5TH DISTRICT, MANHATTAN: FALL 2018 NEWSLETTER
New York City's Fiscal Year 2019 budget passed at $89 billion. This budget extends many vital programs and services that residents throughout our district count on. Some of the budget items that we are proud to have fought for are:
✓ Fair Student Funding - Schools in our neighborhood were chronically underfunded, and nearly everyone will see a boost in funding with an investment of $125 million.
✓ Accessible Schools - Almost every local public school in the neighborhood is not accessible, which is why we are investing $150 million in making our schools accessible to every student.
✓ Supporting Our Youth - After-school and summer programs, as well as summer and year-round youth employment initiatives, saw restorations and increases of $58.5 million.
✓ Expanding Our Libraries – An investment of $60 million will go to new libraries, in addition to $16.7 million to keep them open.
✓ Cleaning Up Our Parks and Streets - We've invested $15.8 million in parks maintenance workers, tree stump removal, and extra sanitation services.
✓ More Affordable Housing - We need more affordable housing for all New Yorkers, including $40 million for public housing infrastructure, $3 million for homeless youth shelters, and $500 million for senior affordable housing.
Ben Kallos, Council Member, District 5
PS Make your voice heard with monthly updates at BenKallos.com/subscribe
REWRITING NEW YORK CITY'S FOUNDING DOCUMENT
On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 you will be asked to vote on how to improve our City's founding document, our Charter. I have testified multiple times before the Commission appointed by the Mayor focusing on:
Getting Big Money of Politics
• Lower Contribution Limits by More than Half - lower limits citywide from $5,100 to $2,000, boroughwide from $3,950 to $1,500 and for City Council from $2,850 to $1,000.
• Make Small Dollars More Valuable - every small dollar below $250 for citywide and $175 for all others will go from being matched with public tax-payer dollars at a rate of 6 to 8.
• Match More Small Dollars - only a little more than half of small dollars are matched, requiring candidates to seek millions in big dollars from special interests to fill a gap that can be smaller by matching 75%.
Improve Community Representation
•Term Limits for Community Board Members of 8 Years
•Expert Urban Planners for Each Community Board
•Standardize Online Applications and Reporting
Thanks to the Charter Revision Commission many of the recommendations I made will be on the ballot to restore a democracy of, by, and for the People!
Please learn more and Pledge to Vote on November 6, 2018 at BenKallos.com/charter/pledge
We are taking the fight to protect our residential neighborhood against overdevelopment and super-tall buildings to court. In June, the most powerful agency no one has heard of, the Board of Standards and Appeals, ruled against the community. The City is now complicit in ignoring the law in order to help a developer beat the community: delaying the rezoning for years, adding a bogus grandfather clause, granting illegal After Hours Variances, endangering public safety by closing streets in violation of the law, and now finally ignoring the hard-fought zoning change the community won. We will appeal in court, and you can join our fight against supertall buildings at BenKallos.com/Petition/StopSuperScrapers
LEADING EAST & WESTSIDE COALITION AGAINST OVERDEVELOPMENT
We have picked up support in our fight against overdevelopment at the 524-foot skyscraper at 180 East 88th Street, which is currently under construction. Community groups like Friends of Upper East Side Historic Districts and Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Landmark West and others citywide as well as elected officials Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Assembly Member Gottfried, and Council Member Powers, along with a dozen other Council Members, have joined our fight. We are all fighting at the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to stop developers from creating zoning loopholes to build ever-taller buildings without any affordable housing.
FIGHTING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
I am fighting to squeeze as much affordable housing out of every tax dollar the City gives to developers as Chair of the Land Use Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions. I am proud to have voted to increase the staff at the Council's Land Use division to fight overdevelopment and build more affordable housing.
QUALITY OF LIFE
We are committed to improving quality of life in our community from new large-domed trash cans on every corner, to preventing litter, to our latest effort to add tree guards. At the request of the Upper Green Side and neighborhood associations for East 86th, East 79th, East 72nd, and the East Sixties, we have worked with the Parks Department to allocate more than $250,000 for tree guards with more than 100 already installed and more on the way. We are happy to partner with your cooperative, condominium, or block association to adopt planters or match funds for new tree guards.
EXPANDING AND INVESTING $200 MILLION IN PUBLIC PARKS
East River Greenway, 53rd - 60th Street: $100 Million
We are connecting the East River Esplanade at 60th Street to Sutton Place Park South as we continue to expand parkland in our district in support of a 32-mile contiguous park around the island of Manhattan. The Mayor announced $100 million in funding last year, with designs already unveiled.
Sutton Place Parks, 56th - 57th Street: $846,000
Construction is already underway to connect Sutton Place Park to the pocket park at 56th Streets with $675,000 from our office and the Council to replace a sandbox with a new play fountain and $171,000 from our office for new security cameras to keep parks safe.
Brearley School Overhang, 82nd - 83rd Street: $1.5 Million
After two years of negotiations, we secured another public-private partnership with an investment of over $1 million from Brearley to rehabilitate its overhang and maintain it in perpetuity. The plan includes colorful new designs, contemporary lighting, green walls, new planters, and a partnership with a local conservancy. Construction starts next summer.
East River Esplanade Repairs, 90th - 92nd Street and above: $35 Million
The East River Esplanade has been crumbling into the river for as long as I can remember. I secured $35 million in 2014, and in 2017, we broke ground alongside Taskforce Co-Chair Congress Member Maloney to begin rebuilding the Esplanade, starting with the area that collapsed behind Gracie Mansion.
Andrew Haswell Green Park, 60th - 61st Street: $4.7 Million
In November 2017, we celebrated the completion of Andrew Haswell Green Park Phase 2A, a $4,664,073 project that sits underneath the famous Alice Aycock “East River Round About.” The work included extensive structural reconstruction, including accessibility improvements, decorative pavement, chairs, game tables, plantings, and a new lawn to enjoy spectacular East River views.
Rockefeller University, 64th - 68th Street: $15 Million
Our first public/private partnership with Rockefeller University stemming from their new building over the FDR has resulted in $15 million for a new East River Esplanade from 64th - 68th Street, repaired seawalls, and a $1 million trust for maintenance in perpetuity. Visit the new Esplanade with improved landscaping, new seating and lighting, designated bike lanes, and a new noise barrier along the FDR Drive for a more peaceful park.
Hospital for Special Surgery, 70th - 72nd then to 78th Street: $1 Million
In 2015, I created a public/private partnership with the Hospital for Special Surgery to renovate the Esplanade from 70th - 72nd Street, now improved with a Master Plan to continue north to 78th Street. As a result, HSS agreed to develop a Master Plan for the East River Esplanade from 62nd Street to 78th Street, in partnership with Rockefeller University, add noise barriers, a water fountain and irrigation to keep plants alive, new planting beds, improved lighting, repaired railings, and new seating and paving, along with a commitment to maintenance in perpetuity.
New 81st Street Pedestrian Bridge, 79th - 81st Street: $16 Million
Last year, we cut the ribbon on the East 81st Street pedestrian bridge, connecting the upper Esplanade and John Finley Walk to the lower Esplanade. The $16 Million project replaced the decrepit stairwell built half a century ago. The new bridge isn't just a ramp, but an amenity in and of itself with glass viewing portals, rest points, and a garden below.
New Upper East Side Park Opens at 90th Street Pier
The 90th Street Pier, which was closed to the public, only visible through the bars of a gate, is now a public park. Following my advocacy in partnership with Friends of the East River Esplanade, other East Side elected officials, the Department of Transportation, and NYC Parks, we were able to add more than 3,000 feet of park space to the East River Esplanade.
FIGHTING TO OPEN PUBLIC PARKS
FIGHT CONTINUES TO OPEN THE QUEENSBORO OVAL
For more than 40 years, a public park and playground has been privatized for high-priced tennis at rates as high as $225 an hour, only available to the public for two months as a useless, muddy dirt field. I've worked with Community Board 8's Parks Committee to open it to the public for free, as well as allocating $1 million in funding to build a new multipurpose turf field, only to see the City ignore the community and move forward with privatization.
Sign the petition to join the fight at BenKallos.com/Petition/Oval
PROTECTING PARKS FROM POLLUTION
New Yorkers use 1 billion single-use plastic water bottles each year, and far too many of these bottles end up in landfills and waterways, polluting fisheries, and eventually end up in our food. Our National Parks stopped selling plastic water bottles under Obama and reduced pollution, only to see Trump reverse that progress. That is why I authored legislation for the City to lead by example by banning it from purchasing single-use plastic water bottles and selling them in our parks, beaches and golf courses, including those operated by Trump himself.
Help protect the environment at BenKallos.com/petition/BanTheBottle
WORK BEGINS ON NEW UPPER EAST SIDE PRE-K FACILITY
After years of fighting for new school seats in this neighborhood, we are finally getting them. When I took office, there were only 154 PreKindergarten seats in my district. Since then, working with community leaders and parents, we have been able to secure nearly 750 seats, bringing this number to 900, including seats at pre-k centers just built at 57th and 95th streets, and the 180 seats now under construction at 76th Street for the 2019 school year.
SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST
As a proud graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, I was disappointed to learn that the Mayor was planning on getting rid of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Prior to eliminating the sole objective criterion, the City must:
• Seat every middle school student for a practice exam, followed by the actual exam during school hours
• Provide free preparation for the exam as part of a Universal After School mandate
Join the fight to protect a world-class public education by adding your name at BenKallos.com/petition/SpecializedHighSchools
SOTHEBY'S ART SHOW
Since I know how important the arts are to our children's education and development, I am proud to support an Annual Art Show for public school students in the district. To see artwork from 2018, visit BenKallos.com/ArtShow
NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS WIN PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING
Over the past four and half years, through Participatory Budgeting and other discretionary funding, I have allocated over $3.5 million to build green roofs at schools within District 5, including:
• P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island School - $1 million
($500,000 from Participatory Budgeting)
• P.S. 151 Yorkville Community School - $750,000
($500,000 from Participatory Budgeting)
• P.S. 290 Manhattan New School - $1 million
($500,000 from Participatory Budgeting)
• M.S. 114 East Side Middle School - $800,000
Other education investments from my office to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education at schools in the district totaled $5.1 million in technology upgrades, such as new interactive smartboards, new laptop bundles, new sound systems, and literary programs.
OUR TOWN: A KINDER, GENTLER, CLEANER DUMP
As the Mayor prepares the MTS to begin operation in 2019, there is some good news to report. After years of advocacy and your commitment to waste diversion, we won a commitment from the Sanitation Commissioner to drastically reduce the expected number of trucks processed through the facility. Far short of the 500 trucks a day that were feared and the 200 trucks a day we had at the 74th Street Garage, according to the Commissioner, “On most days, the MTS will see on average, between 40 and 50 trucks."
Despite the good news, we continue to fight the Marine Transfer Station and thanks to your support we've already accomplished:
✓ Questioned increase of $120 million per year in waste export costs
✓Ensured zoned trash pickup is done fairly to protect the East Side
✓ Brought attention to dangers of garbage trucks in residential neighborhoods following tragic death of local resident hit by a garbage truck
✓ Moved the ramp one block north in partnership with P2P and the local community to protect 35,000 children from all over the city who play at Asphalt Green
✓ Introduced air quality-monitoring legislation to protect us from pollution
✓ Forced commitments under oath from DSNY to limit use to only 1,800 of the total 5,200 ton per day capacity, keeping more than 350 garbage trucks off our streets
✓ Advocated for and secured funding for guardrails on garbage trucks and other large city vehicles
✓ Advocated for and won a citywide goal of zero waste to make Marine Transfer-to-landfill obsolete by 2030
✓ Exposed high costs increasing from $93/ton to $278/ton for a total price tag of $632 million
✓ Built a three-borough coalition against garbage dumps in residential neighborhoods
✓ Cosponsored and passed Waste Equity Law to protect our neighborhood from receiving more than 10% of the city's waste
Join the fight at BenKallos.com/MTS
HOW TO SPEND $1 MILLION
Each year, residents in my district ages 11 and older get to vote on how to spend one million dollars in the community through Participatory Budgeting. The ballot is decided on by residents just like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB
FERRY SERVICE FOR UES & RI
After three years of advocacy, we were able to bring NYC Ferry service to Roosevelt Island in 2017. Now boasting more than one million riders, the NYC Ferry has also landed on the Upper East Side's Carl Schurz Park at East 90th Street.
SELECT BUS FOR 96TH STREET
In 2016, following positive results from Select Bus Service implementation for the M86, I requested SBS for the remaining crosstown routes in my district. The M79 SBS is going great and now we are fighting for Better Buses at BenKallos.com/petition/M96SBS
Since taking office, I have focused on making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists alike. We've held monthly cyclist education classes in my office and held events for delivery bike workers to receive free safety equipment, expanded bike lanes on 2nd Avenue, crosstown lanes on 70, 71, 77, and 78 streets, coupled with a model for increased enforcement rolled out citywide. BenKallos.com/BikeSafety
Here To Help
SENIORS: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride...
HOUSING: affordable units, rent freezes, legal clinic...
JOBS: search & training, veterans, senior & youth employment...
FAMILIES: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-Schools...
FINANCES: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance...
NUTRITION: Food Stamps (SNAP), WIC, free meals for all ages...
We can also help resolve 311 Complaints.
FREE LEGAL CLINICS
By appointment, 3pm to 6pm:
Housing, Every Monday and 1st Wednesday
Life Planning, 3rd Wednesday
General Civil Law, 3rd Tuesday
Family Law, 1st Tuesday
We bring our office to senior centers each month from 11am to 2pm:
• Stanley Isaacs, 2nd Tuesday
• Roosevelt Island, 4th Wednesday
Appointments after 5pm available upon request.
SAVE THE DATE
Sept. 20, 6PM
Memorial Sloan Kettering
430 East 67th St.
Emergency Prep & Free Go Bags
Sept. 26, 6 - 8PM
1230 York Ave.
Senior Health Fair
Oct. 10, 11AM - 1PM
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
331 East 70th St.
Excelsior Free College
Oct. 11, 5:30 PM
Eleanor Roosevelt H.S.
411 East 76th St.
Dec. 13, 5PM
244 East 93rd St.
State of the District
Jan. 13, 1PM
430 East 67th St.
RSVP at: BenKallos.com/Events
FIRST FRIDAY, 8AM – 10AM, District Office. Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
POLICY NIGHT, 2nd Tuesday, 5PM-6PM, District Office. Work with our office to make your ideas a reality.
BEN IN YOUR BUILDING, I will come to you for your annual condo, co-op, or tenants association meeting.