New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Paula Katinas

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Special Ed advocates say school bus GPS will save kids by Paula Katinas

Special Ed advocates say school bus GPS will save kids

On Wednesday, the council approved legislation sponsored by Chaim Deutsch (D-Brighton Beach-Sheepshead Bay) and Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) to install GPS devices on school buses and to give parents the option of using the tracking devices via an app. Another bill would give parents the opportunity before the start of the school year to review and bus routes and request changes to those routes.

The bills have been sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his signature.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle NYC looks at ways to entice voters to polls by Paula Katinas

NYC looks at ways to entice voters to polls

Councilmembers Mark Treyger Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) and Helen Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side) are pushing legislation to make it easier for New Yorkers to register to vote and to cut the red tape prospective candidates face getting on the ballot.

One bill would seek to strengthen the Young Adult Voter Registration Act, a 2004 law requiring voter registration forms to be sent to graduating high school seniors with their diplomas. The bill would require the forms to be distributed to students in class instead of mailing them with diplomas.

"Ensuring that our schools are connecting students with language-appropriate voter registration materials will help us empower our young adults to stand up, take action for what they believe in, and become part of the social fabric of our city, our state and our country," said Treyger, chairman of the Council’s Committee on Education.

A second bill would require landlords to provide new tenants with voter registration forms with the apartment lease.

The third bill would overhaul the process by which candidates get on the ballot. Under the bill, candidates could qualify to get on the ballot by meeting a minimum threshold to receive public funds through the city’s campaign finance system.

It would do away with the current system which requires candidates to secure a certain number of signatures on nominating petitions from registered voters in their districts.

Kallos charged that the current system has given rise to “ballot bumping,” an effort by well-financed candidates and political clubs to hire lawyers to take opponents to court and knock them off the ballot for minor technical infractions.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Council votes to crack down on cheating landlords by Paula Katinas

Council votes to crack down on cheating landlords

On Tuesday, the Council approved Intro 1015-A, a bill sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams, with input from Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, to hold building owners who receive tax abatements accountable to the city.

Starting in 2020, landlords who aren’t providing affordable apartments after they have received financial windfalls in the form of city financing or tax breaks will be required to register their units with the city.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle City Council Looks at Easing Online Voter Registration by Paula Katinas

City Council Looks at Easing Online Voter Registration

The council’s Committee on Governmental Operations voted to pass legislation sponsored by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) that would require the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“Democracy should be a click away. We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be registered and receive a confirmation by email, just as with any other website,” Kallos said in a statement. 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Teens taking over community boards? by Paula Katinas

Teens taking over community boards?

Residents as young as 16 would be able to take seats on the city’s 59 community boards if a movement in the State Legislature to lower the age of eligibility is successful.

This week, the City Council’s Governmental Operations Committee voted unanimously to approve a resolution introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) at the suggestion of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer that calls on the full council to support a bill in the State Legislature that would amend the state’s Public Officers Law and would allow for a change in the City Charter to allow young people to serve.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Bensonhurst trash plant foes find new allies by Paula Katinas

Bensonhurst trash plant foes find new allies

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) urged the city to re-think the whole plan.

“It is time to re-imagine our solid waste management plan to reduce, reuse and recycle, instead of putting Marine Transfer Stations in densely residential neighborhoods,” he said. “A forward-thinking plan for a greener city will provide relief to over-burdened neighborhoods and protect the thousands of residents and students within feet of these proposed marine transfer stations.”