Over the past five years, together we’ve improved our neighborhood and the city around us, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the remaining three years.
We’ve won big victories for education, parks, and more:
þ 750 new Pre-Kindergarten seats opening for 2019
þ 640 new school seats planned, with $93 million in funding
þ $275 million in public/private partnerships to repair and improve the East River Esplanade
þ Opened the Second Avenue Subway, expanded bike lanes and CitiBike, added SBS bus routes, and won ferry service
þ 322 new trash cans to keep our streets clean
þ Rezoned Sutton to stop supertall towers
þ Rewrote City Charter to get big money out of politics
We’ve still got more to do, including but not limited to:
¨ Passing a citywide rezoning to close loopholes that allow mechanical voids to create supertall towers
¨ Rewriting City Charter to empower communities in land use process and more
¨ Securing 3K for the Upper East Side
What do you think we should add to our list? Email me your ideas at Policy@BenKallos.com.
Council Member District 5
City fast-tracks crackdown on buildings on stilts
Every New Yorker should have a right to light and air without having to pay millions just to see the sky. Over the past 5 years, I’ve worked with Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, and we were joined by Landmark West! and Manhattan Borough President Brewer to close loopholes in zoning. Mayor de Blasio agreed to close a loophole that allowed mechanical voids over 100 feet tall just to give billionaires better views. Join the fight against excessive mechanical voids at BenKallos.com/voids
Bill would require NYC developers to disclose relationships with politicians
As chair of the Land Use subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions, I have worked diligently so that New Yorkers get the most affordable housing possible out of every tax dollar given as a subsidy to real estate developers. I’ve authored legislation that will force real estate developers to disclose their connections in city government to the City Council when they apply to receive tax dollars for building affordable housing. No developer should get an unfair advantage using politics.
SCAFFOLDING & SIDEWALK SHEDS
349 miles of scaffolding that blights our city has started falling on and injuring New Yorkers. After a recent collapse, we learned scaffolding companies can “self-certify” their safety. That’s why I’ve proposed legislation requiring the city to inspect scaffolding upon installation and every six months thereafter with escalating fees to cover costs and incentivize scaffolds to finally come down.
GOOD GOVERNMENT: REWRITING OUR FOUNDING DOCUMENT
Charter Reformed to Empower New Yorkers in City Elections
New Yorkers sent a clear message on November 6, 2018 when 80% of those who flipped over their ballots, a total of 1.1 million people, voted “Yes” on question one to get big money out of New York City politics, a reform I have advocated for prior to and after I was elected to the City Council. We actually won every question on the ballot, including urban planners and term limits to reinvigorate community boards.
Press clip text: Council bill would apply new contribution limits to special election for public advocate
I am proud to have authored Local Law 1 of 2019, which offered the new campaign finance option we won on the ballot to every special election through 2021, giving the new Public Advocate the opportunity to run on small dollars as a city-wide candidate. The system I am proud to have ushered in:
- Lowers contribution limits by more than half from $5,100 to $2,000
- Makes small dollars more valuable by increasing their public match rate from 6 to 8
- Increases Public Grants from half the money candidates can spend to three-quarters
Support our efforts by signing our petition at Benkallos.com/BIGMONEYOUT
No Albany Pay Raise Without Limits on Outside Income
“If lawmakers want to be paid as much as New York City Council members, they should be willing to act as responsibly. In 2016, city lawmakers took an open vote to increase members’ pay from $112,500, while banning most forms of outside income and lulus.”
I was proud to author the laws that enacted ethics reforms and eliminated outside income for New York City Council Members, making it a fulltime job. We led by example and the same has been asked of the state legislature. Though the matter is now in court, I hope Albany does the right thing no matter what.
Charter Reform Coming to 2019 Ballot
Last year I helped lead the fight to revise our City’s Charter. This year a second Charter Revision Commission is taking a broader approach to reform. Among the recommendations I made, the Commission has agreed to take a closer look at:
- Empowering the Borough President
- Independent budgets for “independent” offices such as Public Advocate
- “Advice and Consent” for the Council on more Mayoral appointments
- Increased budget and spending transparency
- Empowering communities on land use by changing compositions of boards and engaging communities at outset
- “Democracy Vouchers”
Learn more at BenKallos.com/charter2019
1,400 SCHOOL SEATS PLANNED, FUNDED, & SECURED FOR THE NEIGHBORHOODS
Winning Universal Pre-K Funding.
As a candidate for City Council I advocated for Universal Pre-Kindergarten for three and four-year-olds and was proud to join Mayor de Blasio in fighting for and winning funding from Albany in 2014.
New Seats in Public Schools.
With help from parents and advocates, in 2017 we announced 40 new Pre-K seats at P.S. 290 The Manhattan New School. With the help of community leaders like Principal Doreen Esposito, we have successfully quintupled the number of seats in District 5 since I took office in 2014. I will continue to fight for universal childcare to put our children first and give them the resources they need to succeed.
Building Pre-K Centers.
In May of 2018, the New York City School Construction Authority broke ground on construction of a new Pre-K facility located at 355 East 76th Street. Once finished the new site will help meet our neighborhood’s demand for seats needed in the 2019 school year with 180 initial seats for fall of 2019.
Opening 900 New Seats. In late 2018 I cut the ribbon on a new 144 seat Pre-K facility located at 252 East 57th Street. The new seats were part of the City’s recent push to build and open more Pre-K seats on the Upper East Side after years of public advocacy from my office and local parents to the Department of Education.
I also cut the ribbon at a new Pre-K facility located at 1683 3rd Avenue and East 94th Street. The new 11,492 square foot site was constructed in partnership with Extell Development Company. The facilities will be on the ground floor of an 83-unit, 30-story new residential building in the heart of the East 90s. With 900 new seats opening in total, we are taking big strides in fulfilling the need for Pre-K seats on the Upper East Side. Building by building we are working with the City to open up more Pre-K seats so that every four-year-old in my district can get the benefits of Pre-K without having to commute an hour away.
Securing 640 K-8 School Seats. For five years I have been advocating for the Department of Education and the School Construction Authority to add more school seats on the Upper East Side. In early 2019 the School Construction Authority announced its plan to spend an estimated $92.85 million for 640 new K-8 school seats right here on the Upper East Side as part of its 2020–2024 capital plan. That puts the number of new public school Pre-Kindergarten through eighth-grade seats that have been planned, funded or built on the Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island and Midtown East since I was elected at 1,400.
$8.6 MILLION FOR STEM INVESTMENTS IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Since I was elected, I have allocated over $8.6 million in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM), including smartboards, laptops, performance spaces, theatres, libraries, and labs as well as greens roofs, including:
- P.S. 151 Yorkville Community School – $750,000 ($500,000 Participatory Budgeting)
- P.S./I.S. 217 Roosevelt Island – $1 million ($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
ENDING NIGHTMARES ON THE SCHOOL BUS
New bill requires GPS tracking on all NYC school buses
The annual nightmare of school buses getting lost and parents frantically calling to find out where their children are might finally come to an end thanks to laws I authored that will require bus drivers to test and give parents a chance to review and challenge school bus routes before the start of school as well as putting a GPS on every school bus so parents and schools can see where the bus carrying their children is.
Ferry Service for UES & RI
I am proud that we were able to connect the Upper East Side to the NYC Ferry network at the new 90th Street Landing. More than 1,000,000 riders have taken advantage of the ferries, using them to see our City’s parks and attractions and commute to and from work. Now our district has two routes within our borders with landings on Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side.
Article title: Safe Streets and Bike Safety Program
Since taking office I have focused on making our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to share.
This year the NYPD launched a dedicated bike safety officer and continued strong enforcement, issuing 18,134 violations to vehicles and 1,749 violations to bikes. This was coupled with crosstown bike lanes and new approvals to close the Second Avenue bike lane gap from 68th St. to the Queensboro Bridge. We’ve also made York Avenue safer with Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) to give pedestrians time to cross before vehicles get the green light. Finally, we’ve added “safety neckdowns” to extend the curb and pedestrian islands at dangerous intersections throughout the Upper East Side, so pedestrians have less distance to cross.
CLEANING UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD
I am still focused on cleaning up each and every block of the neighborhood. Since 2016 we have seen improvement thanks to the 322 large covered trash cans on every corner of the district and twice a day pick up by the Department of Sanitation at our busy streets. This year, we launched an $85,000 pilot program with Fedcap’s Wildcat Service for three-person crews four days a week to sweep sidewalks and bike islands, clean gutters and drains of blockages, and remove litter from tree pits. Wildcat is cleaning where we’ve never had service before, including: First, Second, Third and Lexington Avenues as well as major cross streets at 57th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets. Learn more at BenKallos.com/cleanup
MARINE TRANSFER STATION
Over the past five years we have stood our ground against the Mayor and his MTS, and we have won several concessions for our community.
The administration has promised that zoned trash pickup will not be tied to dumping at the MTS, we won funding for guardrails on every truck and even won a commitment to zero waste, which will make Marine Transfer-to-landfill obsolete by 2030.
I co-sponsored and passed a Waste Equity law that will protect our neighborhood from receiving more than 10% of the city's waste. The initial version of the bill exempted districts with Marine Transfer Stations from the cap, but after the changes I negotiated, I am confident it will protect the Upper East Side.
A new ramp will be constructed one block north at the request of Pledge2Protect and Asphalt Green to protect children playing on their soccer fields.
Most recently, as Our Town reported, the Department of Sanitation has now agreed to an “average of 40 to 50 trucks per day” instead of the over 200 trucks a day that were once feared. Our neighborhood saw such a dramatic reduction because we are producing 25% less landfill than a decade ago through reduction and diversion.
My opposition to this facility remains steadfast because a garbage dump does not belong in a residential neighborhood.
Join the fight at BenKallos.com/MTS
PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: VOTE ON HOW TO SPEND $1 MILLION IN OUR DISTRICT
Every 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 like you who volunteer as Delegates. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB
Participatory Budgeting Absentee Ballot
Detailed ballot at BenKallos.com/pb/ballot
Name: Email (required): .
¨ I am 11 years or older and live in Council District 5.
¨ $300,000: Build curb extensions to enhance pedestrian safety and visibility along the East 79th Street SBS corridor
¨ $300,000: Build curb extensions to enhance pedestrian safety and visibility along the East 79th Street SBS corridor
¨ $170,457: Install additional NYPD camera boxes at high traffic intersections
¨ $397,733: Install NYPD security cameras at the entrances to 7 parks across the district
¨ $400,000: Purchase small sprinter Command Post vehicle for 23rd precinct
Or vote online starting March 30 at BenKallos.com/pb/ballot/digital
Parks and Recreation
¨ $222,000: Plant 60 new trees with guards on sidewalks throughout district
¨ $800,000: Restore the Roosevelt Island lighthouse to allow for public access
¨ $250,000: Fund capital improvements in parks in the district
¨ $800,000: Lexington Houses NYCHA Playground Renovation
¨ $300,000: Install additional security cameras in P.S. 527
¨ $750,000: Auditorium renovation in the Julia Richman Education Complex
¨ $350,000: Purchase laptop carts for ten public schools in the council district
Return by mail to Council Member Ben Kallos, 244 East 93rd Street, New York, NY 10128 by March 30, 2019.
HERE TO HELP
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
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.
Article title: Mobile Hours
We bring our office to you each month from 11am to 2pm:
- Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, 2nd Tuesday
- Webster Library, 3rd Wednesday (starting in May)
- Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 4th Wednesday
Appointments after 2pm available upon request.
Article title: Free Legal Clinics
by appointment, 2pm to 6pm:
Housing, Every Monday, 1st Wednesday
Life Planning, 3rd Wednesday
Family Law, 1st Tuesday
General Civil Law, 3rd Tuesday
Address flap text: SAVE PAPER AND SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES ONCE A MONTH AT BENKALLOS.COM/SUBSCRIBE
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!
SAVE THE DATE
Vote on $1 Million, March 30 – April 7
Earth Day, April 22, 6pm
Tenants’ Rights Forum
May 9, 6pm
P.S. 59, 233 E 56th St
Overdevelopment Forum, June 27, 6pm
Roosevelt Island Town Hall, June 13, 6pm
Chapel of the Good Shepherd
PLAY IN THE PARKS
Jazz on the Esplanade,
1pm – 3pm, 4/28, 5/26, 6/15
Andrew Haswell Green Park
May the Fourth Be with You
7pm, May 4
St. Catherine’s Park
5pm – 8pm, May 10
Stanley Isaacs Park
12pm – 3pm
May 18, Carl Schurz Park
June 8, John Jay Park
Shakespeare in the Park, 7pm, June 25-30
Carl Schurz Park
Text at bottom of section: RSVP at BenKallos.com/Events