Happy Fourth of July as we celebrate our nation's independence and remember that in every generation we must do our part to fight injustice.
Last month, we won more victories in our fight against overdevelopment and for affordable housing. Community Board 6 set a quick 21-day timeline in June voting unanimously for a community-led rezoning of the Sutton Area that trades height for affordability. The Rent Guidelines Board which sets rents for 1.6 million rent-stabilized apartments voted for a low increase of 1.25% on one-year and 2% on two-year leases after two consecutive rent freezes.
In June we celebrated Pride and graduations for both our students and PTA Presidents. I joined the Pride March and introduced legislation on behalf of East Side Middle School students to encourage Gender Sexuality Alliances. I also shared congratulations and the secret of life with students graduating from schools in the district and thanked PTA Presidents for their service.
This summer, I hope you will take advantage of our parks, especially the Indoor airconditioned tennis courts at the Queensboro Oval now open to the public for as little as $15 or join me for Theatre in Carl Schurz Park. If you are as big a fan of healthy farm to table food as I am, I hope you will join me for Cooking with Kallos or participate in our Fresh Food Box one week to see how you like it.
Even though we can't send our newsletter by electronic mail to those who subscribed through BenKallos.com for the next couple of months, we are keeping our promise to keep you informed by posting our newsletter on our website and circulating it through social media. If you want a printed copy you can come pick it up from our District Office. Please consider forwarding this newsletter on to anyone and everyone.
July 12 - 16, 7PM - 9PM
July 16, 11AM – 1PM
July 6, 13, 20, 27, 3:30PM – 6:30PM
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
July 7, 8AM – 10AM
July 11, 6PM – 7PM
July 11, 19, 26, 11AM – 2PM
July 10, 17,19, 24, 31, 3PM – 6PM
July 27, 6:30PM – 7:30PM
Table of Contents
- Rezoning Victory at CB6, Now on to City Planning
- Low Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments and Rent Freeze for Seniors and Disabled
- Upper East Side Legionnaires Cluster Update
- Automatic Benefits Hearing
- Global Sampling Day
- Rat Academy
- Buy Produce from the Farm and Cooking With Kallos
- Celebrating Pride with Legislation to Encourage Gender Sexuality Alliances
- Eleanor Roosevelt High School's New Music Room and Retirement of Parent Coordinator
- Recognizing Parent-Teacher Association Leaders
- Opposing Cuts to East and West Side Bus Service
- Bike Safety: Ebikes, Free Helmets, and Inspring Barcelona
New York City’s $85.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year funds the programs and services that we rely on in our neighborhoods and keeps our city running, including public schools, transit, parks, youth and senior centers, quality of life enforcement, and of course the programs my office brings to serve you directly.
Over the years, I am proud to have secured or allocated funding for priorities in our community:
- $100 million in additional funding secured for the East River Esplanade
- $100 million in capital funding for improvements to public library systems
- $50 million for 79 new buses on the M15, M101, M102, and M103 for delivery by end of 2018 and $1.7 million for Select Bus Service on the M79
- $30 million to operate three new ferry stops that will open on Roosevelt Island this summer and East 60th and East 90th Streets in 2018
- $22.9 million to support our seniors
- $16 million to maintain youth afterschool programs
- $12.5 million to expand free lunch from middle schools to include grade schools students
- $200 million for NYCHA maintenance and repairs
- $200,000 from the NYC Clean Up Initiative used for new large trash cans to keep our neighborhood clean
To get involved and active on issues that have a direct impact on your community and make your voice heard in local government, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at BenKallos.com/Subscribe
Council Member, District 5
Over the past 11 days, seven cases of legionnaires disease have been reported in the Lenox Hill area of the Upper East Side, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Of the seven cases, four patients are recovering and two have already been discharged from the hospital. Sadly, one member of our community has died, and my thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones.
Upper East Side Legionnaires' Disease
Information Session with Department of Health
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Event details subject to change so please RSVP
Please be on the lookout for respiratory symptoms, which may be a sign of the disease, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. Those at high risk include people aged 50 or older, especially cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung disease or with weakened immune systems.
In 2015, following the outbreak in the Bronx I co-sponsored legislation introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which was signed into law as Local Law 77 of 2015 to require registration, inspection, cleaning, disinfecting, testing, and annual certification in order to reduce and contain the growth of Legionella in cooling towers, which causes Legionnaire's.
I am in close contact with the Health Department as they identify the source of the cluster and eliminate it as quickly as possible.
- Press Release from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Sign and Symptoms
- NYC Health Department Information on Legionnaires' Disease
As I promised during my campaign for City Council in 2013, I have endeavored to have an open and transparent office that is accountable to you the people. One of the most effective ways was through our monthly email newsletter.
As we get closer to the primary elections on September 12, 2017 and the general elections on November 7, 2017 and I begin to run for re-election to the New York City Council, current law prohibits elected officials from sending newsletters to residents, even if they have subscribed to receive them on a monthly basis. The 2017 election “blackout period” begins June 14, 2017, and ends after the elections. During this period my government office will only be able to send physical and digital correspondence specifically related to constituent service, the budget, and events.
We will still be able to provide news in person at our district office, by phone 212-860-1950, email at BKallosBenKallos [dot] com, through our website at BenKallos.com and social media so please follow Twitter.com/BenKallos and like Facebook.com/BenKallos.
As always we are here to help.
First Friday, 8AM - 10AM, District Office, Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
Free Legal Clinics
By appointment from 3pm-6pm:
Fresh Food Box
Thursdays, 3:30pm and 6:30pm (through November)
Here to Help
We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:
Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email at bkallosbenkallos [dot] com with any unresolved 311 complaints.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs*
FREE Bike Helmets
Roosevelt Island Town Hall
All FREE N.Y. Classical Theatre:
Cooking with Kallos
Town Hall: FREE Reusable Bags
Emergency Preparedness: FREE Go Bags
Senior Health Fair: FREE Flu Shots
It has been three years, five months and seven days since I began serving as your City Council Member. I am deeply proud of the work we have accomplished together and excited for the road ahead.
I want to thank all whom I have already had a chance to meet and look forward to meeting you or seeing you again at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street for First Friday, Brainstorm with Ben, monthly events (BenKallos.com/Events) or I can come to you if you gather ten neighbors for Ben In Your Building.
If you would like to compare my goals with actions over the past two years, please have a look at my 2013 Policy Book as well as my Inauguration and three States of the District, where we looked to the past and prepared for a bright future. I am proud of these achievements, but I know we have much more to do together. Thank you for your support over the past two years. I am looking forward to all we can accomplish in the remainder of my first term.
BY THE NUMBERS
Constituent Service Cases: 6,149 and counting
Legislation Authored: 98
Introductions Authored: 82
Introductions Heard: 23 (28%)
Introductions Enacted into Law: 19 (23%)
Resolutions Authored: 16
Resolutions Adopted: 6 (38%)
Land Use Matters Adopted: 6
Legislation Authored Adopted or Enacted: 25 (26%)
City Council Attendance: 99% (341 Committee Meetings)
Governmental Operations Committee Hearings Chaired: 48
Legislation Passed by Committee: 53 (43 Introductions, 10 Resolutions)
Legislation Sponsored: 714
Legislation Sponsored Adopted or Enacted: 464 (65%)
Ben in Your Building: More than three dozen
First Fridays & Brainstorm with Ben: More than three dozen
Mobile Hours: Hundreds
Free Legal Clinics: Hundreds
Community Meetings: Hundreds
Petitions Signed: 4,290 and counting
Reusable Bags Distributed: 3,500+
Participatory Budgeting Investments in Community: $6.9 Million
INVESTING IN EDUCATION
- Winning More Pre-Kindergarten Seats
- Better Planning for School Seats
- Supporting Arts Education with Annual Show at Sotheby's
- Feeding Hungry Students
- Investing in STEM Education
- Green Roofs
- Supporting Free City and State University
- Opening the Second Avenue Subway
- Improving Bus Service with New Buses for the Upper East Side
- Improving Bus Service with Off-Board Fare Payment for M79 and M86
- New Ferry Service for the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island
- Roosevelt Island Tram Approved for Another 50 Years
- Focus on Safety for Our Most Dangerous Streets
- Extra Time for Pedestrians to Cross York Avenue
- New CitiBike Stations on the Upper East Side and Incentivized Safety Class
- Bike Safety Program Expansion to Entire Upper East Side and Midtown East
- Accessible Sidewalks for All
IMPROVING AND CREATING NEW PARKS
- Expanding and Rebuilding the East River Esplanade
- Opened a New Park on East 90th Street Pier
- Conservancies and Funding for Local Parks
- Revitalizing the Waterfront Management Advisory Board
QUALITY OF LIFE
- Cleaning Up the Upper East Side with 300+ New Trash Cans
- A Plan to Take Scaffolding Down
- Improved Quality of Life Enforcement
- Supporting the Homeless with ETHOS
PROTECTING TENANTS AND FIGHTING OVER DEVELOPMENT
- Rezoning to Stop Superscrapers
- Challenging Skyscrapers in Residential Neighborhoods
- Safer Construction with Law to Count Every Life
- Won Two Rent Freezes
- Freezing Rents for Senior and Disabled New Yorkers
- Ended Downsizing of Seniors into Studio Apartments
- Uncovered Hundreds of Thousands of Units of Affordable Housing
- Protected Quiet Side Streets on the Mid-Block from Overdevelopment
- Mandatory Affordable Housing for New Neighborhood Plans
- Protected Landmarks Citywide
- Landmarked the Wooden House on East 85th Street
- Recognized for Leading Preservation
- Tenant Blacklist Regulation Proposed
- Opening Up Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS)
- Fighting For Tenant Safety
- Reformed the Board of Standards and Appeals
MARINE TRANSFER STATION
GOOD GOVERNMENT REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY
- Eliminated Outside Income and Legal Bribery
- Weakening the Influence of Special Interests Money in Politics
- Voter Information Portal Law Enacted
- Won Affordable High-Speed Internet for Low-Income New Yorkers
- Millions for the Community Voted for by Residents in Participatory Budgeting
- Demanded Answers on the Rivington Nursing Home Scandal
- Get Big Money out of New York City Politics
- Focusing on Better Management
Quality Of Life Enforcement
Protecting Neighborhood Planning From Overdevelopment
Campaign Finance Reform
Transparency In Government
Coastal Resiliency For Climate Change
I hope everyone had a relaxing and reflective Memorial Day and for those who celebrate Shavuos, please enjoy the coming days.
June 8, 6PM
June 8, 11AM – 1PM
June 22, 6PM
June 3, 17, 24 at Dusk
June 3, 11AM – 1PM
June 9, 6PM
June 16 – September 10
June 15, 22, 29, 3:30PM – 6:30PM
June 17, 11AM – 2:30PM
June 7, 14, 21, 28, 7:15AM – 10:30AM
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
June 2, 8AM – 10AM
June 13, 6PM – 7PM
June 22, 6:30PM – 8PM
June 13, 27, 28, 11AM – 2PM
June 5, 6, 12, 19, 21, 26, 3PM – 6PM
Thank you to all the parents, teachers, delegates, and the 2,421 voters who made the 2017 Participatory Budgeting process a huge success by voting on how we spend $1 million. And the winners are: P.S. 183’s Science and STEM Lab and the P.S. 198/77 Playground Renovation!
This month, we joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in announcing $100 million to add 8 new blocks of parkland and close the gap on the East River Esplanade from 53rd to 61st Streets. We also worked with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to include a request for $169 million in the City Council's preliminary budget response to continue necessary repairs to the Esplanade.
I continue to lead the fight for Pre-Kindergarten seats on the Upper East Side, where 300 four-year-olds are being asked to commute out of district as far as the Financial District for Pre-K. In response, parents, children, and elected officials rallied for Pre-K for All to include seats on the Upper East Side. As we continue to fight for school seats, I have been advocating for Universal Childcare for all city children from birth to four, and the city has taken a big step with a plan to provide Pre-K to three-year-olds too.
Governor Cuomo announced the first in the nation Excelsior Scholarship for students whose families make $125,000 per year or less, who will now qualify for free college tuition at all City (CUNY) and State (SUNY) two- and four-year colleges in New York State as long as they live in state. When I ran for office in 2013, one of the "fresh ideas" for which the New York Times endorsed me was providing a debt-free higher education for CUNY students. I am proud to support Governor Cuomo's program.
Legislation I authored to “Get Big Money Out of New York City Politics” by matching every small dollar got a hearing, a rally, and support from a broad coalition of organizations representing communities of color, immigrants, tenants, preservation, good government, candidates, and regular New Yorkers.
In celebration of Earth Day, I joined in the “March for Science” and introduced legislation to make New York City greener by decreasing light pollution, increasing commercial recycling and mandating zero waste by 2030 to make the MTS obsolete.
Do you want to learn more about your rights as a tenant? Join me on Thursday, May 18, you for a Housing Forum with presentations on your rights as a tenant, how to organize your building, how you can get involved in our campaign to lower rent for rent stabilized tenants, with housing experts on hand to answer your questions. The event will begin at 6pm at the Julia Richman Education Complex located at 317 East 67th Street. RSVP
Please join me for First Friday on Cinco de Mayo. I would also like to wish my mother and all the District 5 mothers a Happy Mother’s Day.
May 18, 6pm
May 20, 10am-2pm
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
May 5, 8am - 10am
May 9, 6pm
Brainstorming With Ben
May 25, 6pm
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Citi Bike Skills Class
Thank you to the over 2,000 East Siders and Roosevelt Islanders who voted this March in Participatory Budgeting, contributing to the highest turnout we've had in four years. Results will be announced next month.
In March, the City Council begins the budget process with hearings on how the city plans to spend its money in the coming year. I've questioned how we are saving to prepare for potential cuts by Trump, the need for more school seats on the Upper East Side, the rising cost of waste transfer caused by marine transfer stations, and the need for additional funds to repair the East River Esplanade, many of which were included in the City Council's official budget response to the Mayor.
New York City faces a homelessness crisis with 22,973 children, 17,548 parents, and 13,913 single adults in shelters, and many more living on the street. Last year, I founded the East Side Taskforce on Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) to help the homeless in our community. This month I was proud to welcome new supportive housing for women and children with elected officials, community leaders, teachers, parents and even children from the schools across the street. One homeless individual who we believe suffers from mental illness drew renewed attention this month when a community member launched a petition. I have previously worked with the City's outreach teams to offer her mental health services, which she declined. After many complaints, a resident was willing to come forward, making an official complaint, and I personally went with this resident to the 19th Precinct leading to her arrest and her finally accepting both shelter and treatment. If you see someone in need, don't give them money, please call or use the 311 app and contact my office so we can help.
March was women’s history month, and I was proud to introduce a resolution in support of building a Women’s History Museum on the national mall in Washington, D.C. In April we will host an Earth Day event with free reusable bags where you can learn what you can do for a greener city. For children in grades five through eight, I am asking "What would you do as Council Member for A Day?"
Chag Pesach Sameach, Happy Easter, and enjoy the beginning of spring
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
April 7, 8am-10am
P.S There will be no Brainstorming with Ben in April so that I may instead answer four questions at our annual Passover Seder.
Today, over one million low-income youth and seniors now have access to affordable high-speed internet.
As of 2015, more than 730,000 households in New York City do not have broadband, nearly 1 in 4 in Brooklyn and 1 in 3 in the Bronx, leaving them on the wrong side of the digital divide.
In 2013, I promised to secure affordable broadband for low-income New Yorkers from our internet franchisers. In 2015, when Charter Communications sought to merge with Time Warner Cable, I joined Public Advocate James testifying at hearings and advocating for the Public Service Commission to require any company acquiring Time Warner Cable help bridge the digital divide by providing low-income residents with low-cost high-speed broadband Internet which was secured by Governor Andrew Cuomo and an order of the Public Service Commission. Today, over one million low-income youth and seniors will have access low-cost high-speed broadband Internet. Learn more from the release, the announcement, or coverage in the New York Daily News, DNAinfo, and NBC.
Spectrum Internet Assist
$14.99 per month for 30 Mbps downloads and 4 Mbps uploads, email and more
No contract, no cost for modem and no activation fees
Spectrum Internet Assist Eligibility
Families with children in public schools who receive free or reduced cost lunch
Seniors (over 65) who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Prospective enrollees must clear outstanding debt to Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks from previous 12 months and may not have had broadband subscription within 30 days of signing up.
Visit SpectrumInternetAssist.com or Call 844-525-1574
We are one step closer to "Universal Broadband" and I will continue to fight until every New Yorker has access to affordable high-speed Internet and no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.
March marks the beginning of Participatory Budgeting. During this period you have an opportunity to vote on how to spend $1 million in our community. Voting will be available at dozens of Participatory Budgeting voting sites throughout the district and by absentee ballot. Make sure your voice is heard by requesting your absentee ballot today or committing to vote.
In February the New York Times covered an Education Committee hearing where legislation I introduced was discussed. My bill would require the Department of Education to report on the number of applications each school receives, how many offers it extends and where students live as well as show where students end up when they leave their neighborhoods to attend school. Many East Side residents are familiar with the Pre-Kindergarten shortage. This legislation would offer deeper insight and transparency into the problem so we can ensure no child is turned away from his or her neighborhood school.
Do you love Art? In March my office is taking part in our annual Sotheby's Student Art Show where hundreds of local students of all ages will showcase their artwork at the world famous Sotheby's. The show's opening reception will take place March 23 at 5pm sharp. You can RSVP by emailing artshowbenkallos [dot] com
We finished off February with a focus on city management, including a Committee on Governmental Operations hearing on how to help residents and businesses avoid getting quality of life violations. As the City Council reviews the Mayor's Preliminary Budget, I will continue to push for performance budgeting to ensure every taxpayer dollar is getting results.
March 29, 6pm-8pm