City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who has been a fierce proponent of CB8’s mission to end private management of the park, said he is ready to allocate funds for this cause.
“I have already represented to the parks department that I would be interested in investing capital funding from my office,” Kallos said, adding there was additional money available from Borough President Gale Brewer and the state.
“I am willing to put my money where my mouth is in investing in this park,” Kallos said.
CB8 has brought up the idea of establishing a conservancy for the park that would raise money for maintenance and other expenses.
The parks department has indicated that if it decides to revert the Queensboro Oval to public management, it would take more than three years to create a fully accessible park.
Kallos insisted that in that scenario, the park should not go unused. Sutton East, he said, could remain in the space during the months it has a license to run its tennis facility provided that it return the park to its original condition during the summer months –– as its license currently requires.
The Office of Immigration Affairs opened a one week pop-up today at the Carter Burden Center on Roosevelt Island. A team will assist residents in applying for the IDNYC card. Unexpectedly, on the same day, a slipshod report in the New York Post attacked the popular program. Council Member Ben Kallos used the occasion to briskly knock the report down.
"What I love about this ID Card is it shows that what is good for older people is good for everyone," said Bill Dionne, Executive Director of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging.
Carter Burden, which oversees the Roosevelt Island Senior Center at 546 Main Street, is hosting the week long pop-up. It runs daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and until noon on Monday, October 17th. While Dionne and others spoke, Office of Immigration Affairs staffers could be seen at their computers in an adjoining room, already working with early applicants.
Deputy Commissioner Kavita Pawria-Sanchez reported, "As of today, enrollment has grown to 900,000 cardholders, already one out of every ten New Yorkers."
UPPER EAST SIDE — Thousands of locals have signed a petition to add East 72nd Street to the M15 Select Bus Service route along First and Second avenues.
The stop was removed from the M15's express route when the MTAreplaced limited bus service with Select Bus Service along the line six years ago.
Now, residents have to walk to East 68th Street, East 67th Street or up to the East 79th Street stop to catch the Select Bus, a hike they say is difficult for the elderly and disabled. The other option is to wait up to 30 minutes for the local bus, residents said.
Statement from New York City Council Member Ben Kallos
Chair of the Committee of Governmental Operations (with oversight over the Board of Elections)
“No identification is required to vote in New York City and State. Any voter can show up on election day to the correct polling place and cast their vote, with their signature used to verify their identify. Any voter has right to vote wearing whatever clothing they wish as their signature is their sole verification of identity.
New Yorkers have until Friday to register for what may be the most important election in our lifetime.
IDNYC provides one municipal ID for all 8.4 million New Yorkers. Obtaining an IDNYC requires stringent proof of identity, birth date, and residency. No elected or appointed city official should be making baseless accusations of fraud about IDNYC or voting. No elections commissioner should be undermining the very elections they have a duty to run. I look forward to holding a hearing of the committee on Governmental Operations on the upcoming election where we will get answers from the Democratic Elections Commissioner for Manhattan.”
Today, Council Member Kallos made similar remarks at an IDNYC Pop-Up launch event that he sponsored on Roosevelt Island
IDNYC, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and City, State and Federal Elected Officials Announce New IDNYC Pop-Up Enrollment Center on Roosevelt Island
Pop-Up sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Senator José M. Serrano, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
Roosevelt Island, New York – Beginning October 11th at 10:00a.m., IDNYC, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), Council Member Ben Kallos, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Senator Jose M. Serrano, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation are co-sponsoring a new IDNYC Pop-Up Enrollment Center. Located at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center – a program of the Carter Burden Center for the Aging at 546 Main Street, the center will run from October 11th until October 17th with operating hours of Monday from 9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m., and Tuesday through Friday from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. Council Member Kallos will enroll for his own IDNYC card immediately following the press event.
2,700 Sign Petition to Restore Select Bus Service at 72nd Street
New York, NY - Today the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit were petitioned by over 2,700 Upper Eastside residents and the five elected officials that represent this area at every level of government to restore the M15 Select Bus Service stop at 72nd Street ahead of the completion of the Second Avenue Subway.
When Select Bus Service was introduced to First and Second Avenues on the M15 route these stops replaced Limited Service stops in every location above Houston Street other East 72nd Street. Residents who live near 72nd Street must choose between walking as much as half a mile to Select Bus Service at 67th or 79th Streets, too far for one-third of households in the immediate neighborhood with children or seniors.
Dear President Hakim,
Please restore the M15 Select Bus Service at 72nd Street. The M15 Limited stopped at 72nd Street until it was phased out in favor of M15 Select Bus Service. With high bus-dependent populations, infrequent local service, crosstown bus service, hospitals, community support and opening of the Second Avenue Subway with a station at 72nd Street, now is the perfect opportunity to increase ridership by restoring M15 Select Bus Service at 72nd Street.
72nd Street Only Location Omitted from Select Bus Service
When Select Bus Service was introduced to First and Second Avenues on the M15 route, Select Bus Stations replaced Limited Service stops in every location above Houston Street other than East 72nd Street. Since October 2010, residents living in the East 72nd Street area, for example at 73rd off York Avenue, now must choose between walking three avenues and six blocks, more than half a mile, to a Select Bus Service bus station at 67th or 79th Streets and Second Avenue, versus half that distance to 72nd Street. Walking more than half a mile in both directions is simply too far for many residents.
New York – On Thursday, the Bus Turnaround coalition held a rally at City Hall to call on the MTA and DOT to undertake sweeping changes to fix bus service, where ridership has been in free-fall for a number of years. At the rally, the coalition released a new website, BusTurnaround.nyc, which features new route-level “report cards” with speed and reliability data for local buses and interactive “ride-along” stories where users can compare the buses NYC has today with the buses we could have if the Turnaround campaign’s practical strategies are implemented.
“Do you want to get rid of this playground? Do you want to put up fake affordable housing that you could never afford?” Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the area, asked the crowd of 50 people gathered at this weekend’s “Party to Protect the Playground” rally. Each time, the answer was an emphatic “no!”
Before the mayor or NYCHA tries to sell off our playground so he can put up luxury housing, he should reach into his own pocket,” City Councilmember Ben Kallos said. “And NYCHA and Mayor Bill de Blasio would go from being the worst landlords in the City of New York to the best landlords in the City of New York.”
In their continued opposition — not only to demolishing the playground, but to the overall infill project itsel — residents of Holmes Towers like Glendora Israel stressed that the new complex would make life rougher for NYCHA residents.
Dear Chairman Prendergast and Commissioner Trottenberg, Thank you to New York City Transit and Department of Transportation for addressing the previous letters concerning service quality on crosstown buses by implementing Select Bus Service for the M86. I now request that you expand crosstown Select Bus Service to improve service on the M66, M79, and M96.
Each year, the New York Public Interest Research Group’s Straphangers Campaign evaluates bus service, and grants the “Pokey Award” to the slowest bus line in the City, an honor received on a regular basis by crosstown buses serving my district: the M66 in 2012 at 3.9 MPH and again in 2015 at 3.1 MPH, the M79 in 2014 at 3.2 MPH and the M96 in 2008 at 3.7 MPH. New York City Transit and the Department of Transportation can bring improvements to both bus lines by implementing Select Bus Service that provides off board payments to reduce dwell times in order to move buses faster.
Shannah Tovah and Happy New Year to those who celebrate and welcome to cooler temperatures and fall foliage for all. As I observe the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I ask your forgiveness. If I have disappointed you, please let me know so that I may earn your forgiveness and do better. May the coming months and year be a good one.
September finished with a six-hour hearing that I co-chaired to finally learn more about what really happened at the Rivington nursing home where deed restrictions were lifted, allowing the site to be become luxury condos. By questioning City Hall officials under oath and in public, we got a detailed account of what went wrong in an effort to ensure this doesn't happen again.
Improving bus service remains a priority. We met with MTA officials about bus service, petitioned for a 72nd Street stop on the M15-SBS, and are proposing bringing off-board payment to the M79. Please make your voice heard at Community Board 8.
As we enter flu season, please join me for my Annual Senior Health Fair on October 13 from 11am to 2pm at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, where you can get free flu shots, health screenings, learn about Identity theft prevention, and more. RSVP today at BenKallos.com/Events.
You can also get a free IDNYC with a one year membership at NYC cultural institutions at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, from the 11th to through the 17th (Monday 10am - 12pm & Tuesday – Friday from 9am to 5pm). Schedule an Appointment
There are six weeks left to get fresh fruits and vegetables from GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box every Thursday, 3:30pm-6:30pm. Come by this Thursday to sign up for next week for just $12 while you still can.
P.S. Due to conflicts with the Jewish Holy Days on Tuesday evenings, there will be no Policy Night in October.
October 13, 11am-2pm
October 11 - 14, 9am - 5pm
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
October 7, 8am-10am
October 6, 13, 20 & 29
No Policy Night
Has the communication and decision-making process under Shorris been changed?
Although Shorris conceded that on Rivington his decisions were not adequately relayed and that there were gaps in communication between him and other top officials, he offered little in the way of fixes that have been made in that regard. He staunchly defended the administration’s record and insisted that Rivington was an “episodic” failure that would be prevented by an overhaul of DCAS’ process for deed restrictions. He insisted that he could not personally follow up on the innumerable decisions he makes each day considering his portfolio of about 30 city agencies and his coordinating role over people who supervise the city’s 350,000 employees. Shorris wouldn’t say, when asked by Council Member Ben Kallos, whether he would offload any of the city agencies he personally oversees.
“Overall, I would’ve liked to hear some management plan that would address the lack of communications that resulted in this outcome,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile, in a Friday phone interview with Gotham Gazette. Gentile chairs the Council’s Oversight and Investigations committee which held the joint hearing with the Committee on Governmental Operations chaired by Kallos.
Overall, the hearing lasted six hours, the New York Times reported with several other members of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration also questioned. There were questions about competency. City Coucilman Ben Kallos wondered how Shorris could do his job properly when he had to oversee 30 different city agencies, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There were questions over the timeline. De Blasio had previously stated that he only became aware of the whole wrongdoing towards the end of March, whereas Shorris’s testimony on Thursday seemed to suggest that it was towards the end of February or early March, according to the New York Post.
CBS2’s Kramer asked Shorris if the administration thinks building the new facility will help the mayor dig out of the Rivington scandal.
“I don’t think it deals with all of the issues,” Shorris responded.
Council members said it won’t make Rivington disappear.
“The Rivington scandal is too deep to be gotten out from under. The whole thing is just a debacle,” said Councilman Rory Lancman, D-Queens.
Councilman Ben Kallos, D-Manhattan, said, “What happened at Rivington is wrong. There is no way that they dig out from this. Not only do they need to fix the policy, they need to change it so that something like this never happens again.”
And in another attempt to get out from under the scandal, the city is also going to hold public hearings. Members of the public will be allowed to testify about proposed restrictions to dead restriction laws.
That hearing is Nov. 1
"NYCHA should not move forward with this plan until they have gained the support of local residents, assured they will have preference for new units being built, and committed to building 100% affordable housing," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "I am proud to celebrate this playground with the residents of Holmes Towers and hope that their voices will be heard as this process moves forward."
Roosevelt Island Residents Received Training on how to Plan and Prepare for Emergencies
Roosevelt Island, NY –Last night, nearly 200 Roosevelt Islanders learned how to prepare for the next storm and received free go bags, so they will be ready when the time comes. The event was hosted by Council Member Ben Kallos, Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito, Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Acting President Susan Rosenthal and Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Jack McManus. On the eve of National PrepareAthon! Day, residents came to learn emergency preparedness skills so they will be ready as climate change leads to more unpredictable weather conditions in and around New York City.
Since 2014 Council Member Kallos has funded the Roosevelt Island CERT with $8,000 for new, up-to-date, modern two way radios designed to be operational in the event the island suffers an emergency and the CERT is activated.
“Every New Yorker should be trained to handle emergencies and own a Go Bag,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Always be prepared, especially if you live in an area that is prone to flooding. You never know when a natural disaster may force you to evacuate.”
“NYC Emergency Management works tirelessly to ensure that New Yorkers are educated about emergency preparedness,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “We’re happy to partner with Council Member Kallos to provide an important opportunity for Roosevelt Island residents to receive information on NYCEM’s programs and community-based initiatives, as well as how best to prepare themselves to respond to emergencies.”
“We are grateful to Council Member Kallos for making the security of Roosevelt Island residents a priority. RIOC is always looking for ways to increase security efforts, such as with the recent improvements to the emergency response time of the 911 Call Center. That crucial update, taking into account the unique nature of our Island, was the direct result of all stakeholders working together. Now, with respect to emergency preparedness, RIOC looks forward to working with OEM to ensure the health and safety of our Roosevelt Island Community.” Said Susan Rosenthal Acting President of Roosevelt Island Operating Cooperation.
September is National Preparedness Month culminating with “National PrepareAthon! Day” on September 30, the inspiration for the evening’s training ahead of Atlantic hurricane season. The event included the distribution of free Go Bags — a collection of items you can use in the event of an evacuation. Each household member should have a Go Bag, which should be sturdy, lightweight, and portable, such as a backpack.
The Go Bags that were distributed contained:
- First aid kit;
- Flash light with batteries;
- Radio with batteries;
- Poncho and emergency blanket;
- Dust mask;
- Pen, paper and magnifying lens;
- Sanitary products including wipes, tissue, soap, comb, as well as tooth brush and paste; and,
Must be supplemented by residents who should add:
- Copies of important documents in a waterproof container;
- Extra sets of car and house keys;
- Copies of credit and ATM card and cash;
- Bottled water and nonperishable food;
- List of medications and dosages household members take, or copes of all prescription slips with doctors’ name and numbers;
- Child care, pet care and other special items;
- Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map.
Thursday’s hearing by the City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations — co-chaired by Vincent Gentile and Ben Kallos — clocked in at a solid six hours.