Over the past seven years, we have been working together to add more school seats, invest in our parks, improve public transit, and clean up the neighborhood with a new trash can on every corner.
Some highlights of our accomplishments together include:
- Added 1,122 new Pre-K seats and funded 864 new K-8 seats;
- $275 million for the East River Esplanade from East Midtown to East Harlem;
- Opened the Second Avenue Subway, crosstown Select Bus Service, CitiBike, and Ferries for faster commutes;
- Authored the law to put 100,000+ affordable homes back on the market for you to apply for on Housing Connect;
- 1,000 affordable homes built or preserved in the District, including housing for formerly homeless women and children across the street from where I live; and
- Purchased 284 new covered trash cans for every corner.
Thank you for your partnership and please join us to discuss the future at our annual State of the District Address at BenKallos.com/StateOfTheDistrict/2021
Ben Kallos, Council Member, District 5
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HOUSING & THE HOMELESS
Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes will be coming back on the market thanks to a law I authored. In 2016, we worked with a whistleblower and ProPublica to bring attention to 15,000 buildings in New York City where owners received tax breaks for building affordable housing but failed to register 50,000 affordable homes. I couldn’t be prouder and hope to help you find affordable housing. Start by visiting HousingConnect.nyc.gov.
We’ve passed a limit of 20 feet on empty mechanical voids in residential districts and are now fighting to extend those same protections to “Billionaires’ Row” in the Central Business District, Hudson Yards, and the Financial District. Add your name to the list and learn more at BenKallos.com/CommercialVoids
I co-founded the East Side Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) and am proud to have opened supportive housing facilities and a new pantry in the district. Learn how you can help at BenKallos.com/Homeless
ELIMINATING OUTSIDE INCOME & LULUS
When I got elected, this wasn’t a full-time job. The speaker had a slush fund that could be used to buy off council members who sold their independence. I refused $64,000 and then made the slush fund and income from outside jobs illegal.
I am proud to have authored the new full public matching campaign finance system that reduced contribution limits from $5,100 down to $2,000 and will go from matching only half of small dollars to matching every small dollar from city residents with 8 public dollars. Visit BenKallos.com/BigMoneyOut
INVESTING IN PARKS, PUBLIC TRANSIT AND OUR ENVIRONMENT
We broke ground on $100 million in construction to build a new greenway between East 53rd and 61st streets alongside Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with whom I co-chair the East River Esplanade Taskforce. Since I was elected, together we have secured more than $275 million for the East River Esplanade. For more information visit BenKallos.com/Parks
This fall, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined me to officially open the new playground at Carl Schurz Park after $3.3 million in renovations funded by my office and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer were completed in just over a year. Visit BenKallos.com/Parks
Climate change is real. Between wildfires in California, superstorms, and sea levels rising, it is clear we have a climate emergency. I authored and passed a resolution declaring one in New York City, making international news as the largest city to do so. Visit BenKallos.com/ClimateChange
In 2018, I authored legislation calling on the City to ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles in city parks and on city land. Last February, Mayor de Blasio joined student organizers of the Climate March as he signed an Executive Order implementing my Sign the petition to make this the law at legislation at BenKallos.com/petition/BanTheBottle
We’ve improved commutes with off-board fare payments and bus lanes for the M79 and M86, and even sped up the M15 with automated enforcement, too.
Since taking office, I have focused on making our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to share. We started with adding bike lanes and made 2nd Avenue safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike. We’ve trained commercial delivery cyclists on the rules of the road. We launched a dedicated bike safety officer coupled with issuing moving violations to 18,134 vehicles and 1,749 bikes. Visit BenKallos.com/BikeSafety
After years of advocacy, we won ferry service for Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side with multiple connection points to give you another way to get to work. Visit Ferry.nyc
When I got elected, the city had no plans for more school seats on the Upper East Side despite all the new construction. That’s why I authored laws forcing the city to share information on the students they turned away and how they planned for new seats. In the fight we won $92.85 million for 640 new K–8 school seats. Then, when the law went into effect, we won an additional 184 school seats for a total of 864 new seats for our district by 2024.
In 2014, we only had 154 Pre-K seats for over one thousand four- year-olds. In 2019, after years of advocacy alongside parents, we finally won Universal Pre-K on the Upper East Side, cutting the ribbon on our third new Pre-K Center for 900 new seats and a total of 1,122 as of 2020. Just as we fought for Universal Pre-K, we must fight for Universal 3K for all of Manhattan. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/3K
In order to ensure no child has to make the same bad choice I did, to go hungry rather than stand in the free lunch line, I fought for Breakfast After the Bell and Universal Free lunch to provide two free meals a day for all 1.1 million of New York City’s public school children — and won. I hope we can win free dinner as part of Universal Afterschool so we can finally end youth hunger.
More than half a million children in New York are left alone after school. Universal After School legislation I proposed would keep children positively engaged and out of trouble during these hours. Add your name in support at BenKallos.com/UniversalAfterSchool
QUALITY OF LIFE
We’ve focused on cleaning up the neighborhood by putting a new trash can on every corner, sweeping every street and even power-washing sidewalks with FedCap’s Wildcat. Visit BenKallos.com/CleanUp
Scaffolding is every New Yorker’s pet peeve. There are 300 miles of scaffolding with some old enough to vote. It’s bad for business and bad for the quality of life. That’s why I’ve been fighting to pass a package of legislation I authored so when scaffolding goes up, work gets done and it comes down immediately. In 2019, the Department of Buildings adopted many of the reforms I proposed, but we still need a law for them to follow. Visit BenKallos.com/Scaffolding
When after-hours construction noise complaints skyrocketed, I wrote a law to turn down the volume and make it easier to crack down. It went into effect in January 2020. Visit BenKallos.com/Noise
I’m doing everything I can to help small businesses to survive Covid-19. Last year, I wrote a letter with Borough President Gale Brewer proposing Outdoor Dining, and I co-sponsored the law to make it permanent. I also authored legislation to give small businesses grants for accessibility and public health upgrades that would help lower their rents.