New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

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New York Times De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts by Dana Rubinstein, Jeffery C. Mays

De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts

The budget is expected to be passed on Tuesday by the full 51-member City Council, although it is expected to garner more than a dozen “no” votes, split between council members who oppose cutting police funding at a time when crime is rising and those who think the police cuts do not go far enough.

Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side, said he planned to vote no on the budget, in part because he said the police cuts were insufficient.

“It is worse than it was before,” Mr. Kallos said in an interview.

“We are not seeing a meaningful reduction in head count and the changes that people are literally marching in the streets for,” he said. “I don’t think anyone marching for Black Lives Matter is doing it to see school safety agents moved from the N.Y.P.D. budget to the schools budget.”

Upper East Side Patch Planters Installed At Upper East Side Intersections: Council Rep by Brendan Krisel

Planters Installed At Upper East Side Intersections: Council Rep

Kallos' office partnered with the Horticultural Society of New York to install planters on "bike islands" at the intersections of Second Avenue and East 91st, 92nd, 93rd and 95th streets, the local lawmaker announced this week. The $50,000 public-private partnership was approved by the city Department of Transportation.

"We're greening bike islands that were previously empty with planters to beautify our streets," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Thank you to the Horticulture Society of New York for their partnership and help beautifying our streets.

New York Post More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings by Steve Cuozzo

More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings

Moreover, it is by no means clear that “sidewalk bridges” — which are really sidewalk tunnels — don’t cause more deaths and injuries than they prevent. Council Member Ben Kallos last January cited seven instances of people in the city injured by scaffold collapses since 2017.

In one case, Katherine Lefavre, then 34, was nearly killed when a “shed” collapsed at 568 Broadway in Soho in November 2018. The accident fractured the top model’s spine and required her to learn how to walk again.

Upper East Side Patch New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day by Brendan Krisel

New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day

Locals may be surprised that a soup kitchen is opening on the Upper East Side — generally considered one of Manhattan's more affluent neighborhoods — but food insecurity can afflict people in any area, City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

"No community, including the Upper East Side, is immune to the sad reality of families facing hunger during this holiday season," Kallos said in a statement. "As a City, we must prepare for looming federal cuts to SNAP benefits and bolster outreach to the homeless whenever and wherever possible."

People interested in volunteering at the new soup kitchen can reach out to Bronx Parent Housing Network by emailing

AM New York Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan by Gabe Herman

Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan

The annual event, called Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, was hosted by the nonprofits Care For the Homeless (CFH) and Urban Pathways (UP) at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, at 7 West 55th St.

This year, 153 homeless people were honored, and each name was read aloud as a bell tolled and a candle was lit. Several elected officials spoke, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi and City Council Member Ben Kallos.

A eulogy was also given for the four Chinatown victims who were beaten to death one night in early October. There were six other eulogies given at the event, and 15 people read the names of all those who had died in 2019.

6sqft East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground by BY MICHELLE COHEN

East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground

The other spaces in the works along the East River waterfront include a $25 million project in East Harlem from 114th to East 117th Streets and a $35.5 million project on the Upper East Side from East 90th to East 94th Streets. Council Member Ben Kallos said, “We are ready to break ground on the East River Greenway, and what once was only a dream is getting closer to reality. Soon my constituents and I will finally be able to run, bike or walk the entire length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem.”

Anime News Network Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates 'Gundam Day' in New York by Kim Morrissy

Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates 'Gundam Day' in New York

Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino declared November 15 "Gundam Day" in New York at the opening ceremony of the Anime NYC convention. Tomino attended the convention as a guest in order to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the original Mobile Suit Gundam television anime.

Gotham Gazette City Council Considers New Office to Aid Non-Profits by Samar Khurshid

City Council Considers New Office to Aid Non-Profits

separate study published in April by Seachange Capital Partners, a nonprofit merchant bank, found that contract delays in the 2018 fiscal year became “slightly worse” than the previous year. It found that social service contracts were registered an average of 221 days after their start date, up from 210 days in the 2017 fiscal year; only 11% were on time, slightly better than the 9% in 2017; and 20% continued to be unregistered after one year, marginally worse than the 19% in 2017. The report estimated that the fiscal burden on nonprofits from registration delays was as much as $744 million, up from $675 million in 2017.

“A nonprofit delivering services under an unregistered contract faces a growing cash flow burden associated with the unreimbursed expenses. It must also pay interest and fees on the debt it uses to finance this cash flow need – if it can be financed at all,” the study reads.

Council Members Rosenthal and Kallos cited that study in a July joint op-ed, criticizing the city’s “broken procurement system” and how delays affect nonprofits. “New Yorkers deserve the best services, and the CBOs providing those services deserve to be paid fairly and on time by a city government they can hold accountable. Overhauling the procurement system may be bureaucratic and slow in nature, but it is necessary if we are to properly serve the New Yorkers who are most in need,” they wrote, citing separate legislation they introduced to achieve that goal.

New York Daily News Loophole allows people with city business to shower thousands on candidates despite contribution limits by Anna Sanders

Loophole allows people with city business to shower thousands on candidates despite contribution limits

 “There is no question that someone doing business with the city is only going to bundle because they think it will help their bottom line,” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said.

Critics of the loopholes hope an increase in the public match, from 6-to-1 to 8-to-1 for certain donations, will help curb big-money influence in the 2021 elections.

“Hopefully that disincentives this behavior,” Kallos said.

The Chief-Leader Seeing Need, Mayor and Council Out To Establish Private Retirement Plan by Crystal Lewis

Seeing Need, Mayor and Council Out To Establish Private Retirement Plan

“Retirement should be for everybody, not just for people who work in offices here in Manhattan, and not just for people lucky enough to have a pension,” Onza Lynch, a Bronx commercial carter, said at a Sept. 23 rally to push legislation that would establish a universal retirement savings plan for private-sector employees across the city.

Mayor de Blasio, City Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Ben Kallos, and advocate groups including the American Association of Retired Persons spoke of the importance of retirement security at the City Hall event.