“Look out Silicon Valley, here comes Silicon Alley, supported by a city government that is providing the funding, space, and data the tech sector needs to thrive,” stated New York City Council Member Ben Kallos.
Councilman Ben Kallos, who attended the CB8 meeting on Wednesday, supported finding new use for the Queenboro Oval, telling tennis players to "get on the Roosevelt Island tram" to play at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club or to back the creation of a non-profit that could maintain tennis courts at the location.
He pointed to the Riverside Clay Tennis Association which maintains courts at Riverside Park near West 96th Street.
"If you don't want to worry about the RFP and don't want Parks to have to worry about ethics laws, the best thing you can do is get the community board to pass a resolution saying that it wants to work with a nonprofit like Riverside and I can give funding from my office to get that started," Kallos said.
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.”
“New York State should be a national role model for voter access and voting rights, with same-day registration, early voting, and no-excuse absentee voting,” said NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations. “I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s efforts to get these voting reforms passed, and in the City Council we will continue to support that effort with resolutions calling on the state legislature to do the right thing.”
Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, has been pushing the city to do better for years and, at his request, the latest reports now show spending information by general categories of appropriation. But, he points out, the report still fails to connect budgeting with agency goals, despite being mandated by the city charter. “The MMR should be treated as an investment document,” Kallos said in a phone interview, “and spending should be tied to specific programmatic performance goals so New York City residents know how their tax dollars are being spent and can advocate for them to be increased or decreased.”
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.
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.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Department of Sanitation and City Councilman Ben Kallos were handing out free reusable bags to help residents prepare for the implementation of a new ‘carryout bag law.’
However, the law is not without opposition.
Walking out the Fairway market on East 86th Street, Chris told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones that he likes the reusable bags, and uses them all the time. He also runs a delivery service.
This bill would require the Department of Buildings to report on all construction accidents that result in an injury or fatality to a member of the public or a construction worker.
This bill would require that contractors working on certain projects receiving City financial assistance participate in an apprenticeship program. It would also require reporting of certain information concerning such projects.
Nearly 9,000 scaffolds that entomb 190 miles of City sidewalks may soon be dismantled, under legislation introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos. Unnecessary scaffolding also known as “sidewalk sheds” would have to be removed if seven days pass without construction work.
Sidewalk sheds are temporary structures, made of wooden planks, boards and metal pipes to protect pedestrians from dangerous conditions that are being corrected or new construction. Scaffolding is not only an eyesore but attract crime such as drug deals and provide an alternative to shelter for homeless. Many sidewalk sheds persist for years, sometimes more than a decade. There are several sidewalk sheds in Council District 5 represented by Kallos that have been up for years, over two years at 340 East 64th Street and 301 East 95th Street and over three years at 349 East 74th Street. Often times, it is much more expensive to fix a dangerous condition than to leave a sidewalk shed up indefinitely
Kallos’ legislation would set the following timeline for sidewalk sheds in place for dangerous conditions:
- 90 days for building owners to fix a dangerous condition,
- 90 additional for building owners days to fix the dangerous condition upon extension,
- After 180 days, the city would do the work to correct the dangerous condition and bill the owner for all costs.
- Work could not be interrupted for more than 7 days without a mandate to take down the sidewalk shed or face heavy penalties.
Under the same legislation, new construction would need to continue without more than 7 days of interruption until the new development is safely capped off or completed. Exemptions in the legislation provide for weather, stop work orders, time awaiting permit renewals or in cases of safety risks.
This bill would require that at least one staff member of the Board of Standards and Appeals be a state certified general appraiser with expertise analyzing and auditing real estate investments.
This bill would require the Department of City Planning to designate a Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) Coordinator and to post on its website a record of such coordinator’s attendance at BSA hearings as well as any written testimony presented by the Department or by the City Planning Commission.
This bill would codify minimum evidentiary requirements for zoning variance applications with respect to establishing physical uniqueness of a zoning lot and the applicant’s inability to obtain a reasonable rate of return under the existing zoning. A person who makes a materially false statement or causes a materially false statement to be made in connection with a zoning application would be subject to a $25,000 fine for every such false statement.
This bill would require the Board of Standards and Appeals to create, and post on its website, an interactive map displaying the location of all variances and special permits approved by the BSA since January 1, 1996. The map would allow a user to filter by borough; council district; community district; type of variance; date; and, for special permits, active or inactive status.
This bill would require the Board of Standards and Appeals to report information about applications for variances and special permits, and appeals of decisions regarding variances and special permits, to the Council twice per year, on dates approximately one and a half months prior to the mandated due dates for the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report and the Mayor’s Management Report.
"The exploitation of vulnerable New Yorkers at transitional homes is an issue we must solve quickly and decisively,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice Chair for Policy of the Progressive Caucus. "By requiring reporting from the agencies tasked, New Yorkers will all have a better idea of how serious this issue is, who the bad actors are and what progress is being made. This package of bills forces more transparency that will better our chances at finally getting finding a solution to this issue."
January 27, 2017
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me with your position on the Queensboro Oval. We have been working with the community on this issue for years and hope we can work with you so that even more people can enjoy the Queensboro Oval as a City park.
With the expiration of Sutton East’s lease, the City and community are considering various options for the land, including operating public tennis courts where season passes are $200 and day passes cost $15. I hope that you will join the conversation to help us determine how to effectively open this City park to more New Yorkers.
Community Board 8 has held numerous public meetings to discuss the future of the Queensboro Oval with members of the community dating back to January 7, 2010, with more than ten meetings since I was elected from December 4, 2014 through January 12, 2017. These meetings were publicly noticed through the Community Board website and email list, publicly posted with paper signs on lamp posts, featured in a full length cable television show, covered by the press and prominently featured in my own emails and letters to residents.
At these meetings, members of the public have continually expressed concern that, while the Upper East Side has among the lowest amount of public park space in the City, Sutton East Tennis sits on City park land, but is not accessible to most community members with rates as high as $225 an hour that most cannot afford. Sutton East Tennis Club was notified and was represented at many of the meetings, though no one has spoken in favor of continued privatization of this public space. Dating back to 2008, Community Board 8 has objected to the privatization of public land at the Queensboro Oval, and in the last 12 months alone, the Parks Committee and Full Board have passed four resolutions calling for the City to make the Queensboro Oval a year-round public park, which could include tennis courts accessible to more New Yorkers.
Some of the concerns raised were:
- The Queensboro Oval sits on 1.25 acres of public parkland, not private land.
- Sutton East Tennis has high fees with a minimum of $80 to a maximum of $225 an hour.
- Sutton East Tennis is renting 1.25 acres for only $2 million a year, very far below market rate.
- Nine months out of the year the land is completely closed off to the public without any benefit to the community.
- Each year when the tennis bubble is removed for just two and half months of summer, the land is left in almost unusable condition.
Community Board 8, with input from members of the public, has been transparent and unequivocal in its decision-making process regarding the Queensboro Oval. We have also received over one hundred petition signatures in support of opening the Queensboro Oval to the public.
Please note that there are 12 HarTru tennis courts available just a 5 minute Tram ride away from 59th Street and Second Avenue available at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club where rates are a fraction of those at Sutton East Tennis and where we have partnered with the New York Junior Tennis League to provide free tennis classes to children ages 5 to 18 every Saturday and Sunday morning from 6am to 8am through the winter and free tennis camp through the summer.
The Riverside Clay Tennis Association, a non-profit that currently maintains 10 red clay courts in Riverside Park, has also presented at Community Board 8, and is interested in providing the same services to these courts making them public tennis courts operated by the New York Parks Department. Season tennis passes would be $200 for adults, $20 for seniors over 62 and $10 for children under 16, and day passes for $15.
How much do you currently pay per season at Sutton East Tennis? Would you be interested in working with a non-profit like Riverside Clay Tennis Association in order to maintain this amenity as a New York City Park Department public tennis court where you could pay for a season what you currently pay per hour?
Please let Community Board 8 and my office know, so that we can include your voice in how we use this park to benefit the public.
Over the last two weeks New Yorkers have made me even prouder to represent this City as they have come out by the tens of thousands, taking action to support everything from a woman’s right to choose to keeping our nation and City open to immigrants and refugees. To stay informed about ways to defend New York City values against the threats of the Trump Administration, sign up to get more frequent messages from me with notifications of upcoming actions (you can unsubscribe at any time).
As we make our voices heard nationally, we must reinvest in leading on the local level. In the spirit of community collaboration, it was a pleasure seeing almost two hundred residents at my State of the District event, where I highlighted much of what we have accomplished together over the past three years, and what we can achieve on the East Side and in New York in 2017.
We continue our push to bring true Universal Pre-K to the East Side and Roosevelt Island, to fight against overdevelopment, and to bring scaffolding down throughout the city. We are also taking action to support women's health, fire safety, and construction safety.
How will you get involved this month?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Holocaust Remembrance Day
- Muslim Ban
- Take Action and Resist
- New York Times Editorial Supports Scaffolding Reform
- 50 Year Agreement Reached on the Roosevelt Island Tram
- City Council Funding for Local Non-Profits Due February
- Universal Pre-Kindergarten Presentation on Registration
- Free State and City College
- Meeting with Parent Teacher Associations
HOUSING & ZONING
- East River 50s Alliance Town Hall
- Protecting the Rent Freeze
- Safe Construction Jobs Act Hearing
- Historic Districts Council is Hiring
PARKS & THE ENVIRONMENT
- Update: Fighting for a Select Bus Service Stop at East 72nd Street
- Successful Commercial Bike Safety Event
- Honoring the Second Avenue Subway Task Force
- Job Posting: Program Manager at Citi Bike
GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY AND TRANSPARENCY
- Third Annual State of the District
- Judicial Inductions
- Due This Friday: Join Your Community Board
- Free Tax Preparation by AARP Tax Aide at Lenox Hill
- Supporting the Homeless, ETHOS Update
- 3 Kings Day at El Museo Del Barrio
- Judicial Inductions
- Rally Opposing Anti Labor Secretary Nominee
- Our Lady of Peace Parishioners Appeal Church Closing
- NYC Ballet Family Saturdays: $5 Ticket Offer
- NYC Urban Debate League Is Looking for Volunteer Judges
- In the Community
EVENTS AND RESOURCES
"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.
The business model has worked well for the company, which was founded in the paper era in 1934, and has helped countless residents who want to find information about their community’s laws and see how they compare with others.
“We don’t believe we own these codes,” Wolf said. “We believe we are a service provider. We take the raw ordinances and put the codes online.”
The information, he says, doesn’t belong to his company. “It is not our information; it is the public’s information.”
New York City recently became a client of American Legal Publishing.
Ben Kallos, a city council member who helped nudge the city toward embracing a new system for publishing its laws, said making laws easily available to the public should be a no-brainer.
“If it is just out there and publicly available, residents can actually read laws, interact with them and use them and be empowered.”
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.