Department announced the community cluster of the disease Friday. All seven cases have been confirmed in the last seven days. The area impacted is the Lenox Hill neighborhood, which runs from East 60th Street to East 77th Street.

Four of those infected with the disease are still hospitalized, two have been discharged and the person who died was in his/her 90s and had significant underlying health conditions.

Legionnaires' disease is caused when water tainted with Legionella bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. It's a severe form of pneumonia in which the lungs become inflamed due to infection.

The health department said symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria.

Read more


Press Release
Friday, June 16, 2017

Notice to Residents of Lenox Hill

The Health Department is investigating a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease in a section of Lenox Hill. Seven people have been confirmed with Legionnaires’ disease in the last 11 days. The risk to most people is low, but if you have flu-like symptoms, please see your medical provider.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease (or Legionellosis) is a type of pneumonia. It is caused by bacteria (Legionella) that grow in warm water.

Is the disease contagious?
No. Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from person to person. People only get sick by breathing in water vapor containing the bacteria. People who are sick cannot make others sick.

Who is at risk?
Groups at high risk include people who are middle-aged or older—especially cigarette smokers—people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).

What are the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease?
Symptoms are like the flu and can include fever, chills, muscle aches and cough. Some people may also have headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion or diarrhea.

What should I do if I think I have Legionnaires’ disease?
If you have flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention right away, especially if you have a medical condition that affects your breathing, like emphysema, or if you are a smoker.

What is the treatment for Legionnaires’ disease?
The disease is treated with antibiotics. Most people get better with early treatment, although they may need to be hospitalized. Some people may get very sick or even die from complications of the disease. That’s why it is important to get medical help right away if you develop symptoms.

If you would like more information, please join us for a Community Meeting at:
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
331 East 70th Street
Monday, June 19
6:30PM
RSVP

Or, visit nyc.gov/health or call 311

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Newsletter

Over the past 11 days, seven cases of legionnaires disease have been reported in the Lenox Hill area of the Upper East Side, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Of the seven cases, four patients are recovering and two have already been discharged from the hospital. Sadly, one member of our community has died, and my thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones.

Upper East Side Legionnaires' Disease
Information Session with Department of Health
Monday, June 19 at 6PM

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Event details subject to change so please RSVP

Please be on the lookout for respiratory symptoms, which may be a sign of the disease, including:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. Those at high risk include people aged 50 or older, especially cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung disease or with weakened immune systems.

In 2015, following the outbreak in the Bronx I co-sponsored legislation introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which was signed into law as Local Law 77 of 2015 to require registration, inspection, cleaning, disinfecting, testing, and annual certification in order to reduce and contain the growth of Legionella in cooling towers, which causes Legionnaire's.

I am in close contact with the Health Department as they identify the source of the cluster and eliminate it as quickly as possible.

Learn more:

You can get more timely updates on Twitter at @BenKallos or @nycHealthy.

Sincerely,

Ben Kallos
Council Member

Read more


Press Release
Friday, June 16, 2017

STATEMENT: Legionnaires’ Disease Cluster on Upper East Side

"Upper East Siders should be looking out for signs of Legionnaires: a cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should quickly seek medical attention," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "In 2015, following the outbreak in the Bronx I co-sponsored legislation introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which was signed into Local Law 77 of 2015 to require registration, inspection, cleaning, disinfecting, testing, and annual certification. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the individual who passed away. We are working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to identify the source as quickly as possible."

For more information:
Health Department Investigating Community Cluster of Legionnaires' Disease in Section of Lenox Hill in Manhattan at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/about/press/pr2017/pr051-17.page

Read more


Press Release
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I am Council Member Ben Kallos, representing the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and El Barrio. That’s @BenKallos on Twitter and Instagram.

Good afternoon to the Rent Guidelines Board Chair Hon. Kathleen A. Roberts, Public Members Botein, Joza, Reiss and Schaub, Owner Members Serafy and Walsh, and Tenant Members Epstein and Garcia.

To New Yorkers here today, and especially tenants, thank you for attending this hearing. I am proud to stand with you today.

This year, I am calling on the Rent Guidelines Board to vote for a rent rollback.

Last year, the Board voted for a second-straight historic rent freeze for one-year leases, continuing to correct for the disproportionately high increases of previous years.

Year after year, as rent goes up, tenants have shouldered an undue burden. Meanwhile, income cannot keep pace, and only crept up by 2.3% between 2005 and 2013 in real terms. The approved rent increases each year were largely based upon the landlord’s operating costs, measured by the price index of operating cost (PIOC). This practice not only failed to consider tenants, but was also proven to be inaccurate: based upon data from the Department of Finance (DOF), the PIOC has overstated landlord costs by 11% since 2005. This miscalculation led to unfairly high rent increases in past years, which must be corrected with a rent rollback.

Read more


Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Thursday, June 8, 2017

With their school’s support, Neil and his schoolmate Katerina Corr, who are leaders in the MSLC, testified in support of GSAs during the city’s Committee on Education on Oct. 19, 2016.

After that hearing, the MSLC met with Councilmen Danny Dromm, who is the chair of the council’s education committee, and Ben Kallos to work on the new legislation.

“The rise of hate crimes nationally and in the city means it is more important than ever that the City supports our LGBTQ youth through these student-run clubs,” Kallos said. New York City has always been a leader on LGBTQ issues and that includes supporting our students.”

Dromm said GSAs are vital to the physical and mental-well being of LGBTQ students.

Read more


Video
Monday, June 12, 2017
Updates
Read more


Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

As I promised during my campaign for City Council in 2013, I have endeavored to have an open and transparent office that is accountable to you the people. One of the most effective ways was through our monthly email newsletter.

As we get closer to the primary elections on September 12, 2017 and the general elections on November 7, 2017 and I begin to run for re-election to the New York City Council, current law prohibits elected officials from sending newsletters to residents, even if they have subscribed to receive them on a monthly basis. The 2017 election “blackout period” begins June 14, 2017, and ends after the elections. During this period my government office will only be able to send physical and digital correspondence specifically related to constituent service, the budget, and events.

We will still be able to provide news in person at our district office, by phone 212-860-1950, email at BKallosatBenKallos [dot] com, through our website at BenKallos.com and social media so please follow Twitter.com/BenKallos and like Facebook.com/BenKallos.

As always we are here to help.

Sincerely,


Ben Kallos
Council Member

 

MEET BEN

First Friday, 8AM - 10AM, District Office, Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
Brainstorm with Ben, 2nd Tuesday, 6PM - 7PM, District Office. Organize to make your ideas a reality.
Ben In Your Building. Gather 10 neighbors and I will come to you!

 

Free Legal Clinics

By appointment from 3pm-6pm:
Housing, Every Monday
Family Law and Domestic Violence, 1st Tuesday
Life Planning, 3rd Wednesday

 

Fresh Food Box

Thursdays, 3:30pm and 6:30pm (through November)
Pay only $14 and pick up farm fresh produce the next week.
(cash, credit/debit, SNAP/food stamps, greenmarket bucks)
Visit BenKallos.com/FreshFoodBox

 

Here to Help

We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:

  • Seniors: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride
  • Housing: searching for affordable units, free legal housing clinic at my office
  • Jobs: training resources and assistance, unemployment benefits
  • Families: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs
  • Finances: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance
  • Nutrition: WIC, free meals for all ages

Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email at bkallosatbenkallos [dot] com with any unresolved 311 complaints.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs*
June 17, Dusk
St. Catherine's Park
(*Movie Changed from Good Dinosaur)
RSVP

FREE Bike Helmets
June 17, 11AM - 2:30PM
Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street, RI
RSVP

Roosevelt Island Town Hall
June 22, 6PM
Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street, RI
RSVP

Jason Bourne
June 24, Dusk
John Jay Park
RSVP

All FREE N.Y. Classical Theatre:
Sheridan’s “The Rivals”

July 12 - 16, 7PM
Carl Schurz Park, 86th Street and East End Avenue
RSVP

Cooking with Kallos
June 3, 11AM - 1PM
Isaacs Greenmarket
First Avenue and 92nd Street
RSVP

Town Hall: FREE Reusable Bags
September 19, 6PM
MSK, 430 East 67th Street
RSVP

Emergency Preparedness: FREE Go Bags
September 27, 6PM
TBD
RSVP

Senior Health Fair: FREE Flu Shots
October 19, 11AM - 2PM
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House,
331 East 70th Street
RSVP

Holiday Party
December 5, 5PM - 7PM
District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
RSVP

 

 

 

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Newsletter

Dear Friend,

It has been three years, five months and seven days since I began serving as your City Council Member. I am deeply proud of the work we have accomplished together and excited for the road ahead.

I want to thank all whom I have already had a chance to meet and look forward to meeting you or seeing you again at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street for First Friday, Brainstorm with Ben, monthly events (BenKallos.com/Events) or I can come to you if you gather ten neighbors for Ben In Your Building.

If you would like to compare my goals with actions over the past two years, please have a look at my 2013 Policy Book as well as my Inauguration and three States of the District, where we looked to the past and prepared for a bright future. I am proud of these achievements, but I know we have much more to do together. Thank you for your support over the past two years. I am looking forward to all we can accomplish in the remainder of my first term.

Sincerely,


Ben Kallos
Council Member

 

BY THE NUMBERS

Constituent Service Cases: 6,149 and counting
Legislation Authored: 98
Introductions Authored: 82
Introductions Heard: 23 (28%)
Introductions Enacted into Law: 19 (23%)
Resolutions Authored: 16
Resolutions Adopted: 6 (38%)
Land Use Matters Adopted: 6
Legislation Authored Adopted or Enacted: 25 (26%)
City Council Attendance: 99% (341 Committee Meetings)
Governmental Operations Committee Hearings Chaired: 48
Legislation Passed by Committee: 53 (43 Introductions, 10 Resolutions)
Legislation Sponsored: 714
Legislation Sponsored Adopted or Enacted: 464 (65%)
Ben in Your Building: More than three dozen
First Fridays & Brainstorm with Ben: More than three dozen
Mobile Hours: Hundreds
Free Legal Clinics: Hundreds
Community Meetings: Hundreds
Petitions Signed:  4,290 and counting
Reusable Bags Distributed: 3,500+
Participatory Budgeting Investments in Community: $6.9 Million

 

INVESTING IN EDUCATION

  1. Winning More Pre-Kindergarten Seats
  2. Better Planning for School Seats
  3. Supporting Arts Education with Annual Show at Sotheby's
  4. Feeding Hungry Students
  5. Investing in STEM Education
  6. Green Roofs
  7. Supporting Free City and State University

BETTER COMMUTES

  1. Opening the Second Avenue Subway
  2. Improving Bus Service with New Buses for the Upper East Side
  3. Improving Bus Service with Off-Board Fare Payment for M79 and M86
  4. New Ferry Service for the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island
  5. Roosevelt Island Tram Approved for Another 50 Years
  6. Focus on Safety for Our Most Dangerous Streets
  7. Extra Time for Pedestrians to Cross York Avenue
  8. New CitiBike Stations on the Upper East Side and Incentivized Safety Class
  9. Bike Safety Program Expansion to Entire Upper East Side and Midtown East
  10. Accessible Sidewalks for All

IMPROVING AND CREATING NEW PARKS

  1. Expanding and Rebuilding the East River Esplanade 
  2. Opened a New Park on East 90th Street Pier
  3. Conservancies and Funding for Local Parks
  4. Revitalizing the Waterfront Management Advisory Board

QUALITY OF LIFE

  1. Cleaning Up the Upper East Side with 300+ New Trash Cans
  2. A Plan to Take Scaffolding Down
  3. Improved Quality of Life Enforcement
  4. Supporting the Homeless with ETHOS

PROTECTING TENANTS AND FIGHTING OVER DEVELOPMENT

  1. Rezoning to Stop Superscrapers
  2. Challenging Skyscrapers in Residential Neighborhoods
  3. Safer Construction with Law to Count Every Life
  4. Won Two Rent Freezes
  5. Freezing Rents for Senior and Disabled New Yorkers
  6. Ended Downsizing of Seniors into Studio Apartments
  7. Uncovered Hundreds of Thousands of Units of Affordable Housing
  8. Protected Quiet Side Streets on the Mid-Block from Overdevelopment
  9. Mandatory Affordable Housing for New Neighborhood Plans
  10. Protected Landmarks Citywide
  11. Landmarked the Wooden House on East 85th Street
  12. Recognized for Leading Preservation
  13. Tenant Blacklist Regulation Proposed
  14. Opening Up Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS)
  15. Fighting For Tenant Safety
  16. Reformed the Board of Standards and Appeals

MARINE TRANSFER STATION

  1. Fighting the Marine Transfer Station

GOOD GOVERNMENT REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY

  1. Eliminated Outside Income and Legal Bribery
  2. Weakening the Influence of Special Interests Money in Politics
  3. Voter Information Portal Law Enacted
  4. Won Affordable High-Speed Internet for Low-Income New Yorkers
  5. Millions for the Community Voted for by Residents in Participatory Budgeting
  6. Demanded Answers on the Rivington Nursing Home Scandal
  7. Get Big Money out of New York City Politics
  8. Focusing on Better Management

PASSED LEGISLATION

Quality Of Life Enforcement
Construction Safety
Protecting Neighborhood Planning From Overdevelopment
Ethics Reform
Campaign Finance Reform
Election Reforms
Transparency In Government
Coastal Resiliency For Climate Change
Women’s Issues

Read more


Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

 The East River 50s Alliance is proposing to cap building heights at 260 feet.
The East River 50s Alliance is proposing to cap building heights at 260 feet.
East River 50s Alliance

SUTTON PLACE — Locals' bid for a zoning change to block super-tall skyscrapers in Sutton Place is undergoing formal public review after a year-and-a-half of planning — but city officials are concerned it could discourage affordable housing in the area.

On Monday, the City Planning Commission began its review of the zoning proposal, which would ban any commercial development between East 52nd and 59th streets east of First Avenue, except for “community uses” such as medical offices and day care centers. It would also impose a height cap limiting any new development to 260 feet, and mandate that 13 percent of any new development be dedicated to below-market-rate housing in exchange for bonus Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

The proposal comes after plans were filed by the Bauhouse Group for a 900-foot skyscraper at 430 E. 58th St. in 2015, though the proposal later fell through.

Residents of 45 buildings totaling more than 2,000 individuals have supported the zoning plan, elected officials said.

"The community has won a major victory with the certification of our rezoning proposal to stop the march of super-scrapers and build more affordable housing in residential neighborhoods," said Councilman Ben Kallos, who supports the proposal with other local elected officials. "While I am disappointed with how long it took to certify, it is better late than never."

Robert Shepler, co-chairman of the The East River 50s Alliance Leadership Committee, which is behind the effort, said that developers in Sutton Place are not required to contribute to the city’s affordable housing goals.

"Nor do supertalls do much to address the City’s need for additional market rate units because they produce fewer apartments — often for absentee owners — than more modestly scaled buildings with comparable square footage," he said.

Read more


Press Coverage
FOX 5 WNYW
Thursday, June 8, 2017

NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Bike lanes are all over New York City. And yet seeing bikers pedaling wherever they see fit is not uncommon. Many of these bikers are making deliveries.

City Councilman Ben Kallos is working to fix the problem with a bike safety initiative. The group stops by local restaurants and offers delivery people free helmets, safety lessons and more.

But things get more complicated when delivery men and women ride e-bikes. An e-bike looks no different than an average bike, except for a small electric motor attached to the frame. That motor makes the bike illegal.

 

New York's laws on e-bikes are murky. Selling motorized bikes that have a maximum speed of less than 20 mph is legal, but riding them isn't. If your e-bike is confiscated, you can get it back after a having a court hearing and paying a $500 fine.

photo

The NYPD confiscated 155 e-bikes in 2016 and a whopping 691 so far in 2017. While some lawmakers, like Councilman Kallos, favor the confiscations, others say e-bikes are just as safe as regular bikes. Assemblyman Nick Perry said e-bikes help people who have to pedal a lot during the day, especially low-wage workers who work hard to support their families. He has introduced legislation to legalize e-bikes in New York. The Transportation Committee is reviewing the bill.

Right now, pedal-assist e-bikes are classified as bicycles in New York City, meaning those are legal to use.

Citing safety concerns, the de Blasio administration squashed legislation in 2015 to include other forms of e-bikes.

Read more


Press Release
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In response to a doubling in the number of hate crimes in New York City since last year, with anti-transgender incidents cited as a major cause according to the NYPD, City Council Members Ben Kallos and Education Chair Danny Dromm have introduced a pair of bills meant to expand Gender-Sexuality Alliance student clubs in the city’s Public Schools. The legislation was authored by East Side Middle School students who are representatives to the Manhattan Leadership Council.

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

They originally conceived of a requirement that every school set up a group to help gays but learned the Council doesn’t have the authority to mandate that. Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) introduced the legislation on their behalf Tuesday. “The rise of hate crimes nationally and in the city means it is more important than ever that the city supports our LGBTQ youth through these student-run clubs,” he said.

Read more