New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Good Government

As founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wikilaw.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>WikiLaw.org</strong></a>, I believe that the Government and its body of law should be&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>&nbsp;for the people it governs. As founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.votersearch.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>VoterSearch.org</strong></a>, I believe that protecting your right to vote is essential to an&nbsp;<strong>accountable</strong>&nbsp;government. As former Co-Chair of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cb8m.com/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Community Board 8</strong></a>'s Communication Committee, I worked to&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>&nbsp;the community board by announcing<a href="http://www.mbpo.org/free_details.aspid=64&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>community board membership applications</strong></a>&nbsp;and ensuring they were widely available at meetings. I have continued my work with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cb8m.com/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Community Board 8</strong></a>'s Communication Committee and we have made its television show "<a href="http://cb8mspeaks.blip.tv/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Community Board 8 Speaks</strong></a>" available online.<br><br>As your City Council member I will continue the work of making City Hall&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>&nbsp;by making its business available online through the web, PDF, podcast, and YouTube like videos. I will&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>City Hall by creating NYC.OpenLegislation.org, a local version of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.opencongress.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>OpenCongress.org</strong></a>, where anyone will be able to share their views on all business, in support of the mission of the<a href="http://www.participatorypolitics.org/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Participatory Politics Foundation</strong></a>. City Hall will become&nbsp;<strong>accountable</strong>&nbsp;to you the people as NYC.OpenLegislation.org, will let you track business before City Hall and how your representative voted on issues of importance to you.

New York Daily News De Blasio would be required to report debt repayment plan under new NYC Council bill by Michael Gartland

De Blasio would be required to report debt repayment plan under new NYC Council bill

Mayor de Blasio and other elected officials would be required to disclose debt repayment plans under a newly drafted City Council bill that Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) is hoping to pass before the end of the year.

Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has criticized de Blasio in recent days for refusing to disclose his plan to repay about $435,000 in debt he owes to Kramer, Levin & Naftalis, a law firm that represents several clients with business before the city and which defended de Blasio against federal corruption charges going back to 2015.

Gotham Gazette Eric Adams Vows to Overhaul How City Government Works; Experts Point to Several Essentials to Following Through by Samar Khurshid

Eric Adams Vows to Overhaul How City Government Works; Experts Point to Several Essentials to Following Through

Council Member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, has been an evangelist for improving municipal digital services, particularly through open source software. “The fact that we're in the 21st century and so much of the government still requires a paper application is a problem,” he said in a phone interview.

Kallos, who is term-limited out of office at the end of this year, has repeatedly expressed frustration at the meager progress in civic technology solutions under the current administration. “Mayor de Blasio rolled out a lot of dashboards, but at the end of the day, 311 still doesn't work,” he said, pointing to a City Council oversight hearing on Tuesday on the NYPD’s apparent mishandling of 311 complaints. He was optimistic that an Adams administration could make major strides, and reiterated the expert consensus that the city needs an agile in-house team of software developers to create and consistently improve digital service platforms, rather than relying on major technology firms to deliver a finished product.

“If Eric approaches this with a Big Tech mindset, spending millions of dollars to launch something that is ready on day one with a big bang, then we're gonna have healthcare.gov all over again,” Kallos said, citing the Obama administration’s botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment portal. “We can do this inexpensively, we can do this scalably. And we can do it in-house so that we can keep making

Upper East Side Patch UES Lawmaker Hosting First In-Person Forum Since Pandemic by Nick Garber

UES Lawmaker Hosting First In-Person Forum Since Pandemic

Ben Kallos attends a ribbon-cutting on the East River Esplanade in April 2019. His monthly First Friday event will be held in-person this week for the first time since the pandemic began. (Jeffrey WZ Reed/New York City Council)

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For the first time since the pandemic began, a local lawmaker's popular monthly forum will be held in-person again.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos's "First Friday" discussion — held, as the name suggests, at the start of each month — will return 8 a.m. Friday.

Rather than over Zoom, it will be held at Ruppert Park. (In case of rain, it will go virtual, but forecasts currently call for clear skies.)

To participate, residents must RSVP online. Questions can also be submitted in advance on the RSVP form, or by email to questions@benkallos.com.

Kallos has held the forums each month since he took office in 2014. Speaking to Patch earlier this winter, Kallos said he hoped whoever succeeds him — now likely to be Julie Menin — would continue the tradition.

 

Gothamist Super PACs Poured Millions Into The NYC Primary. Whose PAC Got The Best Results? by David Cruz

Super PACs Poured Millions Into The NYC Primary. Whose PAC Got The Best Results?

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, widely seen as the architect behind the city’s 8-to-1 matching funds program, said the generous public support helped to blunt super PACs influence and allow more candidates the get their messages out and compete.

“We wouldn't have had the field that we did,” Kallos said. “That story repeats over and over again.”

CFB chairman Fred Schaffer downplayed the role of super PACs in this year’s election at the CFB meeting on Thursday, pointing to the outlay of $109 million in public funds.

“The support provided to candidates through the campaign finance program surpassed the amount spent by the outside groups," Schaffer said, "helping all the candidates who qualified get their story and vision for the city out to voters.”

FOX 5 WNYW Pressure for reform at NYC Board of Elections increases after vote tally blunder by Sharon Crowley

Pressure for reform at NYC Board of Elections increases after vote tally blunder

NEW YORK - New York City's Board of Elections has come under increasing scrutiny after the independent organization mistakenly counted more than 100,000 test ballots and included those numbers in the primary night and early voting totals.

"They're doing a horrible job," said Councilman Ben Kallos. "They have one job, and it's to count votes."

While the Board has apologized for the mistake, calling it human error, it's not enough for many, who are demanding reforms

Council Members Menchaca, Lander, Levin, and Kallos Restore Participatory Budgeting in their Districts to Accelerate Covid-19 Recovery

Monday, March 22, 2021

NEW YORK, NY - Council Members Menchaca, Lander, Levin, and Kallos announced on Monday that their offices are setting aside a combined total of $4.5 million dollars for their constituents to decide how to invest in their communities. Known as Participatory Budgeting, the citywide process was suspended last year due to the pandemic. This year, these Council Members are reviving the process on their own to accelerate the City's recovery.
 
"What better way to help get New York City on back to normal than with an exercise in democracy and having residents vote on the change they want to see in their neighborhoods," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Participatory Budgeting brings communities together and although we cannot be fully together just yet, we can still get residents to join the process and get involved. If we are going to ever get back to normal, we cannot let the good things we were doing like PB get lost from our commitments. I am happy to see Participatory Budgeting back as I am sure are my constituents. Thank you to Council Members Menchaca, Lander, and Levin for doing what it takes to literally keep PB alive this year.”

Gotham Gazette Legislation Aims to Improve Efficiency and Access at Election Poll Sites by Samar Khurshid

Legislation Aims to Improve Efficiency and Access at Election Poll Sites

City Council Member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, is introducing legislation to create a temporary poll-site task force that would examine measures to improve access to poll sites and to make them more efficient. The task force would be charged with studying the functioning of poll sites in the 2020 elections, the cost of running them, and the possible effects on the health of voters, and would recommend locations and the number of sites for future elections. 

“I hate task force bills and I think that they're mostly useless, but this is the one time I think it's the only path forward,” Kallos said in a phone interview, reluctantly acknowledging that the Board of Elections is not really under the jurisdiction of city law despite the fact that it is funded in large part through the city budget.

City and State The 2021 Nonprofit Power 100 by City and State

The 2021 Nonprofit Power 100

17. Ben Kallos

Chair, New York City Council Committee on Contracts

Ben Kallos 

Ben Kallos ( Jeff Reed for the New York City Council )

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos has put a spotlight on the challenges nonprofits face as chair of the Council’s Committee on Contracts. One of his priorities this past year has been pushing the city to restore funding to its Indirect Cost Rate initiative, which aimed to help human services organizations cover administrative and overhead costs. The Upper East Side elected official is now running to serve as Manhattan borough president.

New York County Politics Kallos Introduces Legislation to Mandate Public Posting of City Jobs by William Engle

Kallos Introduces Legislation to Mandate Public Posting of City Jobs

Have you ever wanted to work in city government? If so, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) has some good news; he has introduced a bill to make it far easier for you to find opportunities.

Today, Kallos introduced legislation that would require the city government to notify the public about any new job position or vacancy. The job posting would have to stay up for at least 14 days before the agency started interviewing candidates.

Section 2604(b) (3) of the New York City Charter bans City employees from leveraging their position for personal gain or influencing the hiring of close relatives or peers. However, some City agencies – particularly the New York Board of Elections (BOE)- have circumvented this law by keeping new opportunities hidden from the public, ensuring that their friends and relatives will be the first to apply.

New York Times article from last October highlighted just how rampant cronyism and nepotism are within the BOE. It pointed out, among other things, that the administrative manager is the wife of a councilmember, and the official overseeing voter registration in the City is the mother of a former representative.

New York Daily News Manhattan lawmaker wants more thorough data on NYPD arrests by Shant Shahrigian

Manhattan lawmaker wants more thorough data on NYPD arrests

Councilman Ben Kallos plans to introduce a bill requiring the NYPD to include all crimes in its weekly updates of the CompStat website, which currently maps the “seven major” crimes like murder and rape, along with a handful of other types of illegality.

“Whether it is the ongoing war on drugs only happening in certain communities or just other types of overpolicing, it would be helpful for folks to see that on a map and be able to see that happening in real time,” the Upper East Side Democrat told the Daily News on Wednesday.