New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Mara Gay

Wall Street Journal NYC Councilman To Propose Free Babysitting by Mara Gay

NYC Councilman To Propose Free Babysitting

It’s really hard to get parents to come to community-board meetings,” he said in a phone interview. “Along with that comes a lack of diversity in the people I see involved in government and politics.”

There isn’t yet a cost estimate for the legislation, Mr. Kallos said. The measure would require the city to provide child care upon request through the Administration for Children’s Services, the child-welfare agency.

Wall Street Journal NYC Election Readiness Questioned by Mara Gay

NYC Election Readiness Questioned

Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, and others have said the board should be nonpartisan. Political parties hold too much sway in the appointments, he said.

“At the end of the day when you have an institution run by patronage, where people are there because of who they know and not what they know, I will never be confident that they will be able to run a smooth election,” said Mr. Kallos, who leads a council committee that has oversight of the board.

Wall Street Journal Head of the NYC Campaign Finance Board Is Stepping Down by Mara Gay

Head of the NYC Campaign Finance Board Is Stepping Down

Councilman Ben Kallos, who heads the committee on governmental operations, said he hopes the mayor will appoint “a person of stature who can stand up to any elected official and any candidate, who is nonpartisan and nonpolitical.”

Wall Street Journal At City Council, Answers Elusive on Rivington House Deed Deal by Mara Gay

At City Council, Answers Elusive on Rivington House Deed Deal

Councilman Ben Kallos, chairman of the council’s governmental operations committee, asked whether the agency had approved similar deals. “Here’s a chance to come clean,” he said.

Ms. Camilo said the agency had put all of its “13 or 14” requests to alter deed restrictions on hold since the Rivington deal came to light.

Mr. Kallos said the Rivington deal was disturbing, in part because it allowed a building once designated for a nonprofit to be turned into condos when the city could have used the space for other needs.

“We need schools like you wouldn’t believe. We also need homeless shelters. And affordable housing,” he said.

Ms. Camilo said agency officials shared council members’ concerns about the Rivington deal. “No one was happy with the outcome,” she said.

Wall Street Journal Bill Would Boost Free Breakfasts in Classrooms by Mara Gay

Bill Would Boost Free Breakfasts in Classrooms

Free breakfast has been available to all 1.1 million New York City school students since 2003. All city schools offer the meal before the school day begins, but some also serve breakfast in classrooms after the start of school, or provide bagged breakfasts that children can eat in the classroom.

“We need to provide some transparency around what schools are doing,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, an Upper East Side Democrat and co-sponsor of the legislation. Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin is the bill’s other co-sponsor.

Under the bill, the Department of Education would be required to publicly post the number of students who receive free breakfast before and after the school day begins, as well as the number of schools that have a salad bar in their cafeteria, and the number of students served after-school snacks and dinner.

Wall Street Journal Proposal for NYC Forms: Option to Identify as Multiracial by Mara Gay

Proposal for NYC Forms: Option to Identify as Multiracial

New Yorkers would be able to identify as more than one race on city documents under legislation set to be introduced in the City Council on Tuesday.

“We just wanted to bring New York City into the 21st century,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin, a Manhattan Democrat and the lead sponsor of the measure. “This will allow New Yorkers to identify their heritage and be proud of it. They shouldn’t have to only check one box.”

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos and Councilman Corey Johnson, both Democrats, would require city agencies to have the capacity to maintain the new demographic information within three years of the bill becoming law.