New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Michael Gartland

New York Daily News NYC Councilman Kallos to push for expanded early voting access, blasts Albany lawmakers by Michael Gartland, Denis Slattery

NYC Councilman Kallos to push for expanded early voting access, blasts Albany lawmakers

Just months after New York City offered early voting for the first time during a presidential election, voters could soon get more early voting options under a new City Council bill expected to be introduced Thursday.

The bill, which Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos, plans to introduce to the Council at a Thursday meeting, would increase the number of early voting sites, with expanded hours of operation and at least two sites required in each Council district initially for the upcoming June primary.


“This would add at least two early voting polling sites per Council district for the coming election and would eventually scale up to eight. It would also give voters more hours to vote,” Kallos told the Daily News. “During the last election, there were zero early voting sites in my Council district. To be fair, one was 500 feet outside my district, but we don’t have enough early voting sites.”

Kallos blamed the city Board of Elections and legislators in Albany and called state lawmakers “corrupt” for not passing a law mandating more early voting sites.

The current state law requires just seven sites per county, he pointed out.

New York Daily News NYC still short on masks and PPE to fend off second COVID wave: Councilman by Michael Gartland

NYC still short on masks and PPE to fend off second COVID wave: Councilman

Those numbers are all certainly large, but according to Councilman Ben Kallos, three of them fall short of the city’s stated goals.

An internal de Blasio administration document obtained by Kallos and shared with the Daily News reveals that the city goal is to have a 90-day supply of each item. As of Tuesday, it only has a 15-day supply of gloves, a 62-day supply of N95 masks and an 87-day supply of face shields.

“We are 30 days short of the supply we need,” Kallos said of the masks. “It’s dishonest for the mayor to put out the numbers claiming victory when people need to know we don’t have enough N95 masks.”

Shortages of those masks during the height of the pandemic in March and April quickly became a lightning rod as hospital staffers were forced to recycle them for days past their shelf life.

New York Daily News Not enough NYC municipal workers work from home, says union head by Michael Gartland

Not enough NYC municipal workers work from home, says union head

The highest hurdle to telecommuting is securing sensitive city data, said Garrido, who complained the problem has been foreseeable for years and evidenced in the city’s failure to adopt telecommuting rules he’s been pushing for more than a decade.

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who has worked as a software developer, said telecommuting and data security are “very easy to set up.”

“Every corporation in America does this. Doctors do this. It is very easy and normal to do,” he said. “I’m concerned about city workers who could be working from home and are being forced to come in.”

New York Daily News NYC to seek replacement for current operator of more than two dozen homeless shelters: council member by Michael Gartland

NYC to seek replacement for current operator of more than two dozen homeless shelters: council member

The Department of Investigation on Monday executed search warrants at the Queens-based headquarters of Children’s Community Services, which has a contract with the city to operate 28 homeless shelters, said Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos.

Kallos said he was briefed on the probe by the Department of Social Services. The city will go to court to ask that another provider take over the locations, he said.

"No homeless services provider is too big to fail. If our homeless aren’t getting shelter beds that are safe and secure, the city can and will get a court order to bring in a provider that will do better,” Kallos told The News.

New York Daily News Manhattan NYCHA tenants in court to push for overdue repairs by Michael Gartland

Manhattan NYCHA tenants in court to push for overdue repairs

“Every week, my office responds to calls from NYCHA tenants seeking assistance with repairs for broken elevators, vermin infestations, lack of heat and hot water and broken intercoms,” Maloney (D-Manhattan) said. “It is unacceptable that anyone is made to live in these conditions, and that residents often file multiple work order requests for the same issue without ever receiving a response from NYCHA.”

City Councilman Ben Kallos, a fellow Manhattan Democrat, said he fields similar calls, especially this time of year.

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“This is to make sure the repairs actually get done,” he said of the legal filings.

New York Daily News Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé by Michael Gartland

Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé

The Acacia Network — the scandal-plagued non-profit that raked in $183 million in city contracts in 2019 alone — is facing another investigation.

Gov. Cuomo announced the latest probe Tuesday after the Daily News exposed Acacia for demanding a mother of three stop calling the city’s 311 complaint line if she wanted to renew her lease in a squalid Bronx apartment.

New York Post Even the trash cans are too expensive in NYC by Michael Gartland

Even the trash cans are too expensive in NYC

Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos said he protested the price surge to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which inked the deal, but was told it can’t be renegotiated.

“There is something wrong with the way we buy things as a city,” Kallos griped. “We never should have to pay more through a contract than if we bought it on the open market.”

Kallos said he had 284 of the domed, green trash cans installed on neighborhood sidewalks since taking office in 2014. At the time, they cost $545 a pop under a different contract.

The cans were such a hit that Kallos said he planned to order more — until he learned the new cost, $969.

 

New York Post De Blasio’s pushback on charter schools may cost him control by Michael Gartland

De Blasio’s pushback on charter schools may cost him control

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, a mayoral ally on education, countered that “charter schools shouldn’t be playing politics with children as pawns."

“Holding the public-school system hostage for charter-school expansion isn’t right,” said Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side. “Parents in my district aren’t asking for more charter school seats. They’re asking for more seats in traditional public schools.”

New York Post De Blasio aides’ legal bills are costing taxpayers millions by Michael Gartland

De Blasio aides’ legal bills are costing taxpayers millions

The city’s top lawyer predicted Monday that taxpayers will have to shell out “a few million dollars more” for the legal bills of mayoral aides swept up in several corruption probes.

And that’s on top of the $10.5 million already spent on outside lawyers.

Corporation Counsel Zach Carter described the additional legal costs as not “a large magnitude” and said it appears the federal probes are “winding down and concluding.”

“We believe that there will be a few million dollars more expended, but I can’t give you an exact figure,” Carter testified at a City Council budget hearing. “I don’t believe that it will be a large magnitude of expenditures.”

New York Post City official was fired for something other than Rivington House deal by Michael Gartland

City official was fired for something other than Rivington House deal

A top city official wasn’t fired because of his role in a controversial land deal that allowed a non-profit nursing home to be converted to luxury housing — but his boss refused to say Monday if he was ousted because of other federal investigations.

The axed official, Ricardo Morales, who served as a deputy commissioner at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, was at the center of two deals now being probed by federal investigators.

One was the lifting of deed restrictions on Rivington House, a Lower East Side nursing home, that eventually led to its sale for luxury condos.