I am proud of this year’s New York City budget of $93.2 billion. This is a budget that invests in our future and our public spaces, serving all New Yorkers.
- $15 million to Fully Fund Universal Pre-Kindergarten with pay equity for early childhood educators working at community-based providers.
- $30 million for 285 New Social Workers with 100 for middle schools and 85 focused on mental health.
- $27 million to Enhance Libraries.
- $41 million for Fair Funding for Parks to improve maintenance and operations.
- $40 million for an Accurate Census Count to protect federal funding and the apportionment of seats in Albany and Congress for the next decade.
- $250 million Added to the City’s Reserves in a rainy-day fund to protect against economic downturn.
Ben Kallos, Council Member, District 5
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Mechanical void loophole closed by City Council Vote
“We’re taking a significant step towards stopping developers from getting around zoning to give billionaires views instead of building the affordable housing New Yorkers need,” said Kallos. “This is only a start and we need to go much further.”
We won another victory against supertalls by strengthening and passing a zoning text to limit empty spaces in buildings that were used to prop up apartments to give billionaires better views.
As the first to uncover the “gerrymandered” zoning lot used at 180 East 88th Street to build taller than legally allowed, I sent multiple letters, and in May the City Planning Commission also committed to proposing a minimum lot size to eliminate another developer loophole this fall.
CLEANING UP CORRUPTION IN GOVERNMENT
WE ARE GETTING BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS
Real estate developers and big money interests always seem to get whatever they want from politicians, which is no surprise with the tens of thousands of dollars they give their campaigns. That is why I believe big money from corporations and real estate should have no place in elections. For more than a decade, I have been fighting to get big money out of New York City politics.
Finally, this past June, with the crucial support of Speaker Corey Johnson, the City Council passed Int. 732-B, which I authored. This legislation expands the new campaign finance laws overwhelmingly adopted by voters on November 6, 2018 from only matching 75% of contributions to matching every small dollar donation.
This followed Local Law 1 of 2019, which I authored to apply the new option to the 2019 Public Advocate’s election. Big money that used to make up three-quarters of campaign cash was replaced by small dollars, which now making up almost two-thirds of campaign funds. For the first time, a candidate won citywide office with a pledge not to take real estate money.
REWRITING NEW YORK CITY’S FOUNDING CHARTER
The recommendations for campaign finance and community board reform that I made for the Charter were overwhelmingly adopted by voters in 2018. Since then I have testified on the following questions that will be on the 2019 ballot:
Question 1 Elections - Ranked Choice Voting
Question 2 Stronger CCRB Oversight Over NYPD
Question 3 Two Year Revolving Door Ban for Elected Officials & Citywide Office Dedicated to Contracting with Women and People of Color
Question 4 Budget Independence for the for Public Advocate and Borough Presidents
Question 5 Early Involvement for Community in Neighborhood Planning
Please turn over your ballot to vote on all five questions on November 5, 2019 details at BenKallos.com/Charter2019
CLEANING UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD
194 NEW TRASH CANS
We continue cleaning up litter with new covered trash cans on every corner that prevent trash spilling over on to our streets. We are replacing aging and broken trash cans and doubling up on problem corners with an investment of an additional $135,000 for 194 more covered trash cans. I am proud to be cleaning up the neighborhood and keeping it clean!
POWER WASHING 86TH STREET
You may have noticed that the sidewalks are cleaner than before around the district. This is thanks to weekend volunteer cleanups by the East 86th Street Neighborhood Association and litter pick up and street cleaning multiple days a week by Wildcat Service Corp. Wildcat‘s work is thanks to an $85,000 investment from my office. This spring I even rolled up my sleeves and took the opportunity to join a crew in power washing 86th East Street.
Help clean up the neighborhood at BenKallos.com/cleanup
INVESTING IN EDUCATION, PARKS, SENIORS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND INVESTING IN SENIORS
New Affordable Housing on East 92nd
I joined Gary Barnett to cut the ribbon on affordable housing on the corner of 92nd Street and 2nd Avenue that will house 28 families and offer childcare from Alef-Bet Preschool on the ground floor. This project was a model for building affordable housing as of right in our city without any discretionary subsidies.
New $2.1 Million Kitchen to Serve Seniors at Stanley Isaacs
Congress Member Maloney joined me to cut the ribbon on $2.1 million worth of renovations on the kitchen and youth center at the Stanley M. Isaacs Senior Center that serves the needs of over 6,000 children and low-income families, out-of-school and out-of-work youth, and older adults annually.
New $6.5 Million Gym for Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Eleanor Roosevelt High School is finally getting a $6.5 million double-height gym. This was the result of requests by high school students of Mayor Bill de Blasio at a town hall I hosted, after which the students launched a petition that gained over 5,000 signatures. The new gym will be built on top of the new pre-kindergarten center at 355 East 76th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue.
Opening Rockefeller University’s $500 Million Research Facility
I cut the ribbon on the Stavros Niarchos Foundation—David Rockefeller River Campus this past spring alongside my East River Esplanade Taskforce Co-Chair Congress Member Carolyn Maloney and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. The $500 million research facility adds 160,000 square feet of biomedical and bioscience laboratories fit along the river-edge of the campus. This will help New York City compete with places like Boston and California for biomedical and science jobs.
$8.2 Million Exterior Renovation & New $600K Playground for P.S. 77/198
Public school students from the Battery to East Harlem have a new playground thanks to 1,139 winning votes in 2017’s Participatory Budgeting. I was happy to join students, teachers and school administrators to celebrate completion on $8.2 million in exterior renovations and open the new $600,000 playground. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB
Opening the Oval for Free Tennis and $10 Drop-Ins
After years of advocacy the Queensboro Oval opened to the public this past summer with a FREE season from April through Labor Day for anyone with a Parks Department tennis permit ($10 youth, $20 seniors, or $100). During the rest of the season there will be $10 drop-in rates for 6 hours a day and free or $10 per person programs for youth and seniors.
Esplanade Renovated from 63rd to 68th St. with $15 Million from Rockefeller University
As Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, I cut the ribbon on a $15 million public-private partnership that I created with Rockefeller University where they repaired the crumbling seawall and renovated the East River Esplanade from East 63rd to East 68th Streets. Rockefeller also set aside over a million dollars to support the Friends of the East River Esplanade and maintain this section in perpetuity.
John Jay Pool Reopens After Million Dollar Investment
The water is crystal clear and clean at the pool in John Jay Park thanks to a nearly $1 million investment in a new filter plant completed just in time for swim season. John Jay Pool is open daily from 11am to 7pm with lap swim from 7 to 8:30 in the mornings and evenings in July and August.
New York City declares a climate emergency, the first US city with more than a million residents to do so.
New York City is the largest city in America and even the world to declare a Climate Emergency, as we joined an international movement that includes London (sorry, we are bigger). I introduced the Climate Emergency resolution with Environmental Protection Chair Costa Constantinides. With support from environmental advocates including Extinction Rebellion, we secured a hearing in June and passed it two days later. Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and we must activate across all industries at a level not seen since World War II to save ourselves from this climate emergency.
HEALTHY KIDS MEALS LAW PASSES
Healthy beverages will be the new normal for kids’ meals at all 24,000 restaurants in New York City thanks to a law I authored setting default options to water, low-fat milk, and 100% fruit juice. New York City is facing an obesity epidemic with more than half of adults overweight or obese and 1 in 5 kindergarten students entering school already obese. The American Heart Association recommends that children limit consumption to one or fewer 8-oz sugar-sweetened beverages per week. A medical study by NYU found that limiting calories on kid’s menus reduced calories, McDonald’s which already implemented this change, now sees customers choose healthy beverages with more than half of all children’s meals.
MARINE TRANSFER STATION
Over the past five and a half years, we have stood our ground against the Mayor and his MTS, and we have won several concessions for our community, including a vast reduction in the number of trucks coming to the facility down to 40-50 trucks per day. We also won funding for guardrails on every truck and a commitment to zero waste, which will make Marine Transfer-to-landfill obsolete by 2030. In the City Council, we passed a Waste Equity law to protect our neighborhood from receiving more than 10% of the city’s waste. A new ramp will be constructed one block north on 92nd Street, and the 91st Street ramp will no longer be used at the request of Pledge2Protect and Asphalt Green.
I remain opposed to this facility because a garbage dump does not belong in a residential neighborhood. If you ever see garbage trucks queuing or driving unsafely report it immediately to BKallos@BenKallos.com
“Why not charge cars to enter all New York City streets? A bigger congestion pricing idea”
by Ben Kallos
As a candidate for the City Council in 2013, the New York Times endorsed me for my “fresh ideas”, specifically mentioning my support for congestion pricing. In March I wrote an Opinion Editorial published in the New York Daily News explaining my congestion pricing plan to charge all cars entering New York City. This would be a bigger, bolder congestion pricing plan that would focus on all 4.4 million vehicles that travel through New York City every day–not just the 717,000 that enter the City’s Central Business District from 60th street to the tip of Manhattan. The plan would get many more vehicles off our streets, alleviating congestion that has brought buses to a crawl of only 7.4 mph during evening rush hours. This year the New York State Legislature passed a congestion pricing plan set to go into effect in 2021 that will charge vehicles traveling below 60th street in Manhattan as low as $11 for cars and as high as $25 for trucks tied to peak and off-peak hours. While this will begin to fund the MTA, I certainly hope we can go bigger to reduce congestion citywide.
Read the op-ed at BenKallos.com/CongestionPricing
Half Priced MetroCards for Low-Income
Last year we fought for and won a “Fair Fares” program to provide half-fare MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers. Residents 18 to 64 who are students (CUNY and veterans), NYCHA tenants, or working and receiving food or cash assistance with household incomes at or below the Federal poverty line ($12,490 for a single person) may qualify for the initial roll out. Starting in January anyone at or below the poverty line will qualify. So far more than 63,000 New Yorkers have enrolled.
TELL ME YOUR PRIORITIES
Resident Priorities Survey
More School Seats and STEM
Faster Public Transportation
Greener Parks with Renovations
Cleaning Up the Neighborhood
Fighting the Dump (MTS)
Getting Big Money Out of Politics
Save time online BenKallos.com/Survey2019 or Mail to
Council Member Kallos, 244 E. 93rd St, New York, NY 10128
HERE TO HELP
We bring our office to senior centers each month from 11am to 2pm:
• Stanley Isaacs, 2nd Tuesday
• Webster Library, 3rd Wednesday
• Roosevelt Island, 4th Wednesday
Appointments after 5pm available upon request.
FREE LEGAL CLINICS
By appointment, 3pm to 6pm:
Housing, Every Monday and 1st Wednesday
Life Planning, 3rd Wednesday
Family Law, 1st Tuesday
General Civil Law, 3rd Tuesday
HERE TO HELP
•search & training
•senior & youth employment...
•home energy assistance...
•Food Stamps (SNAP)
•free meals for all ages...
We can also help resolve 311 Complaints.
FRESH FOOD BOX
Thursdays, June – Nov, 3:30pm – 6:30pm
District Office, 244 East 93rd Street
Place your order and pay just $14
(cash, credit/debit, SNAP, greenmarket bucks)
Pick up farm fresh produce the following week. BenKallos.com/FreshFoodBox
FOOD SCRAPS DROP OFF
Wednesdays, 7:15am – 10:30am, 96th St. & Lex. Ave
Saturdays, 9am – 1pm, East 82nd St. Greenmarket
Sundays, 9am – 1pm, East 92nd St. Greenmarket
FIRST FRIDAY, 8AM – 10AM, District Office.
Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
POLICY NIGHT, 2nd Tuesday, 5PM – 6PM, District Office.
Work with staff to organize to make your ideas a reality.
By appointment only.
BEN IN YOUR BUILDING.
Got an annual cooperative or condominium meeting?
I will come to you!
PLAY IN THE PARKS
Sat. 9/7, 1pm – 4pm
St. Catherine’s Park
Sat. 9/14, 1pm – 2:30pm
Sutton Place Park North
Sat. 9/21, 7:30pm
Carl Schurz Park
Spiderman into the Spider-VErse
Sat. 9/28, 7:30pm
Samuel Seabury Playground
Sat. 10/5, 4pm
Stanley Isaacs Playground
SAVE THE DATE
Emergency Prep & Free Go Bags
Tues. 9/24, 6pm
Mt. Sinai, 1425 Madison Ave.
Senior Health Fair
Thurs. 10/10, 5pm - 7pm
St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Ave.
Medicare Rights Open Enrollment
Wed. 11/6, 4pm
Knickerbocker, 1751 2nd Ave.
Tues. 12/17, 6pm
Brown Gardens, 225 E. 93rd St.
State of the District
Sun. 1/26/20, 1pm
MSK, 430 E. 67th St.
RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events