Updates

Press Release

New York, NY -- Council Member Ben Kallos joined the Committee on Solid Waste Management Preliminary Budget Hearing today, where he testified on the irresponsible budgeting and bad policy of the Upper Manhattan Marine Transfer Station.  A hotly contested exchange with outgoing Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty revealed the out-of-hand costs and poor environmentalism of the old waste disposal model -- particularly the Marine Transfer Station in Upper Manhattan, which would shift from waste disposal in New Jersey to burdening Manhattan's East Side and Staten Island.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Thursday, March 20, 2014

 Residents of District 5 have just been handed a blank check.

Councilman Ben Kallos announced his office is taking part in an abbreviated participatory budgeting program with $1 million available to spend.

Under normal circumstances, a council member taking part in participatory budgeting – where constituents vote on how to spend a certain amount of money in the district – gets seven months to hear and vote on proposals from the community. Because Kallos took office in January, however, the process is being expedited.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Since taking office in January, I have been working to ensure you have the services you need, while also working to expand pre-k and afterschool programs to all children, opening up government for public participation, and fighting the marine transfer station slated to be built in our neighborhood.

A new report from Pledge 2 Protect has offered further evidence that the 91st St. Marine Transfer Station will hurt our city. I oppose the marine transfer station and support instead a modern approach that will reduce waste, increase recycling and protect residential neighborhoods – and I am working to spread the word in city government.

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Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UPPER EAST SIDE — New playground equipment at theStanley Isaacs Houses, handrails that will help seniors navigate the steps at Carl Schurz Park, and an updated cooling system at the67th Street Library where many people take refuge during the hot summer months.

All of these proposals could go from wish list to reality through Councilman Ben Kallos’s participatory budgeting program.

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Press Coverage
Gothamist
Monday, March 17, 2014

Last week, a bill was introduced to the New York City Council that would lower the required minimum age for Community Board members from 18 to 16.

By doing so, the bill's creator, the newly elected Councilman Ben Kallos, hopes to offset the low percentage of Millennials involved with their Community Boards: in Manhattan, only 6 percent of this year's applicants were between the ages of 18 and 24. Kallos believes it'll be a real-life civics lesson, providing exciting insight to unexciting meetings.

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Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Monday, March 17, 2014

UPPER EAST SIDE — The City Council is considering a resolution that would bring civics lessons out of the classroom and into real life for New York City teens.

Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a resolution last week in support of a state bill that would lower the age requirement for serving on neighborhood community boards. Currently, a person must be 18 to become a community board member. The bill, which is backed by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and state Sen. Andrew Lanza, would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to serve.

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Sunday, March 16, 2014

Albany, N.Y. – With the dawn of national Sunshine Week on Sunday, good government advocates will intensify their campaigns for more transparency in New York State, where progress in open government is seen as a mixed bag.

The state has made headway in providing online access to public records, but the state legislature and city government are failing to grant greater access to meetings where policy decisions are made.

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Press Coverage
JP Updates
Monday, March 3, 2014

Mark Levine, a Jewish councilman from Harlem and Washington Heights, was selected to lead the Jewish caucus in the City Council.

There are 14 Jewish members in the City Council, up from 10 in the previous Council.

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Press Release

(New York, NY)— Today at 1:00PM, Public Advocate Letitia James will be joined by food advocates on the steps of City Hall to announce a proposal that would provide universal free lunch for all New York City public school students. Over 75% of city public school students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. That’s an estimated 780,000 students

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Freshman Councilman Ben Kallos, representing the Upper East Side, held a hearing Monday as chair of the Government Operations committee aimed at overhauling the application and appointment process to the city’s 59 community boards.

Kallos’ office reported about 1,500 spots were opening across the five boroughs, and that reforms in recent years had been achieved but never standardized.

 

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Newsletter

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.  

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Press Release

New York, New York – Today, technology experts and open data leaders Andrew Rasiej, Noel Hidalgo, John Kaehny and David Moore testified before members of the City Council on innovative technology reforms that will improve the transparency, openness and accountability of the legislative body. The reforms focused on improving legislative transparency, constituent services and the discretionary funding process using technology. 

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Press Coverage
TechPresident
Friday, February 28, 2014

 

Last weekend, around one hundred members of New York City's civic hacker community came together to help develop tools that would be useful for City Council and local Community Board members as part of Code Across NYC, organized by Code for America brigade betaNYC. As part of the event, open government advocates Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Ben Kallos discussed their transparency advocacy. With input from five Community Board members and New York City officials, the weekend program resulted in the creation of 20 projects, of which 12 were submitted for five awards.

 

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Press Coverage
TechPresident
Friday, February 28, 2014

 

Last weekend, around one hundred members of New York City's civic hacker community came together to help develop tools that would be useful for City Council and local Community Board members as part of Code Across NYC, organized by Code for America brigade betaNYC. As part of the event, open government advocates Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Ben Kallos discussed their transparency advocacy. With input from five Community Board members and New York City officials, the weekend program resulted in the creation of 20 projects, of which 12 were submitted for five awards.

 

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Friday, February 28, 2014

The Board has not been “anywhere near as cooperative” as necessary in responding to a 2013 DOI investigation that detailed nepotism, incompetence, inefficiency -- and even possible crimes, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters (pictured center) told a joint hearing of the City Council Government Operations and Oversight and Investigations Committees.

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Press Release

New York, NY – The New York City Council committees on Governmental Operations and on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing yesterday on the Department of Investigations (DOI) report that opened the public's eyes to the extent of the institutional dysfunction and patronage at the New York City Board of Elections (BOE). That report, New York City Department of Investigation Report on the New York City Board of Elections’ Employment Practices, Operations, and Election Administration, made more than thirty recommendations for the Board to adopt.

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Press Release

New York, NY – Today, more than a dozen elected officials across the City took to the streets to collect petition signatures and build support for New York City’s plan for universal pre-K and expanded after-school programs. Elected officials, parents, young people, and community members joined community organizations who are part of UPKNYC, the campaign to pass New York City’s plan in Albany.

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Press Release

 New York City Council Member Ben Kallos rolled out social media from Facebook to Twitter to Skype as well as new applications like AskThem.io and SeeClickFix.com today at a press conference over Google Hangout.  On the “Get Help” page of BenKallos.com constituents are presented with more than a dozen ways to get help from their Council Member, mixing old services and new, including: callingvisiting the officeemailwebtextfaxmobile hoursTwitterFacebookInstagramSkypeAskThem, and SeeClickFix.

 

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Press Coverage
TechPresident
Thursday, February 20, 2014

Newly-elected New York City Council member Ben Kallos' constituent event Thursday afternoon was unusual in several respects: there were some connectivity problems, and the issues discussed ranged from a proposed municipal ID system and the Comcast/Time Warner merger to proprietary software used by the City Council and data analytics.

Kallos hosted a Google Hangout with about ten participants to announce his online constituent services, including SeeClickFix, and to discuss issues of concern to his constituents and the New York City technology community. For the SeeClickFix effort, he is building on an established program run by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which has been using the platform on the island, part of his district along with the Upper East Side, since 2010.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A new report by a group opposing the construction of the waste transfer station on the Upper East Side claims that the city’s comprehensive waste management plan is deeply flawed –the latest salvo in a battle between local residents and a city that’s struggling to adequately deal with the trash it generates.

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Press Coverage
City and State
Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday was the first day on the job for 21 of the 51 members of the New York City Council. Their first order of business was no easy task: electing a new Speaker.

The official vote was in the Council chambers, however, there has been intense politicking for weeks. County leaders and Mayor Bill de Blasio have tried to sway the members to back their preferred candidate. The pressure gave some of the freshman Council members—many of whom have never held political office before—a first taste of New York City politics.

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Press Coverage
City and State
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

As part of his continued push to increase transparency in the New York Police Department, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Tuesday that the department will open up TrafficStat to more city agencies. The reforms are aimed at meeting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalitie

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Press Coverage
TechPresident
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

 

While there was a lot of hype about a report that the NYPD is testing Google Glass, in the short-term a policy-shift toward more accessible NYPD data has the potential to be more consequential for New Yorkers at large.

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Press Coverage
TechPresident
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BetaNYC, New York City's Code for America brigade, is embracing the prospect of change under the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio by seizing on his agenda priority to prevent pedestrian fatalities to renew its call for the city and the NYPD to release traffic data in a more usable format.

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