I am grateful to the 22,514 residents representing 81% of the vote who supported me this past November. I look forward to continuing to work together with all residents over the next four years. I hope you have had an opportunity to meet with me and make your voice heard at First Friday, Ben-In-Your-Building, neighborhood meetings, or by working with me through a call, email or petition. Here is just some of what we’ve accomplished together:
- 32 laws passed to make government more transparent and honest, improve democracy, and improve quality of life;
- 800+ pre-kindergarten seats added to the district and counting;
- $195 million invested in the East River Esplanade;
- New parks and open spaces at East 91st Street, East 90th Street, Pier East 81st Street and Andrew Haswell Green;
- $640,000 invested in Bus Clocks with Select Bus Service expanded to M79 and M86, while fighting for M96;
- Rezoned to stop super scrapers in the Sutton Area;
- Over 17,504 violations issued to unsafe drivers and bikers for safer streets in 2017.
Thank you for the partnership of countless community leaders and residents who helped, because together we can accomplish greatness. Make your voice heard with monthly updates at BenKallos.com/subscribe
Ben Kallos, Council Member District 5
WELCOMING A NEW CONSTITUENT
My wife and I are excited to welcome my newest constituent, our baby daughter.
Wall Street Journal, 12/4/2017
"City Council Halts Midtown Tower Construction"
Though many thought it impossible, we rezoned the East Fifties before the developers of the first supertall site could finish their foundation, showing residents everywhere that they could lead grassroots rezonings to dictate what their neighborhood should look like with the support of elected officials who work for them, not real estate. New buildings in this area will be squatter and more in-line with the surrounding neighborhood thanks to new restrictions forcing developers to use about half of their development rights under 150 feet, limiting zoning lot mergers and the buildings’ heights. The supertall developer hasn’t given up and neither have we. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/Petition/StopSuperScrapers
PROTECTING OUR LAND USE LAWS
Commercial Observer, 11/11/2017
City Council Seeks to Reform the ‘Most Powerful Agency’ That No One Has Heard Of
In the past, developers had been able to circumvent city zoning laws restricting building forms, use, height, and density through the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), even though local Community Boards and elected officials objected to the Board’s decisions. At my inauguration, I pledged to focus on this little-known but powerful agency and authored laws to reform applications, decisions, notifications, staffing, and transparency around the BSA to make it more accountable to the public.
Wall Street Journal, 12/20/2017
Bill Seeking Transparency in Affordable Housing Passes New York City Council
Local Law 64 of 2018 will force developers and landlords who get hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks in return for building and keeping affordable housing units in their developments to actually live up to their ends of the deal. Developers receiving these incentives from the city must register these units so we can see where they all are and so that low-income New Yorkers can apply for new and existing affordable housing.
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
NY1 News, 3/17/17
Affordable Internet Service for Low-Income Residents and Seniors
One in four homes in Brooklyn and one in three homes in the Bronx does not have broadband. When Charter sought to purchase Time Warner, we worked with Public Advocate Tish James and other elected officials to condition the sale on providing affordable high-speed Internet to low-income residents. We won Spectrum Internet Assist, which provides 30 Mbps for only $14.99 per month for households with students receiving free or reduced school lunch or seniors on supplemental social security income. This has the power to bring affordable high-speed Internet to more than 1.2 million low-income New Yorkers.
Open Budget Signed into Law
As a resident, you should know how every penny of your tax dollars is spent. Our City’s massive $85 billion budget should be transparent. That is why I authored, negotiated and passed the Open Budget bill. While the budget may be available in paper or in massive PDFs, you can now search the budget online, download it, and look through it to see how we spend your hard earned tax dollars. Learn more at BenKallos.com/OpenBudget
Vote on How to Spend $1 Million
Each year, residents in my district ages 14 and older get to vote on how to spend one million dollars in the community through Participatory Budgeting. The ballot is decided and the process is run by residents just like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB
VOTING: APRIL 7 – APRIL 15
District Office, 244 E. 93rd St., New York, NY 10128
Weekdays, 4/9 - 4/13, 9AM – 5PM
MOBILE POLL SITES
Saturday, 4/7, 10AM – 1PM, E. 82nd St. Greenmarket
Sunday, 4/8, 10AM – 1PM, Sutton Place Park
Monday, 4/9, 4PM – 7PM, 67th St. Library, 328 E. 67th St.
Tuesday, 4/10, 7AM – 9AM, P.S. 290, 311 E. 82nd St.
Wednesday, 4/11, 4PM – 7PM, F train at Roosevelt Island
Thursday, 4/12, 7AM – 9AM, P.S. 183, 419 E. 66th St.
Friday, 4/13, 7AM – 10AM, P.S./I.S. 217, 645 Main St., R.I.
Saturday, 4/14, 10AM – 2PM, E. 67th St. Greenmarket
Sunday, 4/15, 10AM – 1PM, District Office, 244 E. 93rd St.
Vote Online at BenKallos.com/PB/Vote
MORE PRE-K SEATS PLANNED FOR UPPER EAST SIDE
Wall Street Journal, 1/4/18
Pre-K to Expand on Upper East
I have been fighting for Universal Pre-Kindergarten since 2013, but when Mayor de Blasio won funding from Albany, we only got 154 seats for 2,767 four-year-olds. We have fought for and won more seats, increasing to 377 in 2015 and 618 in 2016. When we actually lost seats in 2017, with 736 four-year-olds applying for only 550 seats, we organized a rally with parents and elected officials and won an additional 400 seats, with 234 seats opening in the fall at East 57th and East 95th Streets and 180 next year on East 76th Street. If you need a seat for your child, please email UPK@BenKallos.com
NEW LAW COUNTING CHILDREN TURNED AWAY FROM LOCAL SCHOOLS
New York Times, 2/28/17
Bill Seeks the Disclosure of How Many Applications Each City School Is Receiving
We need more seats for gifted and talented students in School District 2, which includes the Upper East Side, where 306 preschoolers — nearly half of those who applied — were turned away in 2016. That is why I authored Local Law 72 of 2018, which will track applications, offers, and admissions geographically. This will help assess need by neighborhood and give us a better understanding of how geography contributes to school segregation, which must finally come to an end.
UNIVERSAL SCHOOL LUNCH WIN
New York Times, 9/6/17
City Schools to Offer All Students Free Lunch
“I had to choose between friends and food,” Mr. Kallos said. “I hope no child makes
the same poor choices I did.”
In order to ensure no child has to make the same bad choice I did, I fought for Breakfast After the Bell and Universal Free lunch to provide two free meals a day for all 1.1 of New York City’s public school children — and won. Local Law 215 of 2017, which I authored, will require the city to set goals and report on increasing participation to fight hunger.
WON SELECT BUS SERVICE FOR M79 + M86, NOW ON TO M96
I continue to fight for Select Bus Service on the Upper East Side. Following my advocacy, we won Select Bus Service for the M79, and we are now fighting for the M96. Once in effect, this will come with off-board payment, bus clocks, and bigger buses, all without losing any stops on the East Side.
FIGHTING BUS CUTS
Our Town, 7/24/17
Community rallies against bus cuts
In partnership with the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association, we launched a petition with 2,000 signatures to restore service to the M31, M66 and M72. Join the fight at BenKallos.com/Share/CrosstownBus
New Bus Countdown Clocks
After you voted for bus countdown clocks through Participatory Budgeting in 2014, we invested $640,000 in 32 bus countdown clocks for the M15, M31, M57, M66, and M72 so you know when the next bus is coming.
Bike Safety Expansion & Results
Drivers, riders, bikers and pedestrians have all expressed concerns about their safety, and our Bike Safety Program covering the Upper East Side and Midtown East within the 17th and 19th precincts has become a model. Injuries are down for motorists and pedestrians. The program focuses on Education, Equipment and Enforcement including:
- Vests, Lights, and Bells for Delivery Bikes following 90 minute training in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
- Free Helmets & Classes for Residents
- New Bikes for NYPD Bike Patrol
Enforcement in 2017:
- 15,929 moving violations issued to motor vehicles
- 1,575 summonses issued to bicycle riders
- 103 seizures of electronic bikes, with 923 citywide.
We’ve also added a protected bike lane on 2nd Avenue and bike lanes to 70th & 71st and 77th & 78th Streets. Learn more at BenKallos.com/BikeSafety
EXPANDING AND INVESTING IN PUBLIC PARKS
Opening New Green Spaces
East 81st Street Pedestrian Bridge $16 million in construction is complete for this vital connector, which will see new transparent panels added this summer.
East 91st Street, James Cagney Place After more than 40 years as an unofficial play street, we finally designated James Cagney Place as an official Pedestrian Plaza to protect it as a public space for the future, thanks to partnership with CB8, DOT, Borough President Brewer, and support from RY Management.
Cut the Ribbon on Andrew Haswell Green Park Joined by New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and State Senator Liz Krueger, we cut the ribbon on a newly planted Andrew Haswell Green Phase 2A at 60th Street. We are rebuilding the East River Esplanade block by block and park by park. This completion represents more open green space for the residents of the East Sixties. Local residents will be able to enjoy the views of the East River.
$195 Million to Rebuild the East River Esplanade
When I came into office, the East River Esplanade was literally falling into the river. Working with Congress Member Maloney as co-chair of the East River Esplanade Task Force, I have secured and overseen $190 million in spending from the city budget to rebuild infrastructure from 60th to 125th Streets:
- $1 million from my office in 2017 for irrigation from 96th to 90th Streets.
- Opened the 90th Street Pier in 2016 to the Public.
- $35 million for renovations from 90th to 88th Streets funded in 2014 with work started in 2017 for 2018 completion.
- $500,000 from my office in 2016 to renovate John Finley Walk following recommendations of CIVITAS from 84th to 81st.
- $15 million to rebuild the crumbling stairwell from 81st to 78th opened in 2017.
- $1 million secured from Hospital for Special Surgery for a master plan from 78th with irrigation, planters, and noise barriers from 72nd to 70th with maintenance in perpetuity.
- $1.25 million from my office in 2016 for irrigation and planters from 70th to 68th
- $10 million secured from Rockefeller University in 2014 for 68th to 62nd with work started in 2016 on seawall, new design, irrigation, noise barriers, and maintenance in perpetuity.
- $29 million in public-private funding secured as a community benefit from Memorial Sloan Kettering to build Andrew Haswell Green Phase 2B from 61st to 60th.
- $4.6 million to rebuild Andrew Haswell Green under the Alice Aycock sculpture with accessibility, game tables, seating, and a new lawn opened in 2017.
- $100 million in funding in 2016 from the Mayor with completion slated for 2022 to connect the esplanade from 61st to 53rd.
QUALITY OF LIFE
QUIETING AFTER HOURS CONSTRUCTION NOISE
Legislation Aims to Make NYC a Bit Quieter
While New York City is the city that never sleeps, that shouldn’t be a result of after-hours construction noise. That’s why I authored Local Law 53 of 2018, working closely with the Department of Environmental Protection to put noise mitigation plans online, require inspections to take place when noise is actually happening or going to recur, move noise measurement from inside apartments to the street, and allow inspectors to stop noisy construction. Best of all, it turns down after-hours construction noise by about half in residential neighborhoods.
STOPPING BAD NEIGHBORS FROM HURTING QUALITY OF LIFE
Daily News, 4/21/2016
NYC business with thousands in unpaid fines could lose licenses…
Most quality of life problems come down to a couple of bad neighbors who ignore fines or just pay them as a cost of doing business, whether it is sidewalks that go unshoveled or uncleaned, trash that piles up, noise, or worse. That is why I authored Local Law 47 of 2016, requiring the city to withhold or revoke licenses, permits, and registrations for scofflaws and repeat offenders. While the city has refused to enforce this law, we’ve held hearings calling agencies to task to make them improve quality of life.
Call for new safety measures after scaffolding collapses into the street in Lower Manhattan
More than 7,000 scaffolds spanning 280 miles would indicate that most of our city is in construction or disrepair. The problem is that scaffolding goes up and doesn’t come down for months, years, or even decades while no work is happening. Some scaffolding is almost old enough to vote. I’ve introduced legislation requiring work to continue without interruption for more than a week and to be completed within 6 months, or the city would step in, do the work, and make bad landlords pay.
I am proud to have authored laws and resolutions that will improve quality of life, democracy, and transparency in government and championed women’s issues.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & TENANT PROTECTION
Affordable Housing Registration, Applications and Accountability (Law 64 of ‘18) – landlords receiving dollars and incentives from city tax payers would have to register and publicly share information about every unit and offer new and existing units online to low-income New Yorkers.
Tenant Quality of Life Conditions Used to Identify Bad Landlords (Law 152 of ’17) – violations that are not only hazardous but hurt the quality of life for tenants will be subject to tax liens that help identify bad landlords.
Turning Big Buildings with Bad Landlords Over to Good Owners (Law 153 of ’17) – landlords of big buildings who have accrued massive debt will be forced to make necessary repairs or see their property foreclosed on and handed off through “Third Party Transfer” to a responsible owner.
SAFE & QUIET CONSTRUCTION
After Hours Construction Noise Limits in Residential Neighborhoods (Law 53 of ‘18) – the volume would be turned down by half over the next two years, with inspectors showing up when noise was happening or would repeat with new powers to stop noisy equipment.
Retiring Unsafe Construction Equipment (Law 3 of ’18) – cranes over 25 years old will be retired from construction sites.
SUPPORTING OUR STUDENTS & FIGHTING HUNGER
Geographic Diversity and Children Turned Away from Public Schools (Law 72 of ’18) – the geographic diversity and students turned away from public schools will be reported on by the city.
Supporting Gender Sexuality Alliances (Law 231 of ’17) – teachers will be offered LGBT training to support student run Gender Sexuality Alliances in public schools.
Ending Hunger for Public School Students (Law 215 of ’17) – public schools set goals and share how efforts increase participation in breakfast, lunch, snack and supper.
Notifying Residents of Eligibility for Public Assistance (Law 60 of ‘18) – the city will study providing every resident applying for benefits with notifications and pre-filled applications for more than 40 other benefits they may qualify for and need.
IMPROVING DEMOCRACY & TRANSPARENCY
Online Voter Registration (Law 238 of ’17) – sign using your finger on a smartphone or snap a picture of your signature with your phone and you are registered to vote.
Income and Conflict Disclosures for Candidates (Law 211 of ’17) – new candidates for office will be required to disclose conflicts of interest and income after getting on the ballot.
Online Budget (Law 218 of ’17) – search, download, and analyze the city budget to see how every penny of your tax dollars is getting spent.
OPENING PUBLIC SPACES
Opening Privately Owned Public Spaces (Law 250 of ’17) – landlords who got to build taller in exchange for public spaces will now face fines for not keeping their word and be required to display signs detailing amenities.
HIGHLIGHTED LEGISLATION PASSED 2014 - 2016
Quality of Life, Enforcement:
- Catching Scofflaws (Law 48 of ‘16)
- Stopping Repeat Offenders (Law 47 of ‘16)
- Prohibiting Outside Income (Law 20 of ‘16)
- Eliminating “Legal Grease” (Res. 980 of ‘16)
Campaign Finance Reform:
- Quelling Special Interests Dollars (Law 167 of ‘16)
Transparency in Government:
- Open Legislation (Res. 184 of ‘14, cosponsor)
- Law Online (Law 37 of ‘14, co-prime sponsor)
- City Record Online (Law 38 of ‘14)
Learn more and comment at BenKallos.com/legislation
RESIDENT PRIORITIES SURVEY
Please visit BenKallos.com/Survey
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 from 2PM – 6PM
HOUSING: Mondays, 1st Wednesday
LIFE PLANNING: 3rd Wednesday
FAMILY LAW: 1st Tuesday
GENERAL CIVIL: 3rd Tuesday
We bring our office to you each month 11AM to 2PM:
- Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 2nd Tuesday
- Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 4th Wednesday
Appointments after 5PM available upon request.
FRESH FOOD BOX
Thursdays, 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, June – November.
SAVE THE DATE
April 19, 6PM
311 E. 82nd St., NY, NY 10028
P.S. 290 Manhattan New School
Vote on $1 Million
April 9–13, 9AM–5PM
244 E. 93rd St., NY, NY 10128
Tenants’ Rights Forum
May 24, 6PM
415 E. 93rd St.,NY, NY 10128
June 14, 6PM
331 E. 70th St., NY, NY 10021
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Roosevelt Island Town Hall
June 28, 6PM
543 Main St. NY, NY 10044
Chapel of the Good Shepherd
RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events
FIRST FRIDAY, 8AM – 10AM, District Office. Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
BRAINSTORM WITH BEN, 2nd Tuesday, 6PM – 7PM, District Office. Organize to make your ideas a reality: By appointment only.
BEN IN YOUR BUILDING, I will come to you for your annual condo, co-op, or tenants association meeting.
TELL US YOUR PRIORITIES AT BENKALLOS.COM/SURVEY