New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Marcia Kramer

CBS New York NYC Embarks On New Vetting Process For School Bus Drivers by Marcia Kramer

NYC Embarks On New Vetting Process For School Bus Drivers

When asked if he wonders why it took the city so long to do it, parent Edward Finkil said, “Yeah, I thought they did it. I thought that was something you do with the job.”

“I think there’s a lot of those things that you take for granted. You assume that your children are in the care of background-checked people, but I think sometimes that’s a false assumption,” added Chelsea parent Corynne Razos.

The city is also moving the unit which investigates bus driver complaints into its Office of Special Investigations, CBS2’s Kramer reported.

This also comes as City Councilman Ben Kallos has introduced a bill to outfit all school buses with GPS systems to help track buses and pupils who don’t show up.

CBS New York Mayor De Blasio Details Plan To Diversify New York City’s Elite High Schools by Marcia Kramer

Mayor De Blasio Details Plan To Diversify New York City’s Elite High Schools

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, an alum of Bronx Science, is against the changes.

“The fact that fewer black and Hispanic kids is getting into these schools is not the failure of the schools. It’s the failure of the public education system that has been failing them since day one,” Kallos said.

The mayor admits getting Albany to eliminate the tests may be difficult and that he may have to wait until next year.

A statement from the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation and the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association pointed out that the mayor’s admissions formula is “exceedingly complicated.” It also says the plan does not address “educational disparities across New York City middle schools.”

CBS New York City Council Considering Ban On Sale Of Single Use Plastic Bottles At Parks, Beaches by Marcia Kramer

City Council Considering Ban On Sale Of Single Use Plastic Bottles At Parks, Beaches

People would still be allowed to bring their own plastic bottles to those places, but wouldn’t be allowed to buy them there.

The measure would also provide for filling stations at parks and beaches, so people could fill up reusable bottles at those locations.

The measure is backed by Council members Ben Kallos and Rafael Espinal.

As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Kallos wants to start by stopping the sale of bottled water at city parks, beaches, golf courses, skating rinks, etc. Espinal would like to extend it to anything in a plastic bottle, like juice, soda, tea, etc.

“It would actually help and make a dent in the one billion plastic bottles that New York City throws away every year,” Kallos said.

“There are studies that show that if we don’t stop the current trend of the amount of plastic we’re using, we’re going to have more plastic than fish in our ocean,” said Espinal.

It’s a controversial proposal, Kramer reported. The International Bottled Water Association worries about dehydration.

CBS New York Sides Battle Over City Scaffolding Regulations by Marcia Kramer

Sides Battle Over City Scaffolding Regulations

A New York City councilman has declared war on building scaffolding, claiming landlords should be forced to take them down if no work is being done.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) is seeking a new law that imposes a time limit of 90 days to fix a dangerous condition, with the possibility of a 90 day extension if needed.

“Sidewalk sheds are the guest that you invite to your home but never leaves,” he tells CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer.

CBS New York De Blasio’s Top Deputy Falls On His Sword In Nursing Home Scandal by Marcia Kramer

De Blasio’s Top Deputy Falls On His Sword In Nursing Home Scandal

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

CBS New York Harlem Residents Furious After Lot Goes To Developer With Connections To De Blasio by Marcia Kramer

Harlem Residents Furious After Lot Goes To Developer With Connections To De Blasio

“I am concerned that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there may be other situations just like this,” said city Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th).

At a hearing, Kallos put that question to Lisette Camillo, the head of the obscure city agency that is responsible.

Kallos: “How many more situations like Rivington and St. Nicholas are coming down the pike?”

Camillo: “Right now, none. They’ve all been put on hold.”

Kallos: “How many are currently on hold?”

Camillo: “I believe it’s about 13 to 14 currently.”

Kallos: “Wow.”