Press Coverage https://benkallos.com/press-clips en New York Post More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings by Steve Cuozzo https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-post-more-scaffolds-wont-make-nyc-safer-we-must-fix-department-buildings-steve <span>New York Post More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings by Steve Cuozzo</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:05pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-post" hreflang="en">New York Post</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/steve-cuozzo" hreflang="en">Steve Cuozzo</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/31/more-scaffolds-wont-make-nyc-safer-we-must-fix-department-of-buildings/">https://nypost.com/2019/12/31/more-scaffolds-wont-make-nyc-safer-we-must-fix-de…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T17:05:04Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:05</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-31T12:00:00Z">Tue, 12/31/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Moreover, it is by no means clear that “sidewalk bridges” — which are really sidewalk tunnels — don’t cause more deaths and injuries than they prevent. Council Member Ben Kallos last January cited seven instances of people in the city injured by scaffold collapses since 2017.</p> <p>In one case, Katherine Lefavre, then 34, was nearly killed when a “shed” collapsed at 568 Broadway in Soho in November 2018. The accident fractured the top model’s spine and required her to learn how to walk again.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings" src="https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/buildings-safety-scaffolds.jpg?quality=90&amp;strip=all&amp;w=618&amp;h=410&amp;crop=1" /></p> <p>Impulsive reactions to the ­recent, horrific death of architect Erica Tishman — who&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/17/architect-erica-tishman-identified-as-woman-killed-by-falling-facade-in-nyc/">was killed when a chunk of terra cotta</a>&nbsp;fell from a building on Seventh Avenue in Midtown — threaten a worse scaffold scourge than already blights the city.</p> <p>It should hardly be surprising that, in the tragedy’s wake, there are calls for more scaffolds to go up. Why shouldn’t we be protected from falling debris in a city full of old, tall and often ill-maintained structures?</p> <p>Following Tishman’s death, the Department of Buildings&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/22/thousands-of-buildings-have-same-violation-as-tower-that-killed-erica-tishman/">immediately cited 1,300 buildings</a>&nbsp;in need of immediate repairs and ordered “sidewalk bridges” for them.</p> <p>But reason, not momentary emotion or anger, should decide what we do next. At stake is providing meaningful protection for New Yorkers, not just scaffolding for scaffolding’s sake.</p> <p>Despite 8,000 sidewalk sheds spanning a total 300 miles already in place, city officials are clamoring only for more scaffolds. The frenzy will paper over the real problem: a chronically under-funded, understaffed and loosely managed DOB.</p> <p>How neglected is this vital agency? The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has 19 times more inspectors proportionately for restaurants than the DOB does for the city’s million-plus buildings,&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2017/04/24/city-needs-to-focus-on-buildings-dept-before-more-people-get-hurt/">based on a 2017 analysis</a>&nbsp;I did of the agencies’ ­respective workforces.</p> <p>It might seem insensitive to grumble about scaffolds so soon after an accident where a sidewalk bridge could have saved a woman’s life. But it’s crucial to grasp that lacking a scaffold was only one of several miscues at the site. Local Law 11 requires facade inspections every five years at structures taller than six floors.</p> <p>The Seventh Avenue building was last inspected six years ago, and its owners ignored warnings by the toothless DOB in April 2018 to fix the crumbling facade and to install a scaffold.</p> <p>Moreover, it is by no means clear that “sidewalk bridges” — which are really sidewalk tunnels — don’t cause more deaths and injuries than they prevent. Council Member Ben Kallos last January cited seven instances of people in the city injured by scaffold collapses since 2017.</p> <p>In one case, Katherine Lefavre, then 34, was nearly killed when a “shed” collapsed at 568 Broadway in Soho in November 2018. The accident fractured the top model’s spine and required her to learn how to walk again.</p> <p>Tishman’s tragedy notwithstanding, the Big Apple has not too few, but too many scaffolds. They harm stores and restaurants, invite squalor and scare off pedestrians who rightly fear to walk ­beneath them.</p> <p>Worse:&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/03/some-scaffolds-in-nyc-have-been-up-for-more-than-13-years/">A Post investigation found</a>&nbsp;some that have stood for 13 years so landlords can avoid high reinstallation costs every five years.</p> <p>Their out-of-control proliferation has spawned an absurd spinoff industry — inspections of scaffolds themselves. Ridiculously, New York City mostly delegates shed inspections not to the DOB, but to the contractors who ­installed them.</p> <p>Even so, it is unfair to dump all the blame on the DOB. The agency and its 1,870 full-time employees are absurdly under-budgeted at just $183 million in fiscal 2019, according to the Office of Management and Budget.</p> <p>By comparison, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has 6,000 employees and a budget of $1.6 billion. Even the Department of Cultural Affairs gets more dough than DOB — $198 million this year.</p> <p>With peanuts to work with, it is no wonder the DOB can only provide criminally haphazard inspection and enforcement.</p> <p>A recent Post investigation found thousands of buildings with violations similar to the one that killed Tishman. A casual perusal of the DOB web site finds innumerable open violations of every type. Case in point: 129 Fulton St., a small building owned by the Coalition for the Homeless.&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/08/the-irony-of-the-homeless-coalitions-scaffolding/">After I wrote about</a>&nbsp;its seemingly immortal sidewalk bridge a few weeks ago, a woman contacted me who was badly bloodied by sharp-edged scaffold poles three years ago — a hazard yet to be fixed.</p> <p>The damage will only get worse until City Hall gives us a stronger DOB. Until then, we are at the mercy of scaffold companies that get rich providing them while ­doing little or nothing to keep the public safe.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Feb 2020 17:05:04 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7444 at https://benkallos.com Gotham Gazette Bill Allowing Online Voter Registration in New York City Moves in State Senate, Stalls in Assembly by Samar Khurshid https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gotham-gazette-bill-allowing-online-voter-registration-new-york-city-moves-state-senate <span>Gotham Gazette Bill Allowing Online Voter Registration in New York City Moves in State Senate, Stalls in Assembly by Samar Khurshid</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Bill Allowing Online Voter Registration in New York City Moves in State Senate, Stalls in Assembly</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:17am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gotham-gazette" hreflang="en">Gotham Gazette</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/samar-khurshid" hreflang="en">Samar Khurshid</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9134-bill-allowing-online-voter-registration-in-new-york-city-moves-in-state-senate-stalled-in-assembly">https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/9134-bill-allowing-online-voter-registratio…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T16:17:18Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:17</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T12:00:00Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The New York City Council passed&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1946650&amp;GUID=6045AF54-D2A4-4432-8561-8657E969D5F5&amp;Options=ID|Text|&amp;Search=508">a bill</a>, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, in late 2017 that mandated that the Campaign Finance Board build an online portal to expand access to voter registration. Currently, the state only allows online registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles website and requires an official DMV driver’s license, permit, or non-driver ID. This effectively shuts out many New York City residents who rely on mass transit and do not have a DMV-issued document.</p> <p>The CFB created the portal and was ready to launch it in June of last year. It would have allowed residents to fill out the form online, with an electronic signature, and the CFB would then transmit the information to the City Board of Elections for processing. But a week before the site was to go live, the BOE added an additional hurdle that essentially negated the purpose of the portal – commissioners voted that, after receiving a form from the CFB, the BOE would mail the form to the potential voter, who would then have to return it with their physical signature. The process would have been slower than mailing in a registration form.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Mayor Bill de Blasio is also a supporter of the online voter registration effort and was critical last year of how the BOE meddled in it. “The City Board of Elections should allow the CFB’s online voter registration system to roll out immediately, so thousands of New York voters can register this year for the critically important 2020 elections,” said Luis Feliz Leon, a spokesperson for DemocracyNYC, the office the mayor launched to improve voter participation in the city, among other things. “The Administration appreciates that the Legislature is taking a close look at this issue.”</p> <p>BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez said in a text message, “No comment on pending legislation.”</p> <p>“New York City’s online voter registration system is ready to go for all the people who are inspired to vote in the presidential election and the coming primaries,” said Council Member Kallos, in a brief phone interview. “Thank you to State Senator Zellnor Myrie for getting this done in the Senate and we’re looking to the Assembly to get it done and the governor to sign it in time to enfranchise a whole generation of voters in time for the presidential election.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/elections" hreflang="en">Elections</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:17:17 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7443 at https://benkallos.com The Jewish Voice New ExpressCare Clinic Opens at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan by Editorial https://benkallos.com/press-clip/jewish-voice-new-expresscare-clinic-opens-nyc-health-hospitalsmetropolitan-editorial <span>The Jewish Voice New ExpressCare Clinic Opens at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan by Editorial</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New ExpressCare Clinic Opens at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:05am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/jewish-voice" hreflang="en">The Jewish Voice</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/editorial" hreflang="en">Editorial</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="http://thejewishvoice.com/2020/02/new-expresscare-clinic-opens-at-nyc-health-hospitals-metropolitan/">http://thejewishvoice.com/2020/02/new-expresscare-clinic-opens-at-nyc-health-ho…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T16:05:50Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:05</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T12:00:00Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>ExpressCare will provide patients with fast access to walk-in, urgent care seven days a week</strong></p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals recently announced the opening of an ExpressCare Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. The clinic will be the public health system’s first location in Manhattan, building on the system’s&nbsp;vision to transform care for New Yorkers&nbsp;in all five boroughs. Providing faster access to medical care for patients with non-life-threatening conditions, the new clinic will be open seven days a week operating from 6pm to midnight on weekdays, and from 10am to midnight on weekends and holidays.&nbsp;The clinic&nbsp;will offer&nbsp;walk-in services for conditions&nbsp;— such as&nbsp;colds, flu, sprains, skin rashes, minor cuts and lacerations, and certain types of infections.&nbsp;Patients who typically use the emergency department for these conditions will find shorter wait times and faster service at the ExpressCare clinic.</p> <p>NYC Council Member Diana Ayala helped to secure $1.6M in mayoral funds for the construction of the new urgent care center at&nbsp;NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. In the meantime, the ExpressCare clinic will temporarily share space with the hospital’s Geriatric Outpatient Services until the new, permanent space is built.</p> <p>“We are excited to add a new health care option for the community we serve in East Harlem and upper Manhattan,” said&nbsp;Alina Moran, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “ExpressCare will help reduce wait times in our emergency department and provide immediate medical attention for patients in need of urgent care. The new service expands our ability to connect patients to high-quality care when they need it.”</p> <p>“The new ExpressCare Clinic at Metropolitan Hospital will help ensure patients are receiving high-quality medical care promptly and close to home,” said&nbsp;Council Member Diana Ayala. “I am proud to have worked with the Mayor’s Office to secure additional funding for the clinic’s future space, and in the interim, I look forward to welcoming this vital resource to the community.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>ExpressCare will provide patients with fast access to walk-in, urgent care seven days a week</strong></p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals recently announced the opening of an ExpressCare Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. The clinic will be the public health system’s first location in Manhattan, building on the system’s&nbsp;vision to transform care for New Yorkers&nbsp;in all five boroughs. Providing faster access to medical care for patients with non-life-threatening conditions, the new clinic will be open seven days a week operating from 6pm to midnight on weekdays, and from 10am to midnight on weekends and holidays.&nbsp;The clinic&nbsp;will offer&nbsp;walk-in services for conditions&nbsp;— such as&nbsp;colds, flu, sprains, skin rashes, minor cuts and lacerations, and certain types of infections.&nbsp;Patients who typically use the emergency department for these conditions will find shorter wait times and faster service at the ExpressCare clinic.</p> <p>NYC Council Member Diana Ayala helped to secure $1.6M in mayoral funds for the construction of the new urgent care center at&nbsp;NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. In the meantime, the ExpressCare clinic will temporarily share space with the hospital’s Geriatric Outpatient Services until the new, permanent space is built.</p> <p>“We are excited to add a new health care option for the community we serve in East Harlem and upper Manhattan,” said&nbsp;Alina Moran, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “ExpressCare will help reduce wait times in our emergency department and provide immediate medical attention for patients in need of urgent care. The new service expands our ability to connect patients to high-quality care when they need it.”</p> <p>“The new ExpressCare Clinic at Metropolitan Hospital will help ensure patients are receiving high-quality medical care promptly and close to home,” said&nbsp;Council Member Diana Ayala. “I am proud to have worked with the Mayor’s Office to secure additional funding for the clinic’s future space, and in the interim, I look forward to welcoming this vital resource to the community.”</p> <p>Shifting patients with non-life-threatening conditions&nbsp;to the&nbsp;ExpressCare clinic will shorten their wait times. The clinic will also differ from stand-alone urgent care centers by offering a&nbsp;closer&nbsp;connection to primary care providers. The emergency-trained physicians at&nbsp;the&nbsp;ExpressCare clinic will help ensure patients receive the appropriate follow-up care by connecting them with primary care doctors in the&nbsp;NYC&nbsp;Health + Hospitals system.</p> <p>Patients visiting the ExpressCare&nbsp;at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan&nbsp;who are assessed as having serious medical conditions that cannot be treated in an urgent care setting or who may require hospital admission will be fast-tracked to the Emergency Department for further treatment.</p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals worked with OneCity Health, the State’s largest Performing Provider System, part of the Medicaid Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, to create the clinical model for the ExpressCare clinics, which are designed to support the DSRIP goal to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent by 2020.</p> <p>“Metropolitan Hospital provides excellent care to our community. It is exciting that they will now be able to expand their care with their new ExpressCare Clinic,” said&nbsp;Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez. “Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals and Metropolitan Hospital for their commitment to high quality care.”</p> <p>“Time is vital to New Yorkers—and the ExpressCare clinic will be a game-changer for countless time-strapped Manhattanites,” said&nbsp;Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m thrilled to see NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan embracing new models of healthcare to better serve our communities.”</p> <p>“I want to congratulate NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan on the opening of their new ExpressCare Clinic, which will serve countless Manhattanites with effective, fast walk-in medical services, while alleviating crowding at some of our most important emergency rooms. I look forward to working with NYC Health + Hospitals to continue the expansion of new and accessible outpatient community facilities,” said&nbsp;Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Hospitals.</p> <p>“A huge part of being healthy is having access to healthcare. The opening of this new ExpressCare Clinic at NYC Health&nbsp;+ Hospitals/Metropolitan is a huge win for our community, said&nbsp;Council Member Ben Kallos. “We all get sick and need to be able to walk into a clinic and get the help we need, easily and quickly. This clinic will fulfill a need in the community making residents safer and healthier. Thank you to Council Member Diana Ayala for her work to get this funding and commitment to making our communities healthier.”</p> <p>ExpressCare clinics will accept most insurance plans; walk-ins are welcome and no appointments are necessary. Patients should bring photo identification and an insurance card to the clinic. Patients without insurance will be directed to the health system’s reduced fee-scale payment program or receive assistance with insurance enrollment if eligible.</p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals plans to expand the ExpressCare model to other public health system facilities in the coming months. Thus far, ExpressCare locations include NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan,&nbsp;NYC Health + Hospitals/ Lincoln,&nbsp;NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst,&nbsp;and&nbsp;NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens.</p> <p>To get more information on ExpressCare or&nbsp;or to make an appointment with a primary care physician or other specialists at NYC Health + Hospitals,&nbsp;please&nbsp;call&nbsp;1-844-NYC-4NYC&nbsp;(1-844-692-4692).</p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan is the community hospital of choice for residents of East Harlem, northern Manhattan, and neighboring communities. NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan provides culturally sensitive primary and specialized medical care to patients of all ages regardless of national origin, immigration status, or ability to pay. Since its founding in 1875, the hospital has been affiliated with New York Medical College, representing the oldest partnership between a hospital and a private medical school in the United States. NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan is a part of the NYC Health + Hospitals public health care system. For more information, please visit&nbsp;<a href="http://nychealthandhospitals.org/metropolitan">nychealthandhospitals.org/metropolitan</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/community" hreflang="en">Community</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:05:50 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7442 at https://benkallos.com Time Out New York Free summer camp for all NYC kids? This City Council bill could make it happen by Oliver Strand https://benkallos.com/press-clip/time-out-new-york-free-summer-camp-all-nyc-kids-city-council-bill-could-make-it-happen <span>Time Out New York Free summer camp for all NYC kids? This City Council bill could make it happen by Oliver Strand</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Free summer camp for all NYC kids? This City Council bill could make it happen</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:03am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/time-out-new-york" hreflang="en">Time Out New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/oliver-strand" hreflang="en">Oliver Strand</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/news/free-summer-camp-for-all-nyc-kids-this-city-council-bill-could-make-it-happen-021220">https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/news/free-summer-camp-for-all-nyc-kids-th…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T16:03:05Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 11:03</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-13T12:00:00Z">Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This&nbsp;comes&nbsp;at a time of the year when many families are strategizing about what to do with the summer.&nbsp;If you're a NYC parent, you're&nbsp;working&nbsp;out schedules (and budgets) for what&nbsp;your children will be doing in June, July and August—this is when you start enrolling your little ones in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/academic-camps-the-best-summer-camps-for-kids-in-New-York-City">academic summer camps&nbsp;NYC&nbsp;kids love</a>, and cool&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/science-camps-for-kids-in-new-york">science camps 2020</a>&nbsp;has in store. In the near future,&nbsp;Universal Summer Youth Programs could be one of your options, offering something like a play-based extension of the school year only with&nbsp;tons of outdoor&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/summer-activities-for-kids">summer activities for kids</a>:&nbsp;Your little&nbsp;New Yorker&nbsp;would&nbsp;be engaged, learning&nbsp;and having fun all year long.</p> <p>The legislation was&nbsp;introduced by Debi Rose (Staten Island) and Ben Kallos (Manhattan).&nbsp;According to Rose, "Summer programs are invaluable experiences that build self-esteem, social skills, leadership skills and friendships in a safe, constructive environment. They also help curb summer learning loss," she said in a&nbsp;<a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/universal-summer-youth-programs-proposed-council-members-rose-and-kallos">statement</a>. "It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate."</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Could summer camp be free for all New York City kids? Yesterday, two City Council members&nbsp;introduced legislation that will make camp cost the same&nbsp;as a visit to Central Park or a ride on the Staten Island Ferry: Absolutely nothing.</p> <p>The proposed&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4329709&amp;GUID=9BFBAA9E-84B7-44D1-92E2-AA0FF6E150CC&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=1886">Universal Summer Youth Programs</a>&nbsp;sets out to accomplish at least two tasks: One, it firms up the budget for current free summer camp programs—right now, that funding is approved as late as June,&nbsp;which leaves families uncertain about what&nbsp;camps are available, and scrambling to apply for spots at the last minute. Two,&nbsp;it&nbsp;will&nbsp;bring free community-based summer camps to all NYC youth by the summer of 2022.</p> <p>This&nbsp;comes&nbsp;at a time of the year when many families are strategizing about what to do with the summer.&nbsp;If you're a NYC parent, you're&nbsp;working&nbsp;out schedules (and budgets) for what&nbsp;your children will be doing in June, July and August—this is when you start enrolling your little ones in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/academic-camps-the-best-summer-camps-for-kids-in-New-York-City">academic summer camps&nbsp;NYC&nbsp;kids love</a>, and cool&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/science-camps-for-kids-in-new-york">science camps 2020</a>&nbsp;has in store. In the near future,&nbsp;Universal Summer Youth Programs could be one of your options, offering something like a play-based extension of the school year only with&nbsp;tons of outdoor&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timeout.com/new-york-kids/things-to-do/summer-activities-for-kids">summer activities for kids</a>:&nbsp;Your little&nbsp;New Yorker&nbsp;would&nbsp;be engaged, learning&nbsp;and having fun all year long.</p> <p>The legislation was&nbsp;introduced by Debi Rose (Staten Island) and Ben Kallos (Manhattan).&nbsp;According to Rose, "Summer programs are invaluable experiences that build self-esteem, social skills, leadership skills and friendships in a safe, constructive environment. They also help curb summer learning loss," she said in a&nbsp;<a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/universal-summer-youth-programs-proposed-council-members-rose-and-kallos">statement</a>. "It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate."</p> <p>The proposed Universal Summer Youth Programs will benefit all New York families,&nbsp;but it will be particularly important&nbsp;for those who&nbsp;can't afford pay-based day camps. The legislation comes on the heels of&nbsp;hearings&nbsp;called by Rose, Kallos and Mark Treyger (Brooklyn)&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-afterschool-city-council-20200113-gwkzganxpze7flc46kwz2qzfi4-story.html">to&nbsp;explore making after school free for all students</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>All of this brings up a crazy question: Is parenting becoming&nbsp;<em>easier</em>&nbsp;in New York?</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:03:04 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7441 at https://benkallos.com City and State NY City Council may require truck underride guards by RAINIER HARRIS https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-and-state-ny-city-council-may-require-truck-underride-guards-rainier-harris <span>City and State NY City Council may require truck underride guards by RAINIER HARRIS</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NY City Council may require truck underride guards</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/12/2020 - 10:34am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city-and-state" hreflang="en">City and State</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/rainier-harris" hreflang="en">RAINIER HARRIS</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/policy/transportation/ny-city-council-may-require-truck-underride-guards.html-0">https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/policy/transportation/ny-city-council-m…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-05T15:34:30Z">Wed, 02/05/2020 - 10:34</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-05T12:00:00Z">Wed, 02/05/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation which Rodriguez chairs. Councilmember Kallos told City &amp; State in a phone interview that he expects the bill to move quickly through the council because it has the support of the chair of the relevant committee and Speaker Corey Johnson is likely to support the bill, given that Johnson wrote in 2014 which became law in 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kallos said he works especially hard on the issue of side guards because the mayor has recently opened a marine transfer station in his district, on the East Side of Manhattan, where “garbage trucks operated by the city are entering a ramp that bisects a children’s playground.”</p> <p>In terms of how the side guards would be paid for, Kallos said it would be on a “case-by-case basis.” Kallos has not responded to follow-up emails asking for clarification as to what that means.&nbsp;</p> <p>A similar bill, the Stop Underrides Act of 2019, was introduced in Congress in July 2019. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen from Tennessee and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called for the mandatory installation of side underride guards and strengthening rear underride guards to prevent other motor vehicles from sliding underneath.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ttnews.com/articles/ata-reaffirms-opposition-side-underride-guard-legislation">letter opposing the bill</a>, the American Trucking Association said that equipping 12 million trailers with side underride guards, costing approximately $2,900 each, would prove disastrous for the trucking industry and “result in what is likely the largest unfunded mandate on a private sector industry in US history.” The letter added that the “expected cost of labor in installing these guards would exceed the industry’s annual net revenue, essentially putting trucking out of business, and grinding our economy to a screeching halt.”&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New York City residents may soon be seeing more trucks with side guards – safety devices, usually a flat piece of metal that covers the top end of a truck’s wheels, that mitigate the impact of collision with pedestrians, motorists and cyclists by preventing them from being caught under the truck’s wheels.&nbsp;</p> <p>Last year was the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/us/pedestrian-cyclist-deaths-traffic.html">deadliest year</a>&nbsp;for pedestrians and cyclists nationwide since 1990. There were 3.4% more pedestrians and 6.3% cyclists killed on American roads in 2019 than in 2018. New York City was no exception: 29&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/2019-was-extremely-deadly-year-nyc-cyclists-here-are-their-stories">cyclists died on the city’s roads</a>&nbsp;in 2019, more than in any year since 2000 and there were&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/drivers-kill-six-pedestrians-48-hours-nyc-streets">116 pedestrian deaths in 2019</a>, more than in 2017 and 2018. Twelve of the cyclists’ deaths were due to collisions with trucks.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some elected officials think side guards could help reduce those numbers. A report from&nbsp;<a href="https://visionzeronetwork.org/project/how-can-cities-increase-the-safety-of-large-vehicles-in-urban-areas/">Vision Zero Network&nbsp;</a>shows that nearly half of bicyclists and a quarter of pedestrians killed by a large truck “first impact the side of a truck.” The Vision Zero Network report references a 2005 British study that showed in collisions with trucks, bicycle fatalities dropped 61% and pedestrian fatalities dropped 20% after side guards were installed.</p> <p>In October 2019, a&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4197175&amp;GUID=8029356C-D183-44E8-BDD9-F27FF87B4806&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=side+guard">bill</a>&nbsp;was introduced in the New York City Council that would mandate side guards on trucks fulfilling contracts with the city by such as garbage private trucks contracted by the city to plow snow. Sponsored by Council members Ydannis Rodriguez and Ben Kallos, these vehicles would need to be equipped with side guards by January 1, 2021.</p> <p>This would build on a law signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in June 2015 after being unanimously passed by the City Council, which required truck side guards on city-operated vehicles and private trash haulers fulfilling a contract with the city. That law was itself a major expansion to the city’s previously announced&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-adding-safety-guards-to-240-city-trucks-in-2015">pilot program</a>&nbsp;that added 240 side guards to their city fleet.</p> <p>The new bill also will shift the deadline for side guard implementation in the city fleet and for trade waste hauling vehicles from January 1, 2024 to January 1, 2021. The owner or operator of contracted vehicles without side guards face penalties of $10,000 per city contracted vehicle and $500 for each day without a side guard for 30 days. The current council bill differs from the 2015 law because it extends the mandate for side underride guards to anyone doing contracting work with the city. It would not, however, cover trucks conducting purely private business.</p> <p>But critics argue side guards are too expensive to be installed on a wide scale and policymakers should look for cheaper, more effective ways to reduce a greater number of fatalities. Side guards cost almost $3,000 each, not including labor installation expenses, and people rolling under trucks account for a small share of traffic deaths. According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-264">March 2019 report</a>, from 2008 to 2017, an average of 219 fatalities from underride crashes were reported annually nationwide, accounting for less than 1% of total traffic fatalities over the same time frame. GAO says, however, that these figures may be underreported due to the variance in “state and local data collection.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation which Rodriguez chairs. Councilmember Kallos told City &amp; State in a phone interview that he expects the bill to move quickly through the council because it has the support of the chair of the relevant committee and Speaker Corey Johnson is likely to support the bill, given that Johnson wrote in 2014 which became law in 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kallos said he works especially hard on the issue of side guards because the mayor has recently opened a marine transfer station in his district, on the East Side of Manhattan, where “garbage trucks operated by the city are entering a ramp that bisects a children’s playground.”</p> <p>In terms of how the side guards would be paid for, Kallos said it would be on a “case-by-case basis.” Kallos has not responded to follow-up emails asking for clarification as to what that means.&nbsp;</p> <p>A similar bill, the Stop Underrides Act of 2019, was introduced in Congress in July 2019. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen from Tennessee and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called for the mandatory installation of side underride guards and strengthening rear underride guards to prevent other motor vehicles from sliding underneath.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ttnews.com/articles/ata-reaffirms-opposition-side-underride-guard-legislation">letter opposing the bill</a>, the American Trucking Association said that equipping 12 million trailers with side underride guards, costing approximately $2,900 each, would prove disastrous for the trucking industry and “result in what is likely the largest unfunded mandate on a private sector industry in US history.” The letter added that the “expected cost of labor in installing these guards would exceed the industry’s annual net revenue, essentially putting trucking out of business, and grinding our economy to a screeching halt.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Congress tasked the GAO with studying underride crashes to test the merits of truck underride guards and the agency recommended that the federal Department of Transportation standardize data collection, make annual inspections for rear guards and conduct more research.</p> <p>The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/12/business/seatbelts-back-seat-safety.html">reportedly</a>&nbsp;funded by the insurance industry, favors a mandate for truck underride guard rails. Russ Rader, a spokesperson for the group, emailed City &amp; State in a statement saying that their “tests show that side underride guards have the potential to save lives.” When asked about the costs Rader emailed that “IIHS hasn’t estimated costs.”</p> <p>A&nbsp;<a href="https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/iihs-tests-show-benefits-of-side-underride-guards-for-semitrailers">2012 report by the institute</a>&nbsp;found that “strong side underride guards have the potential to reduce injury risk in about three-fourths of large truck side crashes producing a fatality or serious injury to a passenger vehicle occupant. This proportion increased to almost 90 percent when restricted to crashes with semi trailers.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Marco Conner, Deputy Director at Transportation Alternatives, a pedestrian and cyclist advocacy organization, said the group is “strongly in favor of and supportive of” the truck side guard bill. The bill is a “commonsense, low-cost, safety measure that should be part of every truck in the city,” Conner added.</p> <p>DeBlasio’s Vision Zero program, launched in 2014, was intended to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City by 2024. While truck side guards seem to lessen pedestrian and cyclist deaths in side impact collisions, they are a small share of fatal crashes. A truck side guard mandate could help reach the city’s Vision Zero goals, but far more comprehensive steps may have to be taken to get all the way there.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:34:30 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7440 at https://benkallos.com 1010 WINS City Council bill would make summer camp free for all NYC kids by ELISE CZAJKOWSKI https://benkallos.com/press-clip/1010-wins-city-council-bill-would-make-summer-camp-free-all-nyc-kids-elise-czajkowski-0 <span>1010 WINS City Council bill would make summer camp free for all NYC kids by ELISE CZAJKOWSKI</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Council bill would make summer camp free for all NYC kids</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/12/2020 - 9:57am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/1010-wins" hreflang="en">1010 WINS</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/elise-czajkowski" hreflang="en">ELISE CZAJKOWSKI</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://1010wins.radio.com/articles/city-council-bill-would-make-summer-camp-free-for-nyc-kids">https://1010wins.radio.com/articles/city-council-bill-would-make-summer-camp-fr…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-12T14:57:23Z">Wed, 02/12/2020 - 09:57</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-12T12:00:00Z">Wed, 02/12/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK (1010 WINS) --&nbsp;</strong>Two City Council Members have proposed a bill that would make summer camp free for all New York City students.</p> <p>The bill, introduced Tuesday, would require the city's Youth and Community Development Department to determine the scope and resources to provide summer camp for all city kids by 2022,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-summer-camp-universal-20200211-k7htf7ldn5fthfn3fdj2s36rfq-story.html">according to The Daily News</a>.</p> <p>At the moment, summer youth programs are often not funded until the city's final budget is determined in June, causing uncertainty for parents, program providers and kids.</p> <p>The NYC Parks Department offers a summer day camp for students aged 6 to 13, which costs between $500 and $575 for seven weeks.</p> <p>One of the bill's sponsors, Debi Rose of Staten Island, tweeted, "It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate."</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK (1010 WINS) --&nbsp;</strong>Two City Council Members have proposed a bill that would make summer camp free for all New York City students.</p> <p>The bill, introduced Tuesday, would require the city's Youth and Community Development Department to determine the scope and resources to provide summer camp for all city kids by 2022,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-summer-camp-universal-20200211-k7htf7ldn5fthfn3fdj2s36rfq-story.html">according to The Daily News</a>.</p> <p>At the moment, summer youth programs are often not funded until the city's final budget is determined in June, causing uncertainty for parents, program providers and kids.</p> <p>The NYC Parks Department offers a summer day camp for students aged 6 to 13, which costs between $500 and $575 for seven weeks.</p> <p>One of the bill's sponsors, Debi Rose of Staten Island, tweeted, "It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate."</p> <p>It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate.<a dir="ltr" href="https://t.co/P6vHVVS4pl">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-summer-camp-universal-20200211-k7htf7ldn5fthfn3fdj2s36rfq-story.html&nbsp;…</a></p> <p>Year after year, our summer youth programs are not funded until we come to a final budget agreement in June, leaving parents and providers in a shadow of uncertainty. This late decision has the potential to also reduce the number of students providers are able to accommodate.</p> <p>Rose, who proposed the bill with Ben Kallos of Manhattan, also wrote, "Summer program are invaluable experiences that build self-esteem, social skills, leadership skills and friendships in a safe, constructive environment. They also help curb summer learning loss, which disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds."</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Wed, 12 Feb 2020 14:57:22 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7439 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News NYC Council bill seeks to make free summer camp available to all city students by Michael Elsen-Rooney https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-nyc-council-bill-seeks-make-free-summer-camp-available-all-city <span>New York Daily News NYC Council bill seeks to make free summer camp available to all city students by Michael Elsen-Rooney</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC Council bill seeks to make free summer camp available to all city students</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/11/2020 - 2:50pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/michael-elsen-rooney" hreflang="en">Michael Elsen-Rooney</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-summer-camp-universal-20200211-k7htf7ldn5fthfn3fdj2s36rfq-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-summer-camp-universal-2020021…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-11T19:50:41Z">Tue, 02/11/2020 - 14:50</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-11T12:00:00Z">Tue, 02/11/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“This Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation will finally put an end to the budget dance and put our city on a path to guarantee every child a place to enjoy their summer,” said Kallos.</p> <p>The push to expand summer programs comes on the heels of a City Council&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-afterschool-city-council-20200113-gwkzganxpze7flc46kwz2qzfi4-story.html">hearing&nbsp;</a>that explored the possibility of universal after school programs</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A new bill introduced in the city council Tuesday would make summer camp free to all city students.</p> <p>The bill, co-sponsored by Council Members Debi Rose (D - Staten Island) and Ben Kallos (D - Manhattan) would require the city’s Youth and Community Development Department to figure out how many programs they need by fall 2020. Then they have a year to make sure there is adequate space.</p> <p>It should be ready to go for Summer 2022.</p> <p>“Summer programs are invaluable experiences that build self-esteem, social skills, leadership skills and friendships in a safe, constructive environment,” said Rose. “It is time we build on our successes with early childhood education in the city and give all students seeking a spot in a summer program the opportunity to participate.”</p> <p>The mandatory summer program law would also eliminate the annual squabble over $20 million in city money for middle school camps that, for the past five years, has been excluded from Mayor de Blasio’s preliminary budget, and only restored in final budget negotiations in June. By that point, it’s often too&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-summer-camp-funding-snag-20190728-5ph6btm34ja2jom7aueokdxvs4-story.html">late&nbsp;</a>for programs to effectively set up programs slated to start just weeks later.</p> <p>The funding provides summer camp slots for about 34,000 middle-schoolers, officials said.</p> <p>“This Universal Summer Youth Programs legislation will finally put an end to the budget dance and put our city on a path to guarantee every child a place to enjoy their summer,” said Kallos.</p> <p>The push to expand summer programs comes on the heels of a City Council&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-afterschool-city-council-20200113-gwkzganxpze7flc46kwz2qzfi4-story.html">hearing&nbsp;</a>that explored the possibility of universal after school programs</p> <p>Lawmakers noted that funding for after school and summer programs has jumped under Mayor de Blasio, but said the city is still far from offering a spot to any student who requests one.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Tue, 11 Feb 2020 19:50:41 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7436 at https://benkallos.com The Chief-Leader Judge: Emails Hint At False Testimony In ‘Whistleblower’ Firing by RICHARD STEIER https://benkallos.com/press-clip/chief-leader-judge-emails-hint-false-testimony-whistleblower-firing-richard-steier <span>The Chief-Leader Judge: Emails Hint At False Testimony In ‘Whistleblower’ Firing by RICHARD STEIER</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Judge: Emails Hint At False Testimony In ‘Whistleblower’ Firing</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/11/2020 - 2:32pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/chief-leader" hreflang="en">The Chief-Leader</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/richard-steier" hreflang="en">RICHARD STEIER</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/judge-emails-hint-at-false-testimony-in-whistleblower-firing/article_ac4f400c-4905-11ea-84f5-e3057942e8db.html">https://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/judge-emails-hint-at-false-tes…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-11T19:32:03Z">Tue, 02/11/2020 - 14:32</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-11T12:00:00Z">Tue, 02/11/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A Federal Judge in Manhattan stated in a recent ruling that an email exchange between de Blasio administration officials indicated that Commissioner of Administrative Services Lisette Camillo falsely claimed that a fired whistleblower was terminated based on performance after her superiors ordered her to deny it had anything to do with his testimony to Federal prosecutors.</p> <p>On March 13, 2017, less than three weeks after former Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Morales was fired, Ms. Camilo told a City Council hearing that his discharge had “nothing to do with Rivington,” referring to a longtime hospice for AIDS patients known as Rivington House that the previous year had been “flipped” at a $72-million profit to a developer after city officials revoked two deeds.</p> <p>Lifting restrictions contained in those documents allowed the site to be used for purposes other than health care.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>DID SHE LIE UNDER ORDERS?: While Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo (left) told a City Council hearing three years ago that she fired Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Morales (right) for poor performance, a Federal Magistrate in Manhattan wrote that an email string she ordered released in connection with his wrongful-termination lawsuit indicated that it ‘was, in fact, related to Rivington,’ a real-estate transaction that came under Federal scrutiny.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Federal Judge in Manhattan stated in a recent ruling that an email exchange between de Blasio administration officials indicated that Commissioner of Administrative Services Lisette Camillo falsely claimed that a fired whistleblower was terminated based on performance after her superiors ordered her to deny it had anything to do with his testimony to Federal prosecutors.</p> <p>On March 13, 2017, less than three weeks after former Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Morales was fired, Ms. Camilo told a City Council hearing that his discharge had “nothing to do with Rivington,” referring to a longtime hospice for AIDS patients known as Rivington House that the previous year had been “flipped” at a $72-million profit to a developer after city officials revoked two deeds.</p> <p>Lifting restrictions contained in those documents allowed the site to be used for purposes other than health care.</p> <p><strong>Seeks $5M in Wages, Damages</strong></p> <p>Mr. Morales has claimed in a wrongful-termination suit seeking $5 million in lost wages and damages that he was fired for giving truthful testimony to investigators for the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the Rivington House transaction and another one in which he was removed from negotiating a deal on back rent owed by restaurateur Harendra Singh—a fundraiser and campaign contributor to Mr. de Blasio—because he wasn’t generous as his superiors wanted.</p> <p>Manhattan Federal Court Magistrate Debra Freeman last December ordered the public disclosure of an email thread between two senior mayoral officials sought by Mr. Morales’s lawyer as part of the discovery process for his lawsuit.</p> <p>In that thread, then-mayoral Press Secretary Eric Phillips asked Jon Paul Lupo, who at the time was Mr. de Blasio’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, “Did Lisette really say morales firing wasn’t related to rivington?”</p> <p>Mr. Lupo replied, “Yes. That’s what we were told she had to say for legal reasons.”</p> <p>Magistrate Freeman in her ruling ordering release of the emails stated that they suggested Mr. Morales’s termination “was, in fact, related to Rivington, but that officials senior to Camilo had told her that she ‘had to say’ otherwise.”</p> <p><strong>Timing No Coincidence?</strong></p> <p>Mr. Morales has noted in his lawsuit that he was fired Feb. 24, 2017, a few hours after the Mayor was interviewed by prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan regarding his fund-raising practices. Three weeks later, a decision was made not to bring charges against him—even though prosecutors concluded he had violated the “spirit” of the city’s Campaign Finance Law—for reasons that included a U.S. Supreme Court ruling the previous year that made it more difficult to successfully bring public-corruption cases.</p> <p>As part of a separate investigation, Mr. Singh pleaded guilty to prosecutors in Brooklyn representing the Eastern District of New York to paying bribes to both Mr. de Blasio and then-Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano for help with his businesses. The U.S. Attorney there, in explaining why Mr. Mangano was tried and convicted last year but no charges were brought against the Mayor, said the bribes to Mr. Mangano went directly to him and his wife, while the payments to Mr. de Blasio were made to his campaign fund and another one he created to promote political causes.</p> <p>City Councilman Ben Kallos, who was one of the Council Members who questioned Ms. Camilo about the firing of Mr. Morales three years ago, told the New York Post that he was “deeply disappointed in the administration for lying under oath and for doing so with knowledge and willfully.”</p> <p>Robert Kraus, Mr. Morales’s attorney, said in a Feb. 4 phone interview that he recently deposed Mr. Lupo and another ranking City Hall aide, Dominic Williams, who has worked for Mr. de Blasio dating back to his days as Public Advocate. At the time of the Rivington House transaction, Mr. Williams was Chief of Staff to then-First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris; he subsequently became Chief Policy Adviser to Mr. de Blasio.</p> <p>The administration has continued to insist that Mr. Morales’s firing was based on poor performance.</p> <p><strong>Wants to Question Others</strong></p> <p>Mr. Kraus, who said the email exchange exposed the “false narrative” the administration looked to create to cover up its true reason for firing Mr. Morales—who won an Ethics in Government Award a decade ago from the Conflicts of Interest Board for his work as a top Housing Authority official—said he was still looking to depose Mr. Shorris, former de Blasio Communications Director Karen Hinton, and Chief of Staff Emma Wolfe.</p> <p>It was Ms. Wolfe, who was then Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, who was tapped to complete negotiations with Mr. Singh on a significant reduction in the $747,000 in back rent and taxes that he owed the city on his Long Island City restaurant, Water’s Edge, after an offer by Mr. Morales did not satisfy him and his attorney. Before the tentative deal Ms. Wolfe reached with him could be finalized, Mr. Singh was indicted by prosecutors in Brooklyn.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/good-government" hreflang="en">Good Government</a></div> </div> Tue, 11 Feb 2020 19:32:03 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7435 at https://benkallos.com Gotham Gazette City to Codify Office of Food Policy and Require 10-Year Food Plan by Ethan Geringer-Sameth https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gotham-gazette-city-codify-office-food-policy-and-require-10-year-food-plan-ethan <span>Gotham Gazette City to Codify Office of Food Policy and Require 10-Year Food Plan by Ethan Geringer-Sameth</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City to Codify Office of Food Policy and Require 10-Year Food Plan</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/11/2020 - 1:20pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gotham-gazette" hreflang="en">Gotham Gazette</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ethan-geringer-sameth" hreflang="en">Ethan Geringer-Sameth</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/9127-city-council-to-codify-office-of-food-policy-and-require-10-year-food-plan">https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/9127-city-council-to-codify-office-of-food-p…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-11T18:20:23Z">Tue, 02/11/2020 - 13:20</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-11T12:00:00Z">Tue, 02/11/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A particular emphasis is on food justice and ameliorating the disparate access to healthy foods in predominantly low-income neighborhoods. The expected passage of the bills comes shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled as constitutional the Trump administration’s public charge rule, making it harder for immigrants to obtain a green card when they receive public benefits like food stamps.</p> <p>“The City of New York is responsible for feeding a large portion of our population, whether it’s 1.1 million public school students who are entitled to free breakfast and free lunch, or it’s people in our senior centers...or people in our shelter system who we’re feeding, or just the countless New Yorkers who rely on food assistance in the form of SNAP,” Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, told Gotham Gazette.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Kallos’ bill, in codifying the Office of Food Policy, outlines the powers and duties of the director in the City Charter. Currently, the role of Director of Food Policy is housed within the mayor’s office and exists at the mayor’s discretion. After former Director of Food Policy Barbara Turk stepped down in March 2019, the position went vacant for six months until a new director, Kate MacKenzie, was appointed by Mayor de Blasio this past October. Under the legislation, the office could be established either directly within the mayor’s office or in another mayoral department, with the director appointed either by the mayor or the department head.</p> <p>Supporters say codifying the office will bring a degree of accountability over the city’s food policy efforts, which are currently controlled largely through executive action. The bill establishes four official responsibilities of the office: make recommendations to the mayor; coordinate interagency initiatives; conduct outreach to key stakeholders; and promote efforts designed to increase equitable access to nutritious food.</p> <p>“I think the fact that [the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy] was vacant for so long explains why it needs to be codified in the law: so that it is something that we can hold accountable. I am very glad Mayor de Blasio appointed a director, one who has been empowered to do so much, but the mayor could have just as easily eliminated the position,” Kallos said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/health" hreflang="en">Health</a></div> </div> Tue, 11 Feb 2020 18:20:23 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7434 at https://benkallos.com AM New York First ExpressCare clinic opens for patients in Manhattan by BETH DEDMAN https://benkallos.com/press-clip/am-new-york-first-expresscare-clinic-opens-patients-manhattan-beth-dedman <span>AM New York First ExpressCare clinic opens for patients in Manhattan by BETH DEDMAN</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">First ExpressCare clinic opens for patients in Manhattan</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Sat, 02/08/2020 - 11:24pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/am-new-york" hreflang="en">AM New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/beth-dedman" hreflang="en">BETH DEDMAN</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.amny.com/health/first-expresscare-clinic-opens-for-patients-in-manhattan/">https://www.amny.com/health/first-expresscare-clinic-opens-for-patients-in-manh…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T04:24:40Z">Sat, 02/08/2020 - 23:24</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T12:00:00Z">Sun, 02/09/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>NYC Health + Hospitals opened an ExpressCare clinic at their Metropolitan location Feb. 3, the first of the chain of clinics to open in Manhattan, according to a press release.&nbsp;</p> <p>The clinic will treat non-life-threatening conditions such as colds, flu, sprains, rashes, minor cuts and lacerations and certain types of infections, according to the press release. It will operate seven days a week from 6 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends and holidays.&nbsp;</p> <p>The clinic will provide faster treatment for these conditions than would be available in the emergency department, according to the press release. The physicians employed at the clinic will also help connect patients to primary care doctors in the NYC Health + Hospitals system for follow-up care.&nbsp;</p> <p>Redirecting non-life-threatening treatment from the emergency department will help reduce wait times for patients in need of immediate emergency care, said Alina Moran, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, in the press release.</p> <p>“We are excited to add a new health care option for the community we serve in East Harlem and upper Manhattan,” Moran said in the press release.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the fourth ExpressCare clinic in the NYC Health + Hospital system, with other locations in Elmhurst, Lincoln and Queens, according to the press release.&nbsp;</p> <p>The clinic will operate in a shared space with the Geriatric Outpatient Services until construction on the permanent location is complete in several months, said Noel Alicea, the public relations representative for NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan.</p> <p>NYC Council Member Diana Ayala, the representative for District 8, helped secure the $1.6 million for the construction of the clinic.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>NYC Health + Hospitals opened an ExpressCare clinic at their Metropolitan location Feb. 3, the first of the chain of clinics to open in Manhattan, according to a press release.&nbsp;</p> <p>The clinic will treat non-life-threatening conditions such as colds, flu, sprains, rashes, minor cuts and lacerations and certain types of infections, according to the press release. It will operate seven days a week from 6 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends and holidays.&nbsp;</p> <p>The clinic will provide faster treatment for these conditions than would be available in the emergency department, according to the press release. The physicians employed at the clinic will also help connect patients to primary care doctors in the NYC Health + Hospitals system for follow-up care.&nbsp;</p> <p>Redirecting non-life-threatening treatment from the emergency department will help reduce wait times for patients in need of immediate emergency care, said Alina Moran, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, in the press release.</p> <p>“We are excited to add a new health care option for the community we serve in East Harlem and upper Manhattan,” Moran said in the press release.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the fourth ExpressCare clinic in the NYC Health + Hospital system, with other locations in Elmhurst, Lincoln and Queens, according to the press release.&nbsp;</p> <p>The clinic will operate in a shared space with the Geriatric Outpatient Services until construction on the permanent location is complete in several months, said Noel Alicea, the public relations representative for NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan.</p> <p>NYC Council Member Diana Ayala, the representative for District 8, helped secure the $1.6 million for the construction of the clinic.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The new ExpressCare Clinic at Metropolitan Hospital will help ensure patients are receiving high-quality medical care promptly and close to home,” Ayala said in the press release. “I am proud to have worked with the Mayor’s Office to secure additional funding for the clinic’s future space, and in the interim, I look forward to welcoming this vital resource to the community.”</p> <p>NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, the representative for District 5, attended the opening ceremony in support of Ayala. He thinks that the clinic will alleviate the needs of the large community of seniors and families within the surrounding area.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The opening of this new ExpressCare Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan is a huge win for our community,” Kallos said in the press release. “We all get sick and need to be able to walk into a clinic and get the help we need, easily and quickly. This clinic will fulfill a need in the community making residents safer and healthier.”</p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals collaborated with OneCity Health to create the clinical model for the ExpressCare clinics. The model is designed to support Medicaid Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program goals to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25% by 2020.</p> <p>ExpressCare clinics will accept most insurance plans, but insurance is not required to receive care. Appointments are not necessary.&nbsp;</p> <p>NYC Health + Hospitals plans to expand the ExpressCare model to other public health system facilities in the coming months.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/community" hreflang="en">Community</a></div> </div> Sun, 09 Feb 2020 04:24:40 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7433 at https://benkallos.com AM New York C.B.5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee votes to support chemical pesticide ban by Chriss Williams https://benkallos.com/press-clip/am-new-york-cb5-parks-and-public-spaces-committee-votes-support-chemical-pesticide-ban <span>AM New York C.B.5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee votes to support chemical pesticide ban by Chriss Williams</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">C.B.5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee votes to support chemical pesticide ban</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Sat, 02/08/2020 - 11:17pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/am-new-york" hreflang="en">AM New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/chriss-williams" hreflang="en">Chriss Williams</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.amny.com/news/the-villager/cb5-parks-and-public-spaces-committee-votes-to-support-pesticide-ban-in-city-parks/">https://www.amny.com/news/the-villager/cb5-parks-and-public-spaces-committee-vo…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T04:17:53Z">Sat, 02/08/2020 - 23:17</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T12:00:00Z">Sun, 02/09/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera’s bill banning the use of&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3923895&amp;GUID=B4BD2300-1265-4193-8CDA-9C93D397EA57&amp;Options=ID%7cText%7c&amp;Search=chemical">chemical pesticides</a>&nbsp;in city green spaces is gathering community support.&nbsp;</p> <p>Manhattan’s Community Board 5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee, which covers a center slice of Midtown from 59th to 14th Sts., unanimously passed a resolution in favor the legislation on Monday Feb. 3.&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s a very dangerous chemical,” said spokesperson for Councilmember Rivera Jeremy Unger. “This is long overdue.” Under the bill, the Parks Department would be prohibited from using pesticides with glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup. In 2013, Parks sprayed Roundup&nbsp;<a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140811/greenwich-village/kids-most-at-risk-as-study-links-parks-dept-pesticide-cancer-experts/">1,300 times.</a>&nbsp;Since 2014 the agency has cut their use of glyphosate-based weed killers by 70 percent, a spokesperson said. When Parks does use glyphosate, it does not spray the chemical inside of playgrounds, dog runs or “when the public is in the immediate vicinity” the spokesperson added.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the meeting, Unger cited a 2015 World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) study which linked glyphosate to cancer as evidence to do away with the synthetic weed killer. But there is not a complete consensus in the scientific community on the effects of the compound on humans which some members of the community board brought up.&nbsp;</p> <p>“There is substantial debate and controversy and it’s not settled,” said committee member Tod Shapiro. He then asked Unger if the “feel good legislation” was sort of a liberal “hobby horse political thing, divorced from actual substance?”</p> <p>Two years after the WHO study, the European Commission&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/27/controversial-glyphosate-weedkiller-wins-new-five-year-lease-in-europe">reauthorized</a>&nbsp;the pesticide until 2022. And earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reiterated their 2019 stance on the chemical stating that there are “no risks of concern to human health” when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label.&nbsp; The EPA decision comes a year after high-profile case were a California couple claimed they got non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after using Roundup for years.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera’s bill banning the use of&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3923895&amp;GUID=B4BD2300-1265-4193-8CDA-9C93D397EA57&amp;Options=ID%7cText%7c&amp;Search=chemical">chemical pesticides</a>&nbsp;in city green spaces is gathering community support.&nbsp;</p> <p>Manhattan’s Community Board 5 Parks and Public Spaces Committee, which covers a center slice of Midtown from 59th to 14th Sts., unanimously passed a resolution in favor the legislation on Monday Feb. 3.&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s a very dangerous chemical,” said spokesperson for Councilmember Rivera Jeremy Unger. “This is long overdue.” Under the bill, the Parks Department would be prohibited from using pesticides with glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup. In 2013, Parks sprayed Roundup&nbsp;<a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140811/greenwich-village/kids-most-at-risk-as-study-links-parks-dept-pesticide-cancer-experts/">1,300 times.</a>&nbsp;Since 2014 the agency has cut their use of glyphosate-based weed killers by 70 percent, a spokesperson said. When Parks does use glyphosate, it does not spray the chemical inside of playgrounds, dog runs or “when the public is in the immediate vicinity” the spokesperson added.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the meeting, Unger cited a 2015 World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) study which linked glyphosate to cancer as evidence to do away with the synthetic weed killer. But there is not a complete consensus in the scientific community on the effects of the compound on humans which some members of the community board brought up.&nbsp;</p> <p>“There is substantial debate and controversy and it’s not settled,” said committee member Tod Shapiro. He then asked Unger if the “feel good legislation” was sort of a liberal “hobby horse political thing, divorced from actual substance?”</p> <p>Two years after the WHO study, the European Commission&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/27/controversial-glyphosate-weedkiller-wins-new-five-year-lease-in-europe">reauthorized</a>&nbsp;the pesticide until 2022. And earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reiterated their 2019 stance on the chemical stating that there are “no risks of concern to human health” when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label.&nbsp; The EPA decision comes a year after high-profile case were a California couple claimed they got non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after using Roundup for years.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the EPA and European Commission findings have come under question. Last year, the European parliament&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/eu-glyphosate-approval-was-based-on-plagiarised-monsanto-text-report-finds">issued a statement</a>&nbsp;saying that EU regulators based their decision to re-license the weed killer on a plagiarized report.&nbsp; There are also reports on how Monsanto, the producer Roundup before the product was purchased by Bayer,&nbsp;<a href="https://usrtk.org/pesticides/how-monsanto-manufactured-outrage-at-iarc-over-cancer-classification/">funded a study</a>&nbsp;to discredit the WHO findings.&nbsp;</p> <p>New York is not the first city to consider such legislation. Over the last few years, several other cities including Seattle, Austin, Miami and countries like Belgium have passed partial or full bans on glyphosate pesticides.&nbsp;</p> <p>Unger told C.B.5 that naturally produced pesticides have been effective in Chicago’s parks. “In some cases [natural pesticides] are more effective at controlling pests because they are often designed specifically to control one type of pest whereas Roundup is a chemical based pesticide is sort of a blanket attack on every kind of pest and living thing in an area.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/environment" hreflang="en">Environment</a></div> </div> Sun, 09 Feb 2020 04:17:53 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7432 at https://benkallos.com Gotham Gazette City's $20 Billion in Contracting Takes Another Step into Modernity by Ethan Geringer-Sameth https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gotham-gazette-citys-20-billion-contracting-takes-another-step-modernity-ethan-geringer <span>Gotham Gazette City&#039;s $20 Billion in Contracting Takes Another Step into Modernity by Ethan Geringer-Sameth</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City&#039;s $20 Billion in Contracting Takes Another Step into Modernity</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Sat, 02/08/2020 - 11:15pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gotham-gazette" hreflang="en">Gotham Gazette</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ethan-geringer-sameth" hreflang="en">Ethan Geringer-Sameth</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/9120-city-s-20-billion-in-contracting-takes-another-step-into-modernity">https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/9120-city-s-20-billion-in-contracting-takes-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T04:15:23Z">Sat, 02/08/2020 - 23:15</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T12:00:00Z">Sun, 02/09/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New York City government spends roughly $20 billion per year on goods and services through contracts with non-governmental vendors, including thousands of opportunities for companies of all types and sizes to work with the city. But the contracting process has long been arduous for vendors to navigate and difficult for watchdogs to closely monitor. Officials say that is now changing as a multi-step effort has unfolded over the past few years to modernize the technical infrastructure and databases that support city contracting.</p> <p>And on Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) in partnership with City Council Member Ben Kallos announced the launch of updated in-person and online terminals where key information about city contracts and vendors is now accessible. The announcement is part of an ongoing effort that began in 2016 to implement a new electronic system -- the Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal, or PASSPort -- that will serve as a one-stop-shop for agencies, vendors, oversight entities, and the public involved or interested in government procurement.</p> <p>The latest update corrects some of the growing pains that emerged while moving to the more modern, “end-to-end” platform intended to expand accessibility and transparency to city contracting and streamline the process for vendors and agency staff.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The in-person terminal has been in use since the late 1980s, and for most of the last 30 years has operated a system called VENDEX, which offered computerized data-tracking but lacked the integrated features of a one-stop shop for government procurement. When Kallos became chair of the Council contracts committee last year, he said his office found that in a number of areas the terminal was using legacy data from VENDEX rather than the more complete and up-to-date information contained in PASSPort. The same was true for the online portal, which was established under a 2017 law sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander and launched as part of the second phase of the PASSPort rollout, which formally began in April 2019.</p> <p>“Almost everything now is going to be in PASSPort,” Kallos said. “So we found a little bit of a conflict. What previously might have happened is that you would have read it in the newspaper but we have a really great working relationship...so we’ve been working with [MOCS] trying to get this done.”</p> <p>Now available through PASSPort are a broad range of reporting from basic identifying information about vendors and their principals to performance evaluations on vendors that do business with the city. Of particular interest to reporters and ethics watchdogs, according to Kallos, is the Current Related Entities Report, which shows entities that control or are affiliated with a vendor, an important tool for tracking potential conflicts of interest.</p> <p>Moving the system online has “made doing business with the city a lot easier,” said Jennifer Geiling, MOCS’ press secretary.</p> <p>Previously, a vendor would have to fill out a paper questionnaire and deliver it to the MOCS offices where a staff member would have to key their information into the database. “Here we made the terminal for vendors to interact with completely online, they are submitting their disclosures online in their own locations, so it’s an online platform,” Symon explained.</p> <p>“It used to take somewhere around 30 days median time for an average size organization to go through the VENDEX process, but today it takes less than a day, because it’s now gone online, it’s digital, it’s available at all times for vendors to update,” noted Geiling.</p> <p>Kallos and Symon believe moving to a more modern system will have a big impact on vendors competing for city contracts, especially smaller businesses that may have fewer resources to facilitate navigating the procurement process.</p> <p>“The people who do business are keenly aware because they have something at stake. We have 18,000 vendors who are going to be taking advantage of this. Those 18,000 vendors have tens if not hundreds of thousands, or millions of employees, altogether. So I think they will be paying attention,” said Kallos.</p> <p>“One of the goals that we have with PASSPort generally is greater transparency, which allows greater accessibility,” Geiling added.</p> <p>***</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/good-government" hreflang="en">Good Government</a></div> </div> Sun, 09 Feb 2020 04:15:22 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7431 at https://benkallos.com The Verge New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles by Justine Calma https://benkallos.com/press-clip/verge-new-york-city-cracking-down-plastic-bottles-justine-calma <span>The Verge New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles by Justine Calma</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Sat, 02/08/2020 - 11:12pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/verge" hreflang="en">The Verge</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/justine-calma" hreflang="en">Justine Calma</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/7/21127981/new-york-city-single-use-plastic-bottle-ban">https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/7/21127981/new-york-city-single-use-plastic-bot…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T04:12:05Z">Sat, 02/08/2020 - 23:12</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-09T12:00:00Z">Sun, 02/09/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order to eliminate plastic bottles from city agencies and properties</p> <p><img alt="USA - Technology - Wired NextFest" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/v9vhBPwejOr8F1ycRs65i8o7dKA=/0x0:3008x1960/1200x800/filters:focal(1264x740:1744x1220)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/66273634/595269544.jpg.0.jpg" /><cite>Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images</cite></p> <p>New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2020/eo-54.pdf">executive order</a>&nbsp;yesterday banning the sale of single-use plastic beverage bottles on city-owned and -leased properties — which means the bottles could vanish from an area nearly equivalent to a quarter of the city. The move also bars city agencies from purchasing or selling beverages packaged in single-use plastic containers.</p> <p>The move would eliminate at least 1 million single-use plastic beverage bottles that the city buys each year, according to the executive order. It could also have wider-ranging effects since the city owns or leases over&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/about/publications/colp.page">17,000 properties</a>&nbsp;spread over an area about twice the size of Manhattan (roughly&nbsp;<a href="https://ny.curbed.com/2016/11/29/13778844/nyc-owned-land-unused-municipal-arts-society">43,000 acres</a>). That includes city parks — and, by extension, The Trump Organization’s two skating rinks in Central Park and golf course in Ferry Point Park in the Bronx.</p> <p>“TAKE THAT TRUMP”</p> <p>“Take that Trump,” city councilman Ben Kallos tells&nbsp;<em>The Verge</em>. Kallos introduced&nbsp;<a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/statement-support-nyc-plastic-bottle-ban-and-call-pass-law">two bills</a>&nbsp;in 2018 that would stop the city from selling single-use plastic bottles on city property. He’s still pushing for the city council to pass legislation to codify the ban into law, in case another mayor down the line tries to undo de Blasio’s executive order.</p> <p>“We can change what normal is and get to a more sustainable future,” Kallos says. “We don’t have a choice because there is a climate emergency and we can show Trump the right way to do it.”</p> <p>In 2017, Donald Trump&nbsp;<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/18/544456726/trump-administration-reverses-bottled-water-ban-in-national-parks">ended restrictions</a>&nbsp;on bottled water sales in US National Parks that had been in place since 2011. He’s also rolled back&nbsp;<a href="https://climate.law.columbia.edu/climate-deregulation-tracker">dozens</a>&nbsp;of environmental protections since taking office.&nbsp;<em>The Verge</em>&nbsp;reached out to The Trump Organization’s golf course and ice rinks in Manhattan and did not receive a response by time of publication.</p> <p>The new ban in New York City would go into effect by January 1st, 2021. It applies to bottles 21 fluid ounces or less, and some exceptions would be made “where reusable options are infeasible,” according to the executive order. It’s also important to note that New York City tap water is considered&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/greenyc/take-action/drink-tap-water.page">safe to drink</a>, which makes the transition to reusable containers more feasible than in places like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/5/18250801/lead-contamination-flint-michigan-water-testing">Flint</a>, Michigan, where tap water has made residents sick.</p> <p>PLASTIC POLLUTION IS COVERING THE PLANET</p> <p>New York City would likely become the first municipality to limit plastic bottle sales for not just water, but all beverages. San Francisco decided in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/ordinances14/o0028-14.pdf">2014</a>&nbsp;to stop selling bottled water on city property and expanded that policy to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/plastic-water-bottle-airport-ban-san-francisco-sfo-2019-8">San Francisco International Airport</a>&nbsp;last year. Concord, Massachusetts, passed a city ordinance in&nbsp;<a href="https://concordma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4240/Water-Bottle-Bylaw-PDF">2012</a>&nbsp;ending the sale of bottled water anywhere in the town.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ0zCdUpa7w&amp;t=3s">Plastic pollution</a>&nbsp;is covering the planet, making its way into the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r49fl59mFtU&amp;t=15s">bellies of sea life</a>&nbsp;and exacerbating the climate crisis because it’s made with fossil fuels.&nbsp;<a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782">Less than 10 percent</a>&nbsp;of all plastics that have been thrown away have actually been recycled.</p> <p>“They are hurting the earth,” de Blasio said as he signed the executive order yesterday. “We don’t need them. Time to get rid of them.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New York City is cracking down on plastic bottles</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order to eliminate plastic bottles from city agencies and properties</p> <p><img alt="USA - Technology - Wired NextFest" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/v9vhBPwejOr8F1ycRs65i8o7dKA=/0x0:3008x1960/1200x800/filters:focal(1264x740:1744x1220)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/66273634/595269544.jpg.0.jpg" /><cite>Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images</cite></p> <p>New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/executive-orders/2020/eo-54.pdf">executive order</a>&nbsp;yesterday banning the sale of single-use plastic beverage bottles on city-owned and -leased properties — which means the bottles could vanish from an area nearly equivalent to a quarter of the city. The move also bars city agencies from purchasing or selling beverages packaged in single-use plastic containers.</p> <p>The move would eliminate at least 1 million single-use plastic beverage bottles that the city buys each year, according to the executive order. It could also have wider-ranging effects since the city owns or leases over&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/about/publications/colp.page">17,000 properties</a>&nbsp;spread over an area about twice the size of Manhattan (roughly&nbsp;<a href="https://ny.curbed.com/2016/11/29/13778844/nyc-owned-land-unused-municipal-arts-society">43,000 acres</a>). That includes city parks — and, by extension, The Trump Organization’s two skating rinks in Central Park and golf course in Ferry Point Park in the Bronx.</p> <p>“TAKE THAT TRUMP”</p> <p>“Take that Trump,” city councilman Ben Kallos tells&nbsp;<em>The Verge</em>. Kallos introduced&nbsp;<a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/statement-support-nyc-plastic-bottle-ban-and-call-pass-law">two bills</a>&nbsp;in 2018 that would stop the city from selling single-use plastic bottles on city property. He’s still pushing for the city council to pass legislation to codify the ban into law, in case another mayor down the line tries to undo de Blasio’s executive order.</p> <p>“We can change what normal is and get to a more sustainable future,” Kallos says. “We don’t have a choice because there is a climate emergency and we can show Trump the right way to do it.”</p> <p>In 2017, Donald Trump&nbsp;<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/18/544456726/trump-administration-reverses-bottled-water-ban-in-national-parks">ended restrictions</a>&nbsp;on bottled water sales in US National Parks that had been in place since 2011. He’s also rolled back&nbsp;<a href="https://climate.law.columbia.edu/climate-deregulation-tracker">dozens</a>&nbsp;of environmental protections since taking office.&nbsp;<em>The Verge</em>&nbsp;reached out to The Trump Organization’s golf course and ice rinks in Manhattan and did not receive a response by time of publication.</p> <p>The new ban in New York City would go into effect by January 1st, 2021. It applies to bottles 21 fluid ounces or less, and some exceptions would be made “where reusable options are infeasible,” according to the executive order. It’s also important to note that New York City tap water is considered&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/greenyc/take-action/drink-tap-water.page">safe to drink</a>, which makes the transition to reusable containers more feasible than in places like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/5/18250801/lead-contamination-flint-michigan-water-testing">Flint</a>, Michigan, where tap water has made residents sick.</p> <p>PLASTIC POLLUTION IS COVERING THE PLANET</p> <p>New York City would likely become the first municipality to limit plastic bottle sales for not just water, but all beverages. San Francisco decided in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/ordinances14/o0028-14.pdf">2014</a>&nbsp;to stop selling bottled water on city property and expanded that policy to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/plastic-water-bottle-airport-ban-san-francisco-sfo-2019-8">San Francisco International Airport</a>&nbsp;last year. Concord, Massachusetts, passed a city ordinance in&nbsp;<a href="https://concordma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4240/Water-Bottle-Bylaw-PDF">2012</a>&nbsp;ending the sale of bottled water anywhere in the town.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ0zCdUpa7w&amp;t=3s">Plastic pollution</a>&nbsp;is covering the planet, making its way into the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r49fl59mFtU&amp;t=15s">bellies of sea life</a>&nbsp;and exacerbating the climate crisis because it’s made with fossil fuels.&nbsp;<a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782">Less than 10 percent</a>&nbsp;of all plastics that have been thrown away have actually been recycled.</p> <p>“They are hurting the earth,” de Blasio said as he signed the executive order yesterday. “We don’t need them. Time to get rid of them.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/environment" hreflang="en">Environment</a></div> </div> Sun, 09 Feb 2020 04:12:05 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7430 at https://benkallos.com City Biz List Ben Kallos Joins ProHEALTH Care at Ribbon Cutting to Open the First Pediatric Urgent Care in Manhattan by Press Staff https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-biz-list-ben-kallos-joins-prohealth-care-ribbon-cutting-open-first-pediatric-urgent <span>City Biz List Ben Kallos Joins ProHEALTH Care at Ribbon Cutting to Open the First Pediatric Urgent Care in Manhattan by Press Staff</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Ben Kallos Joins ProHEALTH Care at Ribbon Cutting to Open the First Pediatric Urgent Care in Manhattan</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/04/2020 - 4:10pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city-biz-list" hreflang="en">City Biz List</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/press-staff" hreflang="en">Press Staff</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://newyork.citybizlist.com/article/594467/ben-kallos-joins-prohealth-care-at-ribbon-cutting-to-open-the-first-pediatric-urgent-care-in-manhattan">https://newyork.citybizlist.com/article/594467/ben-kallos-joins-prohealth-care-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-04T21:10:23Z">Tue, 02/04/2020 - 16:10</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-31T12:00:00Z">Fri, 01/31/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prohealthcare.com%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cjlamantia%40crainsnewyork.com%7C7e877ea79209420ae27608d795326ce5%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637141916118203979&amp;sdata=C%2BdLy99tdW9JPO8kjlYy7PRO6gKfdkV8tQ5%2FHd4kqck%3D&amp;reserved=0">ProHEALTH Care</a>, the largest independent, physician-run health system in the nation, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the first pediatric-only urgent care in Manhattan. Council Member<span>&nbsp;</span><strong>Ben Kallos</strong><span>&nbsp;</span>joined<span>&nbsp;</span><strong>Zeyad Baker, M.D.,<span>&nbsp;</span></strong>president &amp; CEO of ProHEALTH Care, to cut the ribbon, along with Dr. Baker’s two children to welcome the new pediatric urgent care to the community. In addition, ProHEALTH Care will host a special community day on Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., featuring free vision and hearing screenings, giveaways, and activities for kids. As part of Optum, the ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care represents Optum’s first clinical entrance into Manhattan.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prohealthcare.com%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cjlamantia%40crainsnewyork.com%7C7e877ea79209420ae27608d795326ce5%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637141916118203979&amp;sdata=C%2BdLy99tdW9JPO8kjlYy7PRO6gKfdkV8tQ5%2FHd4kqck%3D&amp;reserved=0" rel="nofollow">ProHEALTH Care</a>, the largest independent, physician-run health system in the nation, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the first pediatric-only urgent care in Manhattan. Council Member<span> </span><strong>Ben Kallos</strong><span> </span>joined<span> </span><strong>Zeyad Baker, M.D.,<span> </span></strong>president &amp; CEO of ProHEALTH Care, to cut the ribbon, along with Dr. Baker’s two children to welcome the new pediatric urgent care to the community. In addition, ProHEALTH Care will host a special community day on Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., featuring free vision and hearing screenings, giveaways, and activities for kids. As part of Optum, the ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care represents Optum’s first clinical entrance into Manhattan.</p> <p>The new ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care focuses exclusively on the care of children – from newborns to 18 years old - by a team of board-certified pediatricians. Conveniently located on the Upper East Side at 1601 Third Ave, New York, NY, the ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care is open from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year, offering the longest hours to see a pediatrician in Manhattan. In addition to urgent care, the ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care will provide camp, sports and school physicals, rapid test results, and onsite x-rays. The urgent care will provide complimentary transportation for patients needing follow-up care.</p> <p>“Kids get sick at all hours of the day and parents want access to a pediatrician who understands the medical needs of a younger patient,” says Zeyad Baker, M.D., president and CEO, ProHEALTH Care. “Most urgent cares don’t have a pediatrician on staff and waiting for a physician’s office to open or visiting an emergency room should not be the only options for patients to get pediatric care. In changing the model of care delivery and offering more specialized care centers, we can improve the quality of care to help people get better faster and return to their lives.”</p> <p>In addition to the increase of extended hours and staff of pediatricians, the new ProHEALTH Care Pediatric Urgent Care improves access to care several ways. There is little to no wait time and patients have easy access through online booking and a fast kiosk sign-in. As the only urgent care network that is part of an integrated health system, the ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care physicians can easily connect to over 1,000 providers should a patient need a specialist or a follow up visit- with most follow up appointments made within 24 hours. This critical continuum of care ensures families are given care that considers holistically their overall medical needs- not just those addressed in one visit.</p> <p>The new ProHEALTH Pediatric Urgent Care reflects the health system’s commitment to making healthcare more accessible and improving the patient experience. ProHEALTH Care is reinventing care delivery and has emphasized specialized care. In December 2019, ProHEALTH Care opened the Center for Neck and Back Pain to provide same-day services, which allow patients to be triaged, evaluated, diagnosed, and in most cases, receive treatment, all in one day. The new Urgent Care focused only on pediatric patients continues the organization’s promise to explore and implement new solutions to improve care, make it more accessible, and lower costs.</p> <p>ProHEALTH Care offers a full range of healthcare services including Urgent, Primary, and Specialty Care, and Ancillary Services including ambulatory surgery, radiology services and more.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/health" hreflang="en">Health</a></div> </div> Tue, 04 Feb 2020 21:10:23 +0000 Abby Damsky 7422 at https://benkallos.com Habitat Buildings Owners Ignore $31 Million in Fines Over Unsafe Facades by Press Staff https://benkallos.com/press-clip/habitat-buildings-owners-ignore-31-million-fines-over-unsafe-facades-press-staff <span>Habitat Buildings Owners Ignore $31 Million in Fines Over Unsafe Facades by Press Staff</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Buildings Owners Ignore $31 Million in Fines Over Unsafe Facades</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/04/2020 - 3:54pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/habitat" hreflang="en">Habitat</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/press-staff" hreflang="en">Press Staff</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Building-Operations/2020/February-2020/Buildings-Owners-Ignore-31-Million-in-Fines-Over-Unsafe-Facades">https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Building-Operations/2020/Februar…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-04T20:54:14Z">Tue, 02/04/2020 - 15:54</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-02-03T12:00:00Z">Mon, 02/03/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Just days after the city’s&nbsp;Department of Buildings&nbsp;(DOB) issued stricter rules and stiffer fines for&nbsp;facade inspections, the New York&nbsp;Times&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/nyregion/nyc-scaffolding-building-facades.html" onclick="ga( 'send', 'event', { eventCategory: 'Outgoing', eventAction: 'External Click', eventLabel: 'https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/nyregion/nyc-scaffolding-building-facades.html' });" target="_self">reports</a>&nbsp;that there are about&nbsp;1,400 sidewalk sheds&nbsp;outside city buildings where facades present a serious safety threat. Over the past decade, according to an analysis by the&nbsp;Times, building owners have ignored more than&nbsp;$31 million in fines&nbsp;over unsafe facades. During that period, more than&nbsp;6,000 buildings&nbsp;higher than six floors did not inspect their facades or failed to file their findings, as required by law.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Just days after the city’s&nbsp;Department of Buildings&nbsp;(DOB) issued stricter rules and stiffer fines for&nbsp;facade inspections, the New York&nbsp;Times&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/nyregion/nyc-scaffolding-building-facades.html" onclick="ga( 'send', 'event', { eventCategory: 'Outgoing', eventAction: 'External Click', eventLabel: 'https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/nyregion/nyc-scaffolding-building-facades.html' });" target="_self">reports</a>&nbsp;that there are about&nbsp;1,400 sidewalk sheds&nbsp;outside city buildings where facades present a serious safety threat. Over the past decade, according to an analysis by the&nbsp;Times, building owners have ignored more than&nbsp;$31 million in fines&nbsp;over unsafe facades. During that period, more than&nbsp;6,000 buildings&nbsp;higher than six floors did not inspect their facades or failed to file their findings, as required by law.&nbsp;</p> <p>One particularly notorious case in the&nbsp;Bronx&nbsp;dates back to&nbsp;2001, when inspectors ordered a day care to close because the building’s facade was crumbling. Since then, the building’s owner has ignored at least&nbsp;19 violations, failed to pay&nbsp;$49,000 in fines, and has not shown up for&nbsp;seven hearings&nbsp;on the dangerous conditions. Yet the city has been unable to force the owner to make any repairs. Instead, a 150-foot stretch of scaffolding that envelops the front of the building was put up in&nbsp;2011&nbsp;to protect pedestrians – and remains there today.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now the DOB plans to press criminal charges against owners of all buildings with sheds older than&nbsp;three years, a list that includes about&nbsp;570 properties, according to two people familiar with the agency’s actions. The agency is doubling the size of its facade inspection team to 22 members.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the days after&nbsp;Erica Tishman&nbsp;was killed by falling terra cotta near Times Square, the DOB conducted surprise inspections of roughly&nbsp;1,330 buildings&nbsp;previously deemed unsafe and found that&nbsp;220&nbsp;of them had no pedestrian protections.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The building commissioner is not messing around,” says&nbsp;Ben Kallos, a city councilman who has urged the department to do far more to take on negligent building owners. “Regardless of who owns the building, they have to keep it safe – and the city should be helping out.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Tue, 04 Feb 2020 20:54:14 +0000 Abby Damsky 7421 at https://benkallos.com Real Estate Weekly New push to put drones in NYC airspace by Sabina Mollot https://benkallos.com/press-clip/real-estate-weekly-new-push-put-drones-nyc-airspace-sabina-mollot <span>Real Estate Weekly New push to put drones in NYC airspace by Sabina Mollot</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New push to put drones in NYC airspace</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/30/2020 - 1:11pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/real-estate-weekly-0" hreflang="en">Real Estate Weekly</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/sabina-mollot" hreflang="en">Sabina Mollot</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://rew-online.com/2020/01/new-push-to-put-drones-in-nyc-airspace/">https://rew-online.com/2020/01/new-push-to-put-drones-in-nyc-airspace/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T18:11:38Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 13:11</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Two city council members want high-tech drones to inspect New Yorkʼs famous streets in the latest move to keep its citizens safe.</p> <p>At a Housing and Buildings hearing in City Hall on Monday, council members Robert Cornegy and Ben Kallos sponsored a bill to conduct a study into the use of drones, saying they could offer a more precise and less expensive way to inspect facades.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><div> <p>Two city council members want high-tech drones to inspect New Yorkʼs famous streets in the latest move to keep its citizens safe.</p> <p>At a Housing and Buildings hearing in City Hall on Monday, council members Robert Cornegy and Ben Kallos sponsored a bill to conduct a study into the use of drones, saying they could offer a more precise and less expensive way to inspect facades.</p> <p>Drones with more accurate readings could also lead to a reduction of the estimated 330 miles of scaffolding currently circling the city, according to the councillors.</p> <p>According to Kallos, “If laid out side to side, city scaffolding would stretch from Central Park to the Canadian border. The average age of a sidewalk shed is 308 days. One is old enough to have its bar mitzvah, which is 13, and some are old enough to vote.”</p> <div> <figure><img alt="" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" src="https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-600x450.jpg" srcset="https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-600x450.jpg 600w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-768x576.jpg 768w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-1024x768.jpg 1024w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-760x570.jpg 760w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-960x720.jpg 960w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-533x400.jpg 533w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Kallos-Cornegy-585x439.jpg 585w" /> <figcaption>Council members Ben Kallos and Robert Cornegy on the steps of City Hall</figcaption> </figure> </div> <p>According to DOB data, there are currently 9,050 scaffoldings in the city, with 88 percent up for less than a year.</p> <p>Cornegy claimed some building owners use scaffoldings to delay or avoid doing the repair work the rigs were intended to protect pedestrians from, even if that means they have to pay fines.</p> <p>At the same time, Cornegy said he didn’t want to increase fines related to the misuse of scaffoldings, because he is concerned it could end up negatively impacting building owners who are not bad actors.</p> <p>Kallos criticized how some building inspections are currently conducted using binoculars, telescopes and even inspectors rappelling from buildings. “We have a lot of new technology that can do a much better job than Galileo could do with a telescope,” he said.</p> <p>At a hearing, drone industry professionals agreed New York is lagging behind other cities in the use of technology.</p> <p>The FDNY and NYPD already use drones, said Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs for drone manufacturer DJI, who suggested the Parks Department could use the devices to look for rotting tree branches, while NYCHA could use them to look for damaged rooftops.</p> <p>Schulman said drones can be outfitted with identifying information about who’s operating them, similar to a license plate, which could help alleviate inevitable concerns about privacy.</p> <p>Schulman also said anyone who has ideas about using a drone to spy on people in buildings shouldn’t bother, because while they’re good at inspecting facades, they’re not good at seeing through glass or mirrored surfaces.</p> <p>Under current law, flying drones is not permitted within the city, and the bill sponsored by Kallos and Cornegy, who chairs the City Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, would only authorize a study on the safety and feasibility of drones for building façade inspections.</p> <p>“When people are walking down a street, they have a reasonable assumption that they’ll be safe from danger,” said Cornegy.</p> <p>He also said he wasn’t looking to use drones as a replacement for more hands-on inspections done by human façade experts, but thought that using both could make inspections more efficient.</p> <div> <figure><img alt="" sizes="(max-width: 220px) 100vw, 220px" src="https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Schulman-holding-drone-e1580249204609-768x1024.jpg" srcset="https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Schulman-holding-drone-e1580249204609-768x1024.jpg 768w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Schulman-holding-drone-e1580249204609-450x600.jpg 450w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Schulman-holding-drone-e1580249204609-960x1280.jpg 960w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Schulman-holding-drone-e1580249204609-300x400.jpg 300w, https://rew-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Jan29-Drones-Schulman-holding-drone-e1580249204609-585x780.jpg 585w" /> <figcaption>Brendan Schulman</figcaption> </figure> </div> <p>Adam Lisberg, a spokesperson for DJI, said modern professional drones can cost upto $15,000.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Commissioner of the Department of Buildings, Melanie La Rocca, said at the hearing that she was open to any study of the technology if it furthers the department’s mission of making pedestrians safer.</p> <p>Beginning February 20, she said her department is increasing penalties against landlords who don’t complete the projects the scaffoldings are put up for, and then promptly remove them.</p> <p>Failure to correct an unsafe condition will remain an $1,000 per month violation, but starting in year two, there would be additional monthly penalties for every linear foot of scaffolding at a building.</p> <p>These fines would start at $10 per linear foot in year two and increase by $10 per linear foot per month each year. In year three, it would become $1,000 per month plus $20 per linear foot of scaffolding and in year four, $1,000 plus $30 per linear foot of scaffolding.</p> <p>Under Local Law 11, buildings six stories or higher must undergo façade inspections every five years. A prior version of the current law was enacted after a woman was fatally struck by falling terracotta from an Upper Manhattan building in 1980.</p> <p>More recently, architect Erica Tishman was killed by falling brick as she walked by a midtown Manhattan building in December. Earlier this month, Xiang Li was hit by a stray brick as she walked down a street in Flushing, Queens.</p> </div> </div> Thu, 30 Jan 2020 18:11:38 +0000 Abby Damsky 7411 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch Use Of Toxic Pesticide In Harlem Is Environmental Racism: Study by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-use-toxic-pesticide-harlem-environmental-racism-study-brendan <span>Upper East Side Patch Use Of Toxic Pesticide In Harlem Is Environmental Racism: Study by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Use Of Toxic Pesticide In Harlem Is Environmental Racism: Study</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:52pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-parks-sprayed-roundup-top-rate-manhattan-study">https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/harlem-parks-sprayed-roundup-top-rate-manhatt…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T17:52:22Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:52</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-29T12:00:00Z">Wed, 01/29/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>HARLEM, NY — Parks in Harlem were sprayed with the dangerous pesticide Roundup, which contains the potentially carcinogenic chemical glyphosate, much more often than parks in other Manhattan neighborhoods, according to a study released Wednesday.</p> <p>Of the 50 Manhattan parks and playgrounds sprayed with the Monsanto-produced pesticide in 2018 only eight were located outside the Harlem neighborhood, according to records acquired by The Black Institute. The group released its study titled "Poison Parks" on Wednesday in support of a City Council bill to&nbsp;<a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/ues-councilman-proposes-pesticide-ban-city-parks" target="_blank">ban the use of toxic pesticides</a>&nbsp;and herbicides in city parks.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>HARLEM, NY — Parks in Harlem were sprayed with the dangerous pesticide Roundup, which contains the potentially carcinogenic chemical glyphosate, much more often than parks in other Manhattan neighborhoods, according to a study released Wednesday.</p> <p>Of the 50 Manhattan parks and playgrounds sprayed with the Monsanto-produced pesticide in 2018 only eight were located outside the Harlem neighborhood, according to records acquired by The Black Institute. The group released its study titled "Poison Parks" on Wednesday in support of a City Council bill to&nbsp;<a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/ues-councilman-proposes-pesticide-ban-city-parks" target="_blank">ban the use of toxic pesticides</a>&nbsp;and herbicides in city parks.</p> <p>"Millions of New Yorkers rely on our public parks. Children, seniors, working people, immigrants, and their pets use them every day, but most don't know the weed killer Roundup used in our parks is literally poisoning them. As our report shows, the neighborhoods affected are black and brown communities," Bertha Lewis, President of The Black Institute, said in a statement.</p> <p>City Parks Department officials disputed the data used in The Black Institute's report, saying that the department's use of glyphosate has been declining since 2014. The parks department said that out of the 33 parks sprayed in Manhattan in 2018 only 11 were located in Harlem. Out of the 63 Manhattan parks sprayed in 2017, only 18 were in Harlem, parks officials said.</p> <p>"We are committed to the health and safety of our workers and all New Yorkers. Since 2014, we have decreased use of this pesticide by nearly 70 percent and do not apply pesticides inside playgrounds or dog runs, or when the public is nearby. We continue to explore innovative options for pest control," a city Parks Department spokesperson said in a statement.</p> <p>At the heart of The Black Institute's report is the concept of environmental racism — that communities of color are forced to "bear the brunt of poor environmental policy" and endure the harmful effects of toxic chemicals such as glyphosate at a much higher rate than white communities.</p> <p>The New York City parks that were sprayed most often with glyphosate are located in black and brown communities, according to the study. Records obtained by the Black Institute showed that the normal glyphosate concentrations in city parks for 2017 and 2018 ranged between .5% and 3%, but parks used most often by people of color such as Queens' Idlewild Park had a concentration as high as 50%. Parks officials said that the department does not spray glyphosate at a higher concentration than 5%.</p> <p>The Black Institute's report calls on New York City to immediately cease the use of toxic pesticides, to institute regulations to only use products registered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency with ingredients approved by the National Organics Standards Board and to create an official pest control measure that is subject to public monitoring and record-keeping.</p> <p>City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Carlina Rivera, who sponsor the bill seeking to ban the use of toxic pesticides in city parks, held a rally Thursday in support of the legislation. Despite the known dangers of glyphosate, city agencies sprayed the pesticide on 1,365 occasions in 2013, which accounted for half of the city's pesticide usage that year, according to city Department of Health studies.</p> <p>The legislation would force city agencies to switch from synthetic pesticides to biological pesticides made from naturally occurring chemicals. These natural pesticides are generally accepted as less toxic and break down more rapidly, the bill's sponsors said. In addition to banning pesticides in city parks, the bill would also prohibit spraying pesticides within 75 feet of a body of water.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1494" hreflang="en">Parks</a></div> </div> Thu, 30 Jan 2020 17:52:22 +0000 Abby Damsky 7410 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch City To Install 152 Scaffolds In Crackdown After Woman's Death by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-city-install-152-scaffolds-crackdown-after-womans-death-brendan <span>Upper East Side Patch City To Install 152 Scaffolds In Crackdown After Woman&#039;s Death by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City To Install 152 Scaffolds In Crackdown After Woman&#039;s Death</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:39pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/midtown-nyc/city-install-152-scaffolds-crackdown-after-womans-death">https://patch.com/new-york/midtown-nyc/city-install-152-scaffolds-crackdown-aft…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T17:39:25Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:39</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Merriweather, Georgia, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — A vast majority of New York City building owners cited with violations for unsafe facades in a crackdown following the Dec. 17 death of Erica Tischman ignored the city's demands to put up scaffolding, Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said during a Monday City Council hearing.</span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — A vast majority of New York City building owners cited with violations for unsafe facades in a crackdown following the Dec. 17 death of Erica Tischman ignored the city's demands to put up scaffolding, Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said during a Monday City Council hearing.</p> <p>The city issued violations at 220 buildings for lacking proper pedestrian protection after inspecting more than 1,330 building facades in December. Of those buildings, only 68 have complied with city demands to install scaffolding, La Rocca said.</p> <p>Contractors will be hired to install scaffolding at the remaining 152 buildings at the expense of the property owners, La Rocca said during Monday's committee on housing and buildings hearing.</p> <p>"These actions will hold owners accountable for both maintaining their facades and keeping pedestrians safe," La Rocca said.</p> <p>The city Department of Buildings announced the results of its<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/midtown-nyc/scaffold-crackdown-coming-following-architects-death-city-says">facade inspection sweep</a><span>&nbsp;</span>in late December, warning that building owners would be charged for any contracting work done by the city to erect the emergency scaffolds. In the 30 hours following the Dec. 17 death of Erica Tischman, DOB investigators inspected every building listed as "unsafe" in the city's Façade Inspection &amp; Safety Program, city officials said.</p> <p><span><a href="https://patch.com/">Subscribe</a></span></p> <p>Tischman, a 60-year-old architect who lived on the Upper East Side, was hit and killed by a piece of falling debris while walking on West 49th Street and Seventh Avenue. Tishman was hit by the crumbling facade of the 17-story building at 729 Seventh Ave., Department of Building records show. The property had been issued a violation for an unsafe facade in April and again in July when owners took no action, La Rocca said Monday.</p> <p>"No pedestrian should be in danger from dangerous facade conditions," La Rocca said. "I would like to remind owners that they are responsible for maintaining their buildings in a safe condition which could prevent incidences like these from occurring in the future."</p> <p>A spokesman for the company that owns 729 Seventh Avenue, real estate firm Himmel + Meringoff Properties, said in a statement that the violations issues against the building were downgraded in court.</p> <p>"The initial hearing on the April violation, which was scheduled for June 20, 2019, was adjourned at the request of the court because of its heavy caseload that day. The new date, September 12, was set by the court. At the September hearing, the judge reviewed the evidence and downgraded the violation, determining that the building's facade did not require immediate repairs," the company spokesman said in a satement.</p> <p>The committee on housing and buildings met on Monday to discuss proposed legislation that would allow the city Department of Buildings to<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/midtown-nyc/pols-want-drones-inspect-facades-wake-architects-death">use drones to inspect building facades</a>. City Councilman Ben Kallos, a sponsor of the bill and member of the committee, said Monday that facade inspectors are currently forced to use binoculars, telescopes and other low-tech methods of inspection that could be replaced by drones.</p> <p>Drone flights are illegal under current city regulations due to decades-old laws regulating the use of aircraft within the city.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Thu, 30 Jan 2020 17:39:24 +0000 Abby Damsky 7409 at https://benkallos.com New York Times Facades on 1,400 Buildings in New York Are a Threat to Pedestrians by Mattew Haag https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-times-facades-1400-buildings-new-york-are-threat-pedestrians-mattew-haag <span>New York Times Facades on 1,400 Buildings in New York Are a Threat to Pedestrians by Mattew Haag</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Facades on 1,400 Buildings in New York Are a Threat to Pedestrians</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/30/2020 - 11:12am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-times" hreflang="en">New York Times</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/mattew-haag" hreflang="en">Mattew Haag</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/nyregion/nyc-scaffolding-building-facades.html">https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/nyregion/nyc-scaffolding-building-facades.ht…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T16:12:55Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 11:12</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The warning from the New York City building inspector was blunt. The facade of the apartment building in the Bronx was crumbling and a corner was separating. The playground outside a day care center in the building had to close immediately.<br /> <br /> That was in 2001. Nineteen years later there is still a three-foot gap in the brick facade and the playground, for the center’s 50 children between 2 and 4 years old, is still off limits.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The warning from the New York City building inspector was blunt. The facade of the apartment building in the Bronx was crumbling and a corner was separating. The playground outside a day care center in the building had to close immediately.<br /> <br /> That was in 2001. Nineteen years later there is still a three-foot gap in the brick facade and the playground, for the center’s 50 children between 2 and 4 years old, is still off limits.<br /> <br /> The building’s owner has ignored at least 19 violations, failed to pay $49,000 in fines and has not shown up for seven hearings on the dangerous conditions.<br /> <br /> Yet the city has been unable to force the owner to make any repairs.<br /> <br /> Instead, a 150-foot stretch of scaffolding that envelops the front of the building was put up in 2011 to protect pedestrians — and remains there today.<br /> <br /> Across the city, about 1,400 buildings are wrapped in wood-and-steel sidewalk sheds not for construction, but because their facades are a serious safety threat. The sites have major structural problems, including corroded masonry and fractured terra cotta, which could come loose and hurt or kill people on the ground.<br /> <br /> Many line the city’s most heavily trafficked sidewalks, from luxury condo towers near Central Park to office buildings in Midtown Manhattan.<br /> <br /> Unlock more free articles.<br /> Create an account or log in<br /> Others are miles from Manhattan, tucked on impoverished and overlooked streets.<br /> <br /> “Nobody pays attention. Nobody does anything about it,” said Alexander Perez, who lives next to the Bronx day care and whose two daughters attended the center, a half-mile from Yankee Stadium.<br /> <br /> ‘We Had Already Missed the Stop He Mentioned, but I Said Nothing.’<br /> <br /> Scaffolding in New York often stays up for years without any repairs being done.<br /> <br /> Despite rigorous city building laws and a string of high-profile accidents, including the death of a woman killed by falling terra cotta in December, an examination by The New York Times found that building owners routinely flout rules and enforcement actions with no repercussions.<br /> <br /> Over the past decade, landlords have ignored more than $31 million in fines over unsafe facades, according to an analysis by The Times. Repairs at buildings have been slow-walked or not started at all. During that period, more than 6,000 buildings higher than six floors did not inspect their facades or failed to file their findings, as required by law.<br /> <br /> One building, the Esplanade Manhattan, reported to the city in 2011 that its facade was safe, even though the site was never inspected. Four years later a 2-year-old girl was killed by falling terra cotta from the building.<br /> <br /> Critics call the fines too small and say the city does not aggressively deploy the tools it has to impose financial consequences, such as threatening a landlord’s credit.<br /> <br /> The city’s building inspectors charged with enforcing the rules can impose fines of $1,000 a year for missing facade inspections and $1,000 for each month that an unsafe building goes unrepaired.<br /> <br /> The most powerful tools in their arsenal, such as emergency orders to vacate, are applied only in extreme cases.<br /> <br /> City officials acknowledged the shortcomings but said they were moving rapidly to beef up the fines, punish negligent landlords, including charging them criminally in court and adding more facade inspectors.<br /> <br /> “We’re taking aggressive action,” Melanie E. La Rocca, the buildings commissioner, said, “so that these owners make the needed repairs to their buildings, so that these sheds can be taken down.”<br /> <br /> Some building owners have not even taken the basic step of putting up sidewalk sheds or netting, leading to deadly consequences.<br /> <br /> In April, city inspectors told the owner of 729 Seventh Avenue, a 17-story building just north of Times Square, that terra cotta pieces were missing from its facade and ordered the owner, Himmel + Meringoff Properties, to pay a $1,250 fine and put up a sidewalk shed.<br /> <br /> It didn’t and eight months later, Erica L. Tishman, 60, an architect, was killed when she was hit by a falling piece.<br /> <br /> A sidewalk shed was installed hours after Ms. Tishman died, and the company plans to remove all of the decorative terra cotta. A spokesman for Himmel + Meringoff said repairs were not made earlier because the severity of the April violation had been downgraded by a judge who determined that the facade was not unsafe.<br /> <br /> The vast number of faulty facades reflects, in part, the city’s successful effort to systematically assess the condition of building facades prompted by the death of a Barnard student in the early 1980s from falling concrete. Eleven other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, have adopted similar facade rules.<br /> <br /> But the proliferation of sidewalk sheds illustrates the weakness in enforcement.<br /> <br /> [You can find more information about violations in New York City by searching this Department of Buildings website.]<br /> <br /> In New York, sheds around unsafe buildings stretch for a total of 81 miles — eyesores that obscure first-floor businesses, collect trash and, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, are “great for criminals as a place to hide.”<br /> <br /> Even one of the most notorious buildings, a 12-story apartment tower at 601 West 115th Street owned by Columbia University, still has had problems.<br /> <br /> In 1979, Grace Gold, a freshman at Barnard, was killed by a falling 1-by-2-foot piece of concrete from that building. Nearly four decades later, an inspection in 2017 found that there were still cracking and crumbling bricks. A sidewalk shed was installed and the university paid $4,150 in fines.<br /> <br /> “There is no sense of urgency, and the fines are a joke,” said Ms. Gold’s sister, Lori Gold, who has advocated for safer buildings since her sister’s death.<br /> In addition to lax enforcement, inspectors have been accused of not acting swiftly enough to inspect facades when there are clear warnings. A city investigation after the death of Greta Greene, the 2-year-old killed outside the Esplanade Manhattan, faulted the Buildings Department for not acting on a tip eight months earlier that the facade had a “scary” crack that warranted getting “someone over pretty quick on this.”<br /> <br /> In recent months, however, the Buildings Department has stepped up its targeting of negligent building owners.<br /> <br /> In October, the department filed misdemeanor charges of noncompliance in Criminal Court in Manhattan against the owners of the seven buildings with sidewalk sheds older than a decade, which includes those used for construction and to shield against unsafe facades. A guilty verdict could bring a one-year jail sentence and fines up to $25,000.<br /> <br /> “Sidewalk sheds are a critical tool for protecting the public against the dangers of falling debris,” said Ms. La Rocca, who was appointed commissioner last May. “They can also be a nuisance when building owners let repair work languish, keeping their sheds up far longer than necessary.”<br /> <br /> The department has also brought charges against individual tenants, including the board president at 409 Edgecombe in Upper Manhattan, a 13-story apartment building, whose shed has been up for 14 years, longer than any other in the city.<br /> <br /> Days later, building officials told the city that the facade would be fixed.<br /> <br /> Now the department plans to press criminal charges against owners of all buildings with sheds older than three years, a list that includes about 570 properties, according to two people familiar with the agency’s actions. The agency is doubling the size of its facade inspection team to 22 members and will soon enact significantly higher fines for facade conditions.<br /> <br /> In the days after Ms. Tishman was killed, the department also conducted surprise inspections of roughly 1,330 buildings previously deemed unsafe and found that 220 of them had no pedestrian protections.<br /> <br /> “The building commissioner is not messing around,” said Ben Kallos, a Councilman who has urged the department to do far more to take on negligent building owners. “Regardless of who owns the building, they have to keep it safe — and the city should be helping out.”<br /> <br /> Yet sidewalk sheds remain a common sight across the city.<br /> <br /> In the Bronx, parents of children at the Mid-Bronx CCRP Early Childhood Center, the first-floor day care in the building where scaffolding has been up for over eight years, said they had not been told the facade was unsafe and believed that the shed was there for construction.<br /> <br /> In fact, more than 18 years after a building inspector first noted the walls separating at the corner of the building’s exterior, another inspector, in Nov. 2019, cited the same problem during a review. “SUBSTANTIAL VERTICAL CRACKS,” the inspector wrote in a citation carrying a $6,250 fine, which has not yet been paid. A partial vacate order, prohibiting access to the playground, was taped to the day care door.<br /> <br /> Olga Toledo, who had worked at the day care for 17 years, including as the director, said she quit in 2014 in part because of the landlord’s refusal to fix the property.<br /> <br /> “You could see the stuff coming off and falling on the ground,” Ms. Toledo said.<br /> <br /> Walter Puryear, an administrator at Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council, a nonprofit that owns and operates the building, blamed the city for the faulty facade.<br /> <br /> The building, he said, was “not in a very good condition” when the city gave the property to Mid-Bronx in 1993 as part of former Mayor Edward I. Koch’s affordable-housing plan to convert city property into residential units.<br /> <br /> The nonprofit has wanted to fix the facade, Mr. Puryear said, but could not afford it without financial aid from the city.<br /> <br /> “They are taking us to court like we are landlords who don’t want to do repairs,” Mr. Puryear said. “The city is aware of that but instead of taking a more proactive initiative of how we can work together, the city instead fines us continually.”<br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" /> <br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" /> <span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">An official at the city’s Housing and Preservation Department said it had no records showing that Mid-Bronx had sought help.</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" /> <br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" /> <span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">Two days after The Times started inquiring about the building’s facade, Mid-Bronx hired a contractor to start repairs, at an estimated cost of $659,000.</span><br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" /> <br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" /> <span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">The nonprofit, Mr. Puryear said, was taking out a loan to help pay for it.</span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Thu, 30 Jan 2020 16:12:55 +0000 Abby Damsky 7408 at https://benkallos.com WCBS Radio City Council Likely To Approve Ban On Toxic Pesticides In NYC Parks by Rich Lamb https://benkallos.com/press-clip/wcbs-radio-city-council-likely-approve-ban-toxic-pesticides-nyc-parks-rich-lamb <span>WCBS Radio City Council Likely To Approve Ban On Toxic Pesticides In NYC Parks by Rich Lamb</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Council Likely To Approve Ban On Toxic Pesticides In NYC Parks</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/30/2020 - 10:39am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/wcbs-radio" hreflang="en">WCBS Radio</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/rich-lamb" hreflang="en">Rich Lamb</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/news/city-council-likely-to-approve-ban-on-pesticides-in-parks">https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/news/city-council-likely-to-approve-ban-on-p…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T15:39:49Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 10:39</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK (WCBS 880)</strong>&nbsp;— A&nbsp;bill to ban the use of toxic pesticides in New York City parks is up for a vote in the City Council on Wednesday.</p> <p>The bill, which was proposed in 2019, has generated a slew of support from across the five boroughs.</p> <p>As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, supporters stood on the steps of City Hall chanting, “No Roundup. No glyphosates. Stop spraying in our parks.”</p> <p>Councilman Ben Kallos, who proposed the legislation, says the pesticides are harmful to the environment and humans.</p> <p>“We’ve been working for five years since 2015. When we were ready to introduce the legislation in 2016, the World Health Organization had just announced that glyphosate, a neuro-disruptor and the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup was a likely carcinogen,” he said.</p> <p>The weed killer has been linked to leukemia and lymphoma and the manufacturer has settled multiple lawsuits from those who had used the herbicide. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Our goal is to ban this from our parks straight and simple,” he said</p> <p>The measure has 34 co-sponsors, a veto-proof supermajority and the de Blasio administration now says it supports it.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK (WCBS 880)</strong>&nbsp;— A&nbsp;bill to ban the use of toxic pesticides in New York City parks is up for a vote in the City Council on Wednesday.</p> <p>The bill, which was proposed in 2019, has generated a slew of support from across the five boroughs.</p> <p>As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, supporters stood on the steps of City Hall chanting, “No Roundup. No glyphosates. Stop spraying in our parks.”</p> <p>Councilman Ben Kallos, who proposed the legislation, says the pesticides are harmful to the environment and humans.</p> <p>“We’ve been working for five years since 2015. When we were ready to introduce the legislation in 2016, the World Health Organization had just announced that glyphosate, a neuro-disruptor and the active ingredient in Monsanto Roundup was a likely carcinogen,” he said.</p> <p>The weed killer has been linked to leukemia and lymphoma and the manufacturer has settled multiple lawsuits from those who had used the herbicide. &nbsp;</p> <p>“Our goal is to ban this from our parks straight and simple,” he said</p> <p>The measure has 34 co-sponsors, a veto-proof supermajority and the de Blasio administration now says it supports it.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/health" hreflang="en">Health</a></div> </div> Thu, 30 Jan 2020 15:39:48 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7407 at https://benkallos.com CBS New York Council Bill Proposes Ban On RoundUp Chemical Glyphosate Amid Cries Of ‘Environmental Racism’ by Vanessa Murdock https://benkallos.com/press-clip/cbs-new-york-council-bill-proposes-ban-roundup-chemical-glyphosate-amid-cries <span>CBS New York Council Bill Proposes Ban On RoundUp Chemical Glyphosate Amid Cries Of ‘Environmental Racism’ by Vanessa Murdock</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Council Bill Proposes Ban On RoundUp Chemical Glyphosate Amid Cries Of ‘Environmental Racism’</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/30/2020 - 9:13am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/cbs-new-york" hreflang="en">CBS New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/vanessa-murdock" hreflang="en">Vanessa Murdock</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/01/29/council-bill-proposes-ban-on-roundup-chemical-glyphosate-amid-cries-of-environmental-racism/">https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/01/29/council-bill-proposes-ban-on-roundup-ch…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T14:13:58Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 09:13</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-30T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)</strong>&nbsp;– The city has been decreasing its use of chemical pesticides over the past several years, but now there’s a call to stop using them entirely.</p> <p>One organization says they’re using them more in communities of color declaring “environmental racism,” reports CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.</p> <p>“Poison Parks” is the claim of a special report just released by&nbsp;<a href="https://theblackinstitute.org/">The Black Institute</a>. They focus on New York City’s use of the chemical pesticide glyphosate, a likely carcinogen that’s found in the weed killer Roundup.</p> <p>The Black Institute asserts the city engaged in “environmental racism” by using the pesticide more frequently and at higher concentrations in parks used by people of color.</p> <p>“The specific problem is that folks on these communities, on a nice day they don’t go to the Hamptons upstate – they go to their local park in the city around them,” said Dan Hogle, campaign organizer at The Black Institute.</p> <p>“The racial analysis in this report does not align with reality,” said the Parks Department when asked about the institute’s accusations.</p> <p>The report, released Wednesday demands Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council “ban the use of glyphosate.” It comes the same day members of the city council held a hearing on Bill 1524.</p> <p>“This bill basically says glyphosate and other carcinogens can’t be sprayed on city property, particularly parks,” said District 5 Council Member Ben Kallos, the bill’s author.</p> <p>Kallos introduced a similar bill years ago after listening to kindergarteners from PS 290 sing. Some of the same students showed up to testify.</p> <p>“It will affect a lot of people in a positive way,” said Jesse Balsam, now an 11-year-old sixth-grader.</p> <p>“I don’t want me, or any of my siblings, or anyone else I don’t even know from running around the park getting sick from the pesticides,” said 10-year-old Leo Balsam.</p> <p>Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh says the Parks Department supports not using chemical pesticides but acknowledged it would limit managing invasive species.</p> <p>“Estimate it would take three to five mechanical applications to replace one successful application of properly used and targeted herbicide,” he said.</p> <p>Bill sponsors expressed confidence they have a veto-proof majority to get the bill passed this spring.</p> <p>The Black Institute also wanted to see glyphosate banned at the state level.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Poison Parks” is the claim of a special report just released by <a href="https://theblackinstitute.org/" rel="nofollow">The Black Institute</a>. They focus on New York City’s use of the chemical pesticide glyphosate, a likely carcinogen that’s found in the weed killer Roundup.</p> <p>The Black Institute asserts the city engaged in “environmental racism” by using the pesticide more frequently and at higher concentrations in parks used by people of color.</p> <p>“The specific problem is that folks on these communities, on a nice day they don’t go to the Hamptons upstate – they go to their local park in the city around them,” said Dan Hogle, campaign organizer at The Black Institute.</p> <p>“The racial analysis in this report does not align with reality,” said the Parks Department when asked about the institute’s accusations.</p> <p>The report, released Wednesday demands Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council “ban the use of glyphosate.” It comes the same day members of the city council held a hearing on Bill 1524.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Thu, 30 Jan 2020 14:13:57 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7405 at https://benkallos.com FOX 5 WNYW New York City Council holds hearing on façade inspections by Fox 5 https://benkallos.com/press-clip/fox-5-wnyw-new-york-city-council-holds-hearing-facade-inspections-fox-5 <span>FOX 5 WNYW New York City Council holds hearing on façade inspections by Fox 5</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New York City Council holds hearing on façade inspections</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:12pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/fox-5-wnyw" hreflang="en">FOX 5 WNYW</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/fox-5" hreflang="en">Fox 5</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/new-york-city-council-holds-hearing-on-facade-inspections">https://www.fox5ny.com/news/new-york-city-council-holds-hearing-on-facade-inspe…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T17:12:46Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:12</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK</strong>&nbsp;-&nbsp;Leaders of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/tag/us/ny/nyc">New York City</a>&nbsp;Department of Buildings testified before the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/tag/organization/nyc-city-council">City Council’s</a>&nbsp;Committee on Housing and Building on Monday in the aftermath of two recent&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/falling-plywood-panel-kills-woman-in-queens">deadly</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/noted-architect-killed-by-falling-debris-in-times-square">accidents</a>&nbsp;where falling debris off building façades killed two pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.&nbsp;</p> <p>Calling the Department of Building’s current inspection system archaic, some city council members are calling on the DOB to begin using drones to inspect buildings.</p> <p>"I think it could be a huge game-changer," said City Council Member Ben Kallos.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the Department of Buildings is standing by what it calls its “tried and true” inspection system.</p> <p>During the hearing, DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said that there are currently almost 600 buildings in the city that are considered unsafe, and that the owners have a repair and maintenance plan.&nbsp;</p> <p>---------</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK</strong>&nbsp;-&nbsp;Leaders of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/tag/us/ny/nyc">New York City</a>&nbsp;Department of Buildings testified before the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/tag/organization/nyc-city-council">City Council’s</a>&nbsp;Committee on Housing and Building on Monday in the aftermath of two recent&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/falling-plywood-panel-kills-woman-in-queens">deadly</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/noted-architect-killed-by-falling-debris-in-times-square">accidents</a>&nbsp;where falling debris off building façades killed two pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.&nbsp;</p> <p>Calling the Department of Building’s current inspection system archaic, some city council members are calling on the DOB to begin using drones to inspect buildings.</p> <p>"I think it could be a huge game-changer," said City Council Member Ben Kallos.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the Department of Buildings is standing by what it calls its “tried and true” inspection system.</p> <p>During the hearing, DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said that there are currently almost 600 buildings in the city that are considered unsafe, and that the owners have a repair and maintenance plan.&nbsp;</p> <p>---------</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:12:46 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7403 at https://benkallos.com Gothamist City Council Staffers Achieve Major Milestone In Union Push by Brigid Bergin https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gothamist-city-council-staffers-achieve-major-milestone-union-push-brigid-bergin <span>Gothamist City Council Staffers Achieve Major Milestone In Union Push by Brigid Bergin</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Council Staffers Achieve Major Milestone In Union Push</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/28/2020 - 11:47am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gothamist" hreflang="en">Gothamist</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brigid-bergin" hreflang="en">Brigid Bergin</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://gothamist.com/news/city-council-staffers-achieve-major-milestone-union-push">https://gothamist.com/news/city-council-staffers-achieve-major-milestone-union-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T16:47:54Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 11:47</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“We will be the first unaffiliated legislative staff union,” said Wilfredo Lopez, legislative director for City Council Member Ben Kallos. “So we're excited and also scared by that prospect. But it's momentous.”</p> <p>The group represents a subset of the roughly 600 staffers who work for the Council, and includes only full and part-time staff who work directly for one of the 51 members, plus certain members of the Finance division. Members of the central staff are not included in this initial unionization push, which launched its membership card campaign&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-council-staffers-launch-union-drive-urging-progressive-pols-fix-their-own-house" rel="noopener" target="_blank">just two months ago</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A group of more than 400 City Council staffers seeking to unionize to improve working conditions asked Council Speaker Corey Johnson to recognize them on Monday, a key milestone in their organizing efforts.</p> <p>The organizers explained in a letter that the newly-formed Association of Legislative Employees, or A.L.E. will cover aides to Council members and select Finance staff titles, a majority of whom signed cards agreeing to have the union represent them in collective bargaining.</p> <p>If Johnson recognizes them, organizers believe they would be making labor movement history. While there are a handful of other unionized legislative staffers across the country—in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.seiu1021.org/city-berkeley">Berkeley</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.denverpost.com/2019/08/06/denver-council-union-teamsters-17/">Denver</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.inquirer.com/jobs/labor/legislative-staff-union-delaware-general-assembly-afscme-20200115.html">state of Delaware</a>—they all joined larger, existing organizations. City Council staffers are forming a completely independent entity the likes of which can’t be found elsewhere in the city, or the country.</p> <p>“We will be the first unaffiliated legislative staff union,” said Wilfredo Lopez, legislative director for City Council Member Ben Kallos. “So we're excited and also scared by that prospect. But it's momentous.”</p> <p>The group represents a subset of the roughly 600 staffers who work for the Council, and includes only full and part-time staff who work directly for one of the 51 members, plus certain members of the Finance division. Members of the central staff are not included in this initial unionization push, which launched its membership card campaign&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-council-staffers-launch-union-drive-urging-progressive-pols-fix-their-own-house">just two months ago</a>.</p> <p>Conversations about increasing pay and establishing a minimum standard for working conditions have been going on for more than a decade, including a protest for higher wages in 2016 when Council members voted to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-council-raises-its-pay-but-limits-members-income-1454721426?mod=searchresults&amp;page=40&amp;pos=8">raise their own salaries by 32 percent</a>&nbsp;—from $112,500 to $148,500.</p> <p>On that vote, several staffers from then-City Council Members Rosie Mendez and Inez Baron’s offices stood on the balcony of the Council chambers during the vote wearing t-shirts that said, “’#PayCheck2PayCheck Raises 4 All.” Current City Council Member Carlina Rivera, who replaced Mendez, was among the staffers rising in protest.</p> <p>In the first year of Johnson’s speakership, organizers said they gathered signatures petitioning for a 33 percent increase to staff pay and better working conditions. That led to raises for some staffers. But members had discretion over how to spend money allocated to their offices, and there was no minimum salary for staff, some of whom were making<a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2019/11/14/some-council-staffers-making-near-minimum-wage-as-talk-of-unionization-percolates-1226885">&nbsp;the equivalent of minimum wage</a>&nbsp;despite long hours and frequent night and weekend work.</p> <p>The average salary for Council staffers is $47,784, according to an analysis by Politico, which also found 42 staffers were paid between $27,300 and $35,100.</p> <p><img alt="City Council Members hold a meeting, December 19, 2019" height="423" src="https://cms.prod.nypr.digital/images/300227/fill-634x423/" width="634" /></p> <p>City Council Members, including Speaker Corey Johnson, hold a meeting, December 19, 2019&nbsp;NYC COUNCIL / FLICKR</p> <p>“It became clear somewhere in the summer [of 2019] that we had to organize ourselves, and that would mean we would have to go unaffiliated, which means there's no larger union that is backing this,” said Zara Nasir, director of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and a key organizer.</p> <p>“We are a completely new entity. We had to form a tax I.D. We had to open a bank account. It's new. Everything is new...and then things started happening with Andy King,” she added.</p> <p>In the fall, the Council&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/city-council-votes-suspend-bronx-councilmember-andy-king-abuses-power">voted to suspend</a>&nbsp;City Council Member Andy King for 30 days and fined him $15,000 after an investigation by the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee found he committed a series of offenses including misusing funds, making homophobic remarks, and retaliating against staff who filed complaints against him.</p> <p>“The incident with Andy King just made everyone aware that we're not protected,” Lopez told Gothamist/WNYC during a joint interview with Nasir. “That helped us get organized faster.”</p> <p>Those efforts involved forming a core committee of seven members, and then a larger organizing committee of 150 staffers. Their goal was to collect signatures from 51 percent of the staff who would be covered in the first bargaining units by the end of last year, which Lopez said they did before the holidays. So they took a week off.</p> <p>“We come back,” said Lopez, “and former Mayor Bloomberg poached several staffers for his [presidential] campaign.” Those staffers included people who signed membership cards. “We were like, ‘Oh, my God, we have to kick into high gear and make up not only those cards, but also get more cards.’”</p> <p>Just last week, the organizers collected a full 60 percent of membership cards for the covered positions, including 236 of the 391 Councilmembers' aides, and 24 of 30 Finance titles. The bargaining units are based on specific, qualifying civil-service titles where employees are neither in managerial roles nor are responsible for confidential information, like personnel matters.</p> <p>Nasir said the final cards were the hardest to collect and the last one came from a part-time staff member whose office she called to thank. “They were super excited. They were cheering in the office,” she said.</p> <p>Johnson said he remained open to staff unionizing.</p> <p>“Speaker Johnson continues to be supportive of the staff’s efforts to unionize,” said Jennifer Fermino, a spokesperson for the speaker. “He looks forward to working with them as the process moves ahead with the goal of achieving voluntary recognition.”</p> <p>If and when Johnson recognizes A.L.E., the Council would file notice with the city’s Office of Collective Bargaining. Then the organizers would need to begin building the infrastructure of the organization so they could set goals and negotiate a contract.</p> <p>But before any of that begins, the next major milestone is a fundraiser on February 4th.</p> <p>To ensure that they were following all the necessary legal steps, organizers retained a lawyer from Strook, Strook &amp; Lavan. Dina Kolker, a partner at the firm, has been providing legal guidance to the organizing committee, which the core team paid for out of their own pockets.</p> <p>While the investment of time and money has been a lot for people like Lopez and Nasir, they said it’s been worth it. “We care about the Council as an institution,” said Nasir.</p> <p>“There will come a time, many years in the future, when I retire,” said Lopez, “and I’ll just sit back and kind of tell these stories to my grandchildren about the time that, you know, a group of us got together and decided to start a union. I’m looking forward to that.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/jobs" hreflang="en">Jobs</a></div> </div> Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:47:54 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7402 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News NYC to seek replacement for current operator of more than two dozen homeless shelters: council member by Michael Gartland https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-nyc-seek-replacement-current-operator-more-two-dozen-homeless <span>New York Daily News NYC to seek replacement for current operator of more than two dozen homeless shelters: council member by Michael Gartland</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC to seek replacement for current operator of more than two dozen homeless shelters: council member</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/28/2020 - 11:22am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/michael-gartland" hreflang="en">Michael Gartland</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-homeless-shelters-provider-investigated-20200128-hweaib76x5dmpmurxxk4fd2w7y-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-homeless-shelters-provider-investigated…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T16:22:48Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 11:22</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The Department of Investigation on Monday executed search warrants at the Queens-based headquarters of Children’s Community Services, which has a contract with the city to operate 28 homeless shelters, said Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos.</p> <p>Kallos said he was briefed on the probe by the Department of Social Services. The city will go to court to ask that another provider take over the locations, he said.</p> <p>"No homeless services provider is too big to fail. If our homeless aren’t getting shelter beds that are safe and secure, the city can and will get a court order to bring in a provider that will do better,” Kallos told The News.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The city will ask a court Tuesday to intervene in the operation of more than two dozen homeless shelters by a nonprofit under investigation for potential fraud, officials said.</p> <p>The Department of Investigation on Monday executed search warrants at the Queens-based headquarters of Children’s Community Services, which has a contract with the city to operate 28 homeless shelters, said Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos.</p> <p>Kallos said he was briefed on the probe by the Department of Social Services. The city will go to court to ask that another provider take over the locations, he said.</p> <p>"No homeless services provider is too big to fail. If our homeless aren’t getting shelter beds that are safe and secure, the city can and will get a court order to bring in a provider that will do better,” Kallos told The News.</p> <p>“Following our oversight hearing, it is good to know that the Department of Homeless Services is watching out for our homeless, making referrals for investigations, and willing to go to court to protect our most vulnerable."</p> <p>A spokesperson for DHS credited staff members who “saw something and said something” that led to the DOI raid,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2020/01/28/homeless-shelters-in-nyc-city-to-ask-judge-intervene-childrens-community-services">NY1</a>&nbsp;reported.</p> <p>There was no immediate response to requests for comment from CSS, or DSS.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:22:47 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7401 at https://benkallos.com New York Post City forcing dozens of property owners to erect emergency scaffolding by Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonJanuary https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-post-city-forcing-dozens-property-owners-erect-emergency-scaffolding-julia <span>New York Post City forcing dozens of property owners to erect emergency scaffolding by Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonJanuary</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City forcing dozens of property owners to erect emergency scaffolding</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/28/2020 - 11:19am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-post" hreflang="en">New York Post</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/julia-marsh-and-jorge-fitz-gibbonjanuary" hreflang="en">Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonJanuary</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nypost.com/2020/01/27/city-forcing-dozens-of-property-owners-to-erect-emergency-scaffolding/">https://nypost.com/2020/01/27/city-forcing-dozens-of-property-owners-to-erect-e…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T16:19:29Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 11:19</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-28T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>La Rocca said there are more than 9,500 sidewalk sheds up in the city and that they have remained in place for an average of 300 days.</p> <p>Some officials said that’s too long.</p> <p>“New York City has 344 miles of sidewalk sheds,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said. “That’s enough to stretch from City Hall to Canada. We need to study using drone technology and innovative solutions to get sidewalk sheds down while keeping New Yorkers safe.”</p> <p>One hurdle facing the proposed drone-inspection measure is a 1948 city law, initially intended for airplanes and helicopters, that would prohibit the use of drones within the city.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The city Buildings Department is installing emergency protective sidewalk sheds in front of dozens of Big Apple structures with crumbling facades — and slapping their property owners with the bill.</p> <p>The drastic move comes after last month’s death of Manhattan&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/17/architect-erica-tishman-identified-as-woman-killed-by-falling-facade-in-nyc/">architect Erica Tishman</a>, who was killed by a chunk of falling facade in Midtown. The tragedy prompted a citywide review of more than 1,330 properties with a history of unsafe exterior walls.</p> <p>Inspectors ended up writing&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/30/city-cites-hundreds-of-dangerous-facades-after-architects-death/">new violations for 220 of the buildings and</a>&nbsp;ordered their owners to install protective sheds to shield unsuspecting pedestrians — but only 68 of the sites complied.</p> <p>The remaining 152 buildings were hit with emergency declarations Jan. 3, which means the city is hiring contractors to install sheds in front of them and then billing the owners for the cost, Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said Monday at a hearing of the City Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee.</p> <p>Buildings officials said some of the delinquent site owners have since complied with the Jan. 3 order, but they did not immediately have a number.</p> <p>“We are again removing the excuses and ensuring that owners do the work that they are legally required to do,” La Rocca told the committee. “These actions will hold owners accountable for both maintaining their facades and keeping pedestrians safe.”</p> <p>Ironically, her comments came during a public hearing on a proposed law that would actually reduce the use of scaffolding in places where it’s not needed for repairs or public safety.</p> <p>Scaffolding is used at times for city inspections of the higher floors outside buildings. And because city law requires buildings above six stories to have facade inspections every five years, some landlords cut corners by keeping the scaffolding up indefinitely.</p> <h4>The council proposal would OK the use of drones to conduct the mandatory facade inspections from the air, eliminating the need for scaffolding to carry them out.</h4> <p>La Rocca said there are more than 9,500 sidewalk sheds up in the city and that they have remained in place for an average of 300 days.</p> <p>Some officials said that’s too long.</p> <p>“New York City has 344 miles of sidewalk sheds,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said. “That’s enough to stretch from City Hall to Canada. We need to study using drone technology and innovative solutions to get sidewalk sheds down while keeping New Yorkers safe.”</p> <p>One hurdle facing the proposed drone-inspection measure is a 1948 city law, initially intended for airplanes and helicopters, that would prohibit the use of drones within the city.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:19:29 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7400 at https://benkallos.com City and State The Best & Worst New York City Lawmakers by Editorial Board https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-and-state-best-worst-new-york-city-lawmakers-editorial-board <span>City and State The Best &amp; Worst New York City Lawmakers by Editorial Board</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">The Best &amp; Worst New York City Lawmakers</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 01/27/2020 - 4:30pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city-and-state" hreflang="en">City and State</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/editorial-board" hreflang="en">Editorial Board</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/best-worst-new-york-city-lawmakers.html">https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/best-worst-new-y…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-27T21:30:54Z">Mon, 01/27/2020 - 16:30</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-27T12:00:00Z">Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Over the next two years, dozens of New York City Council members will be hitting the campaign trail. A number of them will try to keep their seats in 2021. Many more will reach the term limit of the office, and they may want to continue serving as an elected official elsewhere. Some are running this year for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives or for Queens borough president. Others are eyeing posts that will open up next year, like the rest of the borough president offices or the more powerful city positions of mayor or comptroller.</p> <p>As voters consider their options leading up to the elections, what better way to evaluate these sitting lawmakers than to scrutinize their current records? That’s one reason why we’re bringing back our ranking of New York City Council members.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The criteria</strong></p> <p>We used five criteria to assess each member: the number of bills introduced, the number of bills signed into law, attendance, and responsiveness to questions from constituents and from the media. We selected these criteria because they are reasonable – and because they are measurable.</p> <p><strong>1</strong></p> <p>To determine how good each lawmaker is at lawmaking, we first tallied all of the bills signed into law last year. We then ranked each council member based on the number of new laws for which they were the prime sponsor, from most to least. We counted bill introductions but left out resolutions, which have little impact. We included any bills signed in 2019, regardless of when they were introduced.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>While bill signings signal effectiveness, we also wanted to reward effort – so we conducted the same analysis for bills introduced by lawmakers in 2019, regardless of where those measures ended up.</p> <p><strong>3</strong></p> <p>A prerequisite for any job is actually showing up, so our third measure is attendance. We counted all the meetings that each council member attended, including committee meetings, and how many he or she missed. While some absences were explained – for medical reasons, funerals or family leave – they were all included in our analysis.</p> <p><strong>4</strong></p> <p>Some council members would protest that there’s more to the job than showing up and passing laws – and they’d be right. Many of them pride themselves on providing stellar constituent services. While we can’t realistically stand outside every district office to survey local residents who swing by – or check to see if the offices are actually open – we took another approach. To assess responsiveness to constituents, we sent an anonymous email late last year to every office with a simple question: “Hi – do you have any information about how to be counted in the 2020 census? Thanks!” Some lawmakers responded within minutes, often with helpful information. We set a low bar, counting any response – even requests for an address for verification, or suggestions that we contact our congressman, or autoreplies with a phone number to call – as long as it came in within seven days. Still, fewer than half responded.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5</strong></p> <p>Similarly, we came up with a test to see how quickly each member would respond to a press inquiry: a request to submit the officeholder’s latest headshot. We were lenient in grading this test too, with any reply at all within seven days qualifying as a response, even if we never got a photo. However, 19 members didn’t even write back.</p> <p><strong>The totals</strong></p> <p>Finally, we took the rankings for each measure and calculated an average score, weighting each factor equally. For example, if a single council member was theoretically No. 1 on all five measures, he or she would get a score of 1. The overall scores, ordered from lowest to highest, gave us our final ranking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Some caveats</strong></p> <p>Unlike our 2017 rankings, we dropped the number of Google search results of each member’s name from this year’s analysis, in part because it leaves out online mentions in languages other than English – including Chinese and Spanish language media in immigrant-heavy districts. We also dropped Twitter followers as a measure, since it could penalize older lawmakers who are less adept with social media – and because less than a quarter of American adults even use Twitter.</p> <p>We omitted Jumaane Williams, who only served a few months in 2019 before becoming public advocate, and we also left out his successor, Farah Louis, since she didn’t serve a full year either.&nbsp;</p> <p>By design, this list leaves out certain factors, such as the significance of legislation. Considerations such as whether a bill becomes a landmark law or makes a technical fix, or whether it’s widely acclaimed or highly controversial, would inject subjective judgments into the analysis. Critics of a libertarian bent might argue that more legislation is not better. While it’s a fair point, the productiveness of a lawmaker still tells us something useful about their proactiveness. We also declined to draw a line on various types of absences, to avoid judging which ones are acceptable and which ones aren’t. City Councilman Alan Maisel missed 21 meetings for medical reasons, for example, while City Councilman Stephen Levin missed 44 days on paternity leave – although neither one landed at the bottom of our list.&nbsp;</p> <p>One troubling result that can’t be ignored is that four of the five worst lawmakers are racial minorities, while all five of the best lawmakers are white. This is a worrisome outcome. We reflected on how to eliminate any potential sources of bias – which is partly why we removed Google results and Twitter followers. After thinking long and hard, we felt that the criteria are still the best available. Public servants who are paid by taxpayers ought to show up, listen to their constituents, identify issues that should be addressed, craft policy responses, and be transparent with the press.</p> <p>Here are the complete rankings. And for those who want more details,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/how-we-calculated-best-worst-new-york-city-lawmakers.html">here’s our methodology.</a></p> <ol> <li>Helen Rosenthal</li> <li>Robert Holden</li> <li>Corey Johnson</li> <li>Mark Treyger</li> <li>Daniel Dromm</li> <li>Ben Kallos</li> <li>Keith Powers</li> <li>Mark Levine</li> <li>Steven Matteo</li> <li>Chaim Deutsch</li> <li>Antonio Reynoso</li> <li>Joe Borelli</li> <li>Alicka Ampry-Samuel</li> <li>Peter Koo</li> <li>Donovan Richards</li> <li>Robert Cornegy</li> <li>Adrienne Adams</li> <li>Carlina Rivera</li> <li>Diana Ayala</li> <li>Justin Brannan</li> <li>Margaret Chin</li> <li>Costa Constantinides</li> <li>Barry Grodenchik</li> <li>Stephen Levin</li> <li>Ydanis Rodriguez</li> <li>Rafael Salamanca</li> <li>Paul Vallone</li> <li>Fernando Cabrera</li> <li>Ritchie Torres</li> <li>Brad Lander</li> <li>Karen Koslowitz</li> <li>Laurie Cumbo</li> <li>Andrew Cohen</li> <li>Francisco Moya</li> <li>Rafael Espinal</li> <li>Vanessa Gibson</li> <li>Mathieu Eugene</li> <li>Jimmy Van Bramer</li> <li>Rory Lancman</li> <li>Carlos Menchaca</li> <li>Kalman Yeger</li> <li>Deborah Rose</li> <li>Eric Ulrich</li> <li>Alan Maisel</li> <li>I. Daneek Miller</li> <li>Inez Barron</li> <li>Mark Gjonaj</li> <li>Ruben Diaz Sr.</li> <li>Andy King</li> <li>Bill Perkins</li> </ol> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Over the next two years, dozens of New York City Council members will be hitting the campaign trail. A number of them will try to keep their seats in 2021. Many more will reach the term limit of the office, and they may want to continue serving as an elected official elsewhere. Some are running this year for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives or for Queens borough president. Others are eyeing posts that will open up next year, like the rest of the borough president offices or the more powerful city positions of mayor or comptroller.</p> <p>As voters consider their options leading up to the elections, what better way to evaluate these sitting lawmakers than to scrutinize their current records? That’s one reason why we’re bringing back our ranking of New York City Council members.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The criteria</strong></p> <p>We used five criteria to assess each member: the number of bills introduced, the number of bills signed into law, attendance, and responsiveness to questions from constituents and from the media. We selected these criteria because they are reasonable – and because they are measurable.</p> <p><strong>1</strong></p> <p>To determine how good each lawmaker is at lawmaking, we first tallied all of the bills signed into law last year. We then ranked each council member based on the number of new laws for which they were the prime sponsor, from most to least. We counted bill introductions but left out resolutions, which have little impact. We included any bills signed in 2019, regardless of when they were introduced.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>While bill signings signal effectiveness, we also wanted to reward effort – so we conducted the same analysis for bills introduced by lawmakers in 2019, regardless of where those measures ended up.</p> <p><strong>3</strong></p> <p>A prerequisite for any job is actually showing up, so our third measure is attendance. We counted all the meetings that each council member attended, including committee meetings, and how many he or she missed. While some absences were explained – for medical reasons, funerals or family leave – they were all included in our analysis.</p> <p><strong>4</strong></p> <p>Some council members would protest that there’s more to the job than showing up and passing laws – and they’d be right. Many of them pride themselves on providing stellar constituent services. While we can’t realistically stand outside every district office to survey local residents who swing by – or check to see if the offices are actually open – we took another approach. To assess responsiveness to constituents, we sent an anonymous email late last year to every office with a simple question: “Hi – do you have any information about how to be counted in the 2020 census? Thanks!” Some lawmakers responded within minutes, often with helpful information. We set a low bar, counting any response – even requests for an address for verification, or suggestions that we contact our congressman, or autoreplies with a phone number to call – as long as it came in within seven days. Still, fewer than half responded.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5</strong></p> <p>Similarly, we came up with a test to see how quickly each member would respond to a press inquiry: a request to submit the officeholder’s latest headshot. We were lenient in grading this test too, with any reply at all within seven days qualifying as a response, even if we never got a photo. However, 19 members didn’t even write back.</p> <p><strong>The totals</strong></p> <p>Finally, we took the rankings for each measure and calculated an average score, weighting each factor equally. For example, if a single council member was theoretically No. 1 on all five measures, he or she would get a score of 1. The overall scores, ordered from lowest to highest, gave us our final ranking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Some caveats</strong></p> <p>Unlike our 2017 rankings, we dropped the number of Google search results of each member’s name from this year’s analysis, in part because it leaves out online mentions in languages other than English – including Chinese and Spanish language media in immigrant-heavy districts. We also dropped Twitter followers as a measure, since it could penalize older lawmakers who are less adept with social media – and because less than a quarter of American adults even use Twitter.</p> <p>We omitted Jumaane Williams, who only served a few months in 2019 before becoming public advocate, and we also left out his successor, Farah Louis, since she didn’t serve a full year either.&nbsp;</p> <p>By design, this list leaves out certain factors, such as the significance of legislation. Considerations such as whether a bill becomes a landmark law or makes a technical fix, or whether it’s widely acclaimed or highly controversial, would inject subjective judgments into the analysis. Critics of a libertarian bent might argue that more legislation is not better. While it’s a fair point, the productiveness of a lawmaker still tells us something useful about their proactiveness. We also declined to draw a line on various types of absences, to avoid judging which ones are acceptable and which ones aren’t. City Councilman Alan Maisel missed 21 meetings for medical reasons, for example, while City Councilman Stephen Levin missed 44 days on paternity leave – although neither one landed at the bottom of our list.&nbsp;</p> <p>One troubling result that can’t be ignored is that four of the five worst lawmakers are racial minorities, while all five of the best lawmakers are white. This is a worrisome outcome. We reflected on how to eliminate any potential sources of bias – which is partly why we removed Google results and Twitter followers. After thinking long and hard, we felt that the criteria are still the best available. Public servants who are paid by taxpayers ought to show up, listen to their constituents, identify issues that should be addressed, craft policy responses, and be transparent with the press.</p> <p>Here are the complete rankings. And for those who want more details,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/how-we-calculated-best-worst-new-york-city-lawmakers.html">here’s our methodology.</a></p> <ol> <li>Helen Rosenthal</li> <li>Robert Holden</li> <li>Corey Johnson</li> <li>Mark Treyger</li> <li>Daniel Dromm</li> <li>Ben Kallos</li> <li>Keith Powers</li> <li>Mark Levine</li> <li>Steven Matteo</li> <li>Chaim Deutsch</li> <li>Antonio Reynoso</li> <li>Joe Borelli</li> <li>Alicka Ampry-Samuel</li> <li>Peter Koo</li> <li>Donovan Richards</li> <li>Robert Cornegy</li> <li>Adrienne Adams</li> <li>Carlina Rivera</li> <li>Diana Ayala</li> <li>Justin Brannan</li> <li>Margaret Chin</li> <li>Costa Constantinides</li> <li>Barry Grodenchik</li> <li>Stephen Levin</li> <li>Ydanis Rodriguez</li> <li>Rafael Salamanca</li> <li>Paul Vallone</li> <li>Fernando Cabrera</li> <li>Ritchie Torres</li> <li>Brad Lander</li> <li>Karen Koslowitz</li> <li>Laurie Cumbo</li> <li>Andrew Cohen</li> <li>Francisco Moya</li> <li>Rafael Espinal</li> <li>Vanessa Gibson</li> <li>Mathieu Eugene</li> <li>Jimmy Van Bramer</li> <li>Rory Lancman</li> <li>Carlos Menchaca</li> <li>Kalman Yeger</li> <li>Deborah Rose</li> <li>Eric Ulrich</li> <li>Alan Maisel</li> <li>I. Daneek Miller</li> <li>Inez Barron</li> <li>Mark Gjonaj</li> <li>Ruben Diaz Sr.</li> <li>Andy King</li> <li>Bill Perkins</li> </ol> </div> Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:30:54 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7399 at https://benkallos.com Amsterdam News De Blasio and City Council begin universal after-school push by Stephon Johnson https://benkallos.com/press-clip/amsterdam-news-de-blasio-and-city-council-begin-universal-after-school-push-stephon <span>Amsterdam News De Blasio and City Council begin universal after-school push by Stephon Johnson</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item"><br /> De Blasio and City Council begin universal after-school push</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 01/27/2020 - 11:48am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/amsterdam-news" hreflang="en">Amsterdam News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/stephon-johnson" hreflang="en">Stephon Johnson</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2020/jan/23/de-blasio-and-city-council-begin-universal-after-s/">http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2020/jan/23/de-blasio-and-city-council-begin-univ…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-27T16:48:23Z">Mon, 01/27/2020 - 11:48</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-27T12:00:00Z">Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The bills, authored by Rose, Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger and Council Member Ben Kallos, would help counter the reality of parents working longer hours and spending more time away from the house. A recent study from WalletHub concluded that the average New York City employee works 40.3 hours per week, which is the longest average work week of the 116 cities reviewed by the personal finance site.</p> <p>“After-school programs provide vital learning, enrichment and personal growth opportunities for students. Expanding after-school programming to all K-12 students who wish to enroll will keep our children safe, encourage academic achievement and inspire participation in extracurricular activities,” stated Treyger, mentioning that the bills would “support students to excel beyond the classroom and deliver kinesthetic learning all year round.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Kids need a place to be productive once school hours are over. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council hope to remedy that situation.</p> <p>Intro. 1100 and 1113 of 2018 would mandate universal after-school that would be phased in through an annual plan that includes reporting on implementation and results. It’s one of de Blasio’s many pet projects, along with universal pre-K. Last week, the New York City Council held a hearing on universal after-school, touting the benefits of what it would do to help underserved kids.</p> <p>New York City Council Member and Youth Services Chair Debi Rose said after-school programs provide nothing but positive benefits for kids.</p> <p>“After-school programs provide a safe, stress-free environment for children to receive additional academic and social support while their parents contribute to the necessary economic well-being of their families,” said Rose. “These programs have been found to improve student outcomes and provide equity and opportunity by leveling the playing field. This bill makes an investment in the future of our city by ensuring that no child is turned away.”</p> <p>The bills, authored by Rose, Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger and Council Member Ben Kallos, would help counter the reality of parents working longer hours and spending more time away from the house. A recent study from WalletHub concluded that the average New York City employee works 40.3 hours per week, which is the longest average work week of the 116 cities reviewed by the personal finance site.</p> <p>“After-school programs provide vital learning, enrichment and personal growth opportunities for students. Expanding after-school programming to all K-12 students who wish to enroll will keep our children safe, encourage academic achievement and inspire participation in extracurricular activities,” stated Treyger, mentioning that the bills would “support students to excel beyond the classroom and deliver kinesthetic learning all year round.”</p> <p>Elected officials aren’t alone in this sentiment. They are getting some help in their push from elsewhere. Advocates want Albany to help a little bit as well.</p> <p>Families and after-school advocates from around the state (including the Northwest Buffalo Community Center in Buffalo, the Young Leaders Enrichment Program in the Bronx and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corp. in Brooklyn) took to Albany on Wednesday to rally for increased funding for after-school programs. Advocates desire a per student rate that aligns with program costs to ensure students would be supervised and safe in after-school programs.</p> <p>According to the Afterschool Alliance, there are 584,597 children in K-12 that are left alone and unsupervised. More than 1 million students are awaiting an available program and only 632,076 are enrolled in after-school. According to Council for a Strong America, young people are more vulnerable to illicit behavior and criminal involvement between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.</p> <p>The New York State Network for Youth Success urged New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to increase rates for after-school programs in underserved communities. According to the organization, the increase is necessary to bring the per student rate into alignment with actual program costs and maintain the number of students in safe, supervised afterschool programs.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Mon, 27 Jan 2020 16:48:23 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7398 at https://benkallos.com Brooklyn Reporter Advocates endorse plan for universal after-school programs by Paula Katinas https://benkallos.com/press-clip/brooklyn-reporter-advocates-endorse-plan-universal-after-school-programs-paula-katinas <span>Brooklyn Reporter Advocates endorse plan for universal after-school programs by Paula Katinas</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Advocates endorse plan for universal after-school programs</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Sun, 01/19/2020 - 10:33pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/brooklyn-reporter" hreflang="en">Brooklyn Reporter</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/paula-katinas" hreflang="en">Paula Katinas</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://brooklynreporter.com/2020/01/advocates-endorse-plan-for-universal-after-school-programs/">https://brooklynreporter.com/2020/01/advocates-endorse-plan-for-universal-after…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-20T03:33:43Z">Sun, 01/19/2020 - 22:33</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-20T12:00:00Z">Mon, 01/20/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A universal after-school program would provide academic enrichment and recreational activities for kids, according to lawmakers. Students at McKinley Intermediate School learn coding during school hours under a special program.</p> <p>BOROUGHWIDE — New York City has universal pre-kindergarten classes. Next up: universal after-school.</p> <p>A proposal by a trio of city councilmembers, including Brooklyn’s Mark Treyger, to have universal after-school programs in all schools has won praise from organizations that work with young people.</p> <p>“After-school programs provide our students an outlet to experience non-traditional and non-academic learning opportunities. After a long day of academics, students have the opportunity to learn something a different skill and craft such as our Guitar Ensemble that schools may not be able to provide during the day school hours,” said Jahzeel Montes, executive director of Internal Creations, Inc., an organization that teaches kids how to play classical guitar.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="" height="768" src="https://2nqf1a2pxrmv1i0jyy3lbz8e-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Politics-McKinley-Intermediate-School-kids-learn-coding.jpg" width="1024" /><strong>Photo courtesy of Jessica Amato</strong></p> <p>A universal after-school program would provide academic enrichment and recreational activities for kids, according to lawmakers. Students at McKinley Intermediate School learn coding during school hours under a special program.</p> <p>BOROUGHWIDE — New York City has universal pre-kindergarten classes. Next up: universal after-school.</p> <p>A proposal by a trio of city councilmembers, including Brooklyn’s Mark Treyger, to have universal after-school programs in all schools has won praise from organizations that work with young people.</p> <p>“After-school programs provide our students an outlet to experience non-traditional and non-academic learning opportunities. After a long day of academics, students have the opportunity to learn something a different skill and craft such as our Guitar Ensemble that schools may not be able to provide during the day school hours,” said Jahzeel Montes, executive director of Internal Creations, Inc., an organization that teaches kids how to play classical guitar.</p> <p>Treyger and two of his colleagues, Councilmembers Debi Rose and Ben Kallos, have introduced two bills to bring universal after-school, similar to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-k program, to New York City schools.</p> <p>Under their plan, an after-school program would be available to any student who wants one.</p> <p>One bill would establish universal after-school. A second bill would require the Department of Education to issue periodic reports to the Council on the success or failure of the program.</p> <p>The lawmakers estimate that it would cost $100 million to introduce a universal after-school program to New York City.</p> <p>The two bills were the subject of a joint hearing of the Council’s Education and Youth Services Committees on Jan. 14.</p> <p>Nancy Miller, executive director and CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, called after-school programs critically important, particularly for students who are blind or disabled. “They are instrumental in enabling blind students to develop the skills needed to work as a team, communicate effectively, solve problems and use assistive technology,” she said.</p> <p>As Treyger, Rose and Kallos envision it, universal after-school would provide academic enrichment, arts, physical activities and nutrition.</p> <p>Treyger, a Democrat representing Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst, is chairperson of the Education Committee. Rose, a Democrat who represents parts of Staten Island, chairs the Youth Services Committee. Kallos is a Democrat whose district includes the Upper East Side.</p> <p>“Expanding after-school programming to all K-12 students who wish to enroll will keep our children safe, encourage academic achievement and inspire participation in extracurricular activities,” Treyger said,</p> <p>The pair of bills “will support students to excel beyond the classroom and deliver kinesthetic learning all year round,” he said.</p> <p>“These programs have been found to improve student outcomes and provide equity and opportunity by leveling the playing field. This bill makes an investment in the future of our city by ensuring that no child is turned away,” Rose said.</p> <p>There are after-school programs in many schools, but the programs often have a long waiting list, according to councilmembers.</p> <p>“Universal access to after-school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5 p.m., if not longer,” Kallos said.</p> <p>The mayor announced a universal after-school program for the city’s middle school students in 2015. A City Council report issued in 2019 found that there were only 47,000 after-school slots available for 500,000 elementary school students from kindergarten to fifth grade.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 03:33:42 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7391 at https://benkallos.com CBS New York New York City Lawmakers Push For Universal After School Programs by Natalie Duddridge https://benkallos.com/press-clip/cbs-new-york-new-york-city-lawmakers-push-universal-after-school-programs-natalie <span>CBS New York New York City Lawmakers Push For Universal After School Programs by Natalie Duddridge</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New York City Lawmakers Push For Universal After School Programs</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Sun, 01/19/2020 - 10:49am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/cbs-new-york" hreflang="en">CBS New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/natalie-duddridge" hreflang="en">Natalie Duddridge</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/01/16/nyc-universal-after-school-programs/">https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/01/16/nyc-universal-after-school-programs/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T13:10:00Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 08:10</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><iframe allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="https://w3.cdn.anvato.net/player/prod/v3/anvload.html?key=eyJtIjoiY2JzIiwidiI6IjQ0MDc4MTEiLCJhbnZhY2siOiJEVnpsOVFSem94M1pac1A5Yk51NUxpM1g3b2JRT25xUCIsInNoYXJlTGluayI6Imh0dHBzOi8vY2JzbG9jLmFsLzJ1V2Q5NnYiLCJwbHVnaW5zIjp7ImNvbXNjb3JlIjp7ImNsaWVudElkIjoiMzAwMDAyMyIsImMzIjoibmV3eW9yay5jYnNsb2NhbC5jb20ifSwiZGZwIjp7ImNsaWVudFNpZGUiOnsiYWRUYWdVcmwiOiJodHRwOi8vcHViYWRzLmcuZG91YmxlY2xpY2submV0L2dhbXBhZC9hZHM%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%3D%3D" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><iframe allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="https://w3.cdn.anvato.net/player/prod/v3/anvload.html?key=eyJtIjoiY2JzIiwidiI6IjQ0MDc4MTEiLCJhbnZhY2siOiJEVnpsOVFSem94M1pac1A5Yk51NUxpM1g3b2JRT25xUCIsInNoYXJlTGluayI6Imh0dHBzOi8vY2JzbG9jLmFsLzJ1V2Q5NnYiLCJwbHVnaW5zIjp7ImNvbXNjb3JlIjp7ImNsaWVudElkIjoiMzAwMDAyMyIsImMzIjoibmV3eW9yay5jYnNsb2NhbC5jb20ifSwiZGZwIjp7ImNsaWVudFNpZGUiOnsiYWRUYWdVcmwiOiJodHRwOi8vcHViYWRzLmcuZG91YmxlY2xpY2submV0L2dhbXBhZC9hZHM%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%3D%3D" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:49:48 +0000 admin 7390 at https://benkallos.com Crain's New York Facade safety crackdown could boost sidewalk-shed reform bill by Ryan Deffenbaugh https://benkallos.com/press-clip/crains-new-york-facade-safety-crackdown-could-boost-sidewalk-shed-reform-bill-ryan <span>Crain&#039;s New York Facade safety crackdown could boost sidewalk-shed reform bill by Ryan Deffenbaugh</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Facade safety crackdown could boost sidewalk-shed reform bill</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/16/2020 - 11:59am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/crains-new-york" hreflang="en">Crain&#039;s New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ryan-deffenbaugh" hreflang="en">Ryan Deffenbaugh</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/facade-safety-crackdown-could-boost-sidewalk-shed-reform-bill">https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/facade-safety-crackdown-could-boost-s…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T16:59:21Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 11:59</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Department of Buildings officials pledged to hold building-owners "feet to the fire" after designer Erica Tishman was killed by a falling chunk of debris in Times Square last month. </p> <p>Councilman Ben Kallos praised the department's actions but warned against reliance on scaffolding.</p> <p>"Ultimately the solution isn't just to put sidewalk sheds everywhere," Kallos said. "We need to get to a place where folks are actually doing the work to maintain their buildings."</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><ul> <li><a href="https://s3-prod.crainsnewyork.com/729%207th%20Ave%207.31.jpg"><img alt="" src="https://s3-prod.crainsnewyork.com/styles/width_792/s3/729%207th%20Ave%207.31.jpg" /></a></li> </ul> <p>Buck Ennis</p> <p>Debris fell last month from 729 Seventh Ave. and stuck and killed a woman.&nbsp;</p> <p>An Upper East Side councilman continues to push for limiting scaffolding as the city doubles down on sidewalk sheds after an&nbsp;architect's death from falling facade.</p> <p>Department of Buildings officials pledged to hold building-owners "feet to the fire" after designer Erica Tishman&nbsp;was killed by a falling chunk of debris&nbsp;in Times Square last month.&nbsp;</p> <p>Councilman Ben Kallos praised the department's actions but warned against reliance on scaffolding.</p> <p>"Ultimately the solution isn't just to put sidewalk sheds everywhere," Kallos said. "We need to get to a place where folks are actually doing the work to maintain their buildings."</p> <p>The city last week began issuing emergency notices to buildings with violations for unsafe facades that had not yet put in place protective sidewalk sheds. The notices—which came one month after Tishman's death—gave the owners days to put up scaffolding, or risk the city send its own contractors to put up sheds at the landlord's expense.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Manhattan Democrat's remarks will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed reporting on the scaffolding issue in the past half-decade.&nbsp;<em>Crain's&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20180709/FEATURES/180709946/tackling-the-scourge-of-sidewalk-sheds">quoted him in 2016</a>&nbsp;bemoaning how some sidewalk sheds defy "laws of nature" by never coming down.&nbsp;</p> <p>The councilman has filed several bills in the past four years to rein in sidewalk sheds, which&nbsp;darken about 300 miles of city sidewalks in front of unsafe buildings and construction zones.&nbsp;</p> <p>A 2017 analysis by the DOB found that buildings with an unsafe facade represent about a quarter of the roughly 7,800 scaffold permits active in the city.&nbsp;</p> <p>As&nbsp;<em>Crain's</em>&nbsp;has previously reported, building owners sometimes find it cheaper to rent a sidewalk shed than to pay for renovations, leaving some&nbsp;<a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/sidewalk-shed-surrounding-280-broadway-coming-down-after-11-years">hanging around for years</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>The most recent version of Kallos' bill would give owners of buildings with unsafe facades 180 days to complete repairs. After that, the city would complete the repairs at the owner's expense.&nbsp;</p> <p>The bill has the support of Bed-Stuy&nbsp;Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr., who is chair of the Housing and Building Committee. But the proposal is still yet to receive a hearing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kallos&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/devine-scaffolding-has-taken-over-new-york-city/">previously told the New York Post</a>&nbsp;that "overwhelming opposition by the real estate industry" was holding back the legislation, but he said Tuesday that he is working with industry representatives to address any remaining concerns.&nbsp;</p> <p>He pointed to the recent crackdown on unsafe facades as evidence the bill has merit.&nbsp;</p> <p>"With the Department of Buildings implementing parts of this legislation, it seems like it may have a smooth path forward," Kallos said. "The piece that folks are very cautious about is that we want to get the work done. We want to get the sidewalk sheds down, but we want to do it in a way that keeps people safe."</p> <p>Kallos has also put legislation forward that would require the DOB&nbsp;to inspect scaffolding every six months, and bill the owner for the inspection.&nbsp;</p> <p>The buildings department has pledged it will follow up every 90 days with owners of the roughly 1,300 buildings with outstanding facade safety violations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Owners that haven't started repairs within 180 days will face "additional enforcement actions," according to the notice. A buildings department spokesman did not immediately respond to a question from&nbsp;<em>Crain's&nbsp;</em>about whether than enforcement could include sending city contractors to make the fix.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 16:59:20 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7389 at https://benkallos.com PIX11 NYC Council holds hearing on free after-school care by Ayana Harry https://benkallos.com/press-clip/pix11-nyc-council-holds-hearing-free-after-school-care-ayana-harry <span>PIX11 NYC Council holds hearing on free after-school care by Ayana Harry</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC Council holds hearing on free after-school care</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/16/2020 - 11:56am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/pix11" hreflang="en">PIX11</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/ayana-harry" hreflang="en">Ayana Harry</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.pix11.com/news/local-news/nyc-council-holds-hearing-on-free-after-school-care">https://www.pix11.com/news/local-news/nyc-council-holds-hearing-on-free-after-s…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T16:56:04Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 11:56</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>MANHATTAN — City Councilman Ben Kallos is fighting for legislation that would create universal, free, after-school activities for all New York City public school students.</p> <p>"After-school activities are literally thousands of dollars a year and that's just money most families don't have," Kallos told PIX11 News inside City Hall Tuesday.</p> <p>"New Yorkers are working longer than anyone else in the country, and that is leaving kids</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>MANHATTAN — City Councilman Ben Kallos is fighting for legislation that would create universal, free, after-school activities for all New York City public school students.</p> <p>"After-school activities are literally thousands of dollars a year and that's just money most families don't have," Kallos told PIX11 News inside City Hall Tuesday.</p> <p>"New Yorkers are working longer than anyone else in the country, and that is leaving kids who get out of school at two or three o'clock unsupervised."</p> <p>The City Council's Youth Services Committee held a hearing on universal after-school programs Tuesday morning, grilling the city officials.</p> <p>"We continually want people to know about the programs that we do have." Susan Haskell, Deputy Commissioner for Youth Services said.</p> <p>Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal responded, "I'm pretty familiar with the after-school programs and the summer programs in my district and I want to be clear there are no slots available, none."</p> <p>Under Kallos' proposal, all public school students, ages 3-21, would be offered the opportunity to attend free after-school programs. The price tag for the expansion could reach $250 million Kallos said.</p> <p>After Tuesday's committee hearing, a study will be commissioned to further examine the cost.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 16:56:03 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7388 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch UES City Council Rep Pushes For Universal After School Program by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-ues-city-council-rep-pushes-universal-after-school-program-brendan <span>Upper East Side Patch UES City Council Rep Pushes For Universal After School Program by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">UES City Council Rep Pushes For Universal After School Program</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/16/2020 - 10:09am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/ues-city-council-rep-pushes-universal-after-school-program">https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/ues-city-council-rep-pushes-univ…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T15:09:55Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 10:09</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-16T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/16/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Councilmember Ben Kallos authored two bills that require the city to meet all after school slot requests for public school students.</p> <p>An Upper East Side lawmaker authored two bills that would require the city to fill all requested after school slots. (Shutterstock)</p> <p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — An Upper East Side representative in New York's city council is helping lead the push for universal after school programs by authoring bills that would require the city to offer programming for nearly 600,000 students who want after school but are kept on a waiting list.</p> <p>Under legislation authored by City Councilman Ben Kallos awith Staten Island's Debi Rose and Brooklyn's&nbsp;Mark Treyger, all public school students between the ages of three and 21 would be guaranteed space in a program through a Universal After School initiative. The bill requires city education officials to keep an annual report on the availability and need of after school slots as well as costs of the program.</p> <p>The lawmakers are also pushing a bill that mandates annual reporting on funding, applications and demographics of after school programs at city schools. Both bills were discussed Tuesday during a public hearing at City Hall.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Councilmember Ben Kallos authored two bills that require the city to meet all after school slot requests for public school students.</p> <p>An Upper East Side lawmaker authored two bills that would require the city to fill all requested after school slots. (Shutterstock)</p> <p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — An Upper East Side representative in New York's city council is helping lead the push for universal after school programs by authoring bills that would require the city to offer programming for nearly 600,000 students who want after school but are kept on a waiting list.</p> <p>Under legislation authored by City Councilman Ben Kallos awith Staten Island's Debi Rose and Brooklyn's&nbsp;Mark Treyger, all public school students between the ages of three and 21 would be guaranteed space in a program through a Universal After School initiative. The bill requires city education officials to keep an annual report on the availability and need of after school slots as well as costs of the program.</p> <p>The lawmakers are also pushing a bill that mandates annual reporting on funding, applications and demographics of after school programs at city schools. Both bills were discussed Tuesday during a public hearing at City Hall.</p> <p>"Universal access to after school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5pm, if not longer. As a new parent myself, I rely on an extended day and enrichment activities to keep my daughter busy while my partner and I are working," Kallos said in a statement.</p> <p>After school programs are critically important because it is becoming increasingly rare for families to have stay-at-home parents, according to data cited by Kallos' office. The number of kids on waiting lists for after school programs in New York City vastly outnumbers the number of kids enrolled in programs. There are 1.15 million students on waiting lists compared to 632,076 enrolled in programs, according to the Afterschool Alliance — a national organization dedicated to expanding after school opportunities.</p> <p>New York City's after school programs have shown growth since Mayor Bill de Blasio rebranded the system as the Comprehensive After School System (COMPASS). In 2015, the city was spending $135.7 million to create just 57,535 middle school slots. Those numbers jumped to $180.5 million for 77,747 slots by 2019, according to the city's Independent Budget Office.</p> <p>The city isn't close to meeting after school need when it comes to elementary school. City schools hold about 500,000 elementary school children with just 47,000 COMPASS slots, according to the City Council's 2019 report.</p> <p>Politicians pushing for universal after school say that students will greatly benefit from having a productive use of their time between school's end and going home. Children are most likely to get involved in illicit or criminal behavior between the hours of 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to data cited by the lawmakers.</p> <p>"After school programs provide vital learning, enrichment and personal growth opportunities for students. Expanding after school programming to all K-12 students who wish to enroll will keep our children safe, encourage academic achievement and inspire participation in extracurricular activities," Treyger said in a statement.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 15:09:55 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7386 at https://benkallos.com AM New York Pols urge city to make universal after-school programming a reality by ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH https://benkallos.com/press-clip/am-new-york-pols-urge-city-make-universal-after-school-programming-reality-alejandra <span>AM New York Pols urge city to make universal after-school programming a reality by ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Pols urge city to make universal after-school programming a reality</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 01/15/2020 - 9:23am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/am-new-york" hreflang="en">AM New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/alejandra-oconnell-domenech" hreflang="en">ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.amny.com/education-2/pols-urge-city-to-make-universal-after-school-programming-a-reality-with-new-bill/">https://www.amny.com/education-2/pols-urge-city-to-make-universal-after-school-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-15T14:23:05Z">Wed, 01/15/2020 - 09:23</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-15T12:00:00Z">Wed, 01/15/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Universal access to after school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5 p.m.,” said Councilmember Ben Kallos, at an oversight hearing on after-school legislation on Tuesday. The Upper East side pol sponsored a bill in 2018 requiring that the city provide free after-school programs to every public school student between the ages of three through 21.</p> <p>Kallos was joined by other members of the Youth Services committee including Councilmember Treyger who touched on his own after-school legislation proposed in 2018. Treyger’s bill would require annual reports by the Department of Education and DYCD on the demographics of the students at each after-school program including whether the student has special needs or is an English language learner. The report would also require that the agencies note the eligibility criteria for each program and the amount and source for program funding.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Pols pushed the city to make universal after-school programming a reality during an oversight hearing on the city’s publicly funded after-school programs on Tuesday.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Universal access to after school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5 p.m.,” said Councilmember Ben Kallos, at an oversight hearing on after-school legislation on Tuesday. The Upper East side pol sponsored a bill in 2018 requiring that the city provide free after-school programs to every public school student between the ages of three through 21.</p> <p>Kallos was joined by other members of the Youth Services committee including Councilmember Treyger who touched on his own after-school legislation proposed in 2018. Treyger’s bill would require annual reports by the Department of Education and DYCD on the demographics of the students at each after-school program including whether the student has special needs or is an English language learner. The report would also require that the agencies note the eligibility criteria for each program and the amount and source for program funding.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The children that we are serving…is there data on the number of kids that have been turned away because of their special needs?” asked Treyger during the hearing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Out of the city’s 1,800 schools, only about 900 have city-funded after-school programs, said Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development Susan Haskell at the hearing. About 550 of those schools have DYDC-funded programs and 300 have programs that receiving funding through the Department of Education, leaving about 1,000 schools with no after school programs.</p> <p>Although nowhere near covering all students, the number of city-funded after-school programs has gone up. According to the Independent Budget Office, the number of Comprehensive Afterschool System spots (COMPASS) jumped from 33,000 to nearly 178,800 by 2019 with the majority of those new slots going to middle schools. That increase can be linked to an increase in funding. During that same time, the budget for the COMPASS NYC programs increased from $260 million to $335 million.&nbsp;</p> <p>But that uptick still isn’t enough, lawmakers and advocates say. There are at least 500,000 elementary school-age students enrolled in public schools with only 47,000 COMPASS spots available to them, according to a 2019 City Council report.</p> <p>In order to bring universal after-school programming to include all public elementary schools, the DYDC would have to cough up $250 million, about $100 million more than what is already allocated in the city’s budget. However, the agency argues that the cost of expanding its services to all elementary schools alone would cost in the hundreds of millions. Lawmakers pressed for the DYDC to come up with a finite number for how much expanding the programs would cost in this year’s budget.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We stand ready,” said Haskell. “If the city commits to an expansion of after school services then we can figure out a policy to make sure that the most young people can participate in a high quality structure.”&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:23:04 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7384 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News NYC Council to hold hearing on universal after-school by Michael Elsen-Rooney https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-nyc-council-hold-hearing-universal-after-school-michael-elsen-rooney <span>New York Daily News NYC Council to hold hearing on universal after-school by Michael Elsen-Rooney</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC Council to hold hearing on universal after-school</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/14/2020 - 10:05am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/michael-elsen-rooney" hreflang="en">Michael Elsen-Rooney</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-afterschool-city-council-20200113-gwkzganxpze7flc46kwz2qzfi4-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-afterschool-city-council-2020…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-14T15:05:25Z">Tue, 01/14/2020 - 10:05</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-14T12:00:00Z">Tue, 01/14/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“I want to wake up in a city where all public students have universal after-school,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos (D–Manhattan), the sponsor of a 2018&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3673406&amp;GUID=1B6154DA-D61A-4A21-BE7C-690683D69824&amp;Options=&amp;Search=">bill</a>&nbsp;that would require the city to offer free after-school to any public school student ages 3-21 who requests it.</p> <p>“Universal access to after-school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5 p.m., if not longer,” Kallos said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New York City lawmakers are pushing to make after-school as standard as the rest of the school day.</p> <p>In a hearing Tuesday at the City Council’s Youth Services Committee, elected officials and advocates will urge Mayor de Blasio’s administration to continue its expansion of out-of-school programs – until every kid has a slot.</p> <p>“I want to wake up in a city where all public students have universal after-school,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos (D–Manhattan), the sponsor of a 2018&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3673406&amp;GUID=1B6154DA-D61A-4A21-BE7C-690683D69824&amp;Options=&amp;Search=">bill</a>&nbsp;that would require the city to offer free after-school to any public school student ages 3-21 who requests it.</p> <p>“Universal access to after-school will increase and equalize educational opportunities, keep kids out of the criminal justice system, and make life easier for parents whose jobs keep them at work until at least 5 p.m., if not longer,” Kallos said.</p> <p>De Blasio has overseen a major expansion of the city’s after-school programs. Since 2014, the number of funded seats in school year and summer programs through the city Youth and Community Development Department has&nbsp;<a href="https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/under-the-radar-big-rise-in-after-school-programs-for-elementary-and-middle-school-students-april-2019.html">surged</a>&nbsp;from 123,000 to close to 200,000, according to the Independent Budget Office.</p> <p>But that’s still far short of reaching every student. The city offers 47,000 elementary after-school seats, for example – covering just 9% of the city’s approximately 500,000 kindergarten through fifth grade public school students.</p> <p>The move would come with a hefty price tag. In testimony to the City Council in March, Youth and Community Development Department officials estimated the cost of bringing at least one program to each elementary school at around $250 million, and reaching every student “much, much higher.”</p> <p>A related idea gained national attention last year when former Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris&nbsp;<a href="https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/11/the-school-day-is-two-hours-shorter-than-the-work-day-kamala-harris-wants-to-change-that/">proposed&nbsp;</a>extending school hours to more closely match the workday.</p> <p>Two bills sponsored by Kallos and Council members Deborah Rose (D-S.I.) and Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) would commission a study to estimate the cost of expansion and require the city to phase in programs for any student who requests a seat.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Tue, 14 Jan 2020 15:05:25 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7381 at https://benkallos.com The City AS CITY VOWS NEW FACADE CRACKDOWN, OLD VIOLATIONS LEAVE BUILDINGS ‘UNSAFE’ by Rachel Holiday Smith https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-city-vows-new-facade-crackdown-old-violations-leave-buildings-unsafe-rachel-holiday <span>The City AS CITY VOWS NEW FACADE CRACKDOWN, OLD VIOLATIONS LEAVE BUILDINGS ‘UNSAFE’ by Rachel Holiday Smith</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">AS CITY VOWS NEW FACADE CRACKDOWN, OLD VIOLATIONS LEAVE BUILDINGS ‘UNSAFE’</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/09/2020 - 10:21am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city" hreflang="en">The City</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/rachel-holiday-smith" hreflang="en">Rachel Holiday Smith</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://thecity.nyc/2020/01/amid-facade-crackdown-violations-leave-some-nyc-buildings-unsafe.html">https://thecity.nyc/2020/01/amid-facade-crackdown-violations-leave-some-nyc-bui…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-09T15:21:15Z">Thu, 01/09/2020 - 10:21</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-09T12:00:00Z">Thu, 01/09/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item">No ‘Silver Bullet’ In a statement to THE CITY, Abigail Kunitz, a DOB spokesperson said, “Building owners are on notice as we continue with proactive inspections, strong enforcement actions, and direct outreach, to ensure they are held accountable for keeping their buildings safe.” Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) called the increased inspections a step in the right direction, but expressed concern about even further proliferating the sidewalk sheds that blanket many blocks. Kallos has been trying to push reforms for years in the hope of reducing the number of sheds by mandating repairs be done more quickly. “If there is the potential for a piece of a facade from a building to fall on somebody, I would prefer it gets fixed as soon as possible. And while that’s happening, there should be something to protect people who are going by,” he said. “But this whole idea of let’s just get the sidewalk sheds up and everyone will be saved — it is far from a silver bullet.”</div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"> The five-star Lotte New York Palace, featured on “Gossip Girl,” beckons guests and selfie-takers with an Instagram-ready courtyard, ringed by a mansion-like 19th century brownstone at the base of a modern hotel tower. But what visitors may not know is that months ago, a city building inspector flagged the Madison Avenue property’s owner, the Archdiocese of New York, for failing to put up a sidewalk shed or other measures to protect passersby from a facade deemed dangerous. The $10,000 fine for “failure to take required measures to protect public safety” — and two other fines totaling $3,750 for failure to maintain exteriors — followed a March 2019 engineering report that found broken roof tiles, deteriorating chimneys and loose safety railings, among other potential hazards, records show. The Palace is one of more than 300 buildings citywide that have open violations in city Department of Buildings records for not putting protections in place to shield passersby in the event a piece of facade crumbles or collapses following a failed inspection. The risks of deteriorating materials dozens of feet above ground came into tragic view last month, when architect Erica Tishman was killed near Times Square by a piece of terra cotta that broke free from a building and plummeted. The Department of Buildings swiftly announced it would inspect 1,331 buildings whose mandatory every-five-year inspections had found their facades unsafe, “to determine if they required additional pedestrian protections.” Of those, 220 lacked such protections and would be issued violations requiring them to put up barriers to falling objects, according to the DOB. The agency declined to identify the buildings while enforcement actions are ongoing, and no such violations appeared in public records as of Tuesday. But even before that Dec. 30 announcement, the DOB already had slapped hundreds of buildings with public safety violations for not putting up sheds or other safety measures — and those THE CITY visited last week still had not put up protections, even months after inspections spotted risks. Scaffolding on Tap On Friday, Roosevelt Island resident Simon Hampton stopped by the Palace Hotel with his sister, a “Gossip Girl” fan who was visiting from New Zealand. To him, protections for pedestrians are something “you presume is a given when you’re walking along.” “You just generally trust that they’re going to be put up safely,” he said. “It seems like a very easy thing for buildings to implement. It doesn’t sound like it would cost very much for glamorous hotels.” The preservation firm SuperStructures estimates sheds often cost as much as $125 a foot for installation, not including monthly rental costs and permit fees. Becky Hubbard, general manager of the Palace Hotel, said in a statement that “the safety of our guests and neighbors is of utmost importance.” She added that the hotel had “previously resolved all violation reports” and would be filing paperwork with DOB indicating issues have been corrected. “In the interim, we are filing for permits to erect the bridge as directed,” she said, using another term for a protective sidewalk shed. The Archdiocese, which referred questions to hotel management, has a city Environmental Control Board hearing scheduled for March 26 on the violations and fines. In November, the Archdiocese mortgaged the property, formerly known as the Helmsley Palace Hotel, for $120 million in an effort to raise funds for sex-abuse lawsuit settlements. Sheds Everywhere New York City’s Local Law 11 requires all buildings taller than six stories to undergo facade inspections every five years, a process first established 40 years ago after falling debris killed Barnard College student Grace Gold. In total, owners of about 14,000 buildings must file reports disclosing facade conditions during each cycle. The facade law accounts for one-third of all sidewalk shed permits, an analysis by the CITY found — helping make the green wooden structures a common sight. DOB has issued public safety violations for more than 1,200 buildings in the current five-year inspection cycle — 321 of which still have active violations for failing to implement safety measures, such as putting up a shed, fence or netting. The building where Tishman died was reported as “safe with a repair and maintenance program” in February, a status that under Local Law 11 requires owners to fix issues before the next inspection cycle. People walk under scaffolding at 729 Seventh Ave. the day after an architect was fatally struck by falling debris. People walk under scaffolding at 729 Seventh Ave. the day after an architect was fatally struck by falling debris. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY Owners of “unsafe” buildings must erect safety measures and make repairs within 90 days — but they rarely meet that deadline. On average, THE CITY found, it took 508 days from a report of an unsafe facade for a building to be reclassified. Some 78% of buildings flagged as “unsafe” following facade inspections in the most recent five-year cycle, which ends in February, have active permits for protective sidewalk sheds. According to construction expert Richard Lambeck of the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University, building owners often choose to take a violation rather than make repairs for a very simple reason. “To them, it’s cheaper to get the fine than to actually do the work,” he said. A solution, Lambeck said, is obvious: Make the fines “so large that the landowner cannot avoid it.” A meaningful fee, he believes, would be $200,000 or $250,000 for major violations. The typical penalty is $10,000. Welfare Center Woes Among those still lacking protection is the Union Square job center location for the city Human Resources Administration. On its website, HRA says the location “primarily serves individuals identified as having significant barriers to employment and needing specialized services.” A year ago Tuesday, a DOB inspector cited 109 E. 16th St. for failing to take safety measures to protect the public, and imposed a $10,000 fine. The violation and fine were upheld at a city administrative hearing last April. The city's Union Square Job Center on East 16th Street, Jan. 6, 2020. The city’s Union Square Job Center on East 16th Street, Jan. 6, 2020. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY Yet the building still has no sidewalk sheds, even after the fine was paid and a contractor obtained a permit in August for facade repairs. In December 2018, the private engineer who conducted a Local Law 11 inspection had identified “several conditions” in need of repair, including deteriorated mortar and unfastened gutters. HRA referred questions to the property’s owner, an affiliate of Gould Investors LP. The firm’s president, Mark Lundy, said the building was in compliance with DOB safety rules and that a contractor is “currently performing any needed repairs.” But, he added: “given new circumstances and unfortunate recent accident, we have ordered a sidewalk bridge to be installed where work is being done and the contractor says that it is tentatively scheduled to be installed on Monday.” Missing and Late Reports Of the 2,663 buildings initially reported unsafe in the most recent five-year Local Law 11 cycle, 1,552 buildings remain listed as unsafe. Those buildings have had unsafe status for 581 days on average. In all, more than half of buildings that submitted facade reports for the 2015-2020 cycle required some kind of repair. Building owners can request time extensions for repairs to unsafe buildings. But the DOB has issued 1,301 violations this cycle for failing to report repairs, racking up more than $2 million in fines and leaving the safety status of many buildings uncertain. And one-third of initial reports were late in the most recent cycle, including 2,138 that are still missing. Of the buildings that haven’t filed yet, 151 had violations for failing to secure public safety — and of those, 98 still have active violations. Last cycle, 874 buildings failed to file reports, according to the DOB. The DOB announced last week that it would double the number of facade inspectors it has on staff — bringing the total to 22 — in an effort to step up enforcement. No ‘Silver Bullet’ In a statement to THE CITY, Abigail Kunitz, a DOB spokesperson said, “Building owners are on notice as we continue with proactive inspections, strong enforcement actions, and direct outreach, to ensure they are held accountable for keeping their buildings safe.” Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) called the increased inspections a step in the right direction, but expressed concern about even further proliferating the sidewalk sheds that blanket many blocks. Kallos has been trying to push reforms for years in the hope of reducing the number of sheds by mandating repairs be done more quickly. “If there is the potential for a piece of a facade from a building to fall on somebody, I would prefer it gets fixed as soon as possible. And while that’s happening, there should be something to protect people who are going by,” he said. “But this whole idea of let’s just get the sidewalk sheds up and everyone will be saved — it is far from a silver bullet.” City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) Photo: William Alatriste for the New York City Council/(c)William Alatriste In particular, Kallos takes issue with how minor and major infractions alike lead to the same “unsafe” designation by DOB. He equates the response to a dentist prescribing a root canal for a tooth that only needs monitoring. “The Department of Buildings has the difficult task of making sure they keep us safe without crying wolf,” he said. </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Thu, 09 Jan 2020 15:21:15 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7380 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch Bike Safety Improves On UES Amid Deadly Year For City, Pols Say by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-bike-safety-improves-ues-amid-deadly-year-city-pols-say-brendan <span>Upper East Side Patch Bike Safety Improves On UES Amid Deadly Year For City, Pols Say by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Bike Safety Improves On UES Amid Deadly Year For City, Pols Say</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Sat, 01/04/2020 - 11:01am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/bike-safety-improves-ues-amid-deadly-year-city-pols-say">https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/bike-safety-improves-ues-amid-de…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-03T16:01:08Z">Fri, 01/03/2020 - 11:01</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-03T12:00:00Z">Fri, 01/03/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/traffic-transit">Traffic &amp; Transit</a></p> <p>Bike Safety Improves On UES Amid Deadly Year For City, Pols Say</p> <p>The number of cyclist deaths in New York City rose sharply in 2019, but safety improvements on the Upper East Side are working.</p> <p>By&nbsp;<a href="https://patch.com/users/brendan-krisel">Brendan Krisel, Patch Staff</a></p> <p>Jan 3, 2020 3:32 pm ET</p> <p>&nbsp;Reply (2)</p> <p><strong>2</strong></p> <p><img alt="Bike safety on the Upper East Side has improved in recent years due to new bike lanes and education programs." src="https://patch.com/img/cdn20/users/22866740/20200103/033247/styles/patch_image/public/new-york-city-bike-lane-patch-david-allen-1___03145229004.jpg?width=705" /></p> <p>Bike safety on the Upper East Side has improved in recent years due to new bike lanes and education programs. (David Allen/Patch)</p> <p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Bike safety measures taken on the Upper East Side in recent years have reduced the number of cyclists hurt and killed in collisions in the neighborhood despite an uptick in cyclist deaths in 2019, local elected officials announced this week.</p> <p>Additional protected bike lanes, increased enforcement against cyclists violating traffic rules and new bike safety education programs have shows success in keeping both cyclists and pedestrians safe in the neighborhood, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Keith Powers said in a joint statement.</p> <p>"Our first priority is to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from cars, and we've made great strides doing so on the Upper East Side," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Particularly older residents are also afraid of getting hurt in a collision with bikes that disobey the rules every day. Whether it is 'near misses' from a failure to yield to pedestrians, or reports of cyclists who run red lights, go the wrong way, or ride on sidewalks, everyone must know the rules of the road in order to share it safely.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/traffic-transit">Traffic &amp; Transit</a></p> <p>Bike Safety Improves On UES Amid Deadly Year For City, Pols Say</p> <p>The number of cyclist deaths in New York City rose sharply in 2019, but safety improvements on the Upper East Side are working.</p> <p>By&nbsp;<a href="https://patch.com/users/brendan-krisel">Brendan Krisel, Patch Staff</a></p> <p>Jan 3, 2020 3:32 pm ET</p> <p>&nbsp;Reply (2)</p> <p><strong>2</strong></p> <p><img alt="Bike safety on the Upper East Side has improved in recent years due to new bike lanes and education programs." src="https://patch.com/img/cdn20/users/22866740/20200103/033247/styles/patch_image/public/new-york-city-bike-lane-patch-david-allen-1___03145229004.jpg?width=705" /></p> <p>Bike safety on the Upper East Side has improved in recent years due to new bike lanes and education programs. (David Allen/Patch)</p> <p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Bike safety measures taken on the Upper East Side in recent years have reduced the number of cyclists hurt and killed in collisions in the neighborhood despite an uptick in cyclist deaths in 2019, local elected officials announced this week.</p> <p>Additional protected bike lanes, increased enforcement against cyclists violating traffic rules and new bike safety education programs have shows success in keeping both cyclists and pedestrians safe in the neighborhood, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Keith Powers said in a joint statement.</p> <p>"Our first priority is to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from cars, and we've made great strides doing so on the Upper East Side," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Particularly older residents are also afraid of getting hurt in a collision with bikes that disobey the rules every day. Whether it is 'near misses' from a failure to yield to pedestrians, or reports of cyclists who run red lights, go the wrong way, or ride on sidewalks, everyone must know the rules of the road in order to share it safely.</p> <p>Since the launch of a bike safety program in 2014, collisions involving cyclists in Powers and Kallos' districts have been reduced from 380 to 292 in 2019. The number of collisions hit a low in 2017 with 291, then jumped back up to 319 in 2018 before last year's reduction.</p> <p>Between 2012 and 2019 there was just one cyclist killed between East 26th and 96th streets on Manhattan's east side, according to city collision data broken down by zip code. During the span of seven years, 1,626 cyclists were injured in collisions with cars. Daniel Cammerman, a 50-year-old pediatrician affiliated with Mount Sinai on the Upper East Side, was hit and killed by a school bus in Central Park last month. It's unclear whether the data counts this collision, as it happened within the confines of the park.</p> <p><a href="https://patch.com/">Subscribe</a></p> <p>Powers and Kallos attribute the positive trend in collision numbers to a number of different programs.</p> <p>Safety improvements include:</p> <ul> <li>Expanding protected bike lanes on north-south corridors such as First and Second avenues as well as installing paired crosstown lanes on streets such as 90th and 91st streets, 70th and 71st streets and 77th and 78th streets;</li> <li>Closing the Second Avenue bike lane gap near the mouth of the Queensboro Bridge in 2019;</li> <li>Increased enforcement against cyclists committing wrong-way and moving violations in the 17th and 19th NYPD precincts;</li> <li>Working with the precincts to ensure police do not block the neighborhood's bike lanes and monitor the lanes to make sure they aren't illegally unobstructed.</li> <li>Safety equipment giveaways such as free vests and lights for delivery workers and helmets for young riders;</li> </ul> <p>Safe streets advocacy groups such as StreetsPAC and Transportation Alternatives were consulted when lawmakers designed the bike safety plan. Partners such as Bike New York, Citibike and the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association have helped the lawmakers put the programs into action.</p> <p>"Amidst a challenging year for cycling across New York City, with 29 New Yorkers killed, Transportation Alternatives is inspired by the ongoing work of Council Members Kallos and Powers to bring safer streets to the Upper East Side," Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Sat, 04 Jan 2020 16:01:07 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7378 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-new-ues-soup-kitchen-distribute-200-meals-day-brendan-krisel <span>Upper East Side Patch New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New UES Soup Kitchen To Distribute 200 Meals Per Day</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Fri, 01/03/2020 - 9:40am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/new-ues-soup-kitchen-distribute-200-meals-day">https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/new-ues-soup-kitchen-distribute-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-03T14:40:59Z">Fri, 01/03/2020 - 09:40</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-01-03T12:00:00Z">Fri, 01/03/2020 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Locals may be surprised that a soup kitchen is opening on the Upper East Side — generally considered one of Manhattan's more affluent neighborhoods — but food insecurity can afflict people in any area, City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.</p> <p>"No community, including the Upper East Side, is immune to the sad reality of families facing hunger during this holiday season," Kallos said in a statement. "As a City, we must prepare for looming federal cuts to SNAP benefits and bolster outreach to the homeless whenever and wherever possible."</p> <p>People interested in volunteering at the new soup kitchen can reach out to Bronx Parent Housing Network by emailing</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A new soup kitchen opened on the Upper East Side on New Year's Day to help feed the homeless and people struggling with food insecurity.</p> <p>Bronx Parent Housing Network, a nonprofit organization, will serve lunch and dinner from its new Loving Arms Soup Kitchen on First Avenue between East 85th and 86th streets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, a spokesperson for the nonprofit told Patch. Lunch service will be held between 12 and 2 p.m. and dinner will be served between 4 and 6 p.m., according to the spokesperson.</p> <p>Funding for the new soup kitchen was donated anonymously, the nonprofit said. Bronx Parent Housing Network's President and CEO Victor Rivera — who experienced homelessness in his youth — said that federal cuts to food stamps programs will force many New York City residents into food insecurity.</p> <p>"Wall Street might be breaking records, but there are hungry people in New York, and the situation is threatening to get even worse," Rivera said in a statement. "With changes to the food stamp program coming, our network is hearing about food pantries running out of resources throughout the city as thousands more families prepare to face food insecurity."</p> <p>Meals served at the Upper East Side soup kitchen will be catered by Bronx restaurant Havana Express. Shelter staff expect about 200 meals will be served during lunch and dinner on each day that the facility is open.</p> <p>Locals may be surprised that a soup kitchen is opening on the Upper East Side — generally considered one of Manhattan's more affluent neighborhoods — but food insecurity can afflict people in any area, City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.</p> <p>"No community, including the Upper East Side, is immune to the sad reality of families facing hunger during this holiday season," Kallos said in a statement. "As a City, we must prepare for looming federal cuts to SNAP benefits and bolster outreach to the homeless whenever and wherever possible."</p> <p>People interested in volunteering at the new soup kitchen can reach out to Bronx Parent Housing Network by emailing</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Fri, 03 Jan 2020 14:40:59 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7376 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch City Commits 184 Additional K-8 Seats To Upper East Side by Brenden Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-city-commits-184-additional-k-8-seats-upper-east-side-brenden <span>Upper East Side Patch City Commits 184 Additional K-8 Seats To Upper East Side by Brenden Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Commits 184 Additional K-8 Seats To Upper East Side</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/24/2019 - 1:41pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brenden-krisel" hreflang="en">Brenden Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/city-commits-184-additional-k-8-seats-upper-east-side">https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/city-commits-184-additional-k-8-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T18:41:59Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 13:41</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Nearly 200 additional K-8 public school seats are being allocated to the Upper East Side as a result of a 2018 law that changed the way the city determined the need for seats, local City Councilman Ben Kallos announced Thursday.</p> <p>The School Construction Authority is now planning to build 824 new K-8 seats on the Upper East Side by 2024, a spokesman for Kallos said. In last year's SCA proposed five-year master plan, the city agency allocated just 640 seats to the neighborhood. The amendment represents a gain of 184 seats for the neighborhood.</p> <p>Kallos attributes the additional Upper East Side seats to a law he authored and passed in 2018 that requires the SCA to disclose the methods and formulas it uses to decide where and when to build new schools.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Nearly 200 additional K-8 public school seats are being allocated to the Upper East Side as a result of a 2018 law that changed the way the city determined the need for seats, local City Councilman Ben Kallos announced Thursday.</p> <p>The School Construction Authority is now planning to build 824 new K-8 seats on the Upper East Side by 2024, a spokesman for Kallos said. In last year's SCA proposed five-year master plan, the city agency allocated just 640 seats to the neighborhood. The amendment represents a gain of 184 seats for the neighborhood.</p> <p>Kallos attributes the additional Upper East Side seats to a law he authored and passed in 2018 that requires the SCA to disclose the methods and formulas it uses to decide where and when to build new schools.</p> <p>"When I got elected, the Upper East Side was slated for no new seats, despite overcrowding, and I thought something was wrong. With new found transparency around the planning processes, our need for seats was confirmed and now we are getting the seats we need for every child to get a world class education," Kallos said in a statement.</p> <p>Last year's announcement to build 640 new K-8 seats on the Upper East Side came with am estimated cost of $92.8 million. The SCA did not reveal any changes in cost after the addition of 184 seats.</p> <p>The 824 new school seats planned for the Upper East Side are not yet attached to a specific construction project or site, but are expected to be built by 2024, a spokesman for Kallos said Thursday.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Dec 2019 18:41:59 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7371 at https://benkallos.com AM New York Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan by Gabe Herman https://benkallos.com/press-clip/am-new-york-homeless-who-died-2019-honored-memorial-event-manhattan-gabe-herman <span>AM New York Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan by Gabe Herman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Homeless who died in 2019 honored at memorial event in Manhattan</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/24/2019 - 11:52am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/am-new-york" hreflang="en">AM New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/gabe-herman" hreflang="en">Gabe Herman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.amny.com/manhattan/homeless-who-died-in-2019-honored-at-memorial-event-in-manhattan/">https://www.amny.com/manhattan/homeless-who-died-in-2019-honored-at-memorial-ev…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T16:52:48Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 11:52</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The annual event, called Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, was hosted by the nonprofits <a href="https://www.careforthehomeless.org/" rel="nofollow">Care For the Homeless</a> (CFH) and <a href="http://www.urbanpathways.org/" rel="nofollow">Urban Pathways</a> (UP) at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, at 7 West 55th St.</p> <p>This year, 153 homeless people were honored, and each name was read aloud as a bell tolled and a candle was lit. Several elected officials spoke, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi and City Council Member Ben Kallos.</p> <p>A eulogy was also given for the four Chinatown victims who were beaten to death one night in early October. There were six other eulogies given at the event, and 15 people read the names of all those who had died in 2019.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>More than 150 homeless New Yorkers have died thus far in 2019, and they were remembered in a special way Wednesday with a proper memorial.</p> <p>The annual event, called Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, was hosted by the nonprofits&nbsp;<a href="https://www.careforthehomeless.org/">Care For the Homeless</a>&nbsp;(CFH) and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbanpathways.org/">Urban Pathways</a>&nbsp;(UP) at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, at 7 West 55th&nbsp;St.</p> <p>This year, 153 homeless people were honored, and each name was read aloud as a bell tolled and a candle was lit. Several elected officials spoke, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi and City Council Member Ben Kallos.</p> <p>A eulogy was also given for the four Chinatown victims who were beaten to death one night in early October. There were six other eulogies given at the event, and 15 people read the names of all those who had died in 2019.</p> <p>Among those remembered at the event was Anedia V., a loving mother who received CFH’s Health Care Success award this past July at its Summer Solstice Success Celebration. Before the event, CFH shared a quote from Anedia: “Life is a blessing, life is a gift, and faith is power. We all have the same objectives in life: to love, feel joy, to teach, to learn; to become fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, and friends. We are all part of the same team and we do so through strength, patience, understanding, respect, and love of one another.”</p> <p>The memorial was held at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. (Courtesy Care For the Homeless)</p> <p>The event’s stated purpose was not only to remember those lost in 2019, but to raise awareness of the ongoing problem of homelessness in the city.</p> <p>“Housing and health are essential components to preventing and ending homelessness,” said Urban Pathways CEO Fred Shack before the event. “With [Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day], we’re acknowledging the value and dignity of each person, while also bringing attention to that essential connection.”</p> <p>The nonprofits are advocating for more comprehensive lists of how many people are homeless in the city, and for more affordable and supportive housing to be built. They also support adoption of the Home Stability Support legislation, which would provide more housing subsidies for New Yorkers receiving public assistance.</p> <p>“Even as we pause to grieve for those who passed away while homeless, we need to acknowledge that chronic homelessness can rob a person of 30 or even 40 years of life,” said Care For the Homeless Executive Director George Nashak before the event.&nbsp;“As a society, we have it within our power to end the modern-day homeless crisis. And it starts with rectifying poor policy choices. Better policies can end homelessness as we know it.”</p> <p>The memorial event has been held for the past several years by Care For the Homeless and Urban Pathways, and it has been adopted elsewhere, according to the nonprofits, with over 180 cities expected to have a similar event this year.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Dec 2019 16:52:48 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7370 at https://benkallos.com Brooklyn Daily Eagle One homeless shelter provider in Brooklyn has racked up hundreds of violations by Noah Goldberg https://benkallos.com/press-clip/brooklyn-daily-eagle-one-homeless-shelter-provider-brooklyn-has-racked-hundreds <span>Brooklyn Daily Eagle One homeless shelter provider in Brooklyn has racked up hundreds of violations by Noah Goldberg</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">One homeless shelter provider in Brooklyn has racked up hundreds of violations</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/24/2019 - 8:38am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/brooklyn-daily-eagle" hreflang="en">Brooklyn Daily Eagle</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/noah-goldberg" hreflang="en">Noah Goldberg</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/12/17/one-homeless-shelter-provider-in-brooklyn-has-racked-up-hundreds-of-violations/">https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/12/17/one-homeless-shelter-provider-in-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T13:38:16Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 08:38</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A Brooklyn-based nonprofit has racked up nearly 300 open violations at five different homeless shelters across the borough — and it runs all five of the “cluster sites” with the most violations in Brooklyn,&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/about/shelter-repair-scorecard.page">according to the most recent city-released statistics</a>.</p> <p>Core Services Group Inc. operates 40 “emergency or transitional housing settings,” providing “critical services” to at least 3,000 people,&nbsp;<a href="https://coresvcs.org/about-us/">according to the organization’s website</a>. The nonprofit runs at least 20 shelters and cluster sites in New York City and provides at least 800 beds of emergency, transitional and shelter-based housing,<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/shelter/providers/core.page">&nbsp;according to the city</a>. It also operates shelters in Washington D.C.</p> <p>Cluster sites are temporary apartments that house people experiencing homelessness in privately owned buildings. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced first in 2016 that he planned on getting rid of cluster sites as one of the options the city uses to house the homeless by 2019, partially due to the “<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/005-16/mayor-de-blasio-three-year-plan-permanently-end-use-clusters-homeless-shelters">bad conditions</a>” of many of the sites. At the time there were 3,000 units of cluster site housing.</p> <p>News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond</p> <p>“That number of violations in units is not acceptable,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin, who chairs the Committee on General Welfare, on Monday.</p> <p>The City Council held an oversight hearing on Monday regarding the Department of Homeless Services and its contracts with nonprofit groups running some of the city’s shelters.</p> <p>“In Brooklyn, it appears&nbsp;Core Services Group&nbsp;is running cluster sites that typically have more violations than shelters. Today, [the Department of Homeless Services] reiterated that these cluster sites will be phased out over the next two years at which point we hope to see fewer violations,” Councilmember Ben Kallos told the&nbsp;<em>Brooklyn Eagle&nbsp;</em>at the hearing. “DHS and the city need to stay on top of these providers making sure violations are handled and that conditions are suitable for New Yorkers.”</p> <p>There were&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dhs/downloads/pdf/dailyreport.pdf">nearly 49,000 people staying in the city’s shelter system</a>&nbsp;as of Sunday.</p> <p>Molly Park, the first deputy commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services, said at the hearing that the city plans on closing all cluster sites by 2021.</p> <p>Core Services Group does not operate the cluster sites with the most open violations in the city — the 12 sites with the most violations are all in the Bronx, including one site, run by nonprofit group Aguila, that has racked up a whopping 197 open violations.</p> <p>Core Services Group also operates homeless shelters in the city — and is slated to operate the shelter in Queens that has&nbsp;<a href="https://queenseagle.com/all/chaotic-glendale-shelter-hearing-elicits-anti-homeless-hate-and-discrimination">elicited anti-homeless rhetoric</a>&nbsp;in the borough. It also operates a shelter in Washington Heights where a man’s decaying body was&nbsp;<a href="https://abc7ny.com/emergency-housing-residents-death-unnoticed-for-2-weeks/5308975/">found weeks after his death</a>.</p> <p>Kallos, who chairs the Committee on Contracts, asked DHS brass Monday if the city is stuck with vendors who struggle to run sites without violations.</p> <p>“Why do certain providers who consistently have violations … still see DHS continue to award or renew contracts? For example, Acacia currently has 1,184 open violations. Are we as a city stuck with specific vendors?” he asked. (Acacia Network Housing Inc., a Bronx-based nonprofit, is currently being probed by the Department of Investigation, according to the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/investigation-of-new-york-city-shelter-operator-grows-11566774041"><em>Wall Street Journal</em></a>.)</p> <p>Park responded that most open violations occur in cluster sites and not in other types of homeless shelters, like commercial hotels where the city houses people experiencing homelessness.</p> <p>While DHS plans on closing down all the cluster sites by 2021, Kallos hopes the city will focus on first shutting down the sites run by providers like Core Services Group with high numbers of open violations.</p> <p>Core Services Group declined to comment and referred all questions about the cluster sites they operate back to DHS.</p> <p>DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how much money the city contracts to Core Services Group.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The City Council held an oversight hearing on Monday regarding the Department of Homeless Services and its contracts with nonprofit groups running some of the city’s shelters.</p> <p>“In Brooklyn, it appears&nbsp;Core Services Group&nbsp;is running cluster sites that typically have more violations than shelters. Today, [the Department of Homeless Services] reiterated that these cluster sites will be phased out over the next two years at which point we hope to see fewer violations,” Councilmember Ben Kallos told the&nbsp;<em>Brooklyn Eagle&nbsp;</em>at the hearing. “DHS and the city need to stay on top of these providers making sure violations are handled and that conditions are suitable for New Yorkers.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Dec 2019 13:38:16 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7366 at https://benkallos.com Gothamist After Falling Facade Kills Woman, City Officials Propose Using Drones To Inspect Buildings by Elizabeth Kim https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gothamist-after-falling-facade-kills-woman-city-officials-propose-using-drones-inspect <span>Gothamist After Falling Facade Kills Woman, City Officials Propose Using Drones To Inspect Buildings by Elizabeth Kim</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">After Falling Facade Kills Woman, City Officials Propose Using Drones To Inspect Buildings</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/24/2019 - 8:19am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gothamist" hreflang="en">Gothamist</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/elizabeth-kim" hreflang="en">Elizabeth Kim</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://gothamist.com/news/after-falling-facade-kills-woman-city-officials-propose-using-drones-inspect-buildings">https://gothamist.com/news/after-falling-facade-kills-woman-city-officials-prop…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T13:19:34Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 08:19</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Concerns about the inspection process of the city's building facades heightened after Erica Tishman, a 60-year-old architect, was <a href="https://gothamist.com/news/nypd-woman-killed-falling-building-debris-near-times-square" rel="nofollow">killed last Tuesday</a> while walking in front of an office building on 7th Avenue. In April, The property owner, Himmel + Meringoff Properties, was cited by the DOB for failing to property maintain its terra cotta facade. Poorly maintained terra cotta facades have <a href="https://gothamist.com/news/cited-recent-fatality-poorly-maintained-terra-cotta-facades-have-deadly-history-nyc" rel="nofollow">a history of causing fatal accidents</a> in New York City. Over the years, the DOB has noted that the weaknesses of the material can be difficult to spot and require an up-close examination. Preservationists have maintained that most property owners fail to do sufficient upkeep of terra cotta.</p> <p>Adams and Brannan, who held a press conference on Sunday on the steps of City Hall, argued that drones can be a cost-effective solution for property owners and the city. To date, Councilmember Robert Cornegy and Ben Kallos have pledged to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>After a woman was fatally struck by a piece of building facade that fell from a Midtown building last week, a group of elected officials are backing a plan to legalize drones to perform building inspections.</p> <p>At the request of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn City Councilmember Justin Brannan said he plans to introduce two City Council bills early next year related to drone technology. One would require that an initial drone inspection be done within 48 hours of a facade-related 311 complaint or Department of Building violation, while the second would authorize the New York City Housing Authority to use drones for initial facade inspections on NYCHA developments.</p> <p>Although the Federal Aviation Administration approves restricted flights by registered drone pilots, the use of drones is currently&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/policy/technology/nyc-drones-fly-in-legal-limbo.html">illegal</a>&nbsp;in most of New York City. Last year, Brennan, whose Brooklyn district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst, proposed a bill that would remove the outright ban and authorize some city agencies, including the Department of Transportation and New York Police Department, to oversee some permitted uses. The NYPD already&nbsp;<a href="https://gothamist.com/news/nypd-launches-drone-program-nyclu-warns-of-overreach">deploys drone technology</a>&nbsp;for certain purposes, including for search and rescue and inaccessible crime scenes.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/technology" hreflang="en">Technology</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Dec 2019 13:19:33 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7365 at https://benkallos.com Gotham Gazette Taxpayers Fleeced for Nearly $47 Million in Tech Boondoggle But Few City Leaders Notice by Scott Peterson https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gotham-gazette-taxpayers-fleeced-nearly-47-million-tech-boondoggle-few-city-leaders <span>Gotham Gazette Taxpayers Fleeced for Nearly $47 Million in Tech Boondoggle But Few City Leaders Notice by Scott Peterson</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Taxpayers Fleeced for Nearly $47 Million in Tech Boondoggle But Few City Leaders Notice</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/17/2019 - 12:10pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gotham-gazette" hreflang="en">Gotham Gazette</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/scott-peterson" hreflang="en">Scott Peterson</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8983-taxpayers-fleeced-nearly-47-million-in-tech-boondoggle-but-few-city-leaders-notice">https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8983-taxpayers-fleeced-nearly-47-million-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-17T17:10:57Z">Tue, 12/17/2019 - 12:10</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-17T12:00:00Z">Tue, 12/17/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There are several officials and institutions that have the ability to do something about this growing contract scandal: Comptroller Stringer; Public Advocate Jumaane Williams; Speaker Johnson; the City Department of Investigation; City Council Member Ben Kallos, who chairs the Contracts Committee and sits on the Oversight and Investigations Committee, and other Council members; and city media. Only Stringer and Kallos have taken any interest in the wake of a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-new-york-city-e-procurement-system-contract-ivalua-20190602-l2ccjbsohvd3tkohvdk6dp3yiq-story.html">Daily News story</a>&nbsp;on the boondoggle.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>What if I told you that in an effort to enable 40 New York City government agencies to buy goods and services more cost-effectively, some city officials have put on a tutorial on how not to buy goods and services – and stuck taxpayers with a bill heading toward $47 million? </p> <p>As a New Yorker, you’d probably tell me to “Get the hell outta here!” -- then I’d have to give you details.</p> <p>So here’s how the flimflam went down. Three years ago, city government hired an inexperienced French technology company, Ivalua, to custom-build procurement software for tens of millions of dollars ($30.5 million, to be more precise) to help the city agencies buy goods and services less expensively.</p> <p>The company’s partner in landing the contract was KPMG, a global professional services firm with deep ties to the mayor’s office and city agencies through well-connected lobbyists.</p> </div> Tue, 17 Dec 2019 17:10:57 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7359 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Manhattan NYCHA tenants in court to push for overdue repairs by Michael Gartland https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-manhattan-nycha-tenants-court-push-overdue-repairs-michael-gartland <span>New York Daily News Manhattan NYCHA tenants in court to push for overdue repairs by Michael Gartland</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Manhattan NYCHA tenants in court to push for overdue repairs</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/17/2019 - 12:06pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/michael-gartland" hreflang="en">Michael Gartland</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-nycha-holmes-towers-isaac-houses-20191213-ahee2v62hndgdkbuj55rvyyhwe-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-nycha-holmes-towers-isaac-houses-201912…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-13T17:06:19Z">Fri, 12/13/2019 - 12:06</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-13T12:00:00Z">Fri, 12/13/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Every week, my office responds to calls from NYCHA tenants seeking assistance with repairs for broken elevators, vermin infestations, lack of heat and hot water and broken intercoms,” Maloney (D-Manhattan) said. “It is unacceptable that anyone is made to live in these conditions, and that residents often file multiple work order requests for the same issue without ever receiving a response from NYCHA.”</p> <p>City Councilman Ben Kallos, a fellow Manhattan Democrat, said he fields similar calls, especially this time of year.</p> <p>Upgrade your travel experience with TSA Precheck for a faster, smoother journey. Enrollment only takes 5 minutes online and 10 minutes in person. Just $85 for 5 years. Enroll today at tsa.gov.</p> <p>“This is to make sure the repairs actually get done,” he said of the legal filings.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Residents at two Upper East Side NYCHA developments are demanding in court that the Housing Authority make permanent repairs to decrepit elevators, pipes and heating systems that they say have plagued them for years.</p> <p>Accompanied by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, more than a dozen tenants from the Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers filed the legal papers Friday in Manhattan housing court.</p> <p>“Every week, my office responds to calls from NYCHA tenants seeking assistance with repairs for broken elevators, vermin infestations, lack of heat and hot water and broken intercoms,” Maloney (D-Manhattan) said. “It is unacceptable that anyone is made to live in these conditions, and that residents often file multiple work order requests for the same issue without ever receiving a response from NYCHA.”</p> <p>City Councilman Ben Kallos, a fellow Manhattan Democrat, said he fields similar calls, especially this time of year.</p> <p><a>What's This?</a></p> <p>Upgrade your travel experience with TSA Precheck for a faster, smoother journey. Enrollment only takes 5 minutes online and 10 minutes in person. Just $85 for 5 years. Enroll today at tsa.gov.</p> <p>“This is to make sure the repairs actually get done,” he said of the legal filings.</p> <p>Residents from the two housing complexes, who joined to form the Holmes-Isaacs Coalition, claim maintenance in their buildings is abysmal, that they live without heat in the winter and that often they cannot get to and from their homes because of broken down elevators.</p> <p>“In such situations, residents are forced to climb the stairs, sometimes for tens of stories,” they note in a petition to the court. Wheelchair-bound tenants, the papers continue, are simply stranded in their homes or outside.</p> <p>One of the residents demanding action, Francisco Polonia, claimed in legal papers that during one dual elevator outage he climbed 23-stories and was so exhausted from the long haul that he didn’t get out of bed the next day.</p> <p>That is by no means they’re only gripe. They pointed to several other problems as well as what they view as their causes. Other neighbors pointed to vermin infestations (failure to exterminate regularly), security concerns (doors that don’t lock) and mold (leaks caused by crumbling pipes).</p> <p>La Keesha Taylor, co-founder of the Holmes-Isaacs Coalition and a New York City Housing Authority resident for 46 years, blamed years of disinvestment for such woes.</p> <p>"Worst of all I have seen the decline in the overall upkeep of my development,” she said. “People had to sue to get into this development at one time, but the disinvestment by the government has led to this state of crisis. We are living in squalid conditions.”</p> <p>City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said the city is reviewing the suit.</p> <p>“This administration has made an unprecedented commitment to reverse decades of federal divestment in NYCHA," she said. "We will work with Holmes and Isaacs residents and community stakeholders to develop a path forward to address these developments’ repair needs.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Tue, 17 Dec 2019 17:06:19 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7358 at https://benkallos.com New York Times Why Workers Fear Moving 50 Criminally Insane Patients by Annie Correal https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-times-why-workers-fear-moving-50-criminally-insane-patients-annie-correal <span>New York Times Why Workers Fear Moving 50 Criminally Insane Patients by Annie Correal</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Why Workers Fear Moving 50 Criminally Insane Patients</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Fri, 12/13/2019 - 9:47am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-times" hreflang="en">New York Times</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/annie-correal" hreflang="en">Annie Correal</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/nyregion/Kirby-Forensic-Psychiatric-Center.html">https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/nyregion/Kirby-Forensic-Psychiatric-Center.h…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-13T14:47:13Z">Fri, 12/13/2019 - 09:47</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-13T12:00:00Z">Fri, 12/13/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Why Workers Fear Moving 50 Criminally Insane Patients</p> <p>The state plans to relocate the patients of Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, but its new home was not built with prisoners in mind.</p> <p><img alt="State officials plan to move 200 inmates from Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, on Wards Island, to a facility nearby. Many workers at Kirby are concerned about safety issues." src="https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/15/nyregion/15BIG-2/merlin_165804576_3de9f4ef-63b1-4e02-971c-70378cdd9bd5-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale" /></p> <p>State officials plan to move 200 inmates from Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, on Wards Island, to a facility nearby. Many workers at Kirby are concerned about safety issues.Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times</p> <p>Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center in New York City has long been a place of mystery, with little known about what goes on behind the razor-wire fences.</p> <p>As a result, the state-run facility for the dangerously mentally ill — located on Wards Island in Manhattan — has gone all but unnoticed for decades, despite having held some of the city’s most notorious criminals, including serial killers and cannibals like Daniel Rakowitz, the so-called&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2004/07/15/grisly-map-of-murder/">Butcher of Tompkins Square Park.</a></p> <p>But recently, employees have been speaking up, painting a picture of what goes on in Kirby’s wards. State officials are planning to close Kirby and move its entire population — a decision that has created something close to panic among some of the staff, who say the new quarters are not safe for patients or employees.</p> <p>Kirby is a&nbsp;<a href="https://apps.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/forensic/BFS.htm">maximum-security facility</a>&nbsp;that holds mentally-ill patients who have been charged with a crime. Some have been granted&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/nyregion/nanny-murder-trial-insanity-defense.html">an insanity plea</a>&nbsp;by a judge; others are pretrial detainees accused of felony crimes but found unfit to proceed to trial.</p> <p>The move will transfer the facility’s more than 200 prisoners from a fortresslike building with bars on the windows and cement walls and ceilings into a unit of Manhattan Psychiatric Center, a civilian hospital close by on Wards Island.</p> <p>Officials say the move, planned for January, is necessary because Kirby’s building has grown outdated. They say patients will be placed in a refurbished section of the hospital, securely separated from civilian patients. But staff members are arguing that the hospital was never designed to handle a population with a criminal background, and say it presents all manner of risks.</p> <p>“These are not normal mental patients,” said Catherine Mortiere, a forensic psychologist at Kirby. “They are some of the most violent inmates in the state.”</p> <p>The state Office of Mental Health called Kirby’s building “antiquated.” It said it is also for the same reason rebuilding Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center, which is north of New York, near Middletown.</p> <p>“The safety and security of our staff and the people we serve are O.M.H.’s top priority,” a spokesman said in a statement. “When our facilities become outdated, we work to refurbish, rebuild and update them in order to utilize the best practices and state-of-the-art safety features to ensure the well-being of our patients and staff.”</p> <p>The prospect of the move has caused upheaval at Kirby. The union representing its clinicians is filing a lawsuit in hopes of securing a temporary injunction from a judge; guards and former guards have created&nbsp;<a href="https://www.change.org/p/andrew-m-cuomo-halt-the-kirby-forensic-move">an online petition</a>&nbsp;calling on the state’s mental health commissioner and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to “do the right thing and halt this move” to ensure their safety.</p> <p>Stephen Harkavy, the deputy director of Mental Hygiene Legal Service, which represents the patients, said the new area will be inspected before patients are moved. “A lot of these concerns are premature, until that happens,” he said. “If they find changes need to be made, I would assume they will implement them.”</p> <p>Mr. Harkavy, who said he worked at Kirby for about a decade, added: “I believe the fears about patients are overstated. I never felt unsafe.”</p> <p>But several employees — who insisted that their names not be used because they said they feared reprisals — described Kirby as a singularly dangerous place to work, in the best of circumstances.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Why Workers Fear Moving 50 Criminally Insane Patients</p> <p>The state plans to relocate the patients of Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, but its new home was not built with prisoners in mind.</p> <p><img alt="State officials plan to move 200 inmates from Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, on Wards Island, to a facility nearby. Many workers at Kirby are concerned about safety issues." src="https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/12/15/nyregion/15BIG-2/merlin_165804576_3de9f4ef-63b1-4e02-971c-70378cdd9bd5-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&amp;auto=webp&amp;disable=upscale" /></p> <p>State officials plan to move 200 inmates from Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, on Wards Island, to a facility nearby. Many workers at Kirby are concerned about safety issues. Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times</p> <p>Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center in New York City has long been a place of mystery, with little known about what goes on behind the razor-wire fences.</p> <p>As a result, the state-run facility for the dangerously mentally ill — located on Wards Island in Manhattan — has gone all but unnoticed for decades, despite having held some of the city’s most notorious criminals, including serial killers and cannibals like Daniel Rakowitz, the so-called&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2004/07/15/grisly-map-of-murder/">Butcher of Tompkins Square Park.</a></p> <p>But recently, employees have been speaking up, painting a picture of what goes on in Kirby’s wards. State officials are planning to close Kirby and move its entire population — a decision that has created something close to panic among some of the staff, who say the new quarters are not safe for patients or employees.</p> <p>Kirby is a&nbsp;<a href="https://apps.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/forensic/BFS.htm">maximum-security facility</a>&nbsp;that holds mentally-ill patients who have been charged with a crime. Some have been granted&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/nyregion/nanny-murder-trial-insanity-defense.html">an insanity plea</a>&nbsp;by a judge; others are pretrial detainees accused of felony crimes but found unfit to proceed to trial.</p> <p>The move will transfer the facility’s more than 200 prisoners from a fortresslike building with bars on the windows and cement walls and ceilings into a unit of Manhattan Psychiatric Center, a civilian hospital close by on Wards Island.</p> <p>Officials say the move, planned for January, is necessary because Kirby’s building has grown outdated. They say patients will be placed in a refurbished section of the hospital, securely separated from civilian patients. But staff members are arguing that the hospital was never designed to handle a population with a criminal background, and say it presents all manner of risks.</p> <p>“These are not normal mental patients,” said Catherine Mortiere, a forensic psychologist at Kirby. “They are some of the most violent inmates in the state.”</p> <p>The state Office of Mental Health called Kirby’s building “antiquated.” It said it is also for the same reason rebuilding Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center, which is north of New York, near Middletown.</p> <p>“The safety and security of our staff and the people we serve are O.M.H.’s top priority,” a spokesman said in a statement. “When our facilities become outdated, we work to refurbish, rebuild and update them in order to utilize the best practices and state-of-the-art safety features to ensure the well-being of our patients and staff.”</p> <p>The prospect of the move has caused upheaval at Kirby. The union representing its clinicians is filing a lawsuit in hopes of securing a temporary injunction from a judge; guards and former guards have created&nbsp;<a href="https://www.change.org/p/andrew-m-cuomo-halt-the-kirby-forensic-move">an online petition</a>&nbsp;calling on the state’s mental health commissioner and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to “do the right thing and halt this move” to ensure their safety.</p> <p>Stephen Harkavy, the deputy director of Mental Hygiene Legal Service, which represents the patients, said the new area will be inspected before patients are moved. “A lot of these concerns are premature, until that happens,” he said. “If they find changes need to be made, I would assume they will implement them.”</p> <p>Mr. Harkavy, who said he worked at Kirby for about a decade, added: “I believe the fears about patients are overstated. I never felt unsafe.”</p> <p>But several employees — who insisted that their names not be used because they said they feared reprisals — described Kirby as a singularly dangerous place to work, in the best of circumstances.</p> <p>One doctor said it was not unusual for employees to be assaulted. The doctor, who said he had been assaulted twice, described “physician colleagues punched unconscious,” “staff having to fight off coordinated attacks,” “brawls,” and guards attacked with feces and, in one case, a porcelain shard from a shattered toilet.</p> <p>Most patients come from city jails like the Rikers Island complex, but at Kirby, the doctor said, they can move freely. The doctor said the move will place staff and patients at greater danger because patients will be confined to smaller spaces. “The analogy is they’re packing sardines in a tin.”</p> <p>Whether the move takes place or is halted, Kirby’s crisis shines a light into a dark corner of the criminal justice system and raises the question of the fate of the seriously mentally ill in New York’s custody.</p> <p>In recent times, this conversation has tended to focus on Rikers Island. And with good reason. As Alisa Roth chronicles in her book “Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness,” Rikers and huge jails like it have become the country’s&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/22/books/review/insane-alisa-roth.html">de facto psychiatric hospitals</a>. As officials prepare to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/nyregion/rikers-island-closing-vote.html">close Rikers in 2026</a>, advocates are asking: Where are the seriously mentally ill patients that fill many Rikers jail cells going to go?</p> <p>This is a good moment to look also at how the mentally ill are shuffled among city jails like Rikers and state-run forensic facilities such as Kirby.</p> <p>Kirby is generally mentioned in connection with the lurid crimes of its 50 or so “criminally insane” patients. But its other patients, those who have been found “<a href="https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/forensic/populations_served.htm">incompetent to stand trial</a>,” make up the bulk of the population these days, according to staff.</p> <p>These patients stay at Kirby — or its sister facility, Mid-Hudson — until they can be “restored to competency” and then stand trial. They watch videos and attend counseling sessions to understand the nature of the charges they are facing; some receive medication under court order. But they can remain there for months or even years before they are able to pass the required test and appear in court. In some cases, they go back to jail but mentally decline before their trial date, landing back at Kirby for another stint.</p> <p>The dust-up over the planned move is a call to examine this piece of a broken system. The mentally-ill inmates who often travel between city jails and state-run forensic centers are subjected to a process that is&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/22/books/review/insane-alisa-roth.html">plagued by delays and dysfunction</a>. The patients may also face the threat of violence at Kirby, just as the staff does.</p> <p>This threat could grow worse if the move takes place, Kirby employees said. In addition to the disruption of the move itself, employees warn the new unit has unaddressed structural issues: nooks where patients can hide, and low ceilings with metal frames that can be torn out and weaponized.</p> <p>While they acknowledged that only a small percentage of patients presented a serious threat, several employees expressed concern about the new unit’s bedrooms. At Kirby, most patients sleep in large areas, with beds separated by partitions, where they can be easily monitored. In their new quarters, most will be in pairs in small hospital-style rooms, with no windows on the doors. This could endanger patients’ lives, I was told.</p> <p>“You need a third as a witness,” said the doctor. “Not two. One could smother the other.” (This is not far-fetched: at Mid-Hudson,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.recordonline.com/news/20180614/psych-center-patient-faces-charges-he-murdered-fellow-patient">a patient has murdered his roommate more than once</a>.)</p> <p>Another doctor at Kirby told me: “Everyone is here for a reason, usually a serious felony — rape, murder; you don’t have people here for stealing a car. I would not call them docile. But we need to protect the people who are simply taking their medication and trying to get through.” The doctor added, “We have to protect the more manageable patients.”</p> <p>Mr. Harkavy, of Mental Hygiene Legal Service, said he believed the new unit would be equipped with more cameras.</p> <p>Employees who oppose the move say Kirby’s building is solid and only needs repairs. They see the move as part of a broader effort to consolidate inpatient facilities across the state to lower spending. “We are a big money sucker,” said Dr. Mortiere, the psychologist, who is providing an affidavit in her union’s lawsuit. “But this is not the place to cut costs.”</p> <p>Mr. Cuomo’s office declined to comment on the move. Benjamin Kallos, a city councilman from Manhattan, said he asked the governor to address the issue after learning about it from a Kirby employee. Mr. Kallos said he got involved because he believes the responsibility for the mentally ill at Kirby — and beyond — ultimately falls to elected officials.</p> <p>“These people are not violent for violence’s sake; they are mentally ill. If we put them in a situation in which we are told they could harm someone, and then they harm someone,” he said, “that’s on us.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Fri, 13 Dec 2019 14:47:12 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7357 at https://benkallos.com New York Post New York can end its insane scaffolding plague by New York Post Editorial https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-post-new-york-can-end-its-insane-scaffolding-plague-new-york-post-editorial <span>New York Post New York can end its insane scaffolding plague by New York Post Editorial</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New York can end its insane scaffolding plague</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:10am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-post" hreflang="en">New York Post</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/new-york-post-editorial" hreflang="en">New York Post Editorial</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/06/new-york-can-end-its-insane-scaffolding-plague/">https://nypost.com/2019/12/06/new-york-can-end-its-insane-scaffolding-plague/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-09T16:10:25Z">Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:10</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-09T12:00:00Z">Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-UES) has a couple of bills to force landlords to take scaffolding down more rapidly, but the real estate industry fights furiously to avoid the added costs.</p> <p>What’s needed is leadership to forge some compromise to end a mess unique to New York. If cities can avoid eternal scaffolding everywhere else in the world, it can be done here, too.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Scaffolding covers roughly 200 miles of New York City streetfront, with nearly 4,000 sites in Manhattan alone — a blight that, as <a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/devine-scaffolding-has-taken-over-new-york-city/" rel="nofollow">Miranda Devine wrote</a> in Monday’s Post, plagues no other major city.</p> <p>Though nominally about safety, these “sidewalk sheds” actually invite crime and disorder — “a haven for muggers,” as Devine notes, as well as “an open invitation for homeless encampments.”</p> <p>The root cause is plainly Local Law 11, passed after falling masonry killed a Barnard student in 1980. As amended over the years, the statute now requires inspection and repairs to the facades of all buildings higher than six stories — every five years. And other city rules make scaffolding insanely expensive to erect — perhaps $12,500 for a 200-foot length of shed.</p> <p>So many landlords just leave it up, year after year. The average life is now three years, and some have lingered for 20.</p> <p>It’s not just the private sector: NYCHA is notoriously bad on this front, and even the Department of Buildings HQ has been shedded-up for more than a decade.</p> <p>City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-UES) has a couple of bills to force landlords to take scaffolding down more rapidly, but the real estate industry fights furiously to avoid the added costs.</p> <p>What’s needed is leadership to forge some compromise to end a mess unique to New York. If cities can avoid eternal scaffolding everywhere else in the world, it can be done here, too.</p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Mon, 09 Dec 2019 16:10:25 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7355 at https://benkallos.com City and State Hearing expected on bill to equip NYC school buses with stop-arm cameras by City and State https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-and-state-hearing-expected-bill-equip-nyc-school-buses-stop-arm-cameras-city-and <span>City and State Hearing expected on bill to equip NYC school buses with stop-arm cameras by City and State</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Hearing expected on bill to equip NYC school buses with stop-arm cameras</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:04am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city-and-state" hreflang="en">City and State</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/city-and-state" hreflang="en">City and State</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/opinion/sponsored/hearing-expected-bill-equip-nyc-school-buses-stop-arm-cameras.html?utm_source=First%20Read%20Newsletters&amp;utm_campaign=db3300579d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_12_09_11_05&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_252d27c7d1-db3300579d-34843428&amp;mc_cid=db3300579d&amp;mc_eid=6adf0db150">https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/opinion/sponsored/hearing-expected-bill…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-06T15:04:55Z">Fri, 12/06/2019 - 10:04</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-06T12:00:00Z">Fri, 12/06/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The New York City Council aims to hold a hearing this month on a bill aiming to equip school buses with cameras to catch illegally passing vehicles, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said during a panel hosted by City &amp; State and BusPatrol on Tuesday.</p> <p>“We’re looking to have a hearing mostly likely the 16th or 18th of December,” Rodriguez said.</p> <p>The <a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/new-york-city-poised-become-largest-school-district-country-require-stop-arm-cameras" rel="nofollow">bill</a>, sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos, would require the city to install cameras on nearly 10,000 school buses transporting students across the five boroughs that would record cars that pass when a bus’s stop sign is deployed. A new <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/08/06/new-york-school-bus-stop-arm-cameras/" rel="nofollow">law</a> signed by the governor in August gave local officials the ability to put cameras on buses, with the goal of finding and fining drivers found to be illegally passing buses letting children off. Both <a href="https://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/suffolk-county-legislature-1.38947517" rel="nofollow">Suffolk</a> and <a href="https://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/nassau-school-bus-cameras-1.36832488" rel="nofollow">Nassau</a> counties have already approved similar measures.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The New York City Council aims to hold a hearing this month on a bill aiming to equip school buses with cameras to catch illegally passing vehicles, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said during a panel hosted by City &amp; State and BusPatrol on Tuesday.</p> <p>“We’re looking to have a hearing mostly likely the 16th or 18th of December,” Rodriguez said.</p> <p>The <a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/new-york-city-poised-become-largest-school-district-country-require-stop-arm-cameras" rel="nofollow">bill</a>, sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos, would require the city to install cameras on nearly 10,000 school buses transporting students across the five boroughs that would record cars that pass when a bus’s stop sign is deployed. A new <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/08/06/new-york-school-bus-stop-arm-cameras/" rel="nofollow">law</a> signed by the governor in August gave local officials the ability to put cameras on buses, with the goal of finding and fining drivers found to be illegally passing buses letting children off. Both <a href="https://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/suffolk-county-legislature-1.38947517" rel="nofollow">Suffolk</a> and <a href="https://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/nassau-school-bus-cameras-1.36832488" rel="nofollow">Nassau</a> counties have already approved similar measures.</p> <p>Up to 50,000 cars pass a stopped school bus in the state every day, according to one <a href="https://www.syracuse.com/news/2019/08/ny-allows-cameras-on-school-bus-stop-arms-250-fines-for-passing-motorists.html" rel="nofollow">survey</a> by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation. Data from a pilot program in East Meadow in Long Island, led by BusPatrol, which provides the cameras and other technology to school districts, indicated a disparity between the number of violations and enforcement of the law. Over the course of about one month monitoring 10 buses, the company identified 625 violations. Meanwhile, Nassau County issued 79 tickets for such violations in all of 2018. </p> <p>"The point of technology is to move us from a reactive way to a proactive way to addressing school safety,“ said Bus Patrol CEO Jean Souliere. “We don't need to wait for the worst to happen. 94%-98% of the violators who get a ticket via the stop-arm camera program don't illegally pass a school bus a second time. This works."</p> <p>The program has fans in the transportation community. “We’ve seen that human enforcement on things like speeding and red-light violations is spotty at best,” said Eric McClure, executive director of StreetsPAC. “And when the speed camera program rolled out in New York City, the numbers of violations generated by the speed cameras were magnitudes greater than what police were writing physically.” Cynthia Brown, executive director at the New York Coalition for Transportation Safety, also noted that many traffic tickets come from one-time blitzes of enforcement, such as the Operation Safe Stop initiative spearheaded by the state.</p> <p>Souliere said that the company’s clients saw that 94% to 98% of violators who were ticketed by the stop-arm camera program did not illegally pass a school bus again. There is no cost to localities to implement the program, Souliere pointed out, as the costs of implementation are recouped by the fines. </p> <p>This initiative follows growing pains surrounding the implementation of GPS tracking on New York City buses. Parents who hoped to use the <a href="https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/09/12/nyc-public-school-gps-school-bus-tracking-department-of-education/" rel="nofollow">technology</a> to track bus routes found it failed to do so. The city announced a partnership with the rideshare app Via that will manage an app for parents to track <a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-school-bus-gps-20191118-n4rrle23ffbn3iwy3vmrp2mcua-story.html" rel="nofollow">routes</a>, with plans to begin piloting it in January.</p> <p>The City Council hopes to augment the recently approved GPS measures with a new stop arm camera technology.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Mon, 09 Dec 2019 15:04:54 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7354 at https://benkallos.com Curbed Why does scaffolding cover some NYC buildings for more than a decade? by Valeria Ricciulli https://benkallos.com/press-clip/curbed-why-does-scaffolding-cover-some-nyc-buildings-more-decade-valeria-ricciulli <span>Curbed Why does scaffolding cover some NYC buildings for more than a decade? by Valeria Ricciulli</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Why does scaffolding cover some NYC buildings for more than a decade?</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/04/2019 - 2:06pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/curbed" hreflang="en">Curbed</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/valeria-ricciulli" hreflang="en">Valeria Ricciulli</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://ny.curbed.com/2019/12/4/20994695/nyc-buildings-scaffolding-construction-sidewalk-sheds">https://ny.curbed.com/2019/12/4/20994695/nyc-buildings-scaffolding-construction…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-04T19:06:50Z">Wed, 12/04/2019 - 14:06</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-04T12:00:00Z">Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>City Council member Ben Kallos has been trying to fight back since 2016, when he introduced legislation that would cap facade repair work at 90 days with the possibility to extend it for another 90, and require scaffolding to be removed if no work has taken place for seven days. Kallos also introduced legislation <a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3844828&amp;GUID=7E96C1EB-D864-46FC-95FA-437567739907&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=kallos" rel="nofollow">this year</a> that would require scaffolding that’s been up for more than a year to be inspected at least once every six months by the DOB, at the building owner’s expense.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>NYC has a long-standing scaffolding problem</p> <p>New Yorkers are used to seeing construction scaffolding all over the city, but what happens when a building has it up for more than just a couple of months?</p> <p>City records analyzed by the <a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/03/some-scaffolds-in-nyc-have-been-up-for-more-than-13-years/" rel="nofollow"><em>New York Post</em></a><em> </em>found that some structures have had scaffolding in place for more than a <em>decade:</em> In Harlem, scaffolding has covered part of 409 Edgecombe Avenue since 2006; at 360 Central Park West on the Upper West Side, it’s been there since 2008 (the building owners claim<em> </em>it’s only been there for six years). Even the Department of Buildings’ Broadway office has its own lingering scaffolding issue, with part of the building covered since 2008.</p> <p>So why does this happen? As part of Local Law 11, the city inspects building facades every five years, leading some property owners to keep scaffolding up to avoid the cost of taking it down and rebuilding it every few years.</p> <p>City Council member Ben Kallos has been trying to fight back since 2016, when he introduced legislation that would cap facade repair work at 90 days with the possibility to extend it for another 90, and require scaffolding to be removed if no work has taken place for seven days. Kallos also introduced legislation <a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3844828&amp;GUID=7E96C1EB-D864-46FC-95FA-437567739907&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=kallos" rel="nofollow">this year</a> that would require scaffolding that’s been up for more than a year to be inspected at least once every six months by the DOB, at the building owner’s expense.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Wed, 04 Dec 2019 19:06:49 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7353 at https://benkallos.com New York Post Some scaffolds in NYC have been up for more than 13 years by Georgett Roberts, Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonDecember https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-post-some-scaffolds-nyc-have-been-more-13-years-georgett-roberts-julia-marsh <span>New York Post Some scaffolds in NYC have been up for more than 13 years by Georgett Roberts, Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonDecember</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Some scaffolds in NYC have been up for more than 13 years</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:24am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-post" hreflang="en">New York Post</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/georgett-roberts" hreflang="en">Georgett Roberts</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/julia-marsh-and-jorge-fitz-gibbondecember" hreflang="en">Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonDecember</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/03/some-scaffolds-in-nyc-have-been-up-for-more-than-13-years/">https://nypost.com/2019/12/03/some-scaffolds-in-nyc-have-been-up-for-more-than-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-04T15:24:32Z">Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:24</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-04T12:00:00Z">Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“It’s a quality of life problem for people who live in the buildings in the shadow of these sheds,” said city Councilman Ben Kallos, whose bill to put a timetable on sheds has lingered in committee for three years.</p> <p>“There’s no reason we should have 300 miles of sidewalk sheds,” Kallos said. “We are the only city that does this. No one wants to walk under that scaffolding unless it’s raining.”</p> <p>The scaffold scourge was <a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/devine-scaffolding-has-taken-over-new-york-city/" rel="nofollow">raised Sunday by Post columnist Miranda Devine</a>, who noted that the city has been “uglified” by the jungle of sidewalk sheds.</p> <p>“It’s ugly,” agreed Crystal Gonzalez, manager at a supermarket across the street from the five-story building at 191 E. 115th St. that has been surrounded by scaffolding since December 2007.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="The scaffolding at 409 Edgecombe Ave., which has been up for nearly 14 years." src="https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/191203-scaffolding1.jpg?quality=90&amp;strip=all&amp;w=618&amp;h=410&amp;crop=1" /></p> <p>The scaffolding at 409 Edgecombe Ave., which has been up for nearly 14 years.Robert Miller</p> <p>Sick of the sidewalk sheds in your neighborhood? Some areas have been looking at the same eye sores since before smartphones came out.</p> <p>One building on Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem has had the same work scaffolding up for more than 13 years. Another nearby on 115th Street has had one up for nearly 12 years.</p> <p>Even the Department of Buildings’ own office on Broadway is a culprit, as it has been surrounded by scaffolding since 2008.</p> <p>The city says it’s been cracking down, but it’s barely put a dent on the unpopular structures, which just continue to gather trash and rodents.</p> <p>It’s driving the people who have to live near the scaffolds crazy.</p> <p>“I can’t picture this building without it there,” said Kaniesha Davis, 21, who grew up at 409 Edgecombe Ave., which is the building with New York’s longest-standing work scaffolding. The sheds there have been up since April 2006.</p> <p>“I used to climb on the metal poles and do flips,” said Davis, a college student. “I have always asked my grandmother when are they going to take it down — if they are ever going to take it down.”</p> <p>Nikki Berryman, president of the board of directors for the building, said the scaffold has remained up for so long because of bad luck. After completing $1.2 million in restoration work to comply with Local Law 11, the building was struck by lightning, which caused more damage and required more repairs, Berryman said.</p> <p>The city first approved a permit for a 220-foot-long “heavy duty sidewalk shed” at the address during “remedial repairs” on April 26, 2006, Department of Buildings records show. But the work never seemed to end: There were another 13 permits issued for additional work at the building through February this year.</p> <p>The 13-story Harlem building is among thousands issued permits by the Department of Buildings to erect scaffolding to protect pedestrians from falling debris.</p> <p>409 Edgecombe Ave.Robert Miller</p> <p>She said the scaffold remained up so long because of a couple of bad breaks for the building. After completing $1.2 million in restoration work to comply with Local Law 11, Berryman said the building was struck by lightning, which caused more damage and required more repairs.</p> <p>“We’ve been working on the building,” Berryman said. “The city, I think, has actually issued violations on work that has been scoped and sent to them for approval. The work is complete.”</p> <p>The city first approved a permit for a 220-foot long “heavy duty sidewalk shed” during “remedial repairs” on April 26, 2006, building department records show. But the work never seemed to end — there were another 13 permits issued for additional work at the building through February this year.</p> <p>The 13-story Harlem building is among thousands issued permits by the city Department of Buildings to erect scaffolding and sidewalk sheds to protect pedestrians from falling debris.</p> <p>Scaffolding outside 360 Central Park WestStephen Yang</p> <p>The unsightly structures have become an unwelcome part of the city landscape, with critics complaining they have evolved into dark, trash-strewn havens for vagrants and criminals and hurt local businesses who struggle to draw new patrons with their facades concealed by wood and metal.</p> <p>“It’s a quality of life problem for people who live in the buildings in the shadow of these sheds,” said city Councilman Ben Kallos, whose bill to put a timetable on sheds has lingered in committee for three years.</p> <p>“There’s no reason we should have 300 miles of sidewalk sheds,” Kallos said. “We are the only city that does this. No one wants to walk under that scaffolding unless it’s raining.”</p> <p>The scaffold scourge was&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/devine-scaffolding-has-taken-over-new-york-city/">raised Sunday by Post columnist Miranda Devine</a>, who noted that the city has been “uglified” by the jungle of sidewalk sheds.</p> <p>“It’s ugly,” agreed Crystal Gonzalez, manager at a supermarket across the street from the five-story building at 191 E. 115th St. that has been surrounded by scaffolding since December 2007.</p> <p>“They were working on this building a long time ago but they stopped,” she said. “At nights I don’t walk under it. I walk on the other side of the street because there are rats running out of there. They are huge.”</p> <p>The sheds became commonplace after 1980, when the city required a protective shield for pedestrians after a 17-year-old college student was hit by debris from a falling window.</p> <p>Building owners are now required to pass facade inspections every five years under Local Law 11, which prompts some building owners to keep the sheds up indefinitely to avoid the cost of dismantling and rebuilding them every couple of years.</p> <p>Scaffolding outside 191 E. 115th Street, which has been up for nearly 12 years.Robert Miller</p> <p>City officials claim they are tackling the problem, taking building owners who have had sheds up for 10 or more years to court, and issuing citations to others with sheds up as long as nine years.</p> <p>According to the buildings department, property owners for four of the top five longest-standing sidewalk sheds have been dragged into court by the city.</p> <p>The fifth building is the city building department’s own offices on Broadway, which city records said has had a sidewalk shelter around it for more than 11 years.</p> <p>City records show that a permit approved on Aug. 6, 2008, called for “facade and roof restoration” and called for the installation of the shed, which is described on the permit as “temporary construction equipment” — although it turned out to hardly be temporary.</p> <p>Department spokesman said that shed has been largely removed as restoration work winds down.</p> <p>Most of the property owners on the city scaffold list did not return calls from The Post.</p> <p>The owners 360 Central Park West in Manhattan, which the city says has had sidewalk sheds up since 2008, questioned the city’s data.</p> <p>“It hasn’t been up for 11 years,” the spokesperson said. “It’s been up for six, and that’s a combination of Local Law 11 work, which required landmark approval, and then we initiated a condo conversion, which also required things like replacing all the windows.”</p> <p>The heightened buzz around the issue may bring it to a head, some officials said.</p> <p>Kallos said he’s been getting more calls on his bill, which seeks to cap facade-repair work at 90 days, with a possible 90-day extension, could go a long way, following inquiries to city officials from The Post.</p> <p>Scaffolding outside 280 Broadway, which houses the Department of Buildings’ own office.Gabriella Bass</p> <p>The bill also requires the sheds to be taken down if no work takes place for 7 days.</p> <p>Other lawmakers are also pushing for solutions.</p> <p>“This is an issue that you know just creates a lot of problems for a lot of residents throughout different neighborhoods in the city, especially Lower Manhattan,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin. “We have so much scaffolding that has been up for a long time it’s unsafe for pedestrians.”</p> <p>“That’s one of the biggest complaints we get from our constituents, the scaffolding that’s up for years.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Wed, 04 Dec 2019 15:24:31 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7351 at https://benkallos.com The City TRANSIT UNION DEMANDS MORE SUBWAY CLEANERS TO COMBAT FILTHY TRAINS by https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-to-combat-filthy-trains.html https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-transit-union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-combat-filthy-trains <span>The City TRANSIT UNION DEMANDS MORE SUBWAY CLEANERS TO COMBAT FILTHY TRAINS by https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-to-combat-filthy-trains.html</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">TRANSIT UNION DEMANDS MORE SUBWAY CLEANERS TO COMBAT FILTHY TRAINS</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/02/2019 - 11:33am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city" hreflang="en">The City</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/httpsthecitynyc201911union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-combat-filthy-trainshtml" hreflang="en">https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-to-combat-filthy-trains.html</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-to-combat-filthy-trains.html">https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/union-demands-more-subway-cleaners-to-combat-filthy…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-27T16:33:39Z">Wed, 11/27/2019 - 11:33</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2018-11-27T12:00:00Z">Tue, 11/27/2018 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) pointed to the lack of public restrooms in the Second Avenue stations that opened in 2017.</p> <p>“The number one complaint we’re getting at 96th Street is just the huge amount of human waste that our TWU workers have to clean up,” Kallos said.</p> <p>In a statement, New York City Transit President Andy Byford praised the “outstanding work” of cleaners who have to contend with messes, while acknowledging the increase in soiled subway cars.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Transit workers raised a stink Wednesday over a surge in soiled subway cars that’s slowing commutes.</p> <p>Workers and local politicians rallied at the 148th Street terminal in Manhattan for the No. 3 line, calling for the MTA to restore cut jobs to crews that clean cars once they reach the end of a line.</p> <p>“It’s a public safety issue when we have trains with feces, urine and all kinds of stuff,” said Nelson Rivera, administrative vice president for Transport Workers Union Local 100. “It’s gotten to the extent now that they’re throwing feces and urine on transit workers. Enough is enough.”</p> <p>The push to restore car cleaner positions comes as the union scraps with MTA management over a pending&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/11/27/mta-union-leaders-begin-contract-negotiations/">contract</a>&nbsp;— and two months after THE CITY revealed a&nbsp;<a href="https://thecity.nyc/2019/09/new-york-city-subway-soiled-car-reports-soar-this-year.html">big spike</a>&nbsp;in 2019 from previous years in the number of reports about delays caused by soiled cars.</p> <p>Through the first eight months of the year, the MTA had already surpassed the 1,504 soiled-car incidents for all of 2017.</p> <p>A source told THE CITY there have been 2,193 soiled-car incidents so far this year. There were 2,058 in all of 2018.</p> <p>The MTA has acknowledged that in recent years, the figure tends to increase in the colder months, when increased numbers of vulnerable people seek shelter on trains and in stations.</p> <p>A recent case in point: A report obtained by THE CITY shows that N trains were delayed Tuesday morning by a bodily waste incident. The train operator, who was about to begin her run from the line’s 86th Street terminal in Brooklyn, discovered the mess in the front car.</p> <p>She was told there were no cleaners at the station, according to the report. She then reported feeling nauseated from the smell and requested medical attention.</p> <p>Positions Cut</p> <p>The union contends cleaning crews are shorthanded because of cuts that have reduced car-cleaner ranks this year by 66 — down from an originally planned 91 jobs cut, following an agreement with TWU Local 100.</p> <p>The MTA currently has 378 cleaners posted at terminals in the subway system, though the ends of some lines are not staffed.</p> <p><img alt="Transport Workers Union members rallied in East Harlem against cuts to subway cleaners, Nov. 27, 2019." src="https://images.thecity.nyc/v1/imgs/d0/a6/dd81a5910b2a76cca6efebd6a23112a72dca.w700.a700x467.jpg" /></p> <p>Transport Workers Union members rallied in East Harlem against cuts to subway cleaners, Nov. 27, 2019.&nbsp;Photo: Jose Martinez/THE CITY</p> <p>“What I am demanding today, that immediately, they restore the … cuts they made in the last two or three years,” Rivera said.</p> <p>An MTA spokesperson said that, on average, there are about 204 soiled car incidents a month from a total of 2.1 million trips each month.</p> <p>City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) pointed to the lack of public restrooms in the Second Avenue stations that opened in 2017.</p> <p>“The number one complaint we’re getting at 96th Street is just the huge amount of human waste that our TWU workers have to clean up,” Kallos said.</p> <p>In a statement, New York City Transit President Andy Byford praised the “outstanding work” of cleaners who have to contend with messes, while acknowledging the increase in soiled subway cars.</p> <p>“This is insulting to our professional cleaners who work hard every day to ensure trains are clean for six million riders,” Byford said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Mon, 02 Dec 2019 16:33:39 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7350 at https://benkallos.com New York Post Devine: How the scourge of scaffolding is ruining New York City by Miranda Devine https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-post-devine-how-scourge-scaffolding-ruining-new-york-city-miranda-devine <span>New York Post Devine: How the scourge of scaffolding is ruining New York City by Miranda Devine</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Devine: How the scourge of scaffolding is ruining New York City</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/02/2019 - 11:28am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-post" hreflang="en">New York Post</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/miranda-devine" hreflang="en">Miranda Devine</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/devine-scaffolding-has-taken-over-new-york-city/">https://nypost.com/2019/12/01/devine-scaffolding-has-taken-over-new-york-city/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-02T16:28:16Z">Mon, 12/02/2019 - 11:28</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-12-02T12:00:00Z">Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has been trying for three years to fix the problem. But his two proposed bills have been languishing in the Committee on Housing and Buildings since Jan. 24.</p> <p>He attributes the delay to “overwhelming opposition by the real-estate industry,” including the Real Estate Board of New York, which represents more than 13,000 building owners.</p> <p>The worst offenders are rental buildings where landlords leave scaffolding in place indefinitely because the $1,200 a month it costs to rent the structure is cheaper than doing a $200,000 repair on the building.</p> <p>Kallos says he can walk between his home on 92nd Street and Third Avenue and his office at 93rd and Second almost entirely under sidewalk sheds, one of which has been there since before he was elected in 2013.</p> <p>“As a New Yorker, one of my pet peeves is sidewalk sheds everywhere when I don’t know what just dropped on my head and what they attract, whether people using them as a makeshift shelter or just having negative consequences on our quality of life,” he says.</p> <p>It is politicians who have created this mess, piling regulation on top of regulation in a knee-jerk response to isolated incidents.</p> <p>The problem began in 1980, as a well-meaning response to a tragedy on the Upper West Side. Grace Gold, 17, a Barnard College student, was killed by a falling piece of masonry that came loose from a building at Broadway and West 115th Street.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>No other big city in the world is as blighted by scaffolding as New York. Not Paris nor London, where buildings are older. Not Chicago, which has more inclement weather.</p> <p>The ugly plywood and pipe structures shrouding buildings all over Manhattan are supposed to be temporary, and yet even the city’s own figures say their average life expectancy is three years, with some surviving more than 20 years.</p> <p>Even the Department of Buildings, around the corner from City Hall, has been entombed in shabby, smelly scaffolding for a staggering 11 years.</p> <p>Promises by the city to ease the blight have resulted in an interactive map of “sidewalk sheds” on the department’s Web site, which does precisely nothing to ease the problem.</p> <p>It just rubs salt in the wound. New Yorkers already know their city has been uglified, and they sense that it’s a scam.</p> <p>But, like frogs in boiling water, we put up with it, buying the excuse that these structures are necessary for our safety, although they proliferate uniquely in New York, and have safety problems of their own.</p> <p>Scaffolding has turned the sidewalks outside our homes and businesses into unsightly slums, obliterating natural sunlight and providing an open invitation for homeless encampments.</p> <p>When it encloses sections of the sidewalk on all sides to form a narrow tunnel through which pedestrians are forced to walk, it also becomes a haven for muggers.</p> <p>In October, a 57-year-old woman was&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/10/19/cops-release-image-of-suspects-who-attacked-woman-on-upper-west-side/">punched in the face and robbed by four men</a>&nbsp;in one such tunnel outside a construction site on Amsterdam Avenue between 68th and 69th streets, according to the NYPD.</p> <p>Scaffolding in New York has become a billion-dollar industry and everyone seems content to let it eat our city.</p> <p>City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has been trying for three years to fix the problem. But his two proposed bills have been languishing in the Committee on Housing and Buildings since Jan. 24.</p> <p>He attributes the delay to “overwhelming opposition by the real-estate industry,” including the Real Estate Board of New York, which represents more than 13,000 building owners.</p> <p>Kallos says he can walk between his home on 92nd Street and Third Avenue and his office at 93rd and Second almost entirely under sidewalk sheds, one of which has been there since before he was elected in 2013.</p> <p>“As a New Yorker, one of my pet peeves is sidewalk sheds everywhere when I don’t know what just dropped on my head and what they attract, whether people using them as a makeshift shelter or just having negative consequences on our quality of life,” he says.</p> <p>It is politicians who have created this mess, piling regulation on top of regulation in a knee-jerk response to isolated incidents.</p> <p>The problem began in 1980, as a well-meaning response to a tragedy on the Upper West Side. Grace Gold, 17, a Barnard College student, was killed by a falling piece of masonry that came loose from a building at Broadway and West 115th Street.</p> <p>The goal of Local Law 11, enacted the following year, was to prevent another such incident, but as usual, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.</p> <p>Regulations were tightened under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg instituted the uniform green color we have today, as a nod to the permanent nature of the structures.</p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio boasted in 2015 that he had removed more than eight miles of scaffolding from NYCHA buildings. but that was less than 5 percent of the total suffocating the city.</p> <p>Now, any building higher than six stories has to inspect and repair its facade every five years, rather than a more realistic eight to 10 years.</p> <p>The short turnaround gives landlords an incentive to keep scaffolding in place, because the biggest cost is the original installation, which runs to a reported $12,500 for a 200-foot-length shed.</p> <p>If the structure is up for an average of three years, why bother removing it for the next round of inspections?</p> <p>Kallos tried to introduce legislation in 2016 that requires sidewalk sheds be installed for no more than 90 days and taken down if no work is done on the building for seven days. His proposal allowed an extension for a further 90 days and a provision under which the city would step in and do maintenance work and bill the owner.</p> <p>The following year a sidewalk shed in Soho collapsed and injured five people, so Kallos produced another bill to replace self-certification of scaffolding with six-monthly inspections by the city. Escalating fees would discourage building owners from keeping the structures up indefinitely.</p> <p>Great idea, but it’s gone nowhere. De Blasio seems to regard scaffolding in the city as a metric of progress.</p> <p>But we all know it is yet another symptom of dysfunction.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Mon, 02 Dec 2019 16:28:16 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7349 at https://benkallos.com 6sqft East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground by BY MICHELLE COHEN https://benkallos.com/press-clip/6sqft-east-midtown-greenway-100m-link-connected-manhattan-waterfront-loop-breaks-ground <span>6sqft East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground by BY MICHELLE COHEN</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">East Midtown Greenway, $100M link in a connected Manhattan waterfront loop, breaks ground</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/26/2019 - 2:27pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/6sqft" hreflang="en">6sqft</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/michelle-cohen" hreflang="en">BY MICHELLE COHEN</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.6sqft.com/east-midtown-greenway-100m-link-in-a-connected-manhattan-waterfront-loop-breaks-ground/">https://www.6sqft.com/east-midtown-greenway-100m-link-in-a-connected-manhattan-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-25T19:27:46Z">Mon, 11/25/2019 - 14:27</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-26T12:00:00Z">Tue, 11/26/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The other spaces in the works along the East River waterfront include a $25 million project in East Harlem from 114th to East 117th Streets and a $35.5 million project on the Upper East Side from East 90th to East 94th Streets. Council Member Ben Kallos said, “We are ready to break ground on the East River Greenway, and what once was only a dream is getting closer to reality. Soon my constituents and I will finally be able to run, bike or walk the entire length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The creation of the East Midtown Greenway (EMG), a 1.5-acre public space stretching from East 53rd to 61st Streets along the waterfront, got underway Friday. The project, to be completed by 2022, is part of the&nbsp;Manhattan<a href="https://www.6sqft.com/city-will-spend-250m-connecting-and-greening-32-miles-of-manhattan-waterfront/"> </a>Waterfront<a href="https://www.6sqft.com/city-will-spend-250m-connecting-and-greening-32-miles-of-manhattan-waterfront/"> </a>Greenway&nbsp;initiative to wrap the entire perimeter of Manhattan with accessible public spaces and safe bicycle paths. The midtown space will close one of the largest remaining gaps in&nbsp;the $250 million city initiative,&nbsp;announced&nbsp;by Mayor de Blasio in 2018, to connect 32 miles of Manhattan waterfront esplanade.&nbsp;The Manhattan Waterfront Greenaway project will close gaps in Inwood, Harlem, and East Harlem, as well as the East Midtown space. The goal is to connect neighborhoods to their waterfronts and add about 15 acres of open space. The planned esplanade will connect the bike paths that line the city’s perimeter so that cyclists can safely circle Manhattan without veering off into city streets.&nbsp;The EMG will be the first Manhattan waterfront gap to be addressed since Riverwalk in Riverside Park opened in 2010.</p> <p>The new space, at a cost of approximately $100 million, will create a continuous 40-foot-wide esplanade over the East River parallel to FDR Drive. As 6sqft previously&nbsp;reported:&nbsp;Construction on the scruffy undeveloped gap along the highway from 53rd to 61st Street–an annoyance to cyclists, runners and walkers who traverse the scenic path that runs along the East River–will begin in 2019 and is expected to continue for three years. The new path will rest on pilings about 15 feet off the shoreline on a boardwalk, similar to the West Side’s waterfront path.&nbsp;The East Midtown Greenway also reflects the city’s commitment to making its public open spaces accessible to New Yorkers of all ages and abilities. As part of the EMG project, renovations and an extension will be added at Andrew Haswell Green Park just north of the greenway, including a new ADA-accessible pedestrian bridge.The project will also include a widened area near 53rd Street with space for environmental programming and a public&nbsp;art installation created by Stacy Levy. Stantec provided the project’s landscape architecture as well as waterfront, civil, structural, and electrical engineering, with Skanska serving as construction manager.&nbsp;Mayor de Blasio said at the groundbreaking ceremony, “Today marks another major step forward in returning the waterfront of New York City to New Yorkers. I look forward to the day when families and friends can relax and enjoy the East Midtown Greenway—an oasis in the heart of our city.”</p> <p>The other spaces in the works along the East River waterfront include a&nbsp;$25 million project in East Harlem from 114th to East 117th Streets and a $35.5 million project on the Upper East Side from East 90th to East 94th Streets. Council Member Ben Kallos said, “We are ready to break ground on the East River Greenway, and what once was only a dream is getting closer to reality. Soon my constituents and I will finally be able to run, bike or walk the entire length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem.”</p> <blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 26 Nov 2019 19:27:46 +0000 Abby Damsky 7348 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Construction of East Midtown Greenway begins on Manhattan waterfront by Anna Sanders https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-construction-east-midtown-greenway-begins-manhattan-waterfront-anna <span>New York Daily News Construction of East Midtown Greenway begins on Manhattan waterfront by Anna Sanders</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Construction of East Midtown Greenway begins on Manhattan waterfront</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 11/25/2019 - 9:17am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/anna-sanders" hreflang="en">Anna Sanders</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-east-midtown-greenway-manhattan-waterfront-construction-20191122-aw35keitirgstieos6mtax53gy-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-east-midtown-greenway-manhattan-wa…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-25T14:17:38Z">Mon, 11/25/2019 - 09:17</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-25T12:00:00Z">Mon, 11/25/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Today marks another major step forward in returning the waterfront of New York City to New Yorkers,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “I look forward to the day when families and friends can relax and enjoy the East Midtown Greenway—an oasis in the heart of our city.”</p> <p>The city also plans to renovate and add an extension to Andrew Haswell Green Park, which will border the greenway on the north, and add a new accessible pedestrian bridge for those with disabilities.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="An artist's rendering of the East Midtown Greenway, which broke ground on Friday, Nov. 22." src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/Zvu7SfnxlHDO7gV_aw2I0vem96U=/800x450/top/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/R7W2TSDRRFDJRACXYCEEKW6QQA.jpg" /></p> <p>An artist's rendering of the East Midtown Greenway, which broke ground on Friday, Nov. 22. (Stantec)</p> <p>The city began construction of a new waterfront esplanade over the East River in Manhattan on Friday.</p> <p>The $100 million East Midtown Greenway will run between 53rd and 61st Sts., creating a continuous 40-foot-wide esplanade over the water, running parallel to FDR Drive.</p> <p>The project is expected to complete by 2022, opening up about 1.5 acres of new waterfront park space.</p> <p><img alt="The current condition of the East Midtown Greenway, a new waterfront public open space that is under construction and pictured Friday." src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/agCV_w89DeITywgZ4FgqPrt1XPw=/800x533/top/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/Z4ZBEGCVPVGOXBXWXT3LWJW6OI.JPG" /></p> <p>The current condition of the East Midtown Greenway, a new waterfront public open space that is under construction and pictured Friday. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)</p> <p>“Today marks another major step forward in returning the waterfront of New York City to New Yorkers,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “I look forward to the day when families and friends can relax and enjoy the East Midtown Greenway—an oasis in the heart of our city.”</p> <p>The city also plans to renovate and add an extension to Andrew Haswell Green Park, which will border the greenway on the north, and add a new accessible pedestrian bridge for those with disabilities.</p> <p><img alt="(L-R) Ben Kallos, New York City Council Member, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, James Patchett, New York City Economic Development Corporation President &amp; CEO, Jennifer Sta. Ines, Manhattan Deputy Borough Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation. Alyssa Cobb Konon, Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Development, and Jeff Rosser, Vice President of Skanska, pose for a photo at a groundbreaking ceremony for the East Midtown Greenway Friday in the Manhattan." src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/GFHym1uX8v4Z8cbw8mY29VmbkD4=/800x533/top/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/MKLE26RWFNAEPPMVJTX6YZEISE.JPG" /></p> <p>(L-R) Ben Kallos, New York City Council Member, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, James Patchett, New York City Economic Development Corporation President &amp; CEO, Jennifer Sta. Ines, Manhattan Deputy Borough Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation. Alyssa Cobb Konon, Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Development, and Jeff Rosser, Vice President of Skanska, pose for a photo at a groundbreaking ceremony for the East Midtown Greenway Friday in the Manhattan. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)</p> <p>A wider space in the esplanade near 53rd St. will be constructed for “environmental programming” and an art installation by Stacy Levy.</p> <p>The East Midtown Greenway is part of a $250 million project intended to close gaps in Manhattan’s waterfront esplanade.</p> <p>“Piece by piece, we are closing the biggest gaps in the East River Greenway, bringing us closer to the goal of providing cyclists with an uninterrupted protected bike path around Manhattan,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1494" hreflang="en">Parks</a></div> </div> Mon, 25 Nov 2019 14:17:38 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7341 at https://benkallos.com One Green Planet NYC Passes Resolution Calling on Organizations to Divest from Deforestation by Eliza Erskine https://benkallos.com/press-clip/one-green-planet-nyc-passes-resolution-calling-organizations-divest-deforestation-eliza <span>One Green Planet NYC Passes Resolution Calling on Organizations to Divest from Deforestation by Eliza Erskine</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC Passes Resolution Calling on Organizations to Divest from Deforestation</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/21/2019 - 9:16pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/one-green-planet" hreflang="en">One Green Planet</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/eliza-erskine" hreflang="en">Eliza Erskine</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/nyc-passes-resolution-calling-on-organizations-to-divest-from-deforestation/">https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/nyc-passes-resolution-calling-on-org…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-22T02:16:36Z">Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:16</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-19T12:00:00Z">Tue, 11/19/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>On November 14, New York City Council&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4230046&amp;GUID=92BB84D7-0DC1-4C5B-91A4-FF40B9934FBB&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=">passed</a>&nbsp;a resolution requesting that government and corporations divest from agriculture industries that monetize deforestation and therefore accelerate global warming.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The resolution was&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">introduced</a>&nbsp;by Councilmember Constantinides on behalf of Brooklyn Borough President Adams.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">Councilmembers</a>&nbsp;have been concerned with the growing concerns about the wildfires in the Amazon and increased deforestation in the area. Brooklyn Borough President Adams linked agriculture to global warming in a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">statement</a>, “animal agriculture is responsible for 90 percent of Amazon deforestation…every hamburger or piece of chicken we buy from [these] companies supports a cycle of deforestation.”</p> <p>He also&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">called</a>&nbsp;for conscious consumption on a consumer level and full divestment from these companies that contribute to deforestation.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">Divestment</a>&nbsp;would remove corroboration with global warming actions by these companies.</p> <p>As the rate of beef consumption rises,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">big companies</a>&nbsp;will continue to exploit land and animals to fulfill the increased demand for meat. Noting the 41,000 fire spots around&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4230046&amp;GUID=92BB84D7-0DC1-4C5B-91A4-FF40B9934FBB&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=">Brazil</a>&nbsp;captured by NASA, the council urged companies and consumers to take a second look at their investments and involvement in this industry.</p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/city-council-resolution-to-encourage-divestment-from-agricultural-industries-benefitting-from-deforestation/">resolution</a>&nbsp;marks this statement as New York City’s official position on the matter. The&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4230046&amp;GUID=92BB84D7-0DC1-4C5B-91A4-FF40B9934FBB&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=">resolution</a>&nbsp;was co-sponsored by Ben Kallos and Justin Brannan. It also noted the city’s statements on climate change, including the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4230046&amp;GUID=92BB84D7-0DC1-4C5B-91A4-FF40B9934FBB&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=">council</a>&nbsp;also passed the New York City Climate Mobilization Act, which also reduces emissions focused on energy sources.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/environment" hreflang="en">Environment</a></div> </div> Fri, 22 Nov 2019 02:16:35 +0000 Abby Damsky 7337 at https://benkallos.com Anime News Network Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates 'Gundam Day' in New York by Kim Morrissy https://benkallos.com/press-clip/anime-news-network-gundam-creator-yoshiyuki-tomino-celebrates-gundam-day-new-york-kim <span>Anime News Network Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates &#039;Gundam Day&#039; in New York by Kim Morrissy</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino Celebrates &#039;Gundam Day&#039; in New York</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/21/2019 - 9:06pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/anime-news-network" hreflang="en">Anime News Network</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/kim-morrissy" hreflang="en">Kim Morrissy</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2019-11-18/gundam-creator-yoshiyuki-tomino-celebrates-gundam-day-in-new-york/.153382">https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2019-11-18/gundam-creator-yoshiyuki-t…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-22T02:06:22Z">Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:06</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-18T12:00:00Z">Mon, 11/18/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=46" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Mobile Suit Gundam</a></cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>creator<span>&nbsp;</span></span><cite class="e person" style="font-style: inherit; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=100" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Yoshiyuki Tomino</a></cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>declared November 15 "</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=4189" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Gundam</a></cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>Day" in New York at the opening ceremony of the Anime NYC convention. Tomino<span>&nbsp;</span></span><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2019-08-12/anime-nyc-to-host-gundam-creator-yoshiyuki-tomino/.149976" style="color: rgb(106, 106, 106); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">attended</a><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>the convention as a guest in order to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the original<span>&nbsp;</span></span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Mobile Suit Gundam</cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>television anime.</span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=46" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Mobile Suit Gundam</a></cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>creator<span>&nbsp;</span></span><cite class="e person" style="font-style: inherit; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=100" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Yoshiyuki Tomino</a></cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>declared November 15 "</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=4189" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Gundam</a></cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>Day" in New York at the opening ceremony of the Anime NYC convention. Tomino<span>&nbsp;</span></span><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2019-08-12/anime-nyc-to-host-gundam-creator-yoshiyuki-tomino/.149976" style="color: rgb(106, 106, 106); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">attended</a><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>the convention as a guest in order to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the original<span>&nbsp;</span></span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Mobile Suit Gundam</cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>television anime.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">The recognition certificate was signed by New York city council member Benjamin Kallos.<span>&nbsp;</span></span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Gundam</cite><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>Global Portal posted a photo of the certificate.</span></p> <p style="margin: 1em 0px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Tomino appeared at Anime NYC for panel discussions, autograph sessions, and special events. He was a part of large<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;">Gundam</cite><span>&nbsp;</span>40th Anniversary festivities at the convention, including the final U.S. contest for the 2019 Gunpla Builders World Cup, an annual international competition featuring Gunpla model builders from across the world.</p> <p style="margin: 1em 0px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Tomino created and directed the<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;">Mobile Suit Gundam</cite><span>&nbsp;</span>anime in 1979. He made his debut at<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e person" style="font-style: inherit;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=883" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Osamu Tezuka</a></cite>'s<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e company" style="font-style: inherit;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/company.php?id=12078" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Mushi Production</a></cite><span>&nbsp;</span>where he worked on the<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=422" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Astro Boy</a></cite><span>&nbsp;</span>television anime. He also served as director on the<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1381" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Zeta Gundam</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1400" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Gundam ZZ</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=597" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Char's Counterattack</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1402" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Gundam F91</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1403" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Victory Gundam</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=917" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Turn A Gundam</a></cite></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1297" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Muteki Kōjin Daitarn 3</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1097" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Space Runaway Ideon</a></cite>,<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=1188" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Aura Battler Dunbine</a></cite><span>&nbsp;</span>and<span>&nbsp;</span><cite class="e anime" style="font-style: italic;"><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=16104" style="color: rgb(0, 80, 0) !important; text-decoration: none;">Gundam: Reconguista in G</a></cite><span>&nbsp;</span>anime.</p> <p style="margin: 1em 0px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">This year's Anime NYC was held at the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan from November 15 to 17. Last year's event<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/daily-briefs/2018-11-22/anime-nyc-convention-draws-36000-attendees-in-2nd-year/.139810" style="color: rgb(106, 106, 106);">had</a><span>&nbsp;</span>36,000 attendees from all 50 states and more than 15 countries.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Fri, 22 Nov 2019 02:06:22 +0000 Abby Damsky 7336 at https://benkallos.com Gotham Gazette City Council Considers New Office to Aid Non-Profits by Samar Khurshid https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gotham-gazette-city-council-considers-new-office-aid-non-profits-samar-khurshid <span>Gotham Gazette City Council Considers New Office to Aid Non-Profits by Samar Khurshid</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Council Considers New Office to Aid Non-Profits</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/21/2019 - 4:00pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gotham-gazette" hreflang="en">Gotham Gazette</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/samar-khurshid" hreflang="en">Samar Khurshid</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8933-city-council-considers-new-office-to-aid-non-profits">https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8933-city-council-considers-new-office-to-ai…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-18T21:00:04Z">Mon, 11/18/2019 - 16:00</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-18T12:00:00Z">Mon, 11/18/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://seachangecap.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NYC-Contract-Delays-Vol.-2-1.pdf">separate study</a>&nbsp;published in April by Seachange Capital Partners, a nonprofit merchant bank, found that contract delays in the 2018 fiscal year became “slightly worse” than the previous year. It found that social service contracts were registered an average of 221 days after their start date, up from 210 days in the 2017 fiscal year; only 11% were on time, slightly better than the 9% in 2017; and 20% continued to be unregistered after one year, marginally worse than the 19% in 2017. The report estimated that the fiscal burden on nonprofits from registration delays was as much as $744 million, up from $675 million in 2017.</p> <p>“A nonprofit delivering services under an unregistered contract faces a growing cash flow burden associated with the unreimbursed expenses. It must also pay interest and fees on the debt it uses to finance this cash flow need – if it can be financed at all,” the study reads.</p> <p>Council Members Rosenthal and Kallos cited that study in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/voter-guide/130-opinion/8682-fixing-the-city-s-broken-system-that-puts-the-social-safety-net-at-risk">a July joint op-ed</a>, criticizing the city’s “broken procurement system” and how delays affect nonprofits. “New Yorkers deserve the best services, and the CBOs providing those services deserve to be paid fairly and on time by a city government they can hold accountable. Overhauling the procurement system may be bureaucratic and slow in nature, but it is necessary if we are to properly serve the New Yorkers who are most in need,” they wrote, citing separate&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3996266&amp;GUID=1514CD9E-113A-4334-9873-4DB3893ED545&amp;Options=ID|Text|&amp;Search=rosenthal">legislation</a>&nbsp;they introduced to achieve that goal.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Louis’ bill seems intended to address some of the needs of nonprofits, while creating a general structure to ensure more city accountability for support of the sector. She said it would “provide guaranteed resources to anyone seeking to incorporate and successfully maintain a non-profit.”</p> <p>The proposed Office of Not-For-Profit Services, which per the bill the mayor could choose to house under the executive office or as a separate office, would be charged with analyzing the problems plaguing the nonprofit sector and proposing solutions to them. It would act as a one-stop-shop to conduct outreach and give nonprofits advice and assistance, while also coordinating with other city agencies to refer organizations to services related to obtaining exemptions, waivers, permits, registrations, or approvals. It’s aim would be to simplify application processes and regulatory mechanisms.</p> <p>“This office will function as a liaison between nonprofits and any city agencies, work to devise solutions to any problems that organizations might have with incorporation, financing, or administration, and keep the Council updated on issues affecting local non-profits,” Louis said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Thu, 21 Nov 2019 21:00:03 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7335 at https://benkallos.com Grand Haven Tribune Odd News: 2 condos converted into 18 micro apartments by Bill Chappell https://benkallos.com/press-clip/grand-haven-tribune-odd-news-2-condos-converted-18-micro-apartments-bill-chappell <span>Grand Haven Tribune Odd News: 2 condos converted into 18 micro apartments by Bill Chappell</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Odd News: 2 condos converted into 18 micro apartments</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/20/2019 - 3:14pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/grand-haven-tribune" hreflang="en">Grand Haven Tribune</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/bill-chappell" hreflang="en">Bill Chappell</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.grandhaventribune.com/news/local/odd-news-condos-converted-into-micro-apartments/article_a19a9a8f-fe20-5196-b301-cb51d519b50f.html">https://www.grandhaventribune.com/news/local/odd-news-condos-converted-into-mic…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-20T20:14:55Z">Wed, 11/20/2019 - 15:14</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-20T12:00:00Z">Wed, 11/20/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="subscriber-preview" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">NEW YORK — Two Manhattan landlords took an unusual — and illegal — route to double their rentable space: cutting their two condos in half horizontally so they could rent out 18 tiny apartments in their Lower East Side building, according to the New York City Department of Buildings.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-preview" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">"The ceiling heights were 4.5 feet to 6 feet tall on each level, depending on where you were standing," Department of Buildings spokesperson Abigail Kunitz said in an email to NPR.</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="subscriber-preview" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">NEW YORK — Two Manhattan landlords took an unusual — and illegal — route to double their rentable space: cutting their two condos in half horizontally so they could rent out 18 tiny apartments in their Lower East Side building, according to the New York City Department of Buildings.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-preview" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">"The ceiling heights were 4.5 feet to 6 feet tall on each level, depending on where you were standing," Department of Buildings spokesperson Abigail Kunitz said in an email to NPR.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">When an inspector visited the building this month, he found half-size doors and low ceilings, forcing him to kneel in an improvised hallway. A small staircase connected the two floors. Along with unapproved structural changes, the Department of Buildings says, the inspector found the space riddled with unpermitted electrical and plumbing work.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">The compressed living spaces prompted New York City Councilman Ben Kallos to compare the arrangement to the movie "Being John Malkovich," which features a cramped office — and a tiny door — on floor 7 1/2 of a Manhattan building.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">"It was funny in fiction, but a horror story in real life," Kallos said, according to the New York Post, as he described the living conditions that tenants endured on the top floors of the building at 165 Henry St.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">Bathroom space was also tight: While the lower-floor unit had an illegal bathroom added to its legal bathroom, the upper unit had only one bathroom to share among the nine micro apartments.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">The building is called the Beracah. According to the Abarim online dictionary of biblical Hebrew, the name comes from barak, "meaning either to kneel or to bless."</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">Housing officials became aware of the illegal subdivisions&nbsp;in August after receiving an anonymous 311 complaint about one of the condos. Together, the units occupy a corner in the building's two top floors.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">"Upon arrival to the scene, (inspectors) discovered that a new floor had been illegally constructed inside of apartment No. 601, one of the apartments between the existing fourth and fifth floors, which was being occupied by nine illegal Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units," the agency said.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">According to the Gothamist website, the condo is listed as a 634-square-foot unit. If it had been divided evenly into the nine subunits, each living space would measure about 70 square feet. While rental rates weren't officially disclosed, one tenant told the Post that he had been paying $600 a month.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">Officials promptly ordered all occupants to vacate Apartment 601, hitting the owner, Xue Ping Ni, with a potential maximum fine of $144,750 in civil penalties and ordering the subunits to be stripped out of the space. The penalty is set to rise, as the city will also fine Ni $1,000 every day that each illegal subunit remains on the premises, for up to 45 days.</p> </div> <div class="tncms-region hidden-print" id="tncms-region-article_instory_middle" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">&nbsp;</div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">The tenants who had been living in the minuscule spaces "were offered emergency relocation assistance by the American Red Cross," the NYC building agency said.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">Days after the initial discovery, building inspectors also found that the unit one floor above Apartment 601 had been segmented in a similar way, creating another nine living spaces. The 701 unit is owned by Jing Ya Lin of Havre de Grace, Maryland, according to the building office.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">In addition to flouting occupancy and permitting rules, the illegal units were found to lack a secondary exit in case of emergency.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">"Every New Yorker deserves a safe and legal place to live, which is why we're committed to rooting out dangerous firetraps and ordering the landlords to make these apartments safe," said Kunitz of the Department of Buildings.</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">Kunitz added, "Tenants living in truncated windowless dwelling units like this poses an extreme hazard to their safety, as well as the safety of their neighbors and first responders. Dangerous living conditions like this cannot be tolerated in our city, and we are holding these landlords accountable for their egregious failure to keep the building safe and livable for tenants."</p> </div> <div class="subscriber-only" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 24px; color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-size: 16px; line-height: 27px;">In a sign of how expensive it is to live in New York City, a discussion about the practice of people cramming themselves into tiny apartments broke out in the comments section of the Gothamist story. In at least one commenter's opinion, "$600/mo is pretty reasonable actually."</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/affordable-housing" hreflang="en">Affordable Housing</a></div> </div> Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:14:55 +0000 Abby Damsky 7333 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News City lawmakers demand answers from Education Dept. on delayed school bus GPS tech by By MICHAEL ELSEN-ROONEY https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-city-lawmakers-demand-answers-education-dept-delayed-school-bus-gps <span>New York Daily News City lawmakers demand answers from Education Dept. on delayed school bus GPS tech by By MICHAEL ELSEN-ROONEY</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City lawmakers demand answers from Education Dept. on delayed school bus GPS tech</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/19/2019 - 11:16am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/michael-elsen-rooney-0" hreflang="en">By MICHAEL ELSEN-ROONEY</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-school-bus-gps-20191118-n4rrle23ffbn3iwy3vmrp2mcua-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-school-bus-gps-20191118-n4rrl…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-18T16:16:29Z">Mon, 11/18/2019 - 11:16</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-19T12:00:00Z">Tue, 11/19/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The letter, authored by Council Members Robert Holden (D–Queens) and Ben Kallos (D–Manhattan), and signed by 20 other council members, questioned why the Education Department didn’t comply with a January law requiring the agency to make real-time GPS tracking available to parents starting this past September. “We...demand that the DOE explain its error and abide by the law immediately for the sake of our students and parents,” the lawmakers said in the note sent Friday. Lawmakers passed a bill in February to shore up city school bus service after frequent delays and missing school buses last year. The law required that the city make real-time GPS data available to “authorized parents or guardians” starting at the beginning of this school year.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p data-page="1">Almost two dozen City Council members sent a letter to schools Chancellor Richard Carranza last week demanding to know why the Education Department failed to meet legal deadlines for providing GPS tracking information for city school buses to parents, The Daily News has learned.</p> <p>The letter, authored by Council Members Robert Holden (D–Queens) and Ben Kallos (D–Manhattan), and signed by 20 other council members, questioned why the Education Department didn’t comply with a January law requiring the agency to make real-time GPS tracking available to parents starting this past September.</p> <p>“We...demand that the DOE explain its error and abide by the law immediately for the sake of our students and parents,” the lawmakers said in the note sent Friday.</p> <p>Lawmakers passed a bill in February to shore up city school bus service after frequent delays and missing school buses last year. The law required that the city make real-time GPS data available to “authorized parents or guardians” starting at the beginning of this school year.</p> <p>Department officials announced a collaboration in August with the rideshare app Via that will eventually provide a parent-friendly app for tracking school buses. Officials said they will start piloting that technology in January and roll it out across the city next school year. They promised in the meantime that parents could call a central city hotline to get real-time updates on their kids’ bus locations.</p> <p>But as The News previously reported, that plan hasn’t worked out, with operators telling families that the GPS devices currently installed on buses weren’t active or that locations weren’t available.</p> <p data-role="intersectionobserver">City lawmakers said the Education Department had seven months from the passage of the GPS law to figure out a solution.</p> <p>Education Department officials said the procurement process for a new contractor usually takes a year, and the agency is working as fast as possible.</p> <p>“As soon as the bill was enacted we began the procurement process, and are working to provide parents with access to busing information in an efficient and effective way by the start of next school year,” said department spokeswoman Miranda Barbot.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Tue, 19 Nov 2019 16:16:29 +0000 Abby Damsky 7332 at https://benkallos.com Coinspeaker BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 Happened and It Was Epic by Press Staff https://benkallos.com/press-clip/coinspeaker-blockchainweekend-nyc-2019-happened-and-it-was-epic-press-staff <span>Coinspeaker BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 Happened and It Was Epic by Press Staff</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 Happened and It Was Epic</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/14/2019 - 1:26pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/coinspeaker" hreflang="en">Coinspeaker</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/press-staff" hreflang="en">Press Staff</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/blockchainweekend-nyc-happened/">https://www.coinspeaker.com/blockchainweekend-nyc-happened/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-14T18:26:28Z">Thu, 11/14/2019 - 13:26</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-13T12:00:00Z">Wed, 11/13/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 kicked off last Thursday, November 7th with an evening opening reception hosted by<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/organizations/gemini/" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">Gemini</a>, a New York-based cryptocurrency exchange in partnership with Tech:NYC, taking place at their headquarters. Tech insiders, investors and blockchain enthusiasts gathered to celebrate this weekend. You could feel the palpable excitement in the air.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 kicked off last Thursday, November 7th with an evening opening reception hosted by<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/organizations/gemini/" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">Gemini</a>, a New York-based cryptocurrency exchange in partnership with Tech:NYC, taking place at their headquarters. Tech insiders, investors and blockchain enthusiasts gathered to celebrate this weekend. You could feel the palpable excitement in the air.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Gemini’s reception set the tone for<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://blockchainweekend.org/" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">BlockchainWeekend</a>, a city-backed initiative founded on the basis of creating an inclusive event for all, both involved and curious about blockchain, and to highlight NYC based tech projects. Evoking a vision of where companies could open their physical and creative spaces and welcome the audience in the pure experience; to share their story with the community, without being boxed into a conference format.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Ana Ariño, Chief Strategy Officer, NYCEDC, stated:</p> <blockquote style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 1rem; padding: 20px 55px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: inherit; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; quotes: none; position: relative; background: rgb(245, 246, 246); color: rgb(33, 37, 41); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: italic; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 24px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(62, 69, 72); opacity: 0.9;">“We are excited to see collaborative, community-driven initiatives like BlockchainWeekend NYC that are helping grow New York City’s blockchain community. BlockchainWeekend is a first-of-its-kind event that aims to provide vital resources and connections to residents across the 5 boroughs, from the blockchain curious to blockchain professionals, giving everyone an opportunity to participate in the development and growth of this technology.”</p> </blockquote> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">BlockchainWeekend felt different, more raw and authentic than just the whitewashed spaces of conference halls. With events ranging in topics happening across all five boroughs of New York City, the tech community was embracing this new way to elevate ideas and embrace change. It was an appropriate way to kick off the event.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><img alt="" src="https://www.coinspeaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/blockchainweekend-nyc-happened-1.jpg" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; font: inherit; vertical-align: middle; max-width: 100%; height: auto;" /></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Each company and project infused its own spaces with its own narrative of blockchain. What stood out for me was that I didn’t feel like I was overloaded and lost, like in the chaos of BlockchainWeek this past May, where giant corporate events took over the space. Where the<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/organizations/ibm/" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">IBM</a>s,<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/organizations/microsoft/" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>s and<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/organizations/amazon/" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">Amazon</a>s of the blockchain world, forced their vision and status quo, BlockchainWeekend felt much more exploratory and communal. I could choose my own adventure, where I could explore any direction I wanted, and because tickets were not expensive, I wasn’t attached to any given event. I was able to experience different aspects of the blockchain space giving me the inspiration to explore and venture out and learn from companies that weren’t on my radar. BlockchainWeekend represented what’s so great about the tech community in NYC, the diverse projects all coming together in a way that is welcoming to all.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“For someone new to the Blockchain community, BlockchainWeekend has given me access to events that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to attend. I felt welcomed and energized. The curated events appealed to all levels, interests and budgets and I really appreciate that. It’s been really exciting to learn and get involved with so much around the city,” told Rachel Lee, a BlockchainWeekend attendee.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The big event for the weekend was the<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://blockchainweekend.org/blockchain-nyc-summit/" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">BlockchainWeekend Summit</a><span>&nbsp;</span>on November 8th in the financial district of Manhattan. The beauty was, it wasn’t the focal point, it was an organic part of BCW encapsulating the essence of diverse events. It brought together community, reinventing a new way to connect, and there were many events happening the same day, before and during it. Organizers seemed to bring this decentralized approach to the blockchain conversation. Yet it seemed every event was full of blockchain enthusiasts, experts and curious, immersing in and embracing all that blockchain weekend had to offer.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">With panels on “Future Finance” and “Blockchain in Healthcare”, attendees were able to learn about different areas of the blockchain industry from a diverse lineup of speakers. Taking place in NYC, the government had its voice through New York state representatives sharing their vision of how new technology can change the city.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC, said:</p> <blockquote style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 1rem; padding: 20px 55px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: inherit; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; quotes: none; position: relative; background: rgb(245, 246, 246); color: rgb(33, 37, 41); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: italic; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 24px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(62, 69, 72); opacity: 0.9;">“Blockchain Weekend celebrates so much of what we love about New York: the coming together of technology and the people and companies who build it. The implications of and potential for blockchain—and cryptocurrency—continue to grow and its foothold in the financial world demands that New York be a leader in its development and growth. Blockchain Weekend is an encouraging step in that direction, and we applaud the leadership of forward-looking companies like Gemini and other New York blockchain companies for being a part of it.”</p> </blockquote> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Keynotes came from Karen Bhatia (SVP of NYCEDC), Ben Kallos (New York City Council Member), Clyde Vanel (New York State Assemblyman), Mark Jaffe (President of New York Chamber of Commerce), Andy Saldaña (Founder &amp; Executive Director of NY Tech Alliance), David Weild (Former Vice Chairman of<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.coinspeaker.com/organizations/nasdaq/" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(247, 16, 43); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.4s ease 0s; display: inline-block; position: relative;" target="_blank">NASDAQ</a>).</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Art Malkov, Managing Director of BlockchainWeekend, also shared the impressions:</p> <blockquote style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 1rem; padding: 20px 55px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: inherit; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; quotes: none; position: relative; background: rgb(245, 246, 246); color: rgb(33, 37, 41); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: italic; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: 24px; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(62, 69, 72); opacity: 0.9;">“The vision for connected NYC blockchain ecosystem was the driving force of bringing BlockchainWeekend NYC events to people in all 5 boroughs. The initiative has met with phenomenal reception and this inaugural event with support from EDCNYC, has paved the way for a new and more decentralized way that blockchain can be engaged across the worlds blockchain communities. Putting spotlight on fascinating projects in every region of the globe.”</p> </blockquote> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Along with an extensive list of speakers, the BlockchainWeekend Summit also hosted the Blockchain Live Hall, a space for companies to showcase their live projects. Projects included those from 3box, Quadency, TaxMap and Columbia’s IBM Accelerator.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The Blockchain Weekend NYC initiative has inspired events across various locations, notably all the way on the other side of the world with “Blockchain Future Vision” in New Delhi, India. That took place on Saturday, November 9th.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“November is an important month for New York’s blockchain ecosystem. I was delighted to have our community collaborate and host an event at the inaugural Blockchain Weekend NYC. The first annual Blockchain Live NYC proved to be an amazing success! THEDEx and Lair East are thrilled to contribute to the ever-expanding New York tech space,” said Francis Berwa, Co-Founder of THEDEx.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Some more highlighted events include: Civic Hall + ConsenSys, where panels answered the question “How might we use blockchain technology to create a more inclusive world?” and discussed the diversity in decentralized technologies; Blockchain Live, a conversation with leaders, builders and investors about the future of decentralized finance; along with hackathons, live projects and workshops all weekend long. It was thrilling to see the blockchain community come together, embrace the blockchain weekend.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">BlockchainWeekend was a weekend full of learning, teaching, and networking with leaders and innovators within NYC’s tech community. By bridging the gap between novices and experts; startups and corporations, BlockchainWeekend exceeded expectations and created a space for all to share and connect.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">I didn’t know what to expect from BlockchainWeekend and how it would be different from Blockchain Week, but I was amazed to see just how different it really was. Every event was under $50 and most were free, making it inclusive and allowing anyone to have access to it. Adding to the growing diversity of the space.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(20, 32, 37); letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">BlockchainWeekend has so much personality, each event was unique and yet had a certain urban fabric connecting it. The flavor was unexplored and yet familiar. Events were taking place from Brooklyn to Downtown Manhattan all the way up to Harlem. I am hopeful that this format will stick, as it provides an insider look into a range of projects that I would not have known about if it wasn’t for this decentralized kaleidoscope of events.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/technology" hreflang="en">Technology</a></div> </div> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 18:26:28 +0000 Abby Damsky 7327 at https://benkallos.com The City PARKS DEPARTMENT MAY SHRINK COSTLY BATHROOMS TO SAVE CASH by Yoav Gonen https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-parks-department-may-shrink-costly-bathrooms-save-cash-yoav-gonen <span>The City PARKS DEPARTMENT MAY SHRINK COSTLY BATHROOMS TO SAVE CASH by Yoav Gonen</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">PARKS DEPARTMENT MAY SHRINK COSTLY BATHROOMS TO SAVE CASH</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/13/2019 - 3:53pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city" hreflang="en">The City</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/yoav-gonen" hreflang="en">Yoav Gonen</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/parks-department-may-shrink-costly-bathrooms-to-save-cash.html">https://thecity.nyc/2019/11/parks-department-may-shrink-costly-bathrooms-to-sav…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-13T20:53:31Z">Wed, 11/13/2019 - 15:53</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-13T12:00:00Z">Wed, 11/13/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0u3x00093g5xtbf8ydnf@published">The Parks Department is looking to curb the cost of constructing new public bathrooms — by making them smaller.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdt000j3g5xdq95vl21@published">Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver Tuesday said the agency is exploring stand-alone units tested in other cities, such as the&nbsp;<a href="https://portlandloo.com/">Portland Loo</a>&nbsp;and trailer-like bathrooms in Boston.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0u3x00093g5xtbf8ydnf@published">The Parks Department is looking to curb the cost of constructing new public bathrooms — by making them smaller.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdt000j3g5xdq95vl21@published">Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver Tuesday said the agency is exploring stand-alone units tested in other cities, such as the&nbsp;<a href="https://portlandloo.com/">Portland Loo</a>&nbsp;and trailer-like bathrooms in Boston.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdt000k3g5xv2g3nnqn@published">He also pointed to automatic public toilets like the ones at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn as an option, particularly at playgrounds.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdu000l3g5x5c0tuvd2@published">“We haven’t committed to doing any of them … we’re just exploring a cheaper, more inexpensive way of building bathrooms,” Silver told THE CITY after a City Council hearing on parks construction costs.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdu000m3g5xqti6qhhg@published">Earlier this year, THE CITY reported that a comfort station at Ferry Point Park West in The Bronx&nbsp;<a href="https://thecity.nyc/2019/04/pricey-parks-bathrooms-putting-pressure-on-taxpayers.html">had run taxpayers nearly $4.7 million</a>, and that a $6 million bathroom was on tap for Staten Island’s<a href="https://www.nycgovparks.org/planning-and-building/capital-project-tracker/project/6396">&nbsp;Seaside Wildlife Nature Park</a>.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdu000n3g5xkk8qrcs1@published">Mayor Bill de Blasio promptly&nbsp;<a href="https://thecity.nyc/2019/04/expensive-parks-bathrooms-are-a-real-drain-mayor-says.html">promised</a>&nbsp;to rein in escalating costs after the average tab for a parks restroom tripled from roughly $1.3 million in 2011 to nearly $3.6 million last year.</p> <h2 data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/subheader/instances/ck2wm1f24001t3g5xytlh599h@published">A See-Through Loo</h2> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdv000p3g5x41ll7hcr@published">“We were struggling — felt it was not fair to taxpayers to spend that much,” said Silver. “Plus the volume of people requesting to have these in their playground — every playground has a comfort station — that’s when we decided, ‘Let’s see if we can explore it.’”</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdx000q3g5x1vb17t52@published">The Portland Loo is a metal kiosk-like structure with grills that allow large parts of the bathroom to be viewed from the outside — a feature that’s meant to discourage criminal activity while still providing privacy. The facilities are built to be easily cleaned and offer hand sanitizer rather than running water for washing.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdx000r3g5xbgojvx4g@published">The Boston trailer bathrooms, which resemble units that have been used on Governors Island, are essentially larger, sturdier versions of porta-potties.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdx000s3g5xw8euxs3i@published">“What we all care about is not necessarily what it looks like on the outside but cleanliness [and] availability,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson (D-The Bronx), chair of the Council’s capital budget subcommittee.</p> <h2 data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/subheader/instances/ck2wm1rwm002a3g5x5lpuurtk@published">Getting Past Cost Overruns</h2> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdy000u3g5xe95pu56f@published">When it comes to general parks construction, Silver said his agency has been making significant strides — with 684 projects completed under his watch since 2014. The average project takes about three to four years from funding to completion, and that 85% are finished on time, he said.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdy000v3g5xq5nwubsg@published">Silver said that 87% of parks projects have been completed on budget in recent years, although that figure only encompasses the construction phase.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdz000w3g5xpp1bqgwl@published">“The myth about parks having cost overruns is really a thing of the past,” he testified.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdz000x3g5xoc5wn93s@published">But Council members highlighted a number of inefficiencies that contribute to delays well before construction begins — including months-long waits to assign projects to an in-house design team after they’ve been fully funded.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdz000y3g5x5pmt5rl3@published">The Parks Department said that process typically takes between two and 10 months based on staff availability, but Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said he’s seen the process take a year.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0wdz000z3g5x3oj0lsn6@published">When Kallos pressed officials on staffing numbers, he was told there are 50 vacant slots within the capital projects division — about 10% of the budgeted positions.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we000103g5xjzevry0w@published">“I’m flabbergasted by the fact that they have 50 open positions while their projects sit there doing nothing for as much as a year,” Kallos, chair of the Council’s contracts committee, told THE CITY.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we000113g5xoy659t2l@published">Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) questioned why the system for other agencies to review parks projects isn’t more streamlined.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we100123g5x9bjkx94v@published">Five agencies — the city Law Department, Department of Investigation, Office of Management and Budget, Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, and the Department of Small Business Services — each get 30 days to approve a segment of a project.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we200133g5xgmvr424i@published">“We cannot have parks projects stalling for each of five agencies,” said Levine.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we300143g5xpm6upd3z@published">Silver said discussions to speed up the mandated external reviews have been ongoing.</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we300143g5xpm6upd3z@published">&nbsp;</p> <p data-editable="text" data-uri="thecity.nyc/_components/paragraph/instances/ck2wm0we300143g5xpm6upd3z@published">This story was originally published by&nbsp;<a href="https://thecity.nyc/">THE CITY</a>, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1494" hreflang="en">Parks</a></div> </div> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 20:53:30 +0000 Abby Damsky 7326 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé by Michael Gartland https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-cuomo-probe-nycs-biggest-homeless-services-provider-after-daily-news <span>New York Daily News Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé by Michael Gartland</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Cuomo to probe NYC’s biggest homeless services provider after Daily News exposé</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/13/2019 - 3:49pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/michael-gartland" hreflang="en">Michael Gartland</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-acacia-network-homeless-311-murder-20191113-3uri5d5nsjbojpe6gigre2w5hu-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-acacia-network-homeless-311-murder-2019…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-13T20:49:38Z">Wed, 11/13/2019 - 15:49</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-12T12:00:00Z">Tue, 11/12/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p data-page="1" style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">The Acacia Network — the scandal-plagued non-profit that raked in $183 million in city contracts in 2019 alone — is facing another investigation.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Gov. Cuomo announced the latest probe Tuesday after the Daily News exposed Acacia for demanding a mother of three stop calling the city’s 311 complaint line if she wanted to renew her lease in a squalid Bronx apartment.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p data-page="1" style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">The Acacia Network — the scandal-plagued non-profit that raked in $183 million in city contracts in 2019 alone — is facing another investigation.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Gov. Cuomo announced the latest probe Tuesday after the Daily News exposed Acacia for demanding a mother of three stop calling the city’s 311 complaint line if she wanted to renew her lease in a squalid Bronx apartment.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">The woman, Iesha Poindexter, gave in to the demand, but said she was later told her lease would not be renewed anyway.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">“This harassment, if true, is unacceptable,” Cuomo said. "I am directing the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, which provides funding for services at this building, to immediately get to the bottom of this situation and help ensure that these practices are not replicated at other properties.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd card-captioned clln--it" data-type="image" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <figure style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; display: block;"> <div class="full-width img-container " style="box-sizing: border-box; width: 740px; flex-shrink: 0; object-fit: cover; height: 532.8px;"><img alt="NY Governor Andrew Cuomo" class="b-lazy full-width b-loaded" src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/_VEnv2BButWJIw5CJfjvawb7p2c=/800x576/top/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/MDJDD2GQP5HI5HMNQ6XYOYA24U.jpg" style="box-sizing: border-box; border: 0px; vertical-align: middle; width: 740px; flex-shrink: 0; object-fit: cover; height: 532.8px;" /></div> <figcaption class="caption-text spaced spaced-top spaced-sm flex-container-row justify-space-between " style="box-sizing: border-box; display: flex; font: 400 12px/16px &quot;Open Sans&quot;; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); flex-direction: row; justify-content: space-between; margin-top: 8px;"> <div style="box-sizing: border-box;">NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (Go Nakamura / New York Daily News)</div> </figcaption> </figure> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Cuomo has already launched two investigations into Five Stars Management, the property manager in at least two Bronx buildings where Acacia operates, including Poindexter’s.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">When told about the latest probe into Acacia, Poindexter said simply: “Thank God."</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Cuomo’s announcement punctuated weeks of controversy surrounding Acacia, the city’s largest homeless services provider.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Two separate investigations of its contracting practices are already being conducted by the city Department of Investigation and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">On Sunday, a man was murdered at one of its homeless shelters on the Upper West Side.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Since 2010, the city has spent $1.3 billion on contracts to Acacia. The state did not immediately release spending figures on Acacia and its members dating back that far, but current state spending clocks in at about $123 million.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">The state OASES contract at Poindexter’s building is worth $400,000.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">City Comptroller Scott Stringer called the nonprofit’s recent behavior an “outrage.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">“They must be held accountable for allowing New Yorkers to suffer in city-funded housing," he said.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">City Councilman Ben Kallos said the probes into Acacia must conclude swiftly.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">"The people aren’t getting the services they need,” he said “If the operator can’t do their job, we need to move these investigations quickly. We need to hold a hearing in the City Council quickly.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">Some insiders privately describe Acacia as a necessary evil — a nonprofit the city and state rely on because there are not enough entities to fulfill current needs.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">When asked to justify why Acacia continues to receive such generous financial support, Acacia spokesman John Schiumo sent several statements.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p class="stop-here" data-role="intersectionobserver" style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">His responses came after Acacia conceded it coerced Poindexter into signing the form promising she would refrain from calling 311, but added that the paperwork was written by a rogue staffer, who was disciplined.</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px 24px 0px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">“We are proud of our work," Schiumo said in one statement. "All of us at the Acacia Network strive for transparency and have always acted with the utmost integrity to serve our neighbors.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="crd clln--it" data-type="text" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; line-height: 19px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <div class="crd--cnt " style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 24px;"> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font: 400 17px/30px &quot;PT Serif&quot;, serif; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); margin: 0px;">The city did not respond to questions.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/affordable-housing" hreflang="en">Affordable Housing</a></div> </div> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 20:49:38 +0000 Abby Damsky 7325 at https://benkallos.com New York Times ‘It Was Horrible’: Man Killed In Gruesome Brawl at Homeless Shelter by CHRISTINA GOLDBAUM https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-times-it-was-horrible-man-killed-gruesome-brawl-homeless-shelter-christina <span>New York Times ‘It Was Horrible’: Man Killed In Gruesome Brawl at Homeless Shelter by CHRISTINA GOLDBAUM</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">‘It Was Horrible’: Man Killed In Gruesome Brawl at Homeless Shelter </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:22am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-times" hreflang="en">New York Times</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/christina-goldbaum" hreflang="en">CHRISTINA GOLDBAUM</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/nyregion/homeless-shelter-stabbing-new-york.html">https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/nyregion/homeless-shelter-stabbing-new-york…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-10T14:04:03Z">Sun, 11/10/2019 - 09:04</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-12T12:00:00Z">Tue, 11/12/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p dir="ltr">“There is a real problem here and we need to do something before another life is lost,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, chairman of the City Council’s contracting committee. Mr. Kallos, a Democrat, says he plans to call on Monday for a Council hearing regarding Acacia’s practices. “One of the hardest problems is that the people in these shelters and making these reports are those who the system and society might not treat as credible,” Mr. Kallos said. “But in light of what happened yesterday, that seems less and less the case.”</p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p dir="ltr">Edwin Rivera was woken up early on Sunday morning by loud thuds coming from the floor above him. He thought it was probably a fist fight.</p> <p dir="ltr">After getting out of his bed in the homeless shelter on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Rivera went upstairs to break up the brawl and found a gruesome scene: Blood was splattered on the walls, and one of the men who had been fighting was gasping for life.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was horrible —&nbsp; I see him dying and I’m there trying to revive him,” Mr. Rivera, 40, said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The fight, which happened at around 1:50 a.m. at Basics Housing Men’s Homeless Shelter, ended with a 22-year-old man dead and his 36-year-old roommate, who also sustained stab wounds, in the hospital in stable condition, according to the police.</p> <p dir="ltr">The police said they were investigating the episode, but believe the younger man, Geronal Washington, tried to stab his roommate, Robert Caballero, who then took the blade from him and killed him.</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">The episode was the second fatal stabbing in a week involving a homeless man in New York City: On Nov. 5, a 38-year-old was stabbed to death outside a shelter in East Elmhurst, Queens.</p> <p dir="ltr">Both attacks have spotlighted the violence endemic to the shelter system and the challenges the city has faced in trying to curb it across over 400 of its shelters, despite efforts to overhaul security at these facilities in recent years.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr. Washington’s death has also added renewed scrutiny to the nonprofit, Acacia Network Housing Inc., that operates the shelter where he was stabbed. Acacia is one of the largest providers of homeless housing in New York City and has been mired in controversy over its security practices.</p> <p dir="ltr">In July, The Wall Street Journal reported that the nonprofit’s executives had failed to disclose ties to a for-profit security company, SERA Security Services, that it had hired to provide security at some of the shelters. The city then began investigating Acacia, which has received hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts from the city since 2010.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the fatal attack on Sunday at the Acacia-run shelter — where city officials say SERA provides security — has led to renewed calls for New York to more urgently address concerns about the nonprofit. Acacia operates 750 individual family housing units as well as four shelters that house 550 homeless adults in the city, according to the department.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There is a real problem here and we need to do something before another life is lost,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, chairman of the City Council’s contracting committee.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr. Kallos, a Democrat, says he plans to call on Monday for a Council hearing regarding Acacia’s practices.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the nonprofit came under investigation, Mr. Kallos said several current and former residents in Acacia shelters had shared stories of their troubling experiences: Some told him they were forced to share rooms with other residents who had threatened to kill them or had previously injured them. Others said Acacia staff members had threatened to evict them if they called the police about the conditions inside the shelter.</p> <p dir="ltr">“One of the hardest problems is that the people in these shelters and making these reports are those who the system and society might not treat as credible,” Mr. Kallos said. “But in light of what happened yesterday, that seems less and less the case.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A spokesman for Acacia said on Sunday night that staff members at the shelter immediately notified the police after the attack and were working with police investigators. “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place,” he said. “Guards patrol this 103-unit shelter around the clock and violence is extremely rare, as this is the first violent incident recorded there all year.”</p> <p dir="ltr">For decades, the city’s shelter system has been notorious for the dangerous conditions at some of its sites, particularly at intake and assessment centers — the system’s front door. Those threats are often the reason homeless people prefer to stay on the streets or in subway cars, instead of at shelters.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There are fights, there is drug use, there are gangs, you name it,” said Nikita Price, a civil rights organizer with Picture the Homeless, an advocacy organization led by homeless people. “You put all these elements together, it is going to get volatile.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But safety for people living on the street can be just as elusive: Last month, a homeless man in Chinatown bludgeoned four other homeless men to death in a rampage that spread new anxiety among the city’s homeless population.</p> <p dir="ltr">The violence at shelters made headlines in 2016 after a string of deaths at city sites, including the murder of a young mother and two of her daughters on Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">In response to the deaths, the Department of Homeless Services and the Police Department overhauled security at these facilities, developing a police-led management team to oversee security and creating new training for the system’s peace guards, the city-employed security officers who have arresting powers but do not carry guns.</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the past year, data from the Police Department suggests crime at homeless shelters is declining. In the first half of this year, the police made 1,084 arrests in shelters, down 17 percent from the 1,313 arrests made in shelters over the same period last year.</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, many of the city’s homeless people and their advocates say that addressing the dangers embedded in the system requires more than just bolstering law enforcement at the shelters.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Homeless New Yorkers tell us shelter security is often too lax and that reporting incidents to staff can often make matters worse,” said Josh Dean, executive director of Human.nyc, a policy organization that focuses on homelessness. “The best way to keep people safe is to invest in housing and then provide ongoing supportive services when necessary. Shelters are never going to be safer than real housing.”</p> <p dir="ltr">James Little, 64, who has lived for about a year at the shelter where the stabbing occurred on Sunday morning, said Basics Housing usually felt safer than others he had lived in.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr. Little said that he had only one roommate at the shelter — compared with 10 to 12 at other locations — and that he could lock the door from the inside.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You come from the other places and you come here and you relax,” Mr. Little said. “But then you hear things like this happen and you’re not sure how safe you are.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/affordable-housing" hreflang="en">Affordable Housing</a></div> </div> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 16:22:59 +0000 Abby Damsky 7323 at https://benkallos.com The Chief-Leader DC 37 Looks to Organize City Council Staffers by Bob Hennelly https://benkallos.com/press-clip/chief-leader-dc-37-looks-organize-city-council-staffers-bob-hennelly <span>The Chief-Leader DC 37 Looks to Organize City Council Staffers by Bob Hennelly</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">DC 37 Looks to Organize City Council Staffers </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Sat, 11/09/2019 - 7:15pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/chief-leader" hreflang="en">The Chief-Leader</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/bob-hennelly" hreflang="en">Bob Hennelly</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/dc-looks-to-organize-city-council-staffers/article_6c71a6e8-0178-11ea-af02-0f87d15afb41.html">https://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/dc-looks-to-organize-city-coun…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-09T00:15:58Z">Fri, 11/08/2019 - 19:15</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-08T12:00:00Z">Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“I support the First Amendment right to organize anywhere, including right here in the City Council,” Mr. Kallos wrote. “Most jobs have their politics, but in the Council a worker’s job can literally be politics, bringing with it many unique challenges that having a union could help overcome.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The outrage expressed by 116 current and past City Council staffers in a recent open letter taking the Council to task for failing to expel Andy King for his second round of substantiated claims of abusing his staff has prompted debate about whether staffers would be better off with a union.</p> <p>And District Council 37 is among the municipal unions expressing interest.</p> <p>The prospect of staffers organizing was raised during vote on Councilman King’s fate by Carlos Menchaca, who voted with 11 of his colleagues to expel him.</p> <p><strong>‘Council Needs to Do More’</strong></p> <p>A follow-up call to Mr. Menchaca’s office was not returned, but a staffer said that comment was in line with the Brooklyn Councilman's conviction that while “the Council has been doing a lot for the staff, it needs to do more.”</p> <p>This newspaper has confirmed that DC 37 has an organizing effort underway. The union did not wish to comment further.</p> <p>In a statement, Council Member Ben Kallos, who is also a labor attorney, maintained that Council staffers had the same right to organize as other workers.</p> <p>“I support the First Amendment right to organize anywhere, including right here in the City Council,” Mr. Kallos wrote. “Most jobs have their politics, but in the Council a worker’s job can literally be politics, bringing with it many unique challenges that having a union could help overcome.”</p> <p>Based on interviews with current and former staffers, the nature of the way staffer jobs are funded while their duties are often left undefined may make those that have them particularly vulnerable to the kind of abuse alleged in the King case, and thus particularly difficult to organize.</p> <p><strong>No Civil-Service Rights</strong></p> <p>Under the current arrangement, all Council staffers are totally outside the civil-service system and considered “at will” employees who can be terminated at any time.</p> <p>And unlike with civil-service titles, the pay for jobs such as Legislative Assistant or Community Liaison can vary by tens of thousands of dollars and is set by individual Council Members.</p> <p>“There’s hundreds of staffers who work for the City Council as an institution and hundreds who work individually for the 52 Council Members,” explained a long-time staffer who recently left. “But keep in mind, when it comes to the Council Member’s staff, they are not told to hire a set number of employees with specific titles but given a set amount of money to run their operation.”</p> <p>He continued, “You can have fewer higher-paid people, and there is no minimum salary, so you can have someone making $125,000 in the same office where somebody is making $25,000. Add in the mix, remember with just several people on staff, the day-to-day reality is one day the Council Member’s body person can be tasked to do constituent service. And it’s all a double-edged sword for the employee, because theoretically we are paid for by the taxpayers, but we are also building our boss’s political career.”</p> <p><strong>‘Harassed, Retaliated Against’</strong></p> <p>Current staff members were reluctant to speak on the record but in an online posting on the site Medium on Nov. 1, 90 current and 26 former Council staffers who did not sign their names rebuked the Council for giving Mr. King a third chance.</p> <p>“As public service employees, we work every day to serve the people of New York City: to expand protections and opportunities, to ensure safety and stability, and to make our City a more equitable place,” they wrote. “We are asking for these same protections that our Members and staff fight for every day to be extended to us. To not be harassed, retaliated against, threatened, or put in unsafe working conditions while we work to better the City of New York.”</p> <p>Prior to the Council vote, in an Oct. 28 Daily News op-ed Chloe Rivera, a senior Legislative Policy Analyst with the Council Committee on Women and Gender Equity and Higher Education, revealed that she was the first staffer who had filed charges against Mr. King and was subsequently fired for coming forward.</p> <p>In the essay, she called for the Council to expel him because the body “must establish a standard that worker abuse and witness intimidation and retaliation will not be tolerated, that repeat abusers are unfit to serve and will be removed from office….In the report, I am the ‘2017 complainant,’ ” she wrote. “During the investigation, evidence revealed that in 2017, King held a staff meeting at his home, where he outed me as the staffer who reported him for gender-based harassment. The Ethics Committee found my allegations to be credible and substantiated my complaint the following year.”</p> <p>This was not the first time that the workplace dynamics of the Council boiled over in public view.</p> <p><strong>A Glaring Disparity</strong></p> <p>In 2016, when under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Council boosted Members' salaries from $112,500 to $148,500, “aides to two Council members stood silently in the balcony of the Council chambers, wearing white t-shirts that read, ‘Paycheck to Paycheck, Pay Raises for All,’ ” according to the Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>“The $36,000 salary bump for Council members is about the same amount of money that many of their staff members make in a year,” the Gazette reported. “These are aides filling roles such as communications director, scheduler, and community liaison. Chiefs of staff usually make quite a bit more.”</p> <p>Staffers reviewing their jobs on employment websites like Indeed and Glassdoor indicate assessments range from “terrible” to an “amazing place to work.”</p> <p>“Working for a councilmember was possibly the worst thing ever,” wrote a former community liaison/scheduler from Queens. “There was no time, as there were always community events during the weeknights, and more community events on weekends. So, you ended up working 90+ hour workweeks and living either at the office or at events.”</p> <p><strong>Long Hours Worth It</strong></p> <p>“As with any government job, the NYC Council is a demanding job,” wrote a former staffer with the same title based in Manhattan. “Often times, you do have to work when you are not in the office, but that is politics. I started as an intern and then was hired as a scheduler &amp; district office manager. I learned so incredibly much from this position and truly believed in the work I was doing.”</p> <p>Last year, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, legislation was introduced in the California Assembly to permit “at will” legislative workers to organize. But the measure died in committee.</p> <p>“A number of legislators and senior legislative staffers have been accused of harassment and investigations have proved many of the accusations to be valid,” reported the website CalMatters. “The Legislature has incurred heavy payments to settle harassment and retaliation lawsuits, several legislators have been forced to resign, several others have been admonished and still more investigations are underway.”</p> </div> Sun, 10 Nov 2019 00:15:57 +0000 admin 7321 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch School Lab Funded By Participatory Budgeting Debuts On UES by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-school-lab-funded-participatory-budgeting-debuts-ues-brendan <span>Upper East Side Patch School Lab Funded By Participatory Budgeting Debuts On UES by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">School Lab Funded By Participatory Budgeting Debuts On UES</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/07/2019 - 10:57am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/school-lab-funded-participatory-budgeting-debuts-ues">https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/school-lab-funded-participatory-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-07T15:58:06Z">Thu, 11/07/2019 - 10:58</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-11-07T12:00:00Z">Thu, 11/07/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The new hyrdoponic greenhouse facility will teach students about sustainability, climate change and science</p> <p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Students at an Upper East Side public school will have the chance to learn about issues such as sustainability and enhance their science skills at a brand-new lab facility funded through participatory budgeting.</p> <p>Nonprofit organization&nbsp;<a href="https://nysunworks.org/">NY Sun Works</a>&nbsp;— which installs hydroponic science labs in New York City schools — celebrated the opening of its newest facility last week at PS 183 Robert Louis Stevenson, the company announced. Funding for the lab was provided by City Councilman Ben Kallos through a participatory budgeting vote in 2017.</p> <p>"We must invest in STEM education to prepare students for jobs of the future and today, we cut the ribbon on a $600,000 science lab," Kallos said in a statement. "Voting creates real change. The 11-year-olds and parents who voted can see for themselves, as they learn first-hand the power of democracy, not to mention all the science they'll get done."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Students at PS 183, a pre-k through 5th grade school located on East 66th Street between York and First avenues, will be able to use the facility to grow food and other plants. The experience of growing crops will provide firsthand knowledge of science, a spokesperson for NY Sun Works said.</p> <p>The new science lab can also be used to teach students lessons about climate change and sustainability efforts such as urban farming. NY Sun Works has built more than 125 similar labs in schools in all five boroughs, teaching about 40,000 students. Construction on the lab at PS 183 took less than a year to complete and included electrical upgrades, a heating unit and new</p> <p><a href="https://patch.com/">Subscribe</a></p> <p>sinks, flooring, counters, cabinetry and furniture for the classroom.</p> <p>"The hydroponic lab will provide students with the opportunity to grow food while learning hands-on about science and climate education as well as food justice and community service," NY Sun Works Executive Director Manuela Zamora said in a statement.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="The new hydroponic lab at PS 183 will teach Upper East Side students about science, climate and sustainability." src="https://patch.com/img/cdn20/users/22866740/20191106/122156/styles/patch_image/public/img-3383___06112518173.jpg?width=705" /></p> <p>The new hydroponic lab at PS 183 will teach Upper East Side students about science, climate and sustainability. (Courtesy NY Sun Works)</p> <p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Students at an Upper East Side public school will have the chance to learn about issues such as sustainability and enhance their science skills at a brand-new lab facility funded through participatory budgeting.</p> <p>Nonprofit organization&nbsp;<a href="https://nysunworks.org/">NY Sun Works</a>&nbsp;— which installs hydroponic science labs in New York City schools — celebrated the opening of its newest facility last week at PS 183 Robert Louis Stevenson, the company announced. Funding for the lab was provided by City Councilman Ben Kallos through a participatory budgeting vote in 2017.</p> <p>"We must invest in STEM education to prepare students for jobs of the future and today, we cut the ribbon on a $600,000 science lab," Kallos said in a statement. "Voting creates real change. The 11-year-olds and parents who voted can see for themselves, as they learn first-hand the power of democracy, not to mention all the science they'll get done."</p> <p>Students at PS 183, a pre-k through 5th grade school located on East 66th Street between York and First avenues, will be able to use the facility to grow food and other plants. The experience of growing crops will provide firsthand knowledge of science, a spokesperson for NY Sun Works said.</p> <p>The new science lab can also be used to teach students lessons about climate change and sustainability efforts such as urban farming. NY Sun Works has built more than 125 similar labs in schools in all five boroughs, teaching about 40,000 students. Construction on the lab at PS 183 took less than a year to complete and included electrical upgrades, a heating unit and new</p> <p>sinks, flooring, counters, cabinetry and furniture for the classroom.</p> <p>"The hydroponic lab will provide students with the opportunity to grow food while learning hands-on about science and climate education as well as food justice and community service," NY Sun Works Executive Director Manuela Zamora said in a statement.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Thu, 07 Nov 2019 15:57:56 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7320 at https://benkallos.com Brooklyn Daily Eagle Housing Works employees protest, claiming harassment and union-busting tactics by Mary Frost https://benkallos.com/press-clip/brooklyn-daily-eagle-housing-works-employees-protest-claiming-harassment-and-union <span>Brooklyn Daily Eagle Housing Works employees protest, claiming harassment and union-busting tactics by Mary Frost</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Housing Works employees protest, claiming harassment and union-busting tactics</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:29am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/brooklyn-daily-eagle" hreflang="en">Brooklyn Daily Eagle</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/mary-frost" hreflang="en">Mary Frost</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/10/30/housing-works-employees-protest-harassment-and-union-busting-tactics/">https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2019/10/30/housing-works-employees-protest-h…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-30T15:29:41Z">Wed, 10/30/2019 - 11:29</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-31T12:00:00Z">Thu, 10/31/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Manhattan Councilmember Ben Kallos said, “It says something that the number one demand is caseload.” The average pay of Housing Works employees is $16.23, he noted, “Too close to the minimum wage.” He also listed “No clear grievance process and concern about a safe work environment” as good reasons to unionize.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p dir="ltr">More than 100 workers from the nonprofit Housing Works walked off the job and rallied at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Tuesday morning to protest an adversarial workplace environment and to demand their employer “remain neutral” about their push to unionize.</p> <p dir="ltr">The criticisms leveled by employees of Housing Works are out of sync with the organization’s reputation and long history of fighting for people with HIV/AIDS, providing housing assistance, social services and health care. Housing Works thrift shops are welcome neighborhood fixtures in New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet workers — including case managers, social workers, retail workers and long-time volunteers — described burnout, low pay, unmanageable caseloads, lack of training and even discrimination and harassment on the job.</p> <p dir="ltr">The organization employs 800 workers, but turnover of employees is at 30 percent, employees said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I had high hopes for Housing Works, but after working here for a while I’ve found that there is a high turnover because of many structural issues,” Brian Grady, Housing Works Downtown Brooklyn housing coordinator, told the Borough Hall crowd. “Low pay, problems with paid time off and the lack of a living wage at this job are demoralizing for us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Anti-union tactics seem to go against the historical grain of the charity, founded in 1990 by leaders from the boldly aggressive activist group Act Up. Yet workers say the organization has become less progressive than many corporations that maintain union neutrality.</p> <p dir="ltr">Grady said that the nonprofit’s management has hired a “union-busting” law firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, to fight them. Seyfarth Shaw “tried to take down Cesar Chavez,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Seyfarth Shaw specializes in defending companies against employee claims. In 2018, the firm was hired by Harvey Weinstein to defend his company against numerous sexual harassment charges.</p> <p dir="ltr">Social workers and care managers also complained about excessive caseloads and unsafe working conditions.</p> <p dir="ltr">Case manager Rebecca Mitnik said that, “an organization born out of radical Act Up should know that excessive caseloads is not a sound policy.” She said that Housing Works advised burnt-out workers to take a mental health day, but “taking a mental health day doesn’t reduce secondary trauma and burnout.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Councilmember Brad Lander praised the bravery of the Housing Works employees in standing up for themselves and their clients.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is what solidarity looks like,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Manhattan Councilmember Ben Kallos said, “It says something that the number one demand is caseload.” The average pay of Housing Works employees is $16.23, he noted, “Too close to the minimum wage.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He also listed “No clear grievance process and concern about a safe work environment” as good reasons to unionize.</p> <p dir="ltr">Housing Works employees have been working with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union for months in their unionization efforts.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU president, said he was shocked to hear of the issues being experienced by Housing Works employees, given the organization’s reputation.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is clear that Housing Works has strayed very far away from its original progressive values in dealing with its workforce, and it’s deeply troubling,” Appelbaum said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Housing Works employees have filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, and want the company to sign a neutrality agreement to allow the unionization process to continue free from pressure or coercion.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the rally, workers returned to their jobs. Some of the workers didn’t have to walk far. The newest Housing Works retail outlet opened on Oct. 26, one block away from the rally, at 150 Montague St.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is the 14th Housing Works Thrift Shop location in New York City and the third shop in Brooklyn, which includes stores in Park and South Slope.</p> <p dir="ltr">Housing Works CEO Charles King told the Eagle, “We respect the right of our employees to engage in any lawful labor action, and we have committed to remaining neutral in this process. We have always been supportive of our employees’ efforts to advocate for themselves, our programs, and our constituency. In July, we invested substantially in employee benefits — offering more paid time off and assistance with student loans without increasing health care premiums.”&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/affordable-housing" hreflang="en">Affordable Housing</a></div> </div> Thu, 31 Oct 2019 15:29:41 +0000 Abby Damsky 7316 at https://benkallos.com Gay City News Seeking Unionization, Housing Works Employees Rally by Matt Tracy https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gay-city-news-seeking-unionization-housing-works-employees-rally-matt-tracy <span>Gay City News Seeking Unionization, Housing Works Employees Rally by Matt Tracy</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Seeking Unionization, Housing Works Employees Rally</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/30/2019 - 6:15am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gay-city-news" hreflang="en">Gay City News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/matt-tracy" hreflang="en">Matt Tracy</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/24/housing-works-union-organizing-2019-10-29-gcn.html">https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/24/housing-works-union-organizing-2019…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-30T10:15:04Z">Wed, 10/30/2019 - 06:15</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-30T12:00:00Z">Wed, 10/30/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>With chants like “Union busting is disgusting” and “Fix Housing Works now,” more than 100 fed up employees of Housing Works packed together on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall October 29 to speak out about poor working conditions and demand that management respect their efforts to unionize.</p> <p>The rally represented a dramatic turn of events for the nonprofit, which has long been dedicated to eradicating the dual crises of HIV/ AIDS and homelessness and has often led demonstrations on behalf of marginalized people. This time around, however, the organization found itself on the other side of the protests: Workers stormed out of their offices on a Tuesday morning to flock to the rally, where they spoke of flimsy healthcare plans with high deductibles, railed against inadequate paid time-off policies, and told stories of colleagues suddenly getting terminated without notice and escorted out of the office.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>ith chants like “Union busting is disgusting” and “Fix Housing Works now,” more than 100 fed up employees of Housing Works packed together on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall October 29 to speak out about poor working conditions and demand that management respect their efforts to unionize.</p> <p>The rally represented a dramatic turn of events for the nonprofit, which has long been dedicated to eradicating the dual crises of HIV/ AIDS and homelessness and has often led demonstrations on behalf of marginalized people. This time around, however, the organization found itself on the other side of the protests: Workers stormed out of their offices on a Tuesday morning to flock to the rally, where they spoke of flimsy healthcare plans with high deductibles, railed against inadequate paid time-off policies, and told stories of colleagues suddenly getting terminated without notice and escorted out of the office.</p> <p>The workers also ripped Housing Works for overworking them, saying their client caseloads are too high. Others tore into Housing Works CEO Charles King, saying that his open-door policy is not what he makes it out to be.</p> <p>Siobhán Fuller, who works in the human resources department, said she has demonstrated her dedication to the organization’s mission by getting arrested during demonstrations on multiple occasions. Yet, because she has not met her high deductible, she is forced to pay hundreds of dollars for hormones she needs in addition to $100 per appointment for necessary doctor visits throughout the year.</p> <p>“As a trans woman who works with the organization, my healthcare coverage is not enough,” Fuller said.</p> <p>Brian Grady, a housing coordinator who is on the organizing committee that has spearheaded the unionization effort, said it was around this time last year that he and just a handful of others started meeting in downtown Brooklyn to begin the unionization process. They reached out to the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which has backed the workers and joined them at the October 29 rally.</p> <p>“They’ve been incredibly supportive of us,” Grady said.</p> <p>During the latter half of the rally, a group of employees marched to Housing Works’ office nearby and said they presented CEO Charles King with Unfair Labor Practice Charges they filed with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging he would not assure that he would not retaliate against them. They described King as being dismissive when they presented the charges to him. They also noted that he previously refused to sign a commitment to neutrality presented to him by the union.</p> <p>When reached by phone after the rally, King referred Gay City News to emails he sent to staff and pointed to where he said management would not to retaliate against employees.</p> <p>“I want to be very clear because I’ve heard Housing Works is doing things to undermine the union,” King said. “Housing Works is completely neutral. We think that is an employee decision; employees have a right to unionize and management’s job is to stay neutral.”</p> <p>He further stood by Housing Works’ benefit package, saying, “We are quite proud to have been able to expand benefits without increasing employee contributions to health plans.”</p> <p>King also defended employees’ existing caseloads and salaries.</p> <p>In an October 25 letter to staff, King outlined the reasons why he refused to sign the neutrality agreement: He claimed it would force employees to attend union meetings during work time, which King said management sees “as a tacit endorsement of RWDSU” and would take away employees’ rights to decide whether they wanted to attend. He went on to cite concerns about privacy, saying the agreement would force the organization to provide workers’ home and cell phone numbers.</p> <p>“It would also require recognition based on a card-check system instead of allowing you to vote by secret ballot,” King added in the email. “Finally, it would prohibit supervisors and executive management from having any discussion with employees pertaining to the union, even to answer questions.”</p> <p>Employees weren’t buying any of that. Grady said after the rally that management “has been playing this unusual game where they’re claiming to be neutral but on their own terms.”</p> <p>He added, “There have been a number of different iterations of that. They sent out an initial email when we first made the neutrality ask saying they’d be neutral, then they sent out one or two other emails since then that have tacitly denigrated the union and said that Housing Works reserves a right to advocate on its own behalf.”</p> <p>The workplace frustration,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/nyregion/union-housing-works-nyc.html?searchResultPosition=1">first reported by The New York Times</a>, has drawn the attention of local elected officials from various level of government. Out gay City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens joined workers at the rally alongside his Council colleagues Ben Kallos of Manhattan and Brad Lander of Brooklyn.</p> <p>Van Bramer, bullhorn in hand, faced the workers on the steps of Borough Hall and thanked them for standing up for themselves.</p> <p>“There is no such thing as queer rights without worker rights,” Van Bramer said.</p> <p>Among other lawmakers to voice support for the workers included Congressmember Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan and Brooklyn, State Assemblymember Michael Blake of the Bronx, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of Manhattan, and State Senators Julia Salazar of Brooklyn and Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx.</p> <p>King said he has been in contact with several elected officials regarding the unionization process. But when asked about politicians who were in attendance at the rally, he said he had not communicated with them.</p> <p>“I would appreciate that if they want to have a conversation about it, give me a call,” he said.</p> <p>Following the rally, care manager Ilana Engelberg, who was among the most vociferous leaders of the group, said she was pleased with the collective activism of colleagues who traveled from different parts of the city to stand up for one another at Borough Hall.</p> <p>“[Today was] amazing,” she said. “These are workers from all different sites and all different job titles… case workers, mental health providers, bookstore workers.”</p> <p>She continued, “We all want the same thing. We want to have the ability to negotiate our own terms. We want to have a say in our workplace. And we deserve that.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/community" hreflang="en">Community</a></div> </div> Wed, 30 Oct 2019 10:15:01 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7315 at https://benkallos.com PIX11 New York sees drawbacks to delivery convenience by NARMEEN CHOUDHURY https://benkallos.com/press-clip/pix11-new-york-sees-drawbacks-delivery-convenience-narmeen-choudhury <span>PIX11 New York sees drawbacks to delivery convenience by NARMEEN CHOUDHURY</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New York sees drawbacks to delivery convenience</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/29/2019 - 10:40am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/pix11" hreflang="en">PIX11</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/narmeen-choudhury" hreflang="en">NARMEEN CHOUDHURY</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://pix11.com/2019/10/28/new-york-sees-drawbacks-to-delivery-convenience/">https://pix11.com/2019/10/28/new-york-sees-drawbacks-to-delivery-convenience/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-28T14:40:25Z">Mon, 10/28/2019 - 10:40</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-28T12:00:00Z">Mon, 10/28/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Delivery trucks come and go at all hours of the day, are sometimes double parked and sit idle and at times the sorting of endless packages is happening right on city sidewalks.</p> <p>Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos says his district isn't happen and he believes delivery companies themselves should be doing more by getting themselves more warehouses.</p> <p>An estimated million and a half packages flood into New York City daily and according to the Times that number tripled from 2009 to 2017. The delivery companies most utilized by New Yorkers? Amazon, freshDirect, Peapod, UPS and FedEx.</p> <p>So, as the burden grows, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said congestion pricing will likely be the most immediate plan to ease the pain on the roads.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Out of milk? Eggs? Need a last minute gift? Just a swipe and a click and your item is ordered and usually in your hands in days or sometimes even hours.</p> <p>Most believe the convenience of it all is incredible, but is it worth it?</p> <p>A recent New York Times report explored the real cost of our convenience and it didn't paint a pretty picture. Collecting data from the city's transit units, finance department and the Department of Transportation, the research found the growing problem of instant gratification is causing significant gridlock and pollution.</p> <p>Delivery trucks come and go at all hours of the day, are sometimes double parked and sit idle and at times the sorting of endless packages is happening right on city sidewalks.</p> <p>Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos says his district isn't happen and he believes delivery companies themselves should be doing more by getting themselves more warehouses.</p> <p>An estimated million and a half packages flood into New York City daily and according to the Times that number tripled from 2009 to 2017. The delivery companies most utilized by New Yorkers? Amazon, freshDirect, Peapod, UPS and FedEx.</p> <p>So, as the burden grows, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said congestion pricing will likely be the most immediate plan to ease the pain on the roads.</p> <p>In a statement to PIX11, FedEx Media Relations said: “Parking limitations in congested metropolitan areas create challenges, but we always strive to comply with local traffic regulations as we meet our daily customer service commitments. FedEx also participates in programs many cities have to more efficiently manage parking and fine payment processes. It would not be appropriate for us to speculate about resolutions to parking constraints, but we are open to collaboration with municipalities addressing this issue.”</p> <p>UPS issued the following statement to PIX11.</p> <p>“UPS reduces the number of vehicles on city streets by consolidating packages loaded onto trucks based on delivery time commitments and final destinations, and equips drivers with technology to choose the most direct delivery routes to reduce unnecessary driving. We also offer free services like UPS My Choice® and the UPS Access Point® network that enable consumers to receive their deliveries where and when they want, helping reduce redelivery attempts. Additionally, UPS has one network, with one driver, rather than a separate driver who only delivers express shipments, another one who delivers ground packages to homes, and yet another who delivers to businesses.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Tue, 29 Oct 2019 14:40:25 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7310 at https://benkallos.com New York Times 1.5 Million Packages a Day: The Internet Brings Chaos to N.Y. Streets by Winnie Hu https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-times-15-million-packages-day-internet-brings-chaos-ny-streets-winnie-hu <span>New York Times 1.5 Million Packages a Day: The Internet Brings Chaos to N.Y. Streets by Winnie Hu</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">1.5 Million Packages a Day: The Internet Brings Chaos to N.Y. Streets</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Sun, 10/27/2019 - 12:15pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-times" hreflang="en">New York Times</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/winnie-hu" hreflang="en">Winnie Hu</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/27/nyregion/nyc-amazon-delivery.html">https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/27/nyregion/nyc-amazon-delivery.html</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-27T07:00:00Z">Sun, 10/27/2019 - 03:00</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-27T12:00:00Z">Sun, 10/27/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>Trucks, trucks and more trucks</strong></p> <p>As the delivery armada has ballooned, so, too, have the complaints.</p> <p>Four delivery companies — FedEx, FreshDirect, Peapod and UPS — accumulated just over 515,000 summonses for parking violations in 2018, totaling $27 million in fines, according to the city. In 2013, those same companies received roughly 372,000 summonses and paid $21.8 million.</p> <p>After one idling FreshDirect truck drew numerous complaints, Ben Kallos, a City Council member who represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said he contacted the police. It was towed away, only to have other trucks soon take its place.</p> <p>“It’s kind of a game of whack-a-mole,” Mr. Kallos said. “They operate somewhere until we get complaints and then they move.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzyofT-Fm-S/" rel="nofollow">Images</a> and videos of delivery trucks blocking bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks are easy to find on social media. In some neighborhoods, Amazon’s ubiquitous boxes are stacked and sorted on the sidewalk, sometimes on top of coverings spread out like picnic blankets.</p> <p>“They are using public space as their private warehouse,” said Christine Berthet, who lives in Midtown Manhattan. “That is not acceptable. That is not what the sidewalk is for.”</p> <p>The total number of trucks on tolled crossings into New York City and within the five boroughs rose about 9.4 percent in 2018, to an estimated 35.7 million, from 32.6 million in 2013, according to transit data.</p> <p>That increase in traffic has made the interchange of Interstate 95 and New Jersey Route 4, about a half-mile from the George Washington Bridge, the country’s most gridlocked stretch of highway for trucks, according to <a href="https://truckingresearch.org/2019/02/06/atri-2019-truck-bottlenecks/" rel="nofollow">the American Transportation Research Institute</a>.</p> <p>“There is just not enough room for all the trucks that need to make deliveries, the cars that need to get past them and the people who live here,” Mr. Kallos said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">An Amazon order starts with a tap of a finger. Two days later — or even in a matter of hours — the package arrives.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">It seems simple enough.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">But to deliver Amazon orders and countless others from businesses that sell over the internet, the very fabric of major urban areas around the world is being transformed. And New York City, where more than 1.5 million packages are delivered daily, shows the impact that this push for convenience is having on gridlock, roadway safety and pollution.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Delivery trucks operated by UPS and FedEx double-park on streets and block bus and bike lanes. They racked up more than 471,000 parking violations last year, a 34 percent increase from 2013.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The main entryway for packages into New York City, leading to the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey, has become the most congested interchange in the country. Trucks heading toward the bridge travel at 23 miles per hour, down from 30 m.p.h. five years ago.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">While the rise of ride-hailing services like Uber has unquestionably caused more traffic, the proliferation of trucks has worsened the problem. As a result, cars in the busiest parts of Manhattan now move just above a jogger’s pace, about 7 m.p.h., roughly 23 percent slower than at the beginning of the decade.</p> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Neighborhoods like Red Hook, Brooklyn, are being used as logistics hubs to get packages to customers faster than ever. At least two million square feet of warehouse space is being built in New York, including what will be the largest center of its kind in the country. Amazon added two warehouses in the city over the summer.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The immense changes in New York have been driven by tech giants, other private businesses and, increasingly, by independent couriers, often without the city’s involvement, oversight or even its awareness, The New York Times found.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Officials are racing to keep track of the numerous warehouses sprouting up, to create more zones for trucks to unload and to encourage some deliveries to be made by boat as the city struggles to cope with a booming online economy.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The average number of daily deliveries to households in New York City tripled to more than 1.1 million shipments from 2009 to 2017, the latest year for which data was available, according to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://coe-sufs.org/wordpress/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems</a>.“It is impossible to triple the amount,” said José Holguín-Veras, the center’s director and an engineering professor at Rensselaer, “without paying consequences.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Households now receive more shipments than businesses, pushing trucks into neighborhoods where they had rarely ventured.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">And it could be just the beginning. Just 10 percent of all retail transactions in the United States during the first quarter of 2019 were made online, up from 4 percent a decade ago, according to the Census Bureau.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Amazon is now <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/technology/amazon-earnings.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&amp;module=inline" title="">moving toward one-day delivery</a> rather than two days for its Prime customers and plans to spend $1.5 billion this quarter, which includes the holiday season, to reach that goal.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the impact of its deliveries on growing congestion in New York.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Other companies, including FedEx and UPS, said they were using technology and taking other measures to make deliveries less burdensome on clogged streets.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">New York City officials say they have taken steps to better manage truck traffic on the streets.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“In this period of tremendous growth in the city’s population, jobs, tourism and e-commerce, our congested streets are seeing ever more trucks,” said Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner. “The city is experimenting with enforcement and creative curb management initiatives to address this growing challenge.”</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Whatever the impact on roadways, the public obviously loves internet shopping. And these services can also be especially valuable for older and disabled people who have difficulty getting to brick-and-mortar stores.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Nick Kittredge, an executive at Prologis, the largest operator of warehouses and distribution centers in the United States, said much of the recent growth had occurred because of orders for items like perishable goods and clothing.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“Same-day delivery is the true expectation, and for some, even within an hour or two-hour time frame,” Mr. Kittredge said.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Jean-Paul Rodrigue, a professor of global studies and geography at Hofstra University, said the changes on New York City’s streets underscored the trade-offs created by the internet economy.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“People love convenience, but they don’t like truck traffic, congestion and air pollution,” Mr. Rodrigue said. “We’re still adapting to it. It’s going to be a painful adaptation, but we have no choice.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <h2 class="css-1320w4z eoo0vm40" id="link-630f4c44">Trucks, trucks and more trucks</h2> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">As the delivery armada has ballooned, so, too, have the complaints.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Four delivery companies — FedEx, FreshDirect, Peapod and UPS — accumulated just over 515,000 summonses for parking violations in 2018, totaling $27 million in fines, according to the city. In 2013, those same companies received roughly 372,000 summonses and paid $21.8 million.</p> </div> <aside aria-hidden="false" aria-label="companion column" class="css-o6xoe7">After one idling FreshDirect truck drew numerous complaints, Ben Kallos, a City Council member who represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said he contacted the police. It was towed away, only to have other trucks soon take its place.</aside> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“It’s kind of a game of whack-a-mole,” Mr. Kallos said. “They operate somewhere until we get complaints and then they move.”</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0"><a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzyofT-Fm-S/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">Images</a> and videos of delivery trucks blocking bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks are easy to find on social media. In some neighborhoods, Amazon’s ubiquitous boxes are stacked and sorted on the sidewalk, sometimes on top of coverings spread out like picnic blankets.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“They are using public space as their private warehouse,” said Christine Berthet, who lives in Midtown Manhattan. “That is not acceptable. That is not what the sidewalk is for.”</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The total number of trucks on tolled crossings into New York City and within the five boroughs rose about 9.4 percent in 2018, to an estimated 35.7 million, from 32.6 million in 2013, according to transit data.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">That increase in traffic has made the interchange of Interstate 95 and New Jersey Route 4, about a half-mile from the George Washington Bridge, the country’s most gridlocked stretch of highway for trucks, according to <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://truckingresearch.org/2019/02/06/atri-2019-truck-bottlenecks/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">the American Transportation Research Institute</a>.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“There is just not enough room for all the trucks that need to make deliveries, the cars that need to get past them and the people who live here,” Mr. Kallos said.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Trucks are also contributing to greenhouse gas emissions at a time when <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/nyregion/nyc-energy-laws.html?module=inline" title="">New York City is rushing to significantly reduce</a> the release of heat-trapping gases.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">From 1990 to 2017, carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/10/climate/driving-emissions-map.html?module=inline" title="">in the New York City area grew by 27 percent</a>, making the region the largest contributor of driving-related carbon dioxide emissions in the country.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Online and delivery companies acknowledged the increased congestion, but emphasized that they play a vital role in the local economy and are seeking to reduce their footprint.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">UPS has reduced the number of trucks on city streets by consolidating packages based on scheduled delivery times and destinations, and has equipped drivers with technology to choose the most direct routes, according to Leo Gonzalez, a UPS official who testified at a city hearing this year.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Still, drivers often cannot find legal parking because of a lack of available curbside space, especially in Manhattan, company officials said. There are not enough loading zones, and they are often taken up by idling vehicles.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“Making deliveries in urban environments poses additional challenges to any company that makes deliveries, whether it’s transportation companies like UPS or food and beverage suppliers,” Kim Krebs, a UPS spokeswoman, said.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Similarly, FedEx and FreshDirect said they were open to collaborating with cities to address the parking problem. Peapod said it regularly reviewed New York City rules with drivers to help them drive safely and avoid violations.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Jonathan Lyons, a FedEx spokesman, said, “Parking limitations in congested metropolitan areas create challenges, but we always strive to comply with local traffic regulations as we meet our daily customer service commitments.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <h2 class="css-1320w4z eoo0vm40" id="link-561df6d9">Warehouses move closer to homes</h2> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">As the internet economy grows, so, too, does the importance of what is known as<a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/technology/in-war-for-same-day-delivery-racing-madly-to-go-last-mile.html?module=inline" title=""> last-mile package delivery</a> — the final step in the increasingly competitive and costly process of moving items to customers’ homes as quickly as possible.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">In New York, at least five warehouses, are in the works. Over the summer, Amazon opened a last-mile warehouse in the Bronx and another in Queens. It has also looked at leasing additional facilities for last-mile deliveries in Brooklyn.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The push to place warehouses closer to shoppers is an enormous shift. For years, retailers and e-commerce companies have largely served New York City from warehouses in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania and industrial parks in northern New Jersey.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">They emerged during the age of the Sears and J.C. Penney shopping catalogs and continued to thrive in the early days of online shopping, when five- to seven-day delivery times were the norm. Even today, many same-day or overnight deliveries follow that route, crossing into New York via bridges and tunnels.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Still, “it became apparent that if New York City is going to be a competitive city in the world economy, it’s going to need logistics fulfillment centers as close to the consumer as possible,” said Dov Hertz of DH Property Holdings, a real estate development company with plans for three last-mile warehouses in Brooklyn.</p> </div> <aside aria-hidden="false" aria-label="companion column" class="css-o6xoe7"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">DH Property Holdings broke ground in the summer on <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.640columbia.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">a three-story warehouse</a> in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with individual ramps for trucks to reach separate floors, a vertical design that would be the <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.prologis.com/industrial-logistics-warehouse-space/washington/seattle/prologis-georgetown-crossroads" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">second such warehouse</a> to be built in the United States.</p> </aside> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <aside aria-hidden="false" aria-label="companion column" class="css-o6xoe7">Another multistory warehouse, planned on 18 acres in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is expected to be the country’s largest last-mile warehouse, Mr. Hertz said.</aside> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Their warehouses in Red Hook, as well as a <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.2505bruckner.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">multistory warehouse</a> to be built in the South Bronx, are going up in Opportunity Zones, which were <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/17/us/politics/opportunity-zones.html?module=inline" title="">created as part of the 2017 tax law</a> and offer significant tax benefits to projects in economically distressed areas.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The program has been criticized for giving tax breaks to wealthy people who invest in the zones, while not significantly helping struggling neighborhoods.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Developers of these warehouses have pledged to create thousands of jobs and reduce the wave of delivery trucks entering New York City.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">But the plans have set off worries about potential health effects in the largely working-class areas targeted for last-mile warehouses. The South Bronx, which already is home to many warehouses, has <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892895/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">some of the highest asthma rates</a> in the country.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Rafael Salamanca Jr., a City Council member whose district includes the South Bronx, said he had mixed feelings about the area becoming a warehouse hub. While warehouses have provided jobs, and pledges from Amazon to hire local residents, they have also increased the number of diesel-spewing trucks on the roads.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“There are 15,000 trucks daily in and out of the Hunts Point community,” Mr. Salamanca said, referring to a section of the South Bronx that is home to one of the nation’s largest food distribution centers.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The developers of the warehouses say they are trying to address environmental concerns.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Andrew Chung, the chief executive of Innovo Property Group, which is building the multistory warehouse in the South Bronx, said the distribution center would have electric charging stations with the goal of eventually shifting to a mostly electric delivery fleet.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“In two to three years, everything is going to be electric, all the delivery vans and most of the trucks,” he said. “It makes sense and it’s environmentally conscious.”</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <h2 class="css-1320w4z eoo0vm40" id="link-65a80286">Buildings field blizzards of packages</h2> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">New York has long been a vertical city, but many of its buildings were designed to accommodate envelopes, not a daily torrent of boxes.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">These days, buildings have been forced to become mini logistical centers.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">At one Midtown Manhattan condominium, the first wave of about 100 packages a day arrives by 9 a.m. and the deliveries do not let up until night. Each one is checked in and placed in a storage room, and an email alert is sent to the resident. Another email confirms when the package is picked up.</p> </div> <aside aria-hidden="false" aria-label="companion column" class="css-o6xoe7">A large complex in Manhattan had to turn a nearby retail storefront into a satellite package center. Stickers are left on building mailboxes notifying residents of a package, but some residents complain that the stickers fall off or get pulled off and packages go missing.</aside> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Other buildings without storage space resort to piling boxes in their lobbies. One Brooklyn building kept packages in a locked cage with the doorman guarding the key. A Manhattan building facing Central Park placed two plastic shelving units in the entryway to store residents’ packages, but boxes still spill over onto the floor.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">About 15 percent of New York City households receive a package every day, according to the Sustainable Urban Freight Systems center at Rensselaer. That means a complex with 800 apartments would get roughly 120 packages daily.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“What percent of your deliveries are truly urgent — 5 percent or 2 percent?” said Mr. Holguín-Veras, the Rensselaer professor. “We as customers are driving the process and to some extent creating these complications.”</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Last year, a study comparing online shopping habits in Manhattan and Paris — two large metropolises grappling with the consequences of the e-commerce boom — found that New Yorkers out-ordered Parisians. Nearly three-quarters of the Manhattan residents surveyed had shopped for groceries online compared with just over half of Parisians.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">More New Yorkers were also willing to pay extra to get their items faster.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“It’s now cheaper and easier to order anything online than it is to go to the store,” said Sarah Kaufman, associate director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University, who worked on the study.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <h2 class="css-1320w4z eoo0vm40" id="link-59555bae">How cities are coping with the deluge</h2> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">In Paris, freight trucks enter the city at night and deliver packages to smaller warehouses near homes. In the morning, bikes and electric vans haul them to people’s doorsteps. Some neighborhood convenience stores and flower shops double as pickup spots for packages.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">In Hamburg, Germany, trucks deliver containers full of packages to a drop-off site. From there, fleets of electric tricycles carry the packages to homes. UPS uses <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/business/energy-environment/electric-ups-trucks-in-london.html?module=inline" title="">electric delivery vans in London</a>.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">New York has sought to shift more truck deliveries to nights and weekends, when streets are emptier. About 500 companies, including pharmacies and grocery stores, deliver goods from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., under a voluntary city program.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Other cities have followed suit, such <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href="https://blogs.worldbank.org/transport/sustainable-cities-two-related-challenges-high-quality-mobility-foot-and-efficient-urban-logistics-1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" title="">as São Paulo, Brazil</a>, and have found that nighttime deliveries speed up unloading times and reduce congestion and pollution.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Over the summer, New York City introduced a pilot program in residential areas to try to reduce double-parking by turning curbside parking spots into temporary neighborhood loading zones from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">Transportation officials have expanded loading zones in commercial areas in recent years, creating about 2,300 new zones around the city last year. This month, officials gave trucks and buses priority on a major crosstown artery.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The city is also investing $100 million to divert more freight to the water and rail lines, and to entice shippers to use marine terminals and waterways to bring in goods.</p> </div> </div> <div class="css-1fanzo5 StoryBodyCompanionColumn"> <div class="css-53u6y8"> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">The city’s efforts were a good start, Ms. Kaufman of New York University said, adding that much more needs to be done to keep up with a soaring online economy that is straining the roadways and delivery systems.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">More far-reaching measures were needed, she said, such as applying additional charges for same-day deliveries and even creating a system of “congestion pricing for online deliveries,” in which large apartment or office buildings would have designated delivery days. To get packages sooner, residents and companies would have to pay extra.</p> <p class="css-exrw3m evys1bk0">“We’ve entered an entirely new way of buying goods and services, but our infrastructure is only adapting incrementally,” Ms. Kaufman said. “We need to completely rethink how we use our streets if we want to maintain our current shopping and delivery habits.”</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Sun, 27 Oct 2019 16:15:57 +0000 admin 7309 at https://benkallos.com Habitat A New Way to Level the City’s Lopsided Property Tax System by New York City https://benkallos.com/press-clip/habitat-new-way-level-citys-lopsided-property-tax-system-new-york-city <span>Habitat A New Way to Level the City’s Lopsided Property Tax System by New York City</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">A New Way to Level the City’s Lopsided Property Tax System</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/25/2019 - 2:32pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/habitat" hreflang="en">Habitat</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/new-york-city" hreflang="en">New York City</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2019/2019-October/Re-evaluating-New-York-City-Property-Taxes">https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2019/2019-Octobe…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-25T18:32:46Z">Fri, 10/25/2019 - 14:32</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-25T12:00:00Z">Fri, 10/25/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>City council members Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, both Manhattan Democrats, have introduced a bill to require the periodic reviews as a way of preventing the system from becoming warped over time, as has happened since the last major changes were made four decades ago.If the bill becomes law, it would create a commission appointed by the mayor and speaker to analyze the system in terms of “equity, efficiency, transparency, ease of administration, and compliance.” It would be required to hold two public hearings and issue a report with an analysis and recommendations by November 2030. The process would repeat every 15 years.  </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When he ran for mayor in 2013,&nbsp;Bill de Blasio&nbsp;promised to overhaul of the city’s out-of-whack&nbsp;property tax system. He repeated the promise during his re-election campaign in 2017. Reform has so far failed to materialize, but if two city council members have their way, a&nbsp;re-evaluation&nbsp;of the system will be required in&nbsp;2030&nbsp;and every&nbsp;15 years&nbsp;after that,&nbsp;<a href="https://therealdeal.com/2019/10/21/nyc-lawmakers-to-fix-property-taxes-in-2030/" onclick="ga( 'send', 'event', { eventCategory: 'Outgoing', eventAction: 'External Click', eventLabel: 'https://therealdeal.com/2019/10/21/nyc-lawmakers-to-fix-property-taxes-in-2030/' });" target="_self">The Real Deal</a>&nbsp;reports.</p> <p>City council members&nbsp;Helen Rosenthal&nbsp;and&nbsp;Ben Kallos, both Manhattan Democrats, have introduced a bill to require the periodic reviews as a way of preventing the system from becoming warped over time, as has happened since the last major changes were made four decades ago.&nbsp;</p> <p>If the bill becomes law, it would create a commission appointed by the mayor and speaker to analyze the system in terms of “equity, efficiency, transparency, ease of administration, and compliance.” It would be required to hold two&nbsp;public hearings&nbsp;and issue a&nbsp;report&nbsp;with an analysis and recommendations by November 2030. The process would repeat every 15 years.&nbsp;</p> <p>The commission could not alter the system, and the council itself has limited power over property taxes. The power to overhaul the system belongs to the&nbsp;state Legislature. But it’s the hope of Rosenthal and Kallos that the panel could call attention to inequities in the system and create impetus to change it, as an ongoing lawsuit by a group called&nbsp;<a href="https://taxequitynow.nyc/about/" onclick="ga( 'send', 'event', { eventCategory: 'Outgoing', eventAction: 'External Click', eventLabel: 'https://taxequitynow.nyc/about/' });" target="_self">Tax Equity Now New York</a>&nbsp;(TENNY) is attempting to do now. The group, an unlikely coalition of&nbsp;real-estate interests&nbsp;and&nbsp;social-welfare groups, claims the property-tax system violates state and federal laws and constitutions by disproportionately taxing&nbsp;low-income and minority&nbsp;homeowners and renters. Lawyers for the city and state argued in court last week to have the lawsuit dismissed.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, as the lawyers’ fees pile up, the commission appointed by de Blasio has yet to produce its promised proposals to overhaul a system everyone agrees is lopsided and unfair – but which no one dares to fix because of the inevitable political fallout.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/tax-reform" hreflang="en">Tax Reform</a></div> </div> Fri, 25 Oct 2019 18:32:46 +0000 Abby Damsky 7308 at https://benkallos.com The Real Deal NYC lawmakers to fix property taxes … in 2030? by Erin Hudson https://benkallos.com/press-clip/real-deal-nyc-lawmakers-fix-property-taxes-2030-erin-hudson <span>The Real Deal NYC lawmakers to fix property taxes … in 2030? by Erin Hudson</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC lawmakers to fix property taxes … in 2030?</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:51am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/real-deal" hreflang="en">The Real Deal</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/erin-hudson" hreflang="en">Erin Hudson</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://therealdeal.com/2019/10/21/nyc-lawmakers-to-fix-property-taxes-in-2030/">https://therealdeal.com/2019/10/21/nyc-lawmakers-to-fix-property-taxes-in-2030/</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-21T14:51:03Z">Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:51</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-22T12:00:00Z">Tue, 10/22/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Last week, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos introduced a bill mandating evaluation of the system in 2030. The idea is to prevent it from becoming warped over time, as has occurred since the last major change was made four decades ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">The law would create a commission appointed by the mayor and speaker to analyze the system in terms of “equity, efficiency, transparency, ease of administration, and compliance.” It would be required to hold two public hearings and issue a report with an analysis and recommendations by November 2030. The process would repeat every 15 years.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Last week, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos introduced a bill mandating evaluation of the system in 2030. The idea is to prevent it from becoming warped over time, as has occurred since the last major change was made four decades ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">The law would create a commission appointed by the mayor and speaker to analyze the system in terms of “equity, efficiency, transparency, ease of administration, and compliance.” It would be required to hold two public hearings and issue a report with an analysis and recommendations by November 2030. The process would repeat every 15 years.</p> <p dir="ltr">The commission could not alter the system, and the council itself has limited power over property taxes. Only the state Legislature could truly overhaul it. But the panel could call attention to inequities in the system and create impetus to change it, as an ongoing lawsuit is attempting to do.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lawyers for the city and state argued in court last week to have the lawsuit against them dismissed.</p> <p dir="ltr">The suit, filed in state court by the industry-backed group Tax Equity Now New York in 2017, alleges the property tax system violates state and federal laws and constitutions by disproportionately taxing low-income and minority homeowners and renters.</p> <p dir="ltr">Both levels of government admit there are problems with the city’s real estate system, but maintain that politicians, not the court, should address them. In 2018, the city set up an advisory commission to recommend reforms.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tax Equity, a coalition of real estate and social-welfare groups, say the lawsuit is an attempt to force lawmakers to address the inequities. One reason they have not is that few want to raise anyone’s taxes, which would be inevitable in an overhaul.</p> <p>The bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance. Rosenthal did not respond to requests for comment and Kallos was not available.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/affordable-housing" hreflang="en">Affordable Housing</a></div> </div> Tue, 22 Oct 2019 14:51:03 +0000 Abby Damsky 7306 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Advocates call on Long Island school officials to embrace bus stop arm cameras by Denis Slattery https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-advocates-call-long-island-school-officials-embrace-bus-stop-arm <span>New York Daily News Advocates call on Long Island school officials to embrace bus stop arm cameras by Denis Slattery</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Advocates call on Long Island school officials to embrace bus stop arm cameras</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:41am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/denis-slattery" hreflang="en">Denis Slattery</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-school-bus-stop-arm-cameras-long-island-kallos-letter-20191021-2nyme7qx55g6xivg5snnuglndu-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-school-bus-stop-arm-cameras-long-i…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-21T14:41:58Z">Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:41</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-22T12:00:00Z">Tue, 10/22/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>City Council member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) has proposed a bill that would allow the city to opt-in and institute the safety measure in the five boroughs. The idea is gaining momentum as lawmakers plan a hearing on the issue within the next month.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p dir="ltr">ALBANY — A coalition of advocates are calling on Long Island school officials to give the green light to a life-saving school bus camera program.</p> <p dir="ltr">With Monday marking the beginning of National School Bus Safety Week, the groups called on the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association, the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents and Suffolk County School Superintendents Association to opt in to a new state measure meant to deter reckless drivers who refuse to stop for buses when kids are picked up or dropped off.</p> <p dir="ltr">The program allows school districts across the state to mount cameras that can easily catch motorists in the act of unlawfully passing stopped school buses.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Short of having a police escort following each and every bus on their morning and afternoon routes — something we can all agree no municipality in the nation is equipped to do — the installation of stop-arm cameras is the best weapon we can deploy to stop this dangerous behavior before it starts,” the New York Coalition for Transportation Safety, New York School Bus Contractors Association and Long Island Streets wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">The deterrent is simple, but effective. If a bus is illegally passed, the camera, mounted on the swinging stop sign affixed to the side of the bus, turns on, capturing the driver’s license plate.</p> <p dir="ltr">The picture is then sent electronically to local authorities who can dole out fines, but no moving violations or points will be issued.</p> <p dir="ltr">A pilot version of the program conducted earlier this year in East Meadow, L.I., run by BusPatrol, one of the firms behind the technology, and the Logan Bus Company, captured a total of 615 violations in a month. The cameras were affixed to just nine buses.</p> <p dir="ltr">Nassau cops, who have to witness someone passing a bus in person in order to issue a violation, meanwhile, ticketed only 79 people for the dangerous infraction in all of 2018.</p> <p dir="ltr">City Council member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) has proposed a bill that would allow the city to opt-in and institute the safety measures in the five boroughs. The idea is gaining momentum as lawmakers plan a hearing on the issue within the next month.</p> <p dir="ltr">Nassau County recently passed a bill allowing local districts to opt into the program and Suffolk lawmakers are expected to take up legislation in the coming weeks.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the decision to embrace the new high-tech tool to catch careless drivers is ultimately up to local school boards.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Opting into this stop-arm camera program would be a benefit to all school districts — large and small — providing a cost-free safety tool that can mean the difference between life and death for our children,” reads the letter, which was also signed by the Family &amp; Children’s Association, the Urban League Long Island and the Logan Bus Company. “While we commend our state and local government leaders for taking action, the final step is up to the school districts.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Gov. Cuomo signed the bill, which also upped the fines for repeat offenders, into law in August. Under the measure, schools won’t have to pony up funds for the tech as money collected in fines will be used to pay for the cameras and GPS units.</p> <p><br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Tue, 22 Oct 2019 14:41:58 +0000 Abby Damsky 7305 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch NYC Invests $391 Million In Communities & Comprehensive Reforms To The Criminal Justice System by By Press Release Desk https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-nyc-invests-391-million-communities-comprehensive-reforms-criminal <span>Upper East Side Patch NYC Invests $391 Million In Communities &amp; Comprehensive Reforms To The Criminal Justice System by By Press Release Desk</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC Invests $391 Million In Communities &amp; Comprehensive Reforms To The Criminal Justice System</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/18/2019 - 4:03pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/press-release-desk" hreflang="en">By Press Release Desk</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/nyc-invests-391-million-communities-comprehensive-reforms-criminal-justice">https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/nyc-invests-391-million-communities-co…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-17T20:03:57Z">Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:03</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-18T12:00:00Z">Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"Closing Rikers now is essential. The Progressive Caucus has won commitments in the communities being most affected for more transitional housing, healthcare support, and connection centers along with more programs to help local residents with mental health. Thank you to Speaker Johnson and Mayor de Blasio for working with the Progressive Caucus in making this commitment to these communities," said <strong>Council Member Ben Kallos</strong>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>NEW YORK</strong>—The City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions and the Committee on Land Use voted on Wednesday to approve the plan to close the jails on Rikers Island and build four new borough-based facilities. Today, the plan will go before the full City Council for a vote, culminating a years-long effort propelled by the strong advocacy of the formerly incarcerated to shutter Rikers Island.</p> <p>The vote occurs as Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and Council leadership agree to a wide-range of investments tied to the closure of Rikers totaling $391 million dollars, including $126 million in previously planned investments and $265 million in new programming that will address the root causes of incarceration and help fundamentally reshape New York City's criminal justice system going forward. These investments are being announced in detail for the first time today.</p> <p>This massive decarceration effort establishes New York City as a leader in criminal justice reform and pioneer in ending mass incarceration. The number of New Yorkers entering jail has declined by nearly half in the past 6 years. The jail population has declined from 11,000 in 2014 to about 7,000 today, and is projected to be approximately 3,300 by 2026.</p> <p>"When we pledged to close Rikers Island, we made a promise to transform a broken criminal justice system and give back to the communities that have experienced the effects of mass incarceration firsthand, said&nbsp;<strong>Mayor de Blasio</strong>. "By investing in neighborhoods and putting people on the path to success, we are making good and getting closer to a day where we're the fairest, big city in America."</p> <p>"For far too long, this city's answer to every societal problem was to throw people in jail. Because of that, we lost generations to mass incarceration, mostly young men of color. These investments are at the heart of our plan to close Rikers. We are investing $391 million in our communities to not only reform our system, but also address the root causes of incarceration. This includes $265 million in brand new spending for programming and capital projects, and is on top of the $40 million increase in criminal justice spending this Council won in the FY20 budget in preparation of closing Rikers. I am proud of this plan, and grateful to my fellow Council Members, particularly Council Members Diana Ayala, Margaret Chin, Karen Koslowitz, and Stephen Levin, as well as Adrienne Adams, Chair of the Subcommittee of Landmarks, Keith Powers, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, the de Blasio administration and the longtime advocates for their partnership in this joint effort to usher in a new era for New York City," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Speaker Corey Johnson</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Reducing Incarceration through Prevention, Diversion, and Reentry</strong></p> <p>In its aim to provide safe and smart diversion from jail, the plan adds over $71 million for alternatives to detention and incarceration and reforms to the Department of Correction, building on $126 million in annual investments to reduce justice involvement, support communities, and make our justice system smaller, safer, and fairer.</p> <p>Highlights of those investments and policy changes include:</p> <ul> <li>$54 million expansion of pretrial services including Supervised Release, the City's primary diversion program, which has prevented 15,000 people from entering jail since its inception in March 2016. This program will be expanded to become an option for people facing every type of criminal charge.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>$17 million in new funds to expand and continue Alternatives to Incarceration programs that will now serve 7,300 people per year, which will reduce the number of people serving sentences in City jails.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice will invest in a planning grant for The Imagining Project, a collaboration between the Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and the Columbia University Justice Lab, an organization whose long term mission is to create a plan for getting to zero incarceration and minimal convictions for youth age 25 and under. A similar effort with the Center for Court Innovation will create a community justice center to provide community-based programming in the Far Rockaways, with a focus on providing alternatives to arrest and incarceration and reducing recidivism post-incarceration.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Building on the existing investment in in-custody programming and reentry services, the City is restructuring such services to ensure access to comprehensive social services and access to paid transitional employment post-release for everyone leaving City jails.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Services to support incarcerated individuals facing medical and mental health issues, including: doubling the number of therapeutic treatment units in the jails, known as the Program for Accelerated Clinical Effectiveness, or PACE; expanded mental health discharge planning services; and a new program to help ensure continuity of medical care for those exiting City jails.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Expanded programming for social and emotional learning to help school communities be more proactive in changing school culture and climate, with the goal to foster and maintain a supportive school environment while reducing conflict.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Requiring every detention facility to have dedicated administrative space for community based providers as well as dedicated space for services and programming in every housing unit. Also requiring new trainings for correction officers, program staff, and healthcare staff to participate in together.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Expanded pre-arraignment diversion that will allow more people to avoid prosecution and have their arrests sealed</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Increased funding to community-based restorative justice programming, with a particular focus on serious felony level cases that would otherwise result in detention and incarceration. This model will invest in community-based infrastructure in conjunction with the District Attorneys and courts.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Commitment to build a Community Justice Fund through a public-private partnership managed by the Mayor's Fund that would strengthen the fabric of community justice and safety by focusing on developing programming and policies for truly communities based investments.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Address the Root Causes of Incarceration Through Investments In Housing and Community-Based Mental Health Services</strong></p> <p>The City will increase the number of supportive and transitional housing units dedicated to serving people who are homeless, have health needs, and histories of justice involvement to 1,000</p> <ul> <li>In addition to the investment in expanding the Justice Impacted Supportive Housing (JISH) program from 120 to 270 beds, the City will create an additional 230 JISH units for people who are homeless with a history of justice involvement. This brings the total JISH bed commitment to 500 units.</li> <li>In addition to baselining the City's current $5 million investment in transitional housing for people with justice involvement, the City will increase funding to $25M (increasing the number of units from 100 to 500 by FY23) for transitional housing services enable people to avoid jail by participating in ATDs and ATIs and stabilize post-release.</li> <li>Commitments, adopted from the NYCCrisis Prevention and Response Task Force recommendations that ensure people with behavioral health needs are provided medical treatment and community-based responses to limit justice-involvement. Highlights of these investments include 8 new New Health Engagement and Assessment (HEAT) teams to proactively engage people at risk of mental health crises. These teams – which include one clinician and one peer – connect people to care and other stabilizing support, preventing mental health needs from becoming crises.</li> <li>Other highlights include 6 Mobile Crisis Teams, which ensure a more rapid response by mental health professionals and peers to those in mental health distress, and 4 new Intensive Mobile Treatment teams, which provides proactive and sustained engagement with those individuals with behavioral health needs. This commitment will also include 4 new co-response teams in high need precincts, in which police officers and mental health clinicians work together to respond to 911 calls involving those in mental health distress.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Community Based Violence Reduction</strong></p> <p>To increase investment in neighborhood based and community led programs that improve public safety and reduce violence, the City will invest additional $2.7M in new investments and expanded Cure Violence programming in 6 areas including:</p> <ul> <li><strong>25th Precinct in East Harlem</strong>, encompassing New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA's) Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr. Houses</li> <li><strong>40th Precinct in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx</strong>, encompassing NYCHA's Judge Lester Patterson Houses and Mitchel Senior Center Houses</li> <li><strong>113th Precinct in Southeast Queens</strong>, encompassing the southeastern area of Jamaica, Queens, along with St. Albans, Hollis, Springfield Gardens, South Ozone Park, South Jamaica, Addisleigh Park, and Locust Manor.</li> <li><strong>47th Precinct in the Eastchester neighborhood of the Bronx</strong>, encompassing NYCHA's Edenwald Houses.</li> <li><strong>60th Precinct in Southern Brooklyn</strong>, encompassing Coney Island, Brighton Beach, West Brighton Beach, and Sea Gate.</li> <li><strong>67th Precinct in Central Brooklyn</strong>, encompassing East Flatbush and Remsen Village</li> </ul> <p><strong>New neighborhood investments, announced today, will support communities surrounding the borough-based jails through new affordable housing, youth programming, community and cultural centers</strong>.</p> <p>These local investments include:</p> <ul> <li>New programming and recreation spaces for young people that give them safe and productive environments. This includes two new community centers in the South Bronx at 1080 Ogden Avenue and at 337 East 139th Street, and investments in NYCHA community centers in the South Bronx at Mill Brook, Mitchel, Patterson and Mott Haven Houses.</li> <li>New affordable housing in the South Bronx at 351 Powers Avenue and 320 Concord Avenue.</li> <li>Capital improvements at Samuel Gompers High School, and P.S. 99 and P.S. 139 in Queens. Technology investments for P.S. 65 in the South Bronx</li> <li>New performing arts space and initial city support for acquisition of a permanent home for the Museum of Chinese in America, at 215 Centre Street in Manhattan.</li> <li>Support for Chung Pak senior housing adjacent to the Manhattan borough-based jail site and small business relocation assistance.</li> <li>Upgrades to Columbus Park in lower Manhattan, including renovations to the comfort station and the pavilion.</li> <li>Streetscape improvements around the Brooklyn borough-based jail site.</li> <li>Upgrades to Queens Community House located at 80-02 Kew Gardens Road</li> </ul> <p><strong>Design Changes That Better Integrate New Facilities Into Their Surrounding Communities</strong></p> <p>Negotiations between the Mayor's Office and Council will result in additional improvements to the City's plan to build borough-based jail facilities to prioritize therapeutic environments, and culture change in all aspects of the borough-based jail system, and to better integrate DOC and programmatic staff. About 40% of the housing units across the borough-based system will be dedicated therapeutic units with specific staffing and services to better serve people with mental health, substance use, and complex medical needs.</p> <p>This effort was born from a commission created by the City Council in 2016, and led by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, to study how to improve our jail system and our criminal justice system as a whole.</p> <p>In 2018, the de Blasio administration initiated the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process to site the new borough-based jails. Through months of engagement, both locally in communities with proposed jail sites, and also more broadly with criminal justice stakeholders, the plan to site borough-based jails evolved to maximize investments in addressing the underlying causes of incarceration, transform our justice system, and respond to local community-based concerns about building scale.</p> <p>In addition, to ensure that Rikers Island is never again used to incarcerate people, the City Council will vote today to initiate a City Map change that will restrict the use of detention centers on Rikers Island after December 31, 2026, thus requiring such facilities to close.</p> <p>Additional details and a full list of commitments are included in a Points of Agreement letter signed by the Mayor and received by the Council on October 16, 2019.</p> <p>I am very proud of the community investments that I have secured from the administrative," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Karen Koslowitz</strong>. "As a result of these investments our seniors will receive the services that they deserve, our children will be better equipped to succeed, and the community overall will benefit. Moving forward it will be my imperative that these investments will be implemented in a timely and responsible manner."</p> <p>"The citywide community justice investments committed to by the de Blasio administration, in consultation with Speaker Johnson and the Council, is an essential component to closing Rikers. We answered the call from advocates across the city to make sure we are not just tearing down old jails to replace them with new jails-we are investing in neighborhoods to transform how we approach community justice for generations to come," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Stephen Levin</strong>.</p> <p>"Above all, the effort to close Rikers is about enacting bold policy changes and building investments in marginalized communities to address the root causes of mass incarceration. These citywide investments signal an important step to reforming our broken criminal justice system while deepening support for the communities who need them the most – and that includes Lower Manhattan, which has housed the Manhattan Detention Center for decades," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Margaret S. Chin</strong>.</p> <p>"Since the initial announcement of the borough-based jail plan in early 2018, I have stressed the importance of holistic community investments for the South Bronx - a neighborhood that has been historically neglected by all levels of government. My staff and I have met with various stakeholders to cultivate a community investment package, including local youth groups, justice-involved people, seniors, public housing residents, community board members, clergy leaders, and social service providers," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Diana Ayala</strong>. "I am proud to share that their vision will be brought to fruition with the millions of dollars earmarked by the Administration for various investments. With a new youth hub, improved community centers, and an expansion of the Cure Violence program, Mott Haven youth will have access to resources that will help ensure they lead healthy, productive, and rewarding lives. I thank the Bronx Neighborhood Advisory Committee for shaping this package and I look forward to working alongside the Administration to ensure these investments are promptly delivered to the South Bronx."</p> <p>"I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and community advocates in all five boroughs for these transformative investments which bring our moral imperative to close Rikers within reach. My Office is proud to have helped lay the groundwork to close Rikers by funding the City's first-ever supervised release program, creating the City's first Project Reset diversion programs, and declining to prosecute thousands of low-level offenses each year. We will continue to support the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, the Council, and Manhattan communities in our shared effort to drive both crime and incarceration to historic lows," said&nbsp;<strong>Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr.</strong></p> <p>"I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and the City Council for providing significant resources to transform our criminal justice system," said&nbsp;<strong>Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez</strong>. "I am especially grateful for the funding of a planning grant for The Imagining Project in partnership with Columbia University, which will ultimately lead to reducing the criminal justice footprint in Brooklyn while enhancing public safety. My Office has been leading the way in reducing admissions to Rikers while working with community partners to develop more meaningful approaches to hold individuals accountable. Together, we can build a fairer and more effective justice system."</p> <p>"While I have had my reservations regarding the process, I have never wavered on the moral imperative of closing Rikers Island. I applaud all involved in reaching a resolution that closes Rikers for good and replaces it with historic investments and major criminal justice reforms including diversion and violence prevention programs, mental health services and humane, community based jails," said&nbsp;<strong>Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon</strong>.</p> <p>"Above all else, reducing the city jail population is most important to me," said&nbsp;<strong>Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo</strong>. "After relentlessly advocating for our community in a series of conversations, the mayoral administration has affirmed its intent to reduce the number of beds from 4,000 down to 3,300 across the four borough-based facilities by 2026. Institutional, restorative justice organizations including JustLeadershipUSA, Vera Institute of Justice, Exodus Transitional Community, and Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice have approved this commitment for new rehabilitation centers. This action will bring the jail population to historic lows in New York City, transforming the standard criminal justice system to include an individualized approach and integrating community support. The severe reductions in the number of beds and physical square footage of these local jails will usher in a better New York for generations to come. Our current justice system is punitive and ignores mental health concerns, and this new approach will create a platform to transform people's lives through access to education, resources, and for many, a real opportunity for restorative justice."</p> <p>"Closing Rikers Island is one of the most important votes this Council has ever taken, but these critical investments in restoring and healing our communities are the most effective part of the plan that will drastically reduce our incarcerated population by providing opportunities for at-risk New Yorkers," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Donovan Richards</strong>. "Locally, increased investments in the Crisis Management System in Southeast Queens and a community justice center in Rockaway will help divert New Yorkers away from the criminal justice system before they get caught in a system for the rest of their life. I'd like to thank Speaker Johnson, the Council's Land Use and Criminal Justice divisions and all of my colleagues for their thoughtful dedication to pushing this plan to be the best that it can be. The work doesn't end today, since we will have to hold this administration and the next accountable to the progress that must be made over the next few years until Rikers is shut down forever."</p> <p>"Throughout this process I have stressed the importance of investing in communities most impacted by the criminal justice system. These targeted, citywide investments further indicate that closing Rikers Island is not only a land-use action, but an urgent moment to overhaul the criminal justice system. I am grateful to Speaker Johnson for his partnership and for heeding calls of my colleagues," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Keith Powers</strong>.</p> <p>"The announcement regarding community investments tied to the new borough-based facilities illustrates our commitment to a new vision for criminal justice and reform in New York City," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Adrienne Adams</strong>. The revised plan not only supports the push to examine the root causes of criminal misconduct for further decarceration, but will also provide essential resources to allow the impacted communities to flourish. I am grateful that the administration has acted on feedback that I, numerous colleagues in government, community advocates and so many more have provided to contribute to changes that will allow this City to be an example for other municipalities across the country to follow."</p> <p>"Community programs are critically important to reducing the city's jail population. I am pleased that the City is expanding community investments and prioritizing the vital work that social services providers do to make the closure of Rikers Island a reality," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Rory Lancman</strong>.</p> <p>"Closing Rikers now is essential. The Progressive Caucus has won commitments in the communities being most affected for more transitional housing, healthcare support, and connection centers along with more programs to help local residents with mental health. Thank you to Speaker Johnson and Mayor de Blasio for working with the Progressive Caucus in making this commitment to these communities," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Ben Kallos</strong>.</p> <p>"The decision to shutter Rikers Island is not one I take lightly but neither is it one I find difficult to make. Rikers cannot remain open. The jail's foundation is rotten from the history of violence and injustice it housed. But simply abandoning the building is not a solution in itself; the physical complex is only a symbol of New York's criminal justice failures. That's why in addition to decarerating thousands of unfairly warehoused New Yorkers, the plan to close Rikers includes significant investments in our communities — the place where real change starts," said&nbsp;<strong>Council Member Francisco Moya</strong>.</p> <p>"Putting an end to Rikers Island is a mission that goes far beyond the walls of the jails themselves. In addition to criminal justice reforms at every level, it will also take investments in communities and in supportive housing, mental health treatment, alternatives to incarceration, and reentry services to help keep people out of jail and out of the justice system altogether. The programs and investments announced today are strong initial steps towards the changes that we need to see to achieve our shared goal of a better approach to justice in New York City," said&nbsp;<strong>The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, former Chief Judge of New York and New York State Court of Appeals, and Chair of the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform</strong>.</p> <p>"Today, we not only celebrate the death nail in the carceral coffin that is Rikers Island, but recognition of the forthcoming opportunities to shake loose its legacy and focus reform on investing in the communities that have been perpetually harmed by over-policing and mass incarceration. This investment must prioritize community-based organizations that, even in the absence of meaningful financial support, have been fighting on the ground for generations to mend the tears in our social fabric produced by this broken system. Only with significant monetary commitments to supporting these groups and their efforts to increase access to education, job development and skills-based learning can we create equity and with it, raise directly impacted people and their families out of poverty and into the sun. With this victory, we now have the political will to hold policymakers accountable and with it, validation that our fight is not in vain," said&nbsp;<strong>Vivian Nixon, Executive Director, College and Community Fellowship</strong>.</p> <p>"Exodus Transitional Community is deeply grateful for the commitment from the City to ensure that investments in communities are made in order to prevent incarceration. As a preventative, reentry and advocacy organization, we fully understand that by addressing the root causes of incarceration, we will be able to continue to decarcerate our city until we reach the day where jails are no longer used. Located in East Harlem, Exodus is particularly excited about the expanded investment in funding for cure violence interrupters. The Wagner (and surrounding) Housing Developments experience high rates of violence, and our young people and communities are suffering with trauma. We know that those closest to the problem are closest to the solutions, and the City's community investment plan will provide community-based organizations with access to the resources needed to address violence in our own communities. Furthermore, the investments in diversion centers (one of which will be located in East Harlem), medical mobile units, the NYCHA Family Reunification Program, transitional, scatter-site, and affordable housing units, and youth centers (to name a few) will help folks meet their basic needs and break the cycles of intergenerational incarceration and poverty. We are also pleased with the expanded justice investments, including the additional funding for alternative-to-incarceration programs and supervised release. Exodus looks forward to continuing to work with the City to ensure that all New Yorkers needs are being met, and that we overhaul our broken systems and replace them with community and healing, said&nbsp;<strong>Kandra Clark, Associate Vice President, Exodus Transitional Community</strong>.</p> <p>"We applaud the City Council and the Mayor's efforts to secure these initial investments as part of the plan to close Rikers Island. The programs, services, and resources supported by these funds will help to shrink the footprint of the criminal justice system in New Yorkers' lives. But these investments are a first step, not an end in and of themselves. New York City must expand upon these investments--for more permanent affordable housing, community-based treatment and care, restorative justice programs, and violence prevention efforts in the districts most impacted by over-criminalization and mass incarceration--to build the infrastructure we need for truly safe and thriving neighborhoods. Thank you to Speaker Johnson, the Mayor, and the City Council for setting a precedent of unparalleled investments in our communities as a strategy for delivering more public safety and relying on incarceration less," said&nbsp;<strong>Nicholas Turner, President and Director, Vera Institute of Justice</strong>.</p> <p>New Yorkers are creating history and leading this country in what could be a monumental reversal of its shameful legacy as the #1 incarcerator in the world. The City's plan, catalyzed by decades of community advocacy, prioritizes people and their needs over punishment and retribution. Smaller, more humane jails located in close proximity to the courts are significant building blocks in the effort to overhaul the criminal injustice system. There is much work still to be done to radically change the culture of the NYC jail system and it is incumbent upon all New Yorkers to work together and make that happen. The City's plan moves us forward to create that change," said<strong>&nbsp;Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Alliance of Families for Justice.</strong></p> <p>"The #BEYONDrosies 2020 campaign believes that closing Rikers isn't enough without tackling the root causes of incarceration with deep community investments. We believe when women thrive, families and communities thrive. Now is the time to invest in the voices, experiences and needs of women directly impacted by mass incarceration. This is only the beginning - in partnership with our allies, we will continue advocating for everyone to evaluate budget priorities and invest in proven, community-based solutions to public health and safety concerns," said Rita Zimmer,&nbsp;<strong>President of Women's Community Justice Association</strong>.</p> <p>"We applaud the City's decision to invest in critically needed community-based resources as we work to close Rikers Island and transition away from over-reliance on incarceration. For too long, and at great human and financial cost, our jails have warehoused people on minor offenses whose unmet needs of homelessness and untreated mental illness could have been addressed while they were at liberty in the community and before they ever became involved in the criminal justice system. With these key investments in housing, mental health services, gun violence prevention and youth services, these vulnerable New Yorkers can get the help they so desperately need, while we continue to build a safer and more just City," said&nbsp;<strong>JoAnne Page, President and CEO of the Fortune Society.</strong></p> <p>"As a person who lives in Harlem, far too many communities of color have been under-resourced for decades. Now is the time to make investments in housing, mental health resources, and alternatives to incarceration that prioritize restorative justice. Some of our key investment demands were met, but we are just getting started with securing the resources our communities have always deserved, and the investments the City must make to repair the harm Rikers has done," said&nbsp;<strong>Vidal Guzman from JustLeadershipUSA</strong>. "Today's historic vote by the City Council marks a major milestone in the city's journey to become the safest and least incarcerated large city in the United States," stated&nbsp;<strong>Vincent Schiraldi, co-director of the Columbia University Justice Lab and former Commissioner of New York City Probation</strong>. "When historians and criminologists write about the end of mass incarceration, Chapter One will be today's Council's vote." "Putting an end to Rikers Island is a mission that goes far beyond the walls of the jails themselves. In addition to criminal justice reforms at every level, it will also take investments in communities and in supportive housing, mental health treatment, alternatives to incarceration, and reentry services to help keep people out of jail and out of the justice system altogether. The programs and investments announced today are strong initial steps towards the changes that we need to see to achieve our shared goal of a better approach to justice in New York City," said&nbsp;<strong>Tyler Nims, Executive Director of Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform</strong>. "Directly impacted advocates, activists and organizers across the field have been on the frontlines working tirelessly with legislators to not only decarcerate our city, but build communities as well. We know that community investments are essential to securing community health and safety. This is why directly impacted people, like myself, and our allies have long demanded the City make community investments as part of the plan to close Rikers. We won't leave anyone behind on Rikers, and we will make sure that within that process there is a commitment to investing in and supporting our communities. Today's announcement is a critical step in the fight to close Rikers and build communities, and we applaud the City Council for putting forth this package," said&nbsp;<strong>Donna Hylton, Senior Justice Advisor with the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice</strong>.</p> <p>"The City Council's vote to close Rikers Island and build smaller and safer borough-based jails marks a huge step towards a more just New York City. For more than two decades, Osborne has worked with thousands of people a year inside Rikers—and in the community—to provide meaningful pathways home. When asked by the City to contribute to the design process, Osborne worked with directly affected families and communities to ensure that these new jails will be focused on the wellbeing of the people who live in them, work in them, and visit them. We congratulate the advocates who started the effort to close Rikers and everyone who has pushed this project forward. As New York continues to address the harms caused by Rikers Island and current criminal justice practices, it is essential that they continue to invest in communities most affected by incarceration, ensure that fewer people are arrested and detained, and that the oppressive culture on Rikers Island is not imported into the new jails and programs," said&nbsp;<strong>Osborne Association President and CEO Elizabeth Gaynes</strong>.</p> <p>This is a momentous day for New York City. Years of advocacy, and the work of people directly impacted by the inhuman culture in Rikers Island has brought us to where we are today - The vote to close Rikers Island! With eagerness and great hope, we look to a future of working with diverse leaders with an eye towards empowering local communities, so that all can be safe and prosperous. 'This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.' Pslam 118:24,"&nbsp;<strong>said Rev. Wendy Calderón-Payne, Executive Director, BronxConnect</strong>.</p> <p>"This is truly a historical moment for New York City, and the progress that has been made in closing Rikers is remarkable. I am heartened to see both the vote out of the Land Use Committee and the package of investments to strengthen neighborhoods and achieve justice reform. I thank everyone who has brought us this far," said&nbsp;<strong>Herb Sturz, Senior Advisor, Open Society Foundations and FedCap</strong>.</p> <p>These investments--and a hard deadline for the closure of Rikers Island--enact a new vision for criminal justice. And not just in New York City. What happens here in the coming years has the potential to create a true blueprint for decarceration. For more than 50 years, CASES' programs have proven that alternatives to incarceration produce better public safety outcomes compared to jail and prison while also helping people who have become justice system-involved to address challenges and access opportunities to improve their lives--all as they remain in their communities," said&nbsp;<strong>Joel Copperman, CEO, CASES</strong>.</p> <p>"I commend the Mayor's Office and City Council for not just vowing to close Rikers Island but for also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal justice programs and reforms. This money, much of which is going to community-based programs, will empower communities and ensure that fewer people come in contact with the criminal justice system. Indeed, it is the community itself that made this happen – organizations like JLUSA and the broader #CloseRikers coalition deserve the credit. Today, is a big step forward for justice," said&nbsp;<strong>Derek Perkinson Director of NYC Chapters and Manager of the National Headquarters, National Action Network</strong>.</p> <p>"This accomplishment has been a long time in the making. Rikers Island is a stigmatizing, demonizing place and the wrong place for the sons and daughters of our community," said&nbsp;<strong>Marty Horn, John Jay College of Criminal Justice</strong>. "I am pleased that this change is accompanied by a recognition of the need for community investments to promote success and I congratulate all those who have worked long and hard to achieve it."</p> <p>Gen. Douglas MacArthur asserted "a true leader has the confidence to go it alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others." Thanks to the leadership of Herb Sturz - founder of Wildcat Services, a myriad of other social entrepreneurs, and now Mayor de Blasio and the City Council - courage is made manifest in closing Rikers Island. New York City leads with compassion; may the nation follow. Wildcat is and will be ready to help those who leave Rikers Island and the future borough based facilities have a chance to succeed," said&nbsp;<strong>Edward J. Arsenault, Executive Director of Wildcat Services - The Fedcap Group</strong>.</p> <p>"Today's announcement is the realization of a vision that many criminal justice reformers have been pursuing for a generation. The Mayor and the City Council are not only taking real steps toward closing the jails on Rikers Island, they are also making the kinds of investments in New York City neighborhoods and alternative-to-incarceration programs that will reap dividends for decades to come. This is a turning point for our City and another indication that New York intends to stay at the cutting edge of justice reform," said&nbsp;<strong>Greg Berman, Director, Center for Court Innovation</strong>.</p> <p>"The New York City Bar Association applauds the Mayor and the City Council for this comprehensive, forward-looking proposal which not only will close the Rikers Island jails, but also will put in place multiple criminal justice reforms to reduce New York City's incarcerated population and enhance post-release reentry support," said&nbsp;<strong>New York City Bar Association President Roger Juan Maldonado</strong>. "This is a historic opportunity to end the blight of Rikers forever and continue New York City on the path to making incarceration a last resort."</p> <p>"New York City is taking the lead not only in closing Rikers Island and drastically reducing the use of bail, but also in providing community-driven services to those in need. We're proud to be one of the providers partnering with the city in the expansion of Supervised Release," said&nbsp;<strong>Aubrey Fox, Executive Director of the New York City Criminal Justice Agency</strong>.</p> <p>The closing of Rikers is more than monumental. It is a clear agreement that the atrocities and pain that have happened on Rikers Island need to come to an end. Thank you to the Mayor and others for standing firm on closing Rikers, said&nbsp;<strong>Iesha Sekou, Chief Executive Officer, Street Corner Resources</strong>.</p> <p>"Congratulations to the Mayor and City Council for your commitment and investment in making our city safer and stronger! New York City is an example for other major cities. There are many who believe that there is no connection between community investments, criminal justice reform and the well-being of the community. Mr. de Blasio and members of our City Council understand that community engagement and investment is what will keep our communities safe. Closing Rikers and opening up communities is essential to making our communities safe for all,"&nbsp;<strong>Rev. Gil Monrose, President, 67th Precinct Clergy.</strong></p> <p>"Rikers Island has been a travesty and an embarrassment to anyone concerned about justice for those facing trial in New York City. I applaud the Mayor's commitment to closing Rikers Island and am pleased that the Mayor has taken this step, said&nbsp;<strong>Marc Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing</strong>.</p> <p>"New York City has already seen the largest decline in its jail population of any major city in the US, from 21,000 almost 30 years ago to less than 7,000 today. These significant investments agreed to today by both the Mayor and City Council Speaker will be essential in cutting the jail population by yet another 50% through funding for pre-trial release programs, jail diversion and reentry and for programs that address some of the basic root causes of crime such as housing, treatment and mental health services. It is a thoughtful and holistic approach that is designed to have the fewest people in jail as possible and to ensure that those who are incarcerated are given the essential services they need and are safe and are treated fairly and with dignity," said&nbsp;<strong>Michael Jacobson, Executive Director, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance</strong>.</p> <p>"Many in opposition of closing Rikers Island have never experienced the brutal violence that has resulted in its long-term traumatic effects on communities across the City. It is imperative that Rikers Island be closed. Tax paying dollars should not be used to help perpetuate a broken cycle, but rather towards truly transforming justice. We must start fresh! This can only be done by closing Rikers Island and offering smaller borough-based jails that will facilitate better access to families and include Community-based organizations at the forefront leading the direction towards rehabilitation and mindset change," said&nbsp;<strong>Shanduke McPhatter, Founder and Executive Director, Gangstas Making Astronomical Change (GMACC</strong>)</p> <p>The New York Women's Foundation commends Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson and City Council Leadership on this commitment to investing in our communities to further our City's journey to becoming more just for all. As a public women's foundation rooted in community, we know that investments that support the health, safety and economic opportunity of the system impacted individuals and families are key levers for achieving decarceration and decriminalization. We also celebrate the leadership of the community organizations and leaders who got us to this point," said<strong>&nbsp;Ana L. Oliveira, President &amp; CEO, The New York Women's Foundation</strong>.</p> <p>"With these investments in community-based services, the impressive reduction in the pretrial detention population and the impending vote to close Rikers Island, New York City is creating a new vision of justice that will serve as a beacon of hope to the national justice reform movement. Credit goes to our elected officials and the advocacy community that has pushed for these deep reforms," said&nbsp;<strong>Jeremy Travis Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures President Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice</strong>.</p> <p>"Investing in communities and changing the trajectory of outcomes of individuals and families who are justice involved is paramount to the changes we need to see in NYC. The continued expansion of programs, housing and mental health services are the right direction for the City in its decarceration and community reinvestment efforts," said&nbsp;<strong>Dr. Alethea Taylor, Member, Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration.</strong>&nbsp;"Also, addressing culture by engaging a collaborative training structure is crucial and a good start to the overall functioning of staff, service providers and visitors within borough facilities to promote a humane environment. I urge the City to continue development of trauma-informed care best practices in the new facilities."</p> <p>"One of the core components in NYC's now two decades long decline in crime has been the City's willingness to invest in prevention services. The mayor and City Council continue and expand that wise investment strategy with this announcement today," said&nbsp;<strong>Richard Aborn, Citizens Crime Commission, President</strong>. "Importantly, amongst a myriad of important funding streams, this announcement accelerates the recognition between mental health issues and criminal behavior and rather than reacting punitively to crimes invests in mental health treatment to prevent crimes from occurring. Other less understood relationships between criminal offending and other conditions, such as homelessness, especially amongst young offenders, is also recognized here and addressed. The strategy employed in these investments get us closer to addressing the "vector point"; that is the point where one's behavior begins to diverge from lawfulness, and critically, addresses the factors driving the divergence. This is a significant step forward in our understanding of what drives crime, and more importantly, how to aid individuals in avoiding criminal conduct. Our City will be the safer for it. "</p> <p>"I am so glad that Mayor de Blasio and the City Council has decided invest in building communities, investing in schools and playgrounds and has moved to close Rikers," said&nbsp;<strong>Imam Tahir Kukaj, Miraj Islamic School/Albanian Islamic Cultural Center Council, Inc</strong>.</p> <p>"Five years ago, if you had said that Rikers' Island would be shut down by 2020 and the prison population in NYC cut in half from 14,000 to 7,000, no one would have believed you. Rikers' closing and the City's additional $17 million of new funding in support of alternatives to incarceration, investment in mental health services, and pledges for additional units of supportive housing for justice involved individuals, offers hope that Kalif Browder and the thousands of others unjustly incarcerated on Rikers' Island did not die in vain. While there is still much work to be done in addressing underlying issues from housing to mental health concerns, today, New York City is taking a bold step in the right direction on criminal justice reform," said&nbsp;<strong>Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, Interfaith Center New York.</strong></p> <p>We applaud the City Council's efforts to secure these initial investments as part of the plan to close Rikers Island. More supportive and affordable housing, playgrounds, schools, and community-based treatment and resources will help to shrink the footprint of the criminal justice system in New Yorkers' lives and set New York City on a path to build the infrastructure we need for truly safe and thriving neighborhoods. Thank you to Speaker Johnson and the Council for setting this important precedent of investing in our communities as a strategy for decarceration," said&nbsp;<strong>Insha Rahman, Director of Strategy and New Initiatives, Vera Institute of Justice</strong>.</p> <p>"This is a truly great step towards meaningful criminal justice reform in New York City. Incarcerated people will now have much greater access to the services they need and their families will have much greater access to their loved ones. Rikers is emblematic of the failed system of retributive justice that has destroyed lives and contributed nothing to public safety. As both a pastor and a retired law enforcement professional I commend this movement toward restorative justice," said&nbsp;<strong>Rev. Dr. Karyn Carlo (NYPD Captain Retired</strong>).</p> <p>"With the closing of Rikers Island and 391 Million dollars set aside for proactive programs to divert individuals from criminal activity can very well be the future focus for a safer New York City," said&nbsp;<strong>Rev. Dr. Phil Craig, The Greater Springfield Community Church</strong>.</p> <p>"On behalf of the residents of Alfred E. Smith Houses, we support the closing of Rikers Island and having smaller jails in each borough. It is the most humane thing that can happen for the detainees, as well as for the correction officers. A system of smaller community jails can help ensure that detainees' constitutional rights are better protected; especially their right to speedy trial, which was often affected by travel to and from Rikers. We thank the Mayor and Council Members who are supporting the closing of Rikers," said&nbsp;<strong>Aixa Torres, President of the Alfred E. Smith Houses Resident Association</strong>.</p> <p>"I think closing Rikers is a good thing, and the healing should begin. It's that simple. Smaller facilities must get people out of the system through education and rehabilitation," said&nbsp;<strong>Bihari Lall, Board Member, Indo-Caribbean Alliance</strong>.</p> <p>"Rikers should be closed. The alternative to Rikers Island will provide those who are incarcerated with more effective rehabilitation programs," said&nbsp;<strong>Vishnu Mahadeo, Executive Director, Richmond Hill Economic Development Council</strong>.</p> <p>"Keeping Rikers open would be a disaster for New York. It is time that we adopt smart solutions and open smaller facilities with a human face," said&nbsp;<strong>Shri Dr. Dhanpaul Narine, President, The Shri Trimurti Bhavan</strong>.</p> <p>For generations, mass incarceration has torn families and communities apart, with the heaviest burden falling upon communities of color, LGBTQI people and people experiencing poverty. We commend Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Council for taking bold steps to close Rikers, reduce the jail population and move towards an incarceration model that is safer, smaller and more humane," said&nbsp;<strong>Gabriel Blau, Co-Founder, Equality New York</strong>.</p> <p>"It's personal to me. I once was placed at Rikers Island for an internship. I saw first-hand what happens there. United Madrassi Association is against the inhumane treatment of human beings who have once made questionable choices in life. We are pro-rehab and against a punitive system to correct unlawfulness. We advocate for the closing of Rikers," said&nbsp;<strong>Vijah Ramjattan, Founder &amp; President, United Madrassi Association</strong>.</p> <p>"I agree, close Rikers. It's old and filthy. Every person is a human, even though they committed a crime, they should be kept in a better place. I feel we should move on from Rikers. I believe there should be a lot of changes in these newly proposed facilities," said&nbsp;<strong>Indra Seet, Member of Geeta Mandir &amp; Founder of Starz International Orchestra.</strong></p> <p>"For Hindus, ahimsa (non-violence and non-harm) is a cornerstone of justice. Since Rikers is the site of so many gross human rights violations, Sadhana adds our voice to those who seek to close it forever and find humane ways to show care and compassion to each other, even when we commit crimes," said&nbsp;<strong>Sunita Viswanath, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/land-use" hreflang="en">Land Use</a></div> </div> Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:03:57 +0000 Abby Damsky 7298 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch New Esplanade Bait Station To Aid East River Anglers In Harlem by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-new-esplanade-bait-station-aid-east-river-anglers-harlem-brendan <span>Upper East Side Patch New Esplanade Bait Station To Aid East River Anglers In Harlem by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New Esplanade Bait Station To Aid East River Anglers In Harlem</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/18/2019 - 3:48pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/new-esplanade-bait-station-aid-east-river-anglers-harlem">https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/new-esplanade-bait-station-aid-east-river-ang…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-08T19:48:35Z">Tue, 10/08/2019 - 15:48</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-18T12:00:00Z">Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>EAST HARLEM, NY — The men and women who fish off of the East River Esplanade have a vital new resource in the form of an ADA-accessible bait station on a stretch of the East Harlem waterfront.</p> <p>The station — where fishermen and fisherwomen can prepare bait, inspect catches to see if they require release and clean catches to take home — was funded by the group Friends of the East River Esplanade through a $15,000 grant from Sea Grant New York, according to the organization's board chair Jennifer Ratner. In addition to serving as a useful tool for East River anglers, the bait station is outfitted with public art depicting sketches of the types of fish that call the urban river home, Ratner said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>EAST HARLEM, NY — The men and women who fish off of the East River Esplanade have a vital new resource in the form of an ADA-accessible bait station on a stretch of the East Harlem waterfront.</p> <p>The station — where fishermen and fisherwomen can prepare bait, inspect catches to see if they require release and clean catches to take home — was funded by the group Friends of the East River Esplanade through a $15,000 grant from Sea Grant New York, according to the organization's board chair Jennifer Ratner. In addition to serving as a useful tool for East River anglers, the bait station is outfitted with public art depicting sketches of the types of fish that call the urban river home, Ratner said.</p> <p>"We sort of combined our public art initiative and made it a functional piece of public art, made it into the bait station," Ratner said.</p> <p>Before the station was installed, people who fished along the East River Esplanade were forced to clean their catches on the ground or on benches, Ratner said. With anglers being some of the steadiest users of the esplanade in East Harlem, the group saw the bait station as a great way to deliver on its mission to "surprise and delight people along the waterfront," Ratner said.</p> <p>"If you go to other areas where there's a lot of fishing — you know, around the country — there's always bait stations," Ratner said.</p> <p>Friends of the East River Esplanade is dedicated to advocating for users of the esplanade from 60th to 120th streets, and the group notices that an uneven amount of investment has gone to the southern section of the esplanade in recent years. That ultimately led to the decision to install the bait station in East Harlem. When it comes to the larger needs of the esplanade in El Barrio, small nonprofit groups such as Friends of East River Esplanade can only do so much.</p> <p>It's up to the city to make due on its promises to invest in the East River Esplanade above 96th Street, Ratner said.</p> <p>"It was the least we could do for the people whose waterfront has really been neglected, there are a lot more things that these fishermen need," Ratner said, citing needed repairs for the neglected and now closed pier at East 107th Street.</p> <p>The bait station was designed by Jacobs Chang architecture and constructed pro bono by contractors such as SMI construction, Silman and Maspeth Welding, Ratner said. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the resource was held Tuesday.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1494" hreflang="en">Parks</a></div> </div> Fri, 18 Oct 2019 19:48:35 +0000 Abby Damsky 7297 at https://benkallos.com Sludge The Business of Homelessness: NYC’s Biggest Shelter Contractor Makes Millions, Offers Shoddy Facilities by Walker Bragman Alex Kotch https://benkallos.com/press-clip/sludge-business-homelessness-nycs-biggest-shelter-contractor-makes-millions-offers <span>Sludge The Business of Homelessness: NYC’s Biggest Shelter Contractor Makes Millions, Offers Shoddy Facilities by Walker Bragman Alex Kotch</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">The Business of Homelessness: NYC’s Biggest Shelter Contractor Makes Millions, Offers Shoddy Facilities</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/18/2019 - 3:25pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/sludge" hreflang="en">Sludge</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/walker-bragman-alex-kotch" hreflang="en">Walker Bragman Alex Kotch</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://readsludge.com/2019/10/16/the-business-of-homelessness-nycs-biggest-shelter-contractor-makes-millions-offers-shoddy-facilities/">https://readsludge.com/2019/10/16/the-business-of-homelessness-nycs-biggest-she…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-18T19:25:45Z">Fri, 10/18/2019 - 15:25</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-18T12:00:00Z">Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Other Acacia residents have filed complaints against SERA Security Services, the private firm Acacia contracts with to provide security at its shelters. SERA and another private contractor used by city shelters, FJC Security,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/private-security-shelters-facing-21-lawsuits-violence-article-1.4014201">faced 21 lawsuits</a>&nbsp;over violence as of mid-2018.</p> <p>According to New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, the City Council is probing the abuse allegations from Acacia residents.</p> <p>“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several people who have stayed in Acacia Network scattered site housing and shelters and was concerned with their personal stories and what they went through,” Kallos told Sludge. “We met with them as well as investigators from the City Council, and if the allegations are true it gives rise to serious concerns. And we are actively looking into it and have reported it to the proper authorities, including referrals to the Department of Investigation.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Annie was already retired when she lost her apartment. With no source of income save for her Social Security work benefits, it wasn’t long before she ended up in the New York City shelter system. That’s where she would learn the name Acacia Network.&nbsp;</p> <p>Acacia is the largest provider of homeless housing in New York’s metropolitan area, but it is not just a shelter operator. Over the decades, Acacia has built a small empire with connections running up the ladder of city government. It has amassed a web of interconnected nonprofits and for-profits that offer shelter, affordable housing, addiction and medical services, and security. According to the city’s Department of Homeless Services&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/about/acacia-network.page">website</a>, Acacia manages “750 individual family units and four buildings for approximately 550 homeless adults.”</p> <p>Annie, whose name has been changed for this article, has been living in one of these for the last several years. But right away, she knew things were askew—and it wasn’t just that another resident had threatened to murder her. She would soon come to realize that the problem was multi-tiered: a pattern of mismanagement that left the shelter understaffed, undersupplied, and dangerous for its residents.&nbsp;</p> <p>“No nurse practitioner is ever there to give out the medication. The staff has to give out the medication,” Annie tells Sludge, noting that this leaves residents frequently out of sync with their individual treatment regimens with some dire consequences. Every other day, she sighs, “the ambulance seems to be there for one reason or another.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Compounding the issue, she says, is a lack of adequate security—something online reviews of the establishment have touched on. One reviewer says they never “felt safe” while living there.</p> <p>“They’re supposed to have a guard on every floor,” Annie explains. “That rarely happens because people are always calling out. So one guard usually has to do two floors or sometimes three.”</p> <blockquote> <p>They have no proposal, no plan for moving people out of shelters into permanent housing even though they have the resources for it.</p> <cite>Annie, Acacia Network shelter resident</cite></blockquote> <p>On one occasion, Annie tells us someone at the shelter was hit over the head with a lead pipe smuggled in from a nearby construction site. Another time, she says, someone got hot water thrown on them in the dining room.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are other issues caused by Acacia not sufficiently treating residents, Annie says. This past summer, she explains, there was a string of toilet backups due to people flushing entire rolls and other objects.</p> <p>Frustrated, Annie notes that the shelter tends to respond to these incidents in ways that hurt residents. After the hot water attack, for example, management removed hot water for tea and coffee from the dining room altogether. To address the toilet problems, the shelter’s cleaning staff stopped stocking rooms with toilet paper as soon as the facility’s annual “Callahan” inspection—named for the 1981 court case that established the “right to shelter” in New York City—had completed.&nbsp;</p> <p>“When you need toilet paper you have to go down to the front desk and they give you a wad…and you have to ration,” she laments.</p> <p>What Annie describes is a complete culture of neglect, which doesn’t square with the large amount of money Acacia rakes in from the city. In the 2019 fiscal year alone (July 2018 through June 2019), it received&nbsp;<a href="https://www.checkbooknyc.com/spending_landing/yeartype/B/year/120/agency/96">$259 million</a>&nbsp;in contracts from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), which accounted for 18.5% of the department’s contracts that year. Acacia gets additional funding from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Since the 2011 fiscal year, it has received over $1.1 billion worth of city contracts.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Want to see more reporting like this?&nbsp;<a href="https://api.pico.tools/pn/sludge">Become a Sludge member</a>&nbsp;for $5 a month to support our work.&nbsp;<img alt="🙏" src="https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/12.0.0-1/svg/1f64f.svg" /></strong></p> <p><strong>The Acacia Empire</strong></p> <p>Acacia has seen its funding increase since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. As luxury condominium developments rose and more of the city’s available housing stock was left empty, de Blasio found himself facing a simultaneous rise in homelessness. In response, he set out to increase the number of homeless shelters in the city. In 2017, he announced a plan, called “Turning the Tide on Homelessness in New York City,” to close unsafe and expensive cluster-site and hotel shelters and build 90 new shelters over five years.</p> <p>Acacia and its multiple linked entities have been the biggest beneficiaries. In total, 10 Acacia entities have received roughly $1.17 billion in city funding since 2010.</p> <p>The inflow of cash has proven a windfall for Acacia’s senior management. In 2017, Acacia CEO Raul Russi netted $816,000 in total compensation. His salary increased by over $300,000, or 62%, over the four-year period from 2013 to 2017, according to tax records reviewed by Sludge. Chief Operating Officer Pamela Mattel took in $488,000 in 2017, a 66% increase, since 2013. A third official, David Glasel, who was chief legal officer until mid-2018, earned $401,000 in 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p>These figures include sometimes eye-popping bonuses for a public charity, especially one that’s almost entirely funded with taxpayer dollars. In 2017, Russi scored&nbsp;<a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260076866/201823199349306057/IRS990ScheduleJ">a $171,000 bonus</a>. Mattel got $70,000. Acacia’s president, Hector Diaz, took home a $65,000 bonus, and Chief Financial Officer Milton Derenzio got $61,000.&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, named top officers at Acacia earned nearly $4.2 million in total compensation in 2017, almost three times the 2013 amount.</p> <p>And yet, despite the money, Annie reports that her shelter’s basic infrastructure is in disrepair. Its two elevators, she says, are “always out.” This is not an isolated issue. In August, the New York Post&nbsp;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/08/25/city-funded-nonprofit-packed-homeless-in-shelters-with-wiring-hazards/">reported</a>&nbsp;that inspections of Acacia’s hotel shelters had revealed hazardous and unsanitary conditions including faulty wiring, broken carbon monoxide detectors, and damaged plumbing. As of Aug. 31, Acacia buildings had hundreds of&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dhs/downloads/pdf/Shelter-Repair-Scorecard-Archive/scorecard-2019_aug-building-list.pdf">open violations</a>. A 2018&nbsp;<a href="https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1341&amp;context=gj_etds">Master’s thesis</a>&nbsp;by then-journalism student Ben Foldy found that conditions at buildings where Acacia manages all units worsened over time.</p> <p>Annie also says her shelter is chronically undersupplied, noting that for hundreds of residents, there is only one microwave. “It’s where the fights usually start—in the line for the microwave—because food is cold nine-tenths of the time,” she says.</p> <p>But where the supply problem is most clearly reflected, according to Annie, is on the menu. Shelters have a legal mandate to adequately feed their residents, who have their food stamp benefits reduced accordingly. Acacia, Annie says, falls short of that responsibility.&nbsp;</p> <p>“In the last two weeks, we’ve had like hard-boiled eggs seven times for the first time ever,” Annie complains. “Always it was powdered eggs…Waffles? Oh, we have syrup, no butter. Pancakes? We have butter this week but no syrup. For three weeks there’s no tea. But for two weeks before that, there was no coffee.”</p> <p>Compounding these problems, Annie alleges, the staff has little patience for residents. She tells us a story that after she broke a crown while eating—she calls the food “inedible”—no accommodations were made for her. She also notes that the shelter provides a number of bag meals for residents who don’t make it to the dining room in time for dinner, but they’re limited in number and once they’re gone, they’re gone.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Either they’re mean or rude for no reason or they’re mean and rude for no reason,” Annie says. “People have been fired for saying things like ‘Well, this is what you’re getting. Don’t eat this, you don’t eat nothing!’”&nbsp;</p> <p>JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER</p> <p>Muckraking journalism, delivered to you</p> <p>Email Address</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Annie also reports that individual members of the staff have stolen property from residents and on occasion have sometimes gotten physical. She says she’s seen them “throw women to the floor and march them out [of their rooms] barefoot in their bras and panties.”&nbsp;</p> <p>These abuse allegations are not the first Acacia has faced. Another Acacia shelter resident, Felix Guzman, recounted similar events. He said that the first thing he noticed when he got to his Acacia shelter was the “unprofessional staff.”&nbsp;</p> <p>“You could tell they hired people based on imposing figures,” claimed Guzman. “It wasn’t about having people with professionalism. It was basically young guys. They were fresh out of high school or in their early teens to twenties, and they had the power to abuse situations. And they did.”</p> <p>Guzman called the staff “heavy-handed,” noting that “one operations person was known to—at random—use her power to get people to [pack up their belongings] in the middle of the night, or you know like, kick them around, yelling out loud, ‘I’m going to pack you up!’”</p> <p>Because shelters work with residents to help place them in more stable housing, getting “packed up” would be disruptive to that process. As Guzman noted, “all your paperwork is at the one shelter, and when you go to the next one they have to start the process all over.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Like Annie, Guzman says the shelter staff did little to accommodate residents, alleging that despite his known respiratory problems, he was placed in a room with a smoker who sold drugs. Guzman claims staff members were also selling drugs and would routinely steal property from residents. One night he woke up to a member of the operations staff trying to take his phone.</p> <p>Other Acacia residents have filed complaints against SERA Security Services, the private firm Acacia contracts with to provide security at its shelters. SERA and another private contractor used by city shelters, FJC Security,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/private-security-shelters-facing-21-lawsuits-violence-article-1.4014201">faced 21 lawsuits</a>&nbsp;over violence as of mid-2018.</p> <p>According to New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, the City Council is probing the abuse allegations from Acacia residents.</p> <p>“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several people who have stayed in Acacia Network scattered site housing and shelters and was concerned with their personal stories and what they went through,” Kallos told Sludge. “We met with them as well as investigators from the City Council, and if the allegations are true it gives rise to serious concerns. And we are actively looking into it and have reported it to the proper authorities, including referrals to the Department of Investigation.”</p> <p><img alt="" height="432" src="https://i0.wp.com/readsludge.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/deblasio-russi.jpg?resize=1024%2C576&amp;ssl=1" width="768" /></p> <p>New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, listens to Acacia Network CEO Raul Russi, foreground left, as he visits a room at the Corona Family Residence, a homeless facility, May 11, 2015 in Queens.</p> <p>RICHARD DREW-POOL/GETTY IMAGES</p> <p><strong>Possible Self-Dealing</strong></p> <p>The shortcomings of Acacia’s facilities raise questions about how the nonprofit is spending its money. There is currently an ongoing investigation into the company for potential self-dealing. Of particular interest to the city is its relationship with SERA, which has been the nonprofit’s top contractor over the past several years and is allegedly run by top Acacia officials. The Wall Street Journal&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-is-investigating-top-homeless-shelter-operator-11563471155">reported</a>&nbsp;in July that New York City’s Department of Investigation had opened a probe into Acacia because it may have improperly reported its business affiliation with the security firm to the city. SERA’s relationship with the affiliated nonprofit PROMESA had already been highlighted in a 2015 state audit.</p> <p>From 2013 to 2017, Acacia paid SERA nearly $40 million, according to Sludge’s review of tax documents. In 2017, the year of Acacia’s most recent publicly available tax return, the nonprofit’s payments to SERA rose to a high of $12.4 million.</p> <p>Acacia CEO Russi founded SERA and allegedly still has a direct role in managing its staff. Recently, he&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-is-investigating-top-homeless-shelter-operator-11563471155">claimed</a>&nbsp;that Acacia selected the firm through a competitive bidding process. Meanwhile, Jose Rodriguez, Acacia’s chief legal officer, is SERA’s CEO, according to the firm’s most recent filing with the city. (SERA itself gets modest city contracts, having received $16,000 since the 2017 fiscal year.)</p> <p>In August, the city&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/investigation-of-new-york-city-shelter-operator-grows-11566774041">expanded its probe</a>&nbsp;to investigate another for-profit affiliate of Acacia, Distinctive Maintenance, which Acacia paid $17.1 million from 2015 to 2017 for cleaning and maintenance at its shelters and rehab centers. Acacia didn’t disclose its relationship with Distinctive Maintenance to New York City or in its federal tax records. The for-profit company’s managing director is Ruben Medina, the former CEO of Acacia affiliate PROMESA.</p> <p>In tax records, Sludge identified&nbsp;<a href="https://www.yourdahs.com/about/">one more connected for-profit company</a>, property manager Distinctive Affordable Housing Solutions, of which Medina is CEO. The company reportedly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motthavenherald.com/2018/04/27/mitchell-lama-seniors-cry-foul-over-rent-app/">uses Acacia’s letterhead and office space</a>. The Promesa Housing Development Fund Corporation, which contracts with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, paid Distinctive Affordable Housing Solutions&nbsp;<a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/133608906/201713109349300821/IRS990">$251,851</a>&nbsp;for consulting in 2016. In 2012, the company was the only major contractor of South Bronx Community Management, which paid the firm&nbsp;<a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/132850133/201941359349304604/IRS990">$228,250</a>&nbsp;that year.</p> <p><img alt="" src="https://i0.wp.com/readsludge.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-16-at-10.41.43-AM.png?ssl=1" /></p> <p>A list of Promesa Housing Development Fund Corporation’s five biggest contractors in 2016, including Distinctive Affordable Housing Solutions, from the organization’s 990 tax form.</p> <p>INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE</p> <p>After the initial Wall Street Journal article on the Acacia investigation, Kallos&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/councilman-calls-for-hearing-on-nonprofit-contractors-and-their-business-ties-11563721200?mod=article_inline">called for a City Council hearing</a>&nbsp;on the possible self-dealing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Councilmember Stephen Levin, who chairs the&nbsp;<a href="https://council.nyc.gov/committees/general-welfare/">General Welfare Committee</a>, which oversees the Department of Homeless Services and the Department of Social Services, told Sludge that the links between Acacia and the for-profit firms “certainly raise a lot of questions around governance.”&nbsp;</p> <p>“Not-for-profits are very well regulated in New York state and have to be in compliance with both city and state entities. An organization of that size really ought to have clearer governance structures so that something like this, whether it is impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, shouldn’t really be happening at a nonprofit that size.”</p> <p>For its part, Acacia denies any wrongdoing. A spokesperson for the nonprofit provided Sludge with a statement, which we have included in full:</p> <blockquote> <p>Our service to New York began a half-century ago in the South Bronx. Since then–day in and day out for fifty years–we have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of our neighbors. Today, the hundreds of women and men in the Acacia Network family continue to dedicate their lives to creating a better place for all.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>We’ve built affordable homes, provided shelter for people who are homeless, and created social service and health care systems for the underserved throughout the state. We’ve treated the addicted, supported the unemployed, invested in and fought to preserve Latino community-based organizations. We’ve touched countless lives of people in need over the years.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>We are proud of our work. All of us at the Acacia Network strive for transparency and have always acted with the utmost integrity to serve our neighbors.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Department of Homeless Services did not initially return to Sludge’s request for comment on the conditions at Acacia’s shelters, the nonprofit’s executive salaries, its relationship with its contractors, or the overall cost of sheltering the homeless. After this story was published, Isaac McGinn, spokesperson for the both the Department of Homeless Services and the Department of Social Services gave Sludge this statement:</p> <p>“As part of our effort to transform a haphazard shelter system that developed over decades, we’re squarely focused on holding our providers to higher standards and strengthening oversight. Following several misrepresentations that were brought to our attention recently, we are re-reviewing all disclosures in coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Contracting Services (MOCS) and have referred this matter for further investigation.”</p> <p>The mayor’s office did not answer specific questions posed by Sludge. After this story was published, Laura Feyer, deputy press secretary for De Blasio’s office told Sludge, “When doing business with the City, all vendors must be transparent in their representations, in accordance with the law. We expect our partners to live up to and uphold the standards we set—and the City investigates any misrepresentations or omissions thoroughly to hold them accountable.”</p> <p><strong>The Revolving Door</strong></p> <p>Potentially complicating any investigation into Acacia are its close government connections and its executives’ campaign donations, which may have allowed it to grease the wheels in its favor over the years.</p> <p>One highly paid Acacia employee, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, joined the nonprofit as senior vice president of administration in January 2016 just after vacating her spot on the City Council representing District 17, a South Bronx area that is home to a number of Acacia facilities. Arroyo took home $284,000 in compensation in 2017.</p> <p>Acacia higher-ups and affiliates have contributed a total of $5,300 to the campaigns of Arroyo’s mother, former housing administrator Carmen E. Arroyo, who is still a State Assembly member representing the South Bronx. In addition to her daughter’s donations, Arroyo’s campaigns received $1,250 from Russi; $800 from Acacia President Hector Diaz; and $2,500 from Sera Security.</p> <p>While in government, the junior Arroyo&nbsp;<a href="https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1341&amp;context=gj_etds">reportedly</a>&nbsp;“repeatedly tried to use her position to benefit other nonprofits,” including the South Bronx Community Corporation, of which both she and her mother had been executive directors.</p> <p><img alt="" src="https://i0.wp.com/readsludge.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/arroyo.jpg?resize=1024%2C576&amp;ssl=1" /></p> <p>Former New York City Councilmember Maria del Carmen Arroyo (L) at the Ghetto Film School 10th annual Spring Benefit at The Standard Biergarten on June 18, 2014 in New York City.</p> <p>JEMAL COUNTESS/GETTY IMAGES</p> <p>Since 2016, four Acacia officials—del Carmen Arroyo, Diaz, Russi, and Rodriguez—have donated a total of $1,680 to the campaigns of City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr., who took over del Carmen Arroyo’s District 17 seat. Salamanca, who&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bxtimes.com/stories/2019/26/26-a-salamancamemorial-2019-06-28-bx.html">spoke</a>&nbsp;at an Acacia event in mid-2019, sits on the Council’s General Welfare Committee.</p> <p>The councilmember has championed legislation favored by homeless advocates and Acacia. In October 2018, he introduced&nbsp;<a href="https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/council-member-salamanca-stands-with-homeless-advocates-and-introduces-new-bill-demanding-more-housing-for-the-homeless/">a bill</a>&nbsp;that would require developers who receive city financial assistance for rental housing to set aside at least 15% of their units for the homeless. Salamanca held a press conference on the day of the bill’s introduction and was joined by groups in favor of the legislation including Acacia and homeless advocacy nonprofit Coalition for the Homeless.</p> <p>Over the past two decades, Acacia officials have also donated heavily to the campaigns of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. ($8,380 from 11 Acacia officials since 2010); Assembly member Robert J. Rodriguez, who represents East Harlem, where Acacia has facilities ($8,200 from 10 Acacia officials and SERA Security since 2010); former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was speaker while Acacia became the biggest shelter contractor in the city ($6,250 from 10 Acacia officials from 2009-2019); and the city comptroller, Scott Stringer ($4,625 from six Acacia officials since 2011).</p> <p>“The Comptroller scrutinizes each and every contract that comes to our office to ensure thorough oversight and accountability,” Hazel Crampton-Hays, Stringer’s press secretary, told Sludge. “No donation of any size influences any action, period. Our office has long raised concerns about safety issues at Acacia shelters, and we’ve demanded answers from DHS about Acacia’s financial entanglements. Open and honest government is what taxpayers deserve, and it’s what we fight for every day.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Mark-Viverito told Sludge, “As an elected official Melissa has never, nor will she ever, let any contributions dictate her policy decisions. She is fully committed to serving the people of the Bronx and will continue to be transparent as she tackles the housing crisis.”</p> <p>Diaz, Jr., Rodriguez, and Salamanca did not respond to Sludge’s requests for comment.&nbsp;</p> <p>Arroyo’s shift from politics to major city contractor isn’t the only such move among Acacia’s top brass. Diaz was previously a seven-term State Assembly member and the Bronx County clerk. Russi held positions in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s and Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s administrations before his Acacia career, as did Acacia Vice Chair Milagros Baez O’Toole. Acacia hired&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronald-rosado-abad-70544751/">Ronald Rosado Abad</a>&nbsp;as senior vice president in June 2018; Abad had worked for the Department of Homeless Services for eight years until mid-2015, overseeing shelter budgets and contracts.</p> <p>To further advance its agenda, Acacia has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to corporate lobbying firm MirRam Group, which was founded by Roberto Ramirez, a former Assembly member and chair of the Bronx Democratic Party, and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150115/inwood/uptown-political-lobbyist-cheated-nonprofit-head-out-of-salary-suit-says/">Luis Miranda, Jr.</a>, a former official in several New York City mayoral administrations who once chaired the board of the nonprofit Audubon Partnership, which merged with Acacia in 2013.</p> <p>Mark-Viverito employed MirRam Group as a campaign consultant in 2013, and the firm lobbied her in 2016 on behalf of Acacia, according to Foldy’s&nbsp;<a href="https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1341&amp;context=gj_etds">report</a>. That year, Mark-Viverito&nbsp;<a href="https://patch.com/new-york/harlem/acacia-network-breaks-ground-73-million-east-harlem-affordable-housing-development">directed</a>&nbsp;$2 million in discretionary funds to an Acacia development project in her district.</p> <p><img alt="" src="https://i1.wp.com/readsludge.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Screen-Shot-2019-10-15-at-3.47.33-PM-1.jpg?resize=1024%2C576&amp;ssl=1" /></p> <p>The Stadium, a women’s shelter operated by Acacia Network Housing, on Sedgwick Avenue in Queens in October 2012.</p> <p>GOOGLE MAPS</p> <p><strong>‘On the Wrong Track’</strong></p> <p>Annie’s life at the Acacia shelter has convinced her that the city is on the wrong track when it comes to solving its homelessness problem.</p> <p>“They have no proposal, no plan for moving people out of shelters into permanent housing even though they have the resources for it,” she says.</p> <p>New York is the wealthiest metropolitan area on the planet and yet, in 2018, it was home to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/6949/the-us-cities-with-the-most-homeless-people/">14%</a>&nbsp;of the country’s homeless individuals. Meaningful solutions have been hard to come by because they rub up against entrenched interests. Recently, a proposal for a pied-à-terre tax, aimed at the city’s&nbsp;<a href="https://www.6sqft.com/nearly-250000-nyc-rental-apartments-sit-vacant/">nearly 250,000 empty apartment units</a>, died at the state level following opposition from New York’s powerful real estate lobby and luxury developers.</p> <p>In the fiscal year of 2019, according to the most recent&nbsp;<a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/operations/downloads/pdf/mmr2019/dhs.pdf">Mayor’s Management Report</a>, the city spent more than $45,000 to shelter a single adult for the year. For adult families, it was $58,000. For families with children, $74,000. The city pays the majority of the costs for adults, while New York state pays most of the costs for families with children.</p> <p>These costs have risen rapidly over the last five years; since FY2015, the per-diem costs for single adults, adult families, and families with children have all risen by over 50%.</p> <p>A number of communities have found that providing homes to the homeless&nbsp;<a href="https://www.vox.com/2014/5/30/5764096/homeless-shelter-housing-help-solutions">is cheaper</a>&nbsp;than the alternative. Studies have indicated that permanent supportive housing can&nbsp;<a href="https://endhomelessness.org/study-data-show-that-housing-chronically-homeless-people-saves-money-lives/">save money</a>&nbsp;on overall public spending, as people with homes tend to use emergency services less often.</p> <p>Stringer’s press secretary told Sludge, “The Comptroller has long argued that the city’s current approach to homelessness is not reaching those who need our help most, as the population of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness continues to rise despite&nbsp;<a href="https://comptroller.nyc.gov/newsroom/comptroller-stringer-releases-agency-watch-list-reports-on-citywide-homelessness-spending-and-the-department-of-buildings/">homelessness spending</a>&nbsp;doubling in five years, and&nbsp;<a href="https://comptroller.nyc.gov/newsroom/comptroller-stringer-proposes-fundamental-realignment-of-the-city-housing-plan-to-address-new-yorkers-most-in-need/">proposed a fundamental realignment</a>&nbsp;of the City’s plan to focus affordable housing development on the lowest income households.”</p> <p>According to the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/TaleofTwoHousingMarkets_FINAL.pdf">Coalition for the Homeless</a>, de Blasio’s policies are exacerbating homelessness and failing to provide adequate permanent housing for the lowest-income adults in the city. These findings were echoed in a&nbsp;<a href="http://picturethehomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/PtH_White_paper5.pdf">2018 report</a>&nbsp;from homeless-led civil justice organization Picture the Homeless, which castigated “the city’s backwards priorities.”</p> <p>“While New York City couldn’t find the resources to invest in housing affordable to residents of extremely low income in areas with high rates of shelter entry,” reads the report, “it could easily dedicate resources to expanding [costly] shelters…in the same neighborhoods.”</p> <p>Councilmember Levin supports de Blasio’s shelter expansion plan because of substandard conditions at many of the current shelters, especially converted hotels.</p> <p>“For the length of time people do remain in shelter, they need to have adequate facilities, especially for their own children. The idea of not being able to cook your own meal or have a place to have any recreation [at the hotel shelters] is just heartbreaking.”</p> <p>But Levin says that providing housing to the homeless is ultimately cheaper than relying on shelters, especially with a focus on buying existing buildings.</p> <p>“I support the plan to set aside 24,000 units of the mayor’s affordable housing plan for people in the shelter system. I think that would make a really big dent in this issue,” he said. The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/event/house-our-future-ny/">House Our Future NY campaign</a>, organized by the Coalition for the Homeless, is calling on the de Blasio administration to build 24,000 new affordable units, providing a total of 30,000 new affordable homes for currently homeless people.</p> <p>Levin cited the purchase of 90 Sand Street, a large building in Dumbo, Brooklyn, by the nonprofit group Breaking Ground, with money from the city. The building, which is in “pristine condition,” will contain 300 supportive housing units for those leaving shelters and another 200 affordable units.</p> <p>“If you ask the city, they’ll say that the root of the homelessness problem is the lack of available affordable housing, and that’s largely true,” said Levin. “We have to be able to adapt and work within that reality. I don’t [support] building housing for people making $100,000 a year—I think that we need to be supporting people that are coming out of shelter.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/good-government" hreflang="en">Good Government</a></div> </div> Fri, 18 Oct 2019 19:25:45 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7296 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Loophole allows people with city business to shower thousands on candidates despite contribution limits by Anna Sanders https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-loophole-allows-people-city-business-shower-thousands-candidates <span>New York Daily News Loophole allows people with city business to shower thousands on candidates despite contribution limits by Anna Sanders</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Loophole allows people with city business to shower thousands on candidates despite contribution limits</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/15/2019 - 10:45am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/anna-sanders" hreflang="en">Anna Sanders</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-campaign-finance-loophole-people-with-city-business-despite-limits-20191014-qnrleksfbfdwhnyxejgpmnn7cu-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-campaign-finance-loophole-people-w…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-14T14:45:55Z">Mon, 10/14/2019 - 10:45</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-15T12:00:00Z">Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p dir="ltr"> “There is no question that someone doing business with the city is only going to bundle because they think it will help their bottom line,” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Critics of the loopholes hope an increase in the public match, from 6-to-1 to 8-to-1 for certain donations, will help curb big-money influence in the 2021 elections.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hopefully that disincentives this behavior,” Kallos said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p dir="ltr">A glaring loophole in New York’s campaign finance rules allows people doing business with the city to steer thousands to candidates for office despite limits on how much they can personally donate.</p> <p dir="ltr">The glitch means lobbyists, developers and others who stand to profit from government action can curry favor with current and future decision-makers — and skirt donation limits ― by bundling donations from their wealthy pals and sending them to candidates for city office.</p> <p dir="ltr">Twelve people who have city business, prohibiting them from giving more than a few hundred bucks themselves, have already bundled $112,405 in donations for 2021 candidates, an analysis by The Daily News found.</p> <p dir="ltr">Anyone considered to be doing business with the city — like lobbyists and those with municipal contracts — can’t give more than $400 to any one candidate for mayor, public advocate and comptroller. They’re barred from giving over $320 to candidates for borough president and $250 for pols running for City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Yet that doesn’t stop them from bundling hundreds of fat checks.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Some donors circumvent NYC's doing business contribution limits by bundling contributions from others, which can result in more influence than giving contributions directly,” said Alex Camarda, a senior policy adviser at good-government group Reinvent Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">So far, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. leads 2021 candidates in bundled cash from the conflicted donors, collecting $49,700 from two people with city business as of July 11, the end of the most recent filing period.</p> <p dir="ltr">He’s followed by Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr., with $14,525 from bundlers with city business, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams with $12,040, and Comptroller Scott Stringer with $10,800.</p> <p dir="ltr">The amount of bundled cash from those with municipal business is likely to skyrocket in the next two years before the 2021 election, when term limits open 41 of the city’s 59 elected positions that more than 500 candidates are expected to run for.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the last wide-open election in 2013, a whopping $1.7 million was bundled and given to candidates for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president and city council from 93 people doing business with the city at the time, according to a Daily News analysis of campaign filings.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another $875,098 was bundled by 70 people with city business during the 2017 election, The News found.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio collected $346,290 from donors with city business in the 2013 race and $280,145 in 2017.</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio faced numerous investigations into his political fundraising practices, including whether he was favorable to donors and others with business before the city. Though federal and state prosecutors eventually said they wouldn’t charge de Blasio or his aides, one still said the mayor intervened on behalf of donors seeking favors from City Hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Contributions from people doing business with the city were restricted in 2007 and a database was created to ensure candidates and donors complied with the law. Commercial lobbyists pushing city policies and seeking municipal contracts for their clients are included. So are top executives and owners of companies who already have contracts and those lobbying the city.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the law allows them to act as “intermediaries” for other donors without the same contribution limits.</p> <p dir="ltr">Critics say the arrangement leaves the door wide open for powerful and well-connected New Yorkers to influence elections and sway politicians in their favor.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If people want to circumvent the intent of the regulation, they’ll do it,” said Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of good-government group Citizens Union.</p> <p dir="ltr">The most generous bundler with city business so far in 2021 is Michael Muzyk of Baldor Specialty Foods, who arranged for $45,700 for Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president. The food distributor leases space from the city at the Hunts Point industrial park in the Bronx and expanded its operations there in 2015.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lobbyist Perry Vallone bundled a combined $23,775 for Councilmen Costa Constantinides, Paul Vallone and Salamanca. Vallone’s clients this year include 31 companies targeting city officials over budget, real estate and land use matters, records show.</p> <p dir="ltr">John Mascialino, a principal of law firm Greenberg Traurig, bundled $7,460 for Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. The company’s clients include SL Green Realty Corp., the city’s largest private landlord, Morgan Stanley, Ernst &amp; Young, Deloitte and AT&amp;T, among dozens of other companies lobbying the city. Greenberg Traurig also lobbies on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;“There is no question that someone doing business with the city is only going to bundle because they think it will help their bottom line,” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Critics of the loopholes hope an increase in the public match, from 6-to-1 to 8-to-1 for certain donations, will help curb big-money influence in the 2021 elections.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hopefully that disincentives this behavior,” Kallos said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Campaign Finance Board executive director Amy Loprest said New York has the “strongest campaign finance disclosure laws in the country” and that the board recommended barring matching funds for contributions bundled by people with city business.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Board is required by law to review the program and recommend changes following every citywide election cycle," Loprest said. "In light of the changes made to the matching funds program, the impact on bundling contributions is one of many issues that the Board will review closely following the 2021 election.”</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:45:55 +0000 Abby Damsky 7295 at https://benkallos.com CityLab Cities Are Worried About the Health Effects of Glyphosate by JEN MONNIER https://benkallos.com/press-clip/citylab-cities-are-worried-about-health-effects-glyphosate-jen-monnier <span>CityLab Cities Are Worried About the Health Effects of Glyphosate by JEN MONNIER</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Cities Are Worried About the Health Effects of Glyphosate</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/11/2019 - 11:54am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/citylab" hreflang="en">CityLab</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/jen-monnier" hreflang="en">JEN MONNIER</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.citylab.com/environment/2019/10/glyphosate-pesticide-cancer-roundup-lawsuit-bayer-monstanto/598537/">https://www.citylab.com/environment/2019/10/glyphosate-pesticide-cancer-roundup…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-10T15:54:23Z">Thu, 10/10/2019 - 11:54</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-11T12:00:00Z">Fri, 10/11/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New York City Council Member Ben Kallos first introduced legislation to ban glyphosate (and all chemical pesticides) from city parks in 2015, shortly after the World Health Organization’s verdict that it’s unsafe. During the legislation’s hearing in September 2017, dozens of elementary-school children crowded City Hall to testify their support. The legislation failed, but Kallos and Carlina Rivera reintroduced it in April, just before the EPA classified the chemical as safe. The bill has 24 sponsors; it needs 34 to guarantee a hearing.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p dir="ltr">When invasive Himalayan blackberry creeps into one of Seattle’s wooded parks, it takes over, conquering native plants. In the past, Seattle park managers may have sprayed the noxious plant with the weed killer Roundup. But Seattle is the most recent in a wave of U.S. cities turning away from Roundup because of growing concern that it could be giving people cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, has helped grow food and stamp out weeds since it was introduced by Monsanto in 1974. Its popularity swelled in the 1990s, when Monsanto began also to sell specially designed crop seeds, including soybeans, canola, and corn, that could withstand the herbicide when it was sprayed on surrounding weeds. The company’s patent on glyphosate expired in 2000, and then other companies entered the market; today, several hundred products for sale in the U.S. contain glyphosate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Public concerns about glyphosate’s safety grew in the years that followed, so the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed the scientific evidence. In a 2015 report, it classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” based on the most reliable studies at the time, which were carried out on animals. Since then, people diagnosed with the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma sued Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), blaming their disease on their exposure to glyphosate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Juries have sided with plaintiffs, forcing Bayer to pay millions of dollars in damages each time. (Bayer maintains that the chemical “can be used safely and [is] not carcinogenic,” but recently announced it will spend $5.6 billion to develop glyphosate-free alternatives to Roundup.)</p> <p dir="ltr">While the court cases emerged, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency carried out its own review of the evidence. In April, the agency announced its conclusion that the chemical does not cause cancer in people.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of mixed evidence and court rulings, cities including Seattle are taking a defensive stance against glyphosate.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The concern was mainly for the people who are applying it,” says Patricia Bakker, natural resources manager at Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Department. The department stopped using glyphosate last fall, Bakker said, because parks managers worried they were putting employees in harm’s way. It became official policy on August 23, 2019, when Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an executive order restricting Seattle city departments’ use of glyphosate-containing pesticides.</p> <p dir="ltr">The executive order designates glyphosate as a last-resort option, to be used only to battle the worst weeds—weeds the state requires the city to remove—after other methods have been exhausted. Mowing, mulching, and a plant-killing fungus called rust are some of the first lines of defense. Other herbicides, like those containing the active ingredients triclopyr and imazapyr, can also be used.</p> <p dir="ltr">Without the power of Roundup, Bakker expects her staff won’t be able to tame non-native plants with the same vigor. “There are just going to be some areas that look a little weedy,” Bakker says.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Seattle’s native plants may have a better chance of survival because of the glyphosate restriction, according to one expert. Viktoria Wagner, a plant ecologist at the University of Alberta in Canada, says that because glyphosate is non-selective, it can hurt native plants when it’s targeted at nearby weeds. Hurting native plants deprives them of their ability to compete, and “this gives an opportunity to fast competitors to get a head start and take over,” Wagner says.</p> <p dir="ltr">When Seattle officials were considering cutting back on glyphosate, they sought advice from San Francisco, which began rolling out restrictions on chemical pesticides in 1997. Seattle’s not alone—tens of cities across the U.S. have recently cracked down on glyphosate use. In 2018, Portland, Maine, banned the chemical, and Austin, Texas, restricted it. This year, Miami and Los Angeles County approved their own bans on city property. Some cities, like Boston, avoid glyphosate on an unofficial basis. Others, like New York City, may be poised to ban it in the near future.</p> <p dir="ltr">New York City Council Member Ben Kallos first introduced legislation to ban glyphosate (and all chemical pesticides) from city parks in 2015, shortly after the World Health Organization’s verdict that it’s unsafe. During the legislation’s hearing in September 2017, dozens of elementary-school children crowded City Hall to testify their support. The legislation failed, but Kallos and Carlina Rivera reintroduced it in April, just before the EPA classified the chemical as safe. The bill has 24 sponsors; it needs 34 to guarantee a hearing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whereas Seattle’s city managers restricted glyphosate out of an abundance of caution amid conflicting opinions from scientific agencies, Kallos said he introduced his legislation with confidence that the science is settled—that glyphosate is endangering park-goers. When he and his toddler daughter want to play outside, they sometimes take a ferry to pesticide-free Battery Park.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I will not let her play in city parks unless I see dandelions and other<strong> </strong>weeds that glyphosate would otherwise kill,” he says.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/health" hreflang="en">Health</a></div> </div> Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:54:22 +0000 Abby Damsky 7294 at https://benkallos.com City Limits City Campaign Finance System Charts Path—and Highlights Challenges—for State Reform by Kate Pastor https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-limits-city-campaign-finance-system-charts-path-and-highlights-challenges-state <span>City Limits City Campaign Finance System Charts Path—and Highlights Challenges—for State Reform by Kate Pastor</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">City Campaign Finance System Charts Path—and Highlights Challenges—for State Reform</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/09/2019 - 12:54pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city-limits" hreflang="en">City Limits</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/kate-pastor" hreflang="en">Kate Pastor</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://citylimits.org/2019/10/09/city-campaign-finance-system-charts-path-and-highlights-challenges-for-state-reform/">https://citylimits.org/2019/10/09/city-campaign-finance-system-charts-path-and-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-09T16:54:06Z">Wed, 10/09/2019 - 12:54</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-09T12:00:00Z">Wed, 10/09/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Recent City Council legislation sponsored by Councilmember Ben Kallos also brought up percentage of the spending limit that can be publicly funded to 88.89 percent, meaning that a candidate only needs to raise 11.11 percent in match-eligible private contributions in order to max out the spending limit.</p> <p>When it comes to getting big money out of politics to level the playing field, a clear victory can be seen in the 2019 public advocate special election — the first with an 8:1 match on small donations. The race attracted a wide range of contenders, with 11 of the 17 candidates receiving matching funds and all but one opting for the higher match (there were two options in this election). Together, they received $7,178,120, accounting for more than 72.25 percent of the funding in the race, according to Kallos’ office and the CFB respectively.</p> <p>The high public match also seemed to encourage candidates to seek out small donations, with contributions of $250 and under making up 93.82 percent of donations and 60.78 percent of the private money raised. Compare that with the last competitive public advocate election in 2013 in which small contributions made up only one-quarter of the private money raised, according to Kallos’ office. In the 2019 special election, the most common donation was just $10, according to the CFB.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Then-Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj at a campaign forum in the 2017 race for a Bronx Council seat. Marjorie Velazquez, on the left, used public matching funds to mount a fierce campaign against the favored Gjonaj.</p> <p>When then-Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj ran for a City Council seat in 2017, he injected $1.3 million into the contest, and the race set a new record for the most money spent in the more than 30 years the New York City Campaign Finance Board has been in existence. In that primary for the 13th District in the Bronx, Gjonaj spent five times that of his closest competitor, Marjorie Velazquez, according to the CFB.</p> <p>Velazquez, on the other hand, participated in the city’s campaign finance program, which matched the first $175 of her donations 6:1 and she received the maximum public funds payment in the Democratic primary of $100,100 and public funds payments totaling $71,898 in the general election.</p> <p>In exchange for a shot at the funds, she agreed to abide by spending limits of $182,000 each for the primary and general elections and other CFB requirements for documenting fundraising and spending.</p> <p>“We knew that we needed to play the numbers game. We knew that we were going to be against this monster,” Velazquez says. “We were prepared to participate because we knew that he wasn’t going to participate because of the additional oversight.”</p> <p>She said the search for small-dollar donations encouraged her to place a heavy focus on door-knocking and speaking directly to contributors who would then become likely voters.</p> <p>“That’s the kind of game that I played, whereas Gjonaj just had big huge fundraisers,” she says, adding, “You literally had me walking around with contribution cards and registration cards at all times.”</p> <p>Not only did the public funding guide the way she sought donations, she credits it with giving her a real shot. “It gave me a voice, it made me competitive and it showed how to quantify and qualify a candidate beyond dollars. It shouldn’t be about money,” she says.</p> <p>On primary day, Gjonaj won with fewer than 400 votes — a remarkably close call for a deep-pocketed candidate already in elected office.</p> <p>The 2017 race for the 13th District embodies many of the defining features&nbsp; of the city’s campaign finance program, which a state commission is now using as one blueprint for&nbsp; a new statewide campaign finance system. While it broke a record in terms of spending — much of it sourced from large, private donations — public funds created a path for two candidates (the general election was also in play)&nbsp; to run competitive campaigns against Gjonaj. Velazquez, for her part, was encouraged by the program to reach out to donors in her district for small donations, and those every day New Yorkers were empowered in the process.</p> <p>While advocates seem to agree that a statewide matching system would benefit the body politic, questions abound about how it should be implemented. A look at some of the city’s recent races, like the 2017 race in the 13th district, illustrates the many successes of the campaign finance system, as well as limitations that the state system will also have to deal with.</p> <p><strong>A system grows</strong></p> <p>Making elections more competitive, reducing the impact of large special interest donations — thereby reducing instances of corruption— and amplifying the voices of regular citizens are all goals of the Campaign Finance Board’s program, which has grown tremendously over the last 30 years.</p> <p>The city’s campaign finance law applies to campaigns for City Council, Borough President, Public Advocate, Comptroller and Mayor. For all candidates, it restricts where donations can come from—contributions from LLCs, for instance, are banned—and limits how much any donor can give to a particular campaign. It also requires all candidates to disclose where every donation came from and how it was spent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><br /> <strong>At The Races</strong><br /> <em>City campaign finance data from the past 30 years reflect changes in the political landscape, like the enormous spending by Michael Bloomberg in 2005 and 2009 (his 2001 expenditures were not tracked by the city’s system) and the rise of term limits. They also reflect an increasingly important role for public matching funds.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>Campaign Year</strong></td> <td><strong>Private funds raised</strong></td> <td><strong>Public funds distributed</strong></td> <td><strong>Total campaign spending</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>1989</td> <td>$31,997,740</td> <td>$4,200,000</td> <td>$34,255,912</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1993</td> <td>$31,239,394</td> <td>$5,296,192</td> <td>$37,432,760</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1997</td> <td>$30,624,342</td> <td>$6,420,742</td> <td>$37,133,370</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2001</td> <td>$60,242,192</td> <td>$36,230,457</td> <td>$95,619,336</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2005</td> <td>$127,541,448</td> <td>$23,768,127</td> <td>$147,343,919</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2009</td> <td>$155,015,842</td> <td>$27,229,074</td> <td>$179,035,918</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2013</td> <td>$94,804,132</td> <td>$32,689,833</td> <td>$121,880,939</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2017</td> <td>$41,874,413</td> <td>$16,620,011</td> <td>$51,686,726</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The system also offers public matching funds to candidates who choose to participate in the program. So long as they meet threshold private-fundraising requirements and agree to spending limits, participating candidates receive matching funds for donations from city residents.</p> <p>The matching ratio has risen from&nbsp; 1:1 on contributions up to the first $1,000 per contributor in 1989, to the current rate of 8:1 on the first $175 per contributor for City Council and borough president, and on the first $250 for other offices.</p> <p>The percentage of candidates participating has grown from 64 percent of candidates on the primary ballot and 27 percent in the general election participating in the matching funds program in 1989, to 84 percent of primary candidates and 64 percent of general election candidates joining the program in the 2017 elections.</p> <p>Recent City Council legislation sponsored by Councilmember Ben Kallos also brought up percentage of the spending limit that can be publicly funded to 88.89 percent, meaning that a candidate only needs to raise 11.11 percent in match-eligible private contributions in order to max out the spending limit.</p> <p>The proposal for the statewide campaign finance system is due by Dec. 1. That’s the deadline given to a nine-member commission set up in the state budget to devise a set of recommendations including program eligibility, thresholds for participation, as well as public financing limits and contribution limits. The system must have a maximum fiscal cost of no more than $100 million and will become law unless modified within 20 days.</p> <p>“For more than 30 years, the matching funds program has helped ensure that voters, not money, have the final say in who runs New York City government. This program has been the blueprint for recent reforms across the country and, we hope, the basis for a new system in Albany starting this year,” said Amy Loprest, executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board in a statement.</p> <p><strong>Leveling the playing field through small donations</strong></p> <p>Rafael Espinal, who represents the 37th district in the City Council, says matching funds gave him a shot in the 2019 special election for public advocate.</p> <p>When it comes to getting big money out of politics to level the playing field, a clear victory can be seen in the 2019 public advocate special election — the first with an 8:1 match on small donations. The race attracted a wide range of contenders, with 11 of the 17 candidates receiving matching funds and all but one opting for the higher match (there were two options in this election). Together, they received $7,178,120, accounting for more than 72.25 percent of the funding in the race, according to Kallos’ office and the CFB respectively.</p> <p>The high public match also seemed to encourage candidates to seek out small donations, with contributions of $250 and under making up 93.82 percent of donations and 60.78 percent of the private money raised. Compare that with the last competitive public advocate election in 2013 in which small contributions made up only one-quarter of the private money raised, according to Kallos’ office. In the 2019 special election, the most common donation was just $10, according to the CFB.</p> <p>Councilman Rafael Espinal, who came in seventh in the 2019 special election for public advocate, said especially coming from a district — covering East New York and Bushwick — where larger donations would be hard to come by, the match helped him become a serious contender by amplifying the impact of small-dollar donations.</p> <p>“For someone who’s running in East New York, the possibility of getting a $1,000 check from a constituent is slim to none,” he said, supporting the idea floated for the state of introducing a higher matching rate for lower-income districts.</p> <p>Large political donations “come from an overwhelmingly white, wealthy, and male donor class,” according to Fair Elections for New York, and the recipients of industry donations are also mostly white, according to the organization.</p> <p>“I think it’s encouraging to donors that their dollars are stronger,” Espinal said of the program, adding, “I think as a candidate it also encourages you to put the leg work in and reach out to people.”</p> <p>The shift of incentives away from monied donors allowed him to be more focused on the issues facing the city, he said.</p> <p>“I think there’s less pressure for you as a candidate to focus on fundraising rather than focus on the issues of the platform you’re running on,” he said, comparing the experience to when he ran for assembly on the state level. Then, he said, he was inclined to seek out big-dollar donations because there was no matching fund program and the contribution limits were very high.</p> <p>The magnification of small-donor influence is a clear advantage of the city’s program over the current state system. In the 2017 Council elections, people who gave less than $175 were the most significant source for Council candidates and the least significant source for Assembly candidates who ran within the city limits, according to a Brennan Center for Justice&nbsp;<a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/publications/The%20Constituent-Engagement%20Effect%20of%20Small%20Donor%20Public%20Financing_Sept%209.final_.pdf">study</a>&nbsp;that analyzed the fundraising of New York City Council and State Assembly candidates who campaigned to represent New York City districts in 2017 and 2018 respectively. In New York State elections in 2018, small donations of $200 or less amounted to a minuscule 5 percent of funds raised by candidates for state office.</p> <p>Of course, the matching program isn’t the only difference between the city and state systems. The state’s contribution limits (individuals can give up to $69,700 to a candidate for statewide office, $19,300 to a state Senate candidate and $9,400 to a state Assembly candidate in an election cycle) are higher than the federal limits and those of most states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. It’s also much higher than the city’s limits of up to $5,100 per election cycle for citywide office, up to $3,950 for borough president and up to $2,850 for City Council. (For the first time, coupled with the shift to an 8:1 match, there are now lower limits for participants than non-participants).</p> <p>And it isn’t only the size of contributions that vary between the state and the city, it is also whose pockets from which they came. According to the Brennan Center report, while entity donors — such as business corporations, LLCS and PACS — were the least significant source for Council candidates in 2017, they were the most significant source of Assembly fundraising for candidates running in city districts. In a study of 21 geographically overlapping districts, the median publicly-financed City Council candidate got funding from 23 percent more in-district donors than privately funded local counterparts in the Assembly and City Council. They also received 30 percent more of total campaign funds from in-district donors.</p> <p>Of the 11 candidates on the ballot who received matching funds in the public advocate special election, Melissa Mark-Viverito was the only one for whom public money was less than 65 percent of total spending, and the victor, Jumaane Williams, was able to overcome her, in part, by accumulating enough matchable donations (excluding real-estate interests completely) — and related matching funds — to turn an almost $118,000 private fundraising disadvantage against her into an almost $626,000 advantage in total spending.</p> <p>Other races in 2017 shared the same dynamic. In District 32 in Queens, incumbent Councilmember Eric Ulrich faced three serious challengers over the course of the campaign season, and he privately raised 45 percent more than the three of them combined. But even though Ulrich took in more public money than his rivals, in the end, their combined spending was 60 percent more than his. In the election for the 44th District in Brooklyn, Yoni Hikind didn’t participate in the public-financing system but brought in an extraordinary $500,000 in private donations — only five candidates citywide, all of them incumbents, raised more. Public matching funds didn’t put Kalman Yeger on equal footing, but they did provide Yeger with $100,000 to close the gap — likely one factor in Yeger’s landslide victory.</p> <p>But the goals of limiting the role of private money and empowering small donors are neither absolute or perfectly aligned. Private money — albeit in small amounts — is still very important in the system, as evidenced by the 2019 public advocate special election. In recent years, there has been an overall increase of private money in city elections — from $65 million in 2001 (excluding Michael Bloomberg’s self-funded campaign) to $95 million in 2013. Those are the two most recent elections where term limits were in broad effect.</p> <p><strong>Balancing the power of incumbency&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Proponents of campaign finance like to make clear that the program is not meant to facilitate the unseating of incumbents. But it is supposed to give insurgent candidates a shot by balancing the impact of monied contributors and every day New Yorkers. And there is perhaps no more entrenched advantage than incumbency.</p> <p>In the 2017 race between Elizabeth Crowley and Robert Holden, the matching program helped Holden overcome a two-term incumbent who was part of a powerful political family and had gotten an endorsement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.</p> <p>Crowley early on took herself out of the running for matching funds because, she said, she was a successful fundraiser and didn’t want to take the public’s money unless she had to.</p> <p>And successful she was. In the primary and general races combined, she raised a total of $532,242 in private funds compared with Holden’s $59,877, according to the CFB. His average campaign contribution of $141 paled in comparison to her $532.</p> <p>She spent almost four times as much as him in the primary ($169,276 to his $45,137) and won a relatively low turnout race handily with 63.7 percent of the vote, according to the Campaign Finance Board.</p> <p>But the general election was a different story. Holden ran on the Republican, Conservative and Dump the Mayor ballot lines and eked out a win with 50.2% of the vote.</p> <p>Between the primary and general election, he brought in two full payments from the public matching program at $100,100 each.</p> <p>A leader in the community for 30 years who had a hotline in his basement for the local civic association, he first ran his campaign headquarters out of his garage, he said.</p> <p>In the end, despite Crowley going into the general election with monetary and other advantages — “I felt like David against two goliaths almost, the machine and my opponent,” Holden said — her spending for the two races combined amounted to just slightly more than double what Holden reported, according to the Campaign Finance Board.</p> <p>“I am exhibit A on why it works,” Holden said of the program.</p> <p>Overall, the city system gives challengers a chance against incumbents, and many take it. According to the Campaign Finance Board, only five of 41 incumbents (12 percent) seeking re-election to the City Council in 2017 did not face any opponent in either the primary or general elections. As a point of comparison, on the state level in 2016, 26 percent of state legislative incumbents seeking reelection did not face any opponent.</p> <p>Although Holden was the only challenger to best an incumbent in 2017, Councilwoman Debi Rose did it in 2009 when she ran for her District 49 Staten Island seat. She raised slightly more — $17,000 — in private funds than incumbent Ken Mitchell, but she claimed $100,000 more in public funds, helping her beat Mitchell in the primary and again in the general.</p> <p>The same year, incumbent Kendall Stewart and top challenger Jumaane Williams brought almost identical amounts of private money to the table in the race for Brooklyn’s 45th District. While Stewart didn’t get public funds, Williams received nearly $150,000 worth. That forced the incumbent to take out loans and go into the red to keep up, and come Primary Day, it wasn’t enough.</p> <p>In her 2013 City Council race, incumbent Sara Gonzalez enjoyed a 24 percent private fundraising advantage over Carlos Menchaca in the race for District 38 in Brooklyn. But his 60 percent advantage in public funds more than offset that, and he beat her.</p> <p>While more incumbents were ousted in the last election on a state level than in the city, the power of incumbency in Albany is strong and long-lasting, with no term limits to force seats open and fewer competitive races than in the city.</p> <p>Advocates argue that a matching funds system program, while not designed to unseat incumbents but rather to make elections more competitive, will make them better legislators by forcing them to rely more on their constituents.&nbsp; In the last election cycle, leaders in the Assembly raised only 16 percent of contributions from residents in their districts, according to a Reinvent Albany report, nearly half from corporations, associations, and unions — many doing business with state government. Speaker Carl Heastie got just one donation from within his district out of 430 contributors.</p> <p><strong>Stamping out corruption</strong></p> <p>Nearly two years after the New York City Council election of 2017, an article surfaced in Crain’s depicting the appearance of a pay-to-play scandal related to a big campaign donor of Gjonaj’s—the big spender in the Bronx’s 13th District race.</p> <p>According to the article, he allocated along with Council Speaker Corey Johnson $1.4 million toward a project of a developer whose relatives gave $11,000 to Gjonaj’s campaign. The necessary rezoning to make the project possible had been rejected by two community boards and James Vacca, the former councilman for the district.</p> <p>The city’s matching-fund system developed in part as a response to Koch-era scandals, which didn’t feature campaign finance shenanigans but highlighted the importance of transparency. It’s because of the system’s transparency that issues like the one highlighted by Crain’s are easily brought to light.</p> <p>To be sure, there have been some city scandals. For example, former Councilman Miguel Martinez had to return $128,786 in public funds for his 2001 election and was fined by the CFB for violations including creating a fake paper trail for $27,506 worth of spending, according to the New York Daily News. He was eventually sentenced in 2009 to five years in prison for stealing over $100,000 from his council office and nonprofit groups funded by the city, according to The New York Times. Sheldon Leffler, a former Queens councilman, was convicted in 2003 of seeking to quadruple $10,000 in campaign contributions in his bid for borough president, claiming the money was matchable with public funds, The Times reported.</p> <p>But for the amount of public money spent over eight citywide general elections and dozens of primaries, special elections and off-year races, the amount of misuse of the CFB that has been documented is extremely modest. What’s more, the city campaign finance system’s exacting disclosure requirements permit a degree of transparency that allows reporters, watchdogs and others to root out conflicts or potential ones.</p> <p>Meanwhile, scandals on the state level occur with regularity. According to a Citizens Union 2015 report, “legislators are more likely to leave office due to ethical or criminal issues than to die in office, or be redistricted out of their seats.” And the Moreland Commission report in 2013 found that “Albany’s pay-to-play political culture is greased by a campaign finance system in which large donors set the legislative agenda.”</p> <p><strong>Money isn’t everything</strong></p> <p>Elizabeth Crowley lost her Queens Council seat in 2017 after a fierce controversy over a proposed shelter in the district.</p> <p>Sometimes, campaign-finance reform is presented as a panacea for all that ails our politics; or, even more crudely, that it means only the “good guys” will win. But the obvious bears remembering: Money, whatever the source or amount, is just one factor in any electoral contest.</p> <p>The 2017 Holden-Crowley field was not just about money; it was also a lesson in the complexity of electoral politics. Holden held himself up as a man of the people who got a necessary boost from the matching funds he received. But Holden also contends that it was his grassroots appeal that pushed him over the edge. “In my spare time, I did all the day-to-day constituent work that Crowley should have done,” he said.</p> <p>Jo-Ann Benini 77, a retired constituent who lives in Middle Village, who gave Holden two contributions of $100 each, said she donated to his campaign because she knew him well from the civic association. Her son mentioned the public match to her, but she said “I would have given anyway, matching or not, doesn’t matter.” Her experience with Crowley was that she was “behind closed doors” and inaccessible to constituents, she said.</p> <p>For her part, Crowley says she regrets “any constituent of mine feeling like I wasn’t responsive to their needs.”&nbsp; She argues larger political factors were at work in her defeat. “I think it was that de Blasio was very unpopular,” she said, explaining that she was the only Democrat ever elected in her district. “He was able to win with the votes he got from the Republicans because I handily beat him in the Democratic primary,” she added.</p> <p>And there was a local issue stirring deep passions: “Mr. Holden’s campaign was propelled by opposition to homeless shelters and to housing those who are homeless in hotels, both of which are unpopular in the district he will soon represent,” The New York Times wrote in 2017. Another article says that “anger over the city housing homeless in neighborhood hotels; fear that the eventual closing of Rikers Island would mean a local jail; and a virulent dislike of Mayor Bill de Blasio” within the district all propelled the race into a close contest.</p> <p>Still, the matching funds Holden received helped him capitalize on these political realities in a way that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.</p> <p><strong>Will candidates participate?</strong></p> <p>The Gjonaj race, while a key example of public funds creating a competitive election, also points to some of the program’s limitations, especially when races involve nonparticipants.</p> <p>Despite public funding making the race more competitive, money played an outsized role. Velazquez’s average contribution size in the primary was $183 compared with an average $670 received by Gjonaj, who declined to be interviewed for this story.</p> <p>The fact that it is a voluntary program provides an opening for well-heeled candidates like Gjonaj, or former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for that matter, to operate outside of its rules and spending limits — and sometimes win.</p> <p>Perhaps encouraged in part by his competitor’s ability to raise matching funds (in total, the CFB paid out $372,198 over the course of the election), Gjonaj flooded the race with private money, exactly the type of spending the Campaign Finance Board aims to reduce.</p> <p>And the Gjonaj race is just one in which non participants’ money ruled the day. The same can be said for at least two other Council races in 2017.</p> <p>There was the election for the 45th District in Brooklyn, in which none of Williams’ four opponents raised more than $10,000, and like Williams, three of them didn’t participate in the campaign finance system. Williams spent $226,000 to their combined $11,500 to win.</p> <p>In another contest, non-participant Councilmember Andy King raised $145,000 to his opponents’ combined $13,600 for a District 12 seat in the Bronx. Even though one of them qualified for CFB funds of $34,000, King was still able outspend the pack by a 3:1 margin. And in Manhattan’s race for District 10, one of Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez’s several opponents quadrupled his war-chest with public funds. But the incumbent Rodriguez was still able to outspend his closest rival by $188,000 and win the race.</p> <p>A state campaign finance system that doesn’t entice candidates to participate will be likely to fail, advocates warn. Some have suggested further limiting campaign contributions so that candidates, especially ones who have access to wealthy donors, like incumbents, are forced to change the way they fundraise, making the program more appealing. Another idea has been floated to not impose a spending cap on participants so they can keep up in competitive elections against wealthy candidates and independent expenditures.</p> <p><strong>Exacerbating disparities</strong></p> <p><img alt="" height="442" src="https://0d4g9qvxfl-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/smalls.png" width="597" /></p> <p>Sawn Smalls for nY</p> <p>Dawn Smalls during the 2019 public advocate special election.</p> <p>Public funds can give a grassroots candidate the chance they need to be successful, but it doesn’t always help level the playing field. In the race for Kallos’ City Council seat in 2017, the incumbent raised $202,870 in private funds and was the only candidate to qualify for matching funds — which amounted to $125,125.</p> <p>He faced two opponents in the primary. Neither challenger came close to raising the kind of private money he did (Kallos’ share of private fundraising in the contest was 83.87 percent) and neither got matching funds. Kallos was only granted 25 percent of the maximum public funds in the primary because he faced a “minimal opposition” candidate. And Kallos notes that his private fundraising excluded real estate, lobbyist and corporate money.</p> <p>But the insurgent certainly wanted a chance to make his own argument to voters. “The bar is pretty high for first-time candidates, low-income candidates, working-class candidates, basically anyone who isn’t self-funded or can’t quit their job for six to 24 months,” says Patrick Bobilin, the candidate who challenged Kallos during the 2017 primary.</p> <p>According to the CFB, on average more matching funds are allocated to challengers than incumbents.&nbsp; But in order to qualify for matching funds, City Council candidates have to reach two thresholds — raising $5,000 in match-eligible contributions and 75 in-district donations of $10 or more. Because of these requirements, meant to safeguard the taxpayer dollar from frivolous candidates without a base of community support, lesser-known candidates sometimes don’t make the cut.</p> <p>Bobilin, who moved to New York from Chicago in 2016, said he got into the race because he had worked for Bernie Sanders’ campaign and was inspired by him. He participated in the program but didn’t qualify for the matching funds. He noted that Kallos also got a major head start. The Councilman began fundraising in 2014, a year after he was first elected to office.</p> <p>“If you just started from scratch the fact that you have to meet a threshold is very challenging,” Bobilin said, adding that it “just makes an already successful campaign more successful.”</p> <p>Kallos’ office says the final fundraising numbers don’t tell the full story of the race. At the outset, they thought Bobilin posed a more serious threat. Since that didn’t materialize, Kallos is returning at least $23,893.13 in public funds that his campaign received received for the primary because he ended up spending that much less than the limit. (Returning unused funds is a requirement of the program.)</p> <p>His challenger in the general election, Frank Spotorno, ran against former Congressman Joe Crowley and who Kallos said was known to have a significant war-chest. That prompted more fundraising by the incumbent. In the end, however, Spotorno didn’t run a serious campaign, though Kallos did get the full public funds in the race. Kallos’ spending in the race overall accounted for 94.23 percent of the total.</p> <p>That wasn’t the only contest where public funds stretched rather than shrunk fundraising gaps.&nbsp; There was the 2017 Council race in the 42nd District in Brooklyn, where Councilwoman Inez Barron outraised challenger Mawuli Hormeku by a mere $1,380. She received $52,000 in public financing; he received nothing. She ended up outspending him by $54,000.</p> <p>In the District 22 race in Queens, Councilman Costa Constantinides raised $217,000. His two opponents raised a combined $3,300. The $14,000 in public funds Constantinides were not a major factor in the race, but they padded an enormous financial advantage. And in Brooklyn’s 47th District, Councilman Mark Treyger raised more than three times what his lone opponent did from private sources, received more than 2.5 times as much in public money and outspent his foe better than four to one.</p> <p><strong>A complex system</strong></p> <p>Dawn Smalls, who came in sixth in the 2019 special election for public advocate, also found meeting the program’s two-part threshold for receiving public matching funds challenging. In that race, the requirement was to raise $62,500 from 500 match-eligible contributors. In order to meet the match thresholds, she ended up cold calling people for donations of $10 — which put the onus of small donations, but also forced candidates into the same kind of fundraising-focused activity that the CFB program is supposed to disincentivize.</p> <p>She, like other candidates interviewed, found meeting the stringent requirements of the matching program difficult and resource-intensive. Smalls also felt the CFB’s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/debates/">debate program</a>&nbsp;somewhat undermined the program’s purpose. The special election saw two debates, and the second one, for “leading contenders,” required that candidates receive an endorsement from a city, state or federal elected official who represented all or a portion of the city and/ or&nbsp; an endorsement from one or more organizations with over 250 members in New York City. Some people who qualified for matching funds didn’t make the debate stage.</p> <p>Several possibilities have been raised for the state system that would make it more user friendly, including random or spot audits (rather than mandatory ones for each candidate participant as is done in the city), and penalties that distinguish between one time offenders, type and amount of the infractions.</p> <p>On the state level, the uneven footing at the start of a campaign is even more pronounced. Since there are no term limits, some candidates will also have hefty campaign accounts accumulated over many years. Advocates have floated restrictions on money accumulated over time and warn that the state system must find the right balance between protecting public money and setting the threshold too high for many candidates to meet.</p> <p>Taken together, campaign-reform advocates believe the New York City system charts a path that the state should follow—perhaps with tweaks to address shortcomings, or just to adapt public financing to work everywhere from Montauk to Niagara Falls.</p> <p>“There’s a path blazed,” said Blair Horner, executive director of New York Public Interest Research Group, referring to the city’s system. “The question is will they follow it.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/good-government" hreflang="en">Good Government</a></div> </div> Wed, 09 Oct 2019 16:54:05 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7291 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News All New Yorkers deserve retirement security by By I. DANEEK MILLER and BEN KALLOS https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-all-new-yorkers-deserve-retirement-security-i-daneek-miller-and-ben <span>New York Daily News All New Yorkers deserve retirement security by By I. DANEEK MILLER and BEN KALLOS</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">All New Yorkers deserve retirement security<br /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:47pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/i-daneek-miller-0" hreflang="en">I. Daneek Miller</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-all-new-yorkers-deserve-retirement-security-20191003-w76erdi2pbh4tmfjhub54kjqaq-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-all-new-yorkers-deserve-retirement-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-03T17:47:40Z">Thu, 10/03/2019 - 13:47</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-04T12:00:00Z">Fri, 10/04/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>New Yorkers face the same problem as many Americans: employers do not provide a retirement plan at work. If we don’t address our inadequate retirement system, <a href="https://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/resource-library/research/downward-mobility-in-retirement" rel="nofollow">2 out of every 5 older American households will fall into poverty or near-poverty when they retire</a> at 62. Along with this human toll, massive downward mobility among the elderly will hurt our economy, cutting demand and jobs while increasing the need for more government and social spending.</p> <p>Due to federal inaction, <a href="https://cri.georgetown.edu/states/" rel="nofollow">43 states</a> (and the city of Seattle) have made various proposals to expand their residents’ access to retirement coverage. New York State is one of 11 that has passed reforms into law.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p data-page="1">New Yorkers face the same problem as many Americans: employers do not provide a retirement plan at work. If we don’t address our inadequate retirement system,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/resource-library/research/downward-mobility-in-retirement">2 out of every 5 older American households will fall into poverty or near-poverty when they retire</a>&nbsp;at 62. Along with this human toll, massive downward mobility among the elderly will hurt our economy, cutting demand and jobs while increasing the need for more government and social spending.</p> <p>Due to federal inaction,&nbsp;<a href="https://cri.georgetown.edu/states/">43 states</a>&nbsp;(and the city of Seattle) have made various proposals to expand their residents’ access to retirement coverage. New York State is one of 11 that has passed reforms into law.</p> <p>Some plans are better than others. New York State’s plan, while a good first step, doesn’t do enough to address this crisis. That's why we introduced legislation in the City Council to guarantee coverage to private-sector workers who today have none. According to the<a href="https://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/retirement-equity-lab">&nbsp;Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis</a>, this legislation would provide coverage to 2.8 million city residents.</p> <p>New York City’s retirement plan coverage rate - 35% - is the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/images/docs/research/retirement_security/New-disparities-report-FINAL.pdf">lowest recorded</a>&nbsp;since the Census Bureau began tracking coverage in 1980<a href="https://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/images/docs/research/retirement_security/New-disparities-report-FINAL.pdf">.</a>&nbsp;Barely over one in three working New York City residents have any retirement coverage other than Social Security. The<a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/Benefits.html">&nbsp;city’s coverage rate</a>&nbsp;is 5 percentage points lower than the national average and 7 points lower than the rest of New York State.</p> <p>However, averages hide persistent disparities based on race and income. The retirement gap is most stark for New Yorkers of color. In New York City, the coverage rate for black workers is&nbsp;<a href="https://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/images/docs/research/retirement_security/New-disparities-report-FINAL.pdf">33 percent, while for Asian and Hispanic workers it is 27 and 26 percent, respectively.</a>&nbsp;Coverage is lower for workers in the bottom half of the income distribution—those who need it most. Just 25 percent of them have a retirement plan.</p> <p>The benefit of tax-advantaged retirement accounts at work is that savings are automatically deducted from income. Without this, workers are left on their own to save. And it is not surprising - nor is it their fault - that they don’t. The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/12/most-americans-arent-saving-enough-to-retire-by-age-65.html">median total retirement balance for American workers</a>&nbsp;near retirement (ages 55 to 64) is just $18,000. The city’s lower coverage rate means New Yorkers have even less.</p> <p>New York State recently passed the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.newsday.com/business/private-retirement-savings-new-york-1.17828511"><i>Secure Choice</i>&nbsp;Savings Program</a>&nbsp;– the first step in addressing gaps in coverage. It models plans in&nbsp;<a href="https://amp.bnd.com/news/politics-government/article235062867.html">Illinois</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.oregonsaves.com/">Oregon</a>&nbsp;that offer state-facilitated individual retirement accounts (IRAs), known as auto-IRAs, to workers whose employers don’t offer a plan. These plans allow employees to save through automatic deductions. Oregon’s program is in its second year of operation and has enrolled&nbsp;<a href="https://www.napa-net.org/news-info/daily-news/closer-look-oregonsaves#.XW5agB7LSj8.twitter">over 100,000 workers</a>. Oregon hopes to provide coverage to half a million private-sector workers.&nbsp;<a href="https://amp.bnd.com/news/politics-government/article235062867.html">Illinois’ program</a>, open only since January of 2019, has enrolled more than 24,000 workers, helping them save more than $5 million.</p> <p>New York State’s plan left out the key feature that makes these programs a success: a mandate. The Oregon and California plans require employers to sign their employees up for the program. New York State’s auto-IRA plan is voluntary, essentially the system we already have, where employers decide whether to offer retirement plans. This doesn’t work.</p> <p>This detail makes all the difference. Without requiring employers to participate, we cannot guarantee our workers a way to save. New York City’s strong union tradition has delivered retirement benefits for many. For workers without an organized voice in the private sector, we must mandate employers to offer a retirement plan to extend benefits to future generations.</p> <p data-role="intersectionobserver">That’s why we&nbsp;<a href="https://benkallos.com/press-release/retirement-security-all-offer-savings-new-york-city-private-sector-workers-moves">introduced legislation</a>&nbsp;that will create a required program for workers in the city. Our plan requires employers with more than 5 employees to automatically deduct a percentage of their workers’ pay and forward it to city-facilitated, not-for-profit IRAs. Such accounts will be individually owned and professionally managed by an independent board. While employers are required to participate, employees maintain the right to change their contribution rates or opt-out of the program.</p> <p>What we need now is leadership. Luckily, this is where New York excels. By approving this plan in the City Council, we’ll build on our long progressive legacy of social policy through city- and state-level struggle and innovation.</p> <p><i>Kallos represents district 5 in the City Council. Miller represents the Council’s 27th district and is chair of the Committee on Civil and Labor.</i></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/jobs" hreflang="en">Jobs</a></div> </div> Fri, 04 Oct 2019 17:47:39 +0000 Abby Damsky 7289 at https://benkallos.com Upper East Side Patch Yearlong Project To Upgrade Carl Schurz Playground Breaks Ground by Brendan Krisel https://benkallos.com/press-clip/upper-east-side-patch-yearlong-project-upgrade-carl-schurz-playground-breaks-ground <span>Upper East Side Patch Yearlong Project To Upgrade Carl Schurz Playground Breaks Ground by Brendan Krisel</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Yearlong Project To Upgrade Carl Schurz Playground Breaks Ground</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/03/2019 - 3:03pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/upper-east-side-patch" hreflang="en">Upper East Side Patch</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/brendan-krisel" hreflang="en">Brendan Krisel</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/yearlong-project-upgrade-carl-schurz-playground-breaks-ground">https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/yearlong-project-upgrade-carl-sc…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-03T19:03:53Z">Thu, 10/03/2019 - 15:03</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-03T12:00:00Z">Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>For City Councilmember Ben Kallos, renovations to the playground are personal. The local lawmaker played in Carl Schurz Park while growing up in the neighborhood and now takes his daughter to the playground, he said Thursday.</p> <p>Visiting Nurse Service of New York  |  Featured Advertiser</p> <p>When Self-Care Seems Impossible</p> <p>Magazines, self-help journals, and websites counsel the importance of seeing to your needs so you can care for others. When you’re stretched to the limit, what are your options?</p> <p>"A lot of parents have brought concern about the condition of the equipment — at one point there was actually plywood up," Kallos said. "Thankfully that is now down but this park has been desperately in need of an upgrade."</p> <p>Kallos and the City Council allocated $2.5 million in funding for the project. Another major backer was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, whose office allocated $775,000.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A $3.3 million renovation that is expected to take at least one year to complete broke ground Thursday at Carl Schurz Park's playground.</p> <p>The project will result in upgraded play equipment, additional swings, a new spray shower, new game tables, plantings and benches and a set of ADA-accessible ramps connecting with Catbird Playground, city Parks Department officials said Thursday. It's an ambitious plan for a playground that hasn't seen considerable investment in years and is one of the "gems" of the Upper East Side, Manhattan Borough Commissioner for the Parks Department Bill Castro said Thursday.</p> <p>For City Councilmember Ben Kallos, renovations to the playground are personal. The local lawmaker played in Carl Schurz Park while growing up in the neighborhood and now takes his daughter to the playground, he said Thursday.</p> <p>Visiting Nurse Service of New York&nbsp;&nbsp;|&nbsp;&nbsp;Featured Advertiser</p> <p>When Self-Care Seems Impossible</p> <p>Magazines, self-help journals, and websites counsel the importance of seeing to your needs so you can care for others. When you’re stretched to the limit, what are your options?</p> <p>"A lot of parents have brought concern about the condition of the equipment — at one point there was actually plywood up," Kallos said. "Thankfully that is now down but this park has been desperately in need of an upgrade."</p> <p>Kallos and the City Council allocated $2.5 million in funding for the project. Another major backer was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, whose office allocated $775,000.</p> <p>Brewer said Thursday that she frequents Carl Schurz Park often for events at Gracie Mansion and always notices how many community members utilize the rare green space on the Upper East Side.</p> <p>"People love it, the community uses it... so to be renovating this is special," Brewer said Thursday.</p> <p>Parks officials said Thursday that the renovation project is expected to take one year to complete. The city originally planned to break ground in the summer, but Kallos convinced the Parks Department to delay the project so Upper East Side families could use the playground during the busy season.</p> <p>The smaller Catbird Playground at the north end of the playground will remain open during the renovation.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1494" hreflang="en">Parks</a></div> </div> Thu, 03 Oct 2019 19:03:52 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7286 at https://benkallos.com The Chief-Leader Seeing Need, Mayor and Council Out To Establish Private Retirement Plan by Crystal Lewis https://benkallos.com/press-clip/chief-leader-seeing-need-mayor-and-council-out-establish-private-retirement-plan-crystal <span>The Chief-Leader Seeing Need, Mayor and Council Out To Establish Private Retirement Plan by Crystal Lewis</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Seeing Need, Mayor and Council Out To Establish Private Retirement Plan</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:49pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/chief-leader" hreflang="en">The Chief-Leader</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/crystal-lewis" hreflang="en">Crystal Lewis</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/seeing-need-mayor-and-council-out-to-establish-private-retirement/article_b8eea9e4-dfd6-11e9-8034-4bb6f1e1c4e4.html">https://thechiefleader.com/news/news_of_the_week/seeing-need-mayor-and-council-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-03T16:49:58Z">Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:49</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-03T12:00:00Z">Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Retirement should be for everybody, not just for people who work in offices here in Manhattan, and not just for people lucky enough to have a pension,” Onza Lynch, a Bronx commercial carter, said at a Sept. 23 rally to push legislation that would establish a universal retirement savings plan for private-sector employees across the city.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio, City Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Ben Kallos, and advocate groups including the American Association of Retired Persons spoke of the importance of retirement security at the City Hall event.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Retirement should be for everybody, not just for people who work in offices here in Manhattan, and not just for people lucky enough to have a pension,” Onza Lynch, a Bronx commercial carter, said at a Sept. 23 rally to push legislation that would establish a universal retirement savings plan for private-sector employees across the city.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio, City Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Ben Kallos, and advocate groups including the American Association of Retired Persons spoke of the importance of retirement security at the City Hall event.</p> <p><strong>Fewer Private Pensions</strong></p> <p>Only 41 percent of working New Yorkers—more than 1.5 million employees—have access to a retirement plan through their employer, down from 49% a decade ago, according to a report from The New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. And 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, the de Blasio administration stated.</p> <p>“It used to be that many, many more people had a secure retirement,” the Mayor said. “Many more people were labor-union members. Many more people planned on and received the benefits they deserve. That’s been declining and declining in this country. We’re going [in] the wrong direction.”</p> <p>Studies have shown that people are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if their job offers a plan. The bill, introduced by Councilmen Kallos and Miller, would mandate that businesses with 10 or more employees that don’t offer retirement savings accounts participate in the plan, at no cost to the employer.</p> <p>Employees working 20 hours or more would be automatically enrolled, but would be allowed to opt-out. Contributions would be based on a default rate of 3 percent (which can be changed), and would be paid by employees exclusively. The city would also establish a board to oversee the program by the end of 2021.</p> <p><strong>Good for City Economy</strong></p> <p>Beth Finkel, state director at AARP’s New York office, noted that boosting income security for retirees would benefit the economy: New Yorkers who were 50 or older contributed $70 billion to the city. Mr. Miller noted that a universal retirement plan would especially help families of color, who have seen their finances plummet over the past few decades.</p> <p>Although only private-sector employees would be eligible, District Council 37 expressed support for the proposal.</p> <p>“Retirement is and should be a right and not a privilege. Social Security alone doesn’t cut it anymore,” said the union’s Assistant Associate Director Jahmila Edwards. “When we have fewer than half of all New Yorkers being able to save for retirement, we have what we call a retirement crisis.”</p> <p><strong>Minimal Cost to City</strong></p> <p>The program’s cost to the city would be between $1.5 million and $3 million for the first three years,&nbsp;the Mayor estimated, and would eventually become self-funded. A similar initiative in Oregon was self-funded after two years.</p> <p>Mr. Lynch mentioned that he would not be able to continue working his physically-demanding job into his senior years. “I know I can’t do this job forever, because my body won’t allow it. I don’t want to work until I die,” he said.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Thu, 03 Oct 2019 16:49:58 +0000 Abby Damsky 7285 at https://benkallos.com StreetsBlog Streetfilms: Yes, the Bike/Ped Situation on the Queensboro Bridge Is That Bad! by Gersh Kuntzman https://benkallos.com/press-clip/streetsblog-streetfilms-yes-bikeped-situation-queensboro-bridge-bad-gersh-kuntzman <span>StreetsBlog Streetfilms: Yes, the Bike/Ped Situation on the Queensboro Bridge Is That Bad! by Gersh Kuntzman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Streetfilms: Yes, the Bike/Ped Situation on the Queensboro Bridge Is That Bad!</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/02/2019 - 1:07pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/streetsblog" hreflang="en">StreetsBlog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/gersh-kuntzman" hreflang="en">Gersh Kuntzman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/10/02/streetfilms-yes-the-bikeped-situation-on-the-queensboro-bridge-is-that-bad/">https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/10/02/streetfilms-yes-the-bikeped-situation-on…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-02T17:07:49Z">Wed, 10/02/2019 - 13:07</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-10-02T12:00:00Z">Wed, 10/02/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">We covered<span>&nbsp;</span></span><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/09/26/manhattan-pol-dot-has-no-reason-to-not-give-queensboro-bridge-lane-to-pedestrians/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none; font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">last week’s renewed call</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>for pedestrian and bike safety fixes on the dangerous Queensboro Bridge, but you have to see Clarence Eckerson’s latest<span>&nbsp;</span></span><a href="http://www.streetfilms.org/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none; font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Streetfilms</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>video to really understand the situation.</span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">We covered<span>&nbsp;</span></span><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/09/26/manhattan-pol-dot-has-no-reason-to-not-give-queensboro-bridge-lane-to-pedestrians/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none; font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">last week’s renewed call</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>for pedestrian and bike safety fixes on the dangerous Queensboro Bridge, but you have to see Clarence Eckerson’s latest<span>&nbsp;</span></span><a href="http://www.streetfilms.org/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none; font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Streetfilms</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;"><span>&nbsp;</span>video to really understand the situation.</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Eckerson’s film comes as City Council members on both sides of the bridge — Ben Kallos on the East Side and Jimmy Van Bramer in Queens — have demanded that the Department of Transportation provide more space for cyclists and pedestrians by opening up the bridge’s southernmost lane for walkers and setting aside the bridge’s existing bike and pedestrian path for cyclists only.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The pols said last week that the city’s failure to do that is based solely on a fealty to car traffic — even though bikes and walkers sometimes outnumber drivers on the bridge.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“Clearly, having pedestrians and cyclists share the North Outer Roadway is&nbsp;creating unnecessary conflicts,” Kallos told Streetsblog, which has&nbsp;<a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/04/30/queens-pol-demands-more-space-for-cyclists-and-peds-on-queensboro-bridge/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">reported on</a><span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/07/30/dangers-mount-with-crashes-conflicts-on-queensboro-bridge/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">the dangers</a>&nbsp;— and on how&nbsp;<a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/10/12/people-biking-and-walking-on-the-qboro-bridge-outnumber-cars-on-its-south-outer-roadway/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">cyclists and pedestrians sometimes outnumber drivers on the bridge</a>. “They should open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians now. There is no reason to wait.&nbsp;Vision Zero dictates that we’re supposed to be making more space for pedestrians and cyclists at the expense of public space for cars.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The pols said last week that the city’s failure to do that is based solely on a fealty to car traffic — even though bikes and walkers sometimes outnumber drivers on the bridge.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“Clearly, having pedestrians and cyclists share the North Outer Roadway is&nbsp;creating unnecessary conflicts,” Kallos told Streetsblog, which has&nbsp;<a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/04/30/queens-pol-demands-more-space-for-cyclists-and-peds-on-queensboro-bridge/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">reported on</a><span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/07/30/dangers-mount-with-crashes-conflicts-on-queensboro-bridge/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">the dangers</a>&nbsp;— and on how&nbsp;<a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/10/12/people-biking-and-walking-on-the-qboro-bridge-outnumber-cars-on-its-south-outer-roadway/" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">cyclists and pedestrians sometimes outnumber drivers on the bridge</a>. “They should open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians now. There is no reason to wait.&nbsp;Vision Zero dictates that we’re supposed to be making more space for pedestrians and cyclists at the expense of public space for cars.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Kallos and Van Bramer rallied last Friday with activists and commuters at the Manhattan entrance to the&nbsp;South Outer Roadway of the bridge, whose bike commuting is up 19 percent since 2013 (chart left).</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><img alt="The DOT's own Cycling in the City report shows that cycling traffic is increasing on the Queensboro Bridge. Source: DOT" class="wp-image-434968 " height="447" sizes="(min-width: 80em) 416px,(min-width: 64em) and (max-width: 80em) 416px,(min-width: 48em) and (max-width: 64em) 416px,(min-width: 32em) and (max-width: 64em) 416px,(min-width: 32em) and (max-width: 48em) 416px,(max-width: 32em) 416px,(max-width: 48em) 416px,416px" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/nyc.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/growth-by-bridge.jpg?w=416&amp;crop=0%2C0px%2C100%2C581px 416w" style="box-sizing: inherit; height: auto; max-height: 100%; max-width: 100%; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;" width="320" /></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The DOT’s own Cycling in the City report shows that cycling traffic is increasing on the Queensboro Bridge. Source:<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/cycling-in-the-city.pdf" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">DOT</a></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The Department of Transportation claims that it can’t change anything until 2022, when it will complete<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/queensboro-bridge.shtml#construction" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">its reconstruction</a><span>&nbsp;</span>of the bridge’s upper roadway. Until then, it says, the South Outer Roadway must compensate for lost vehicular capacity on the span, which currently has<span>&nbsp;</span><em style="box-sizing: inherit;">five</em><span>&nbsp;</span>outbound lanes all day.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Kallos wasn’t buying what the DOT is selling.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“We’d like to see some proof,” he said. “This is an outgoing lane only, so during the morning rush hour, a pedestrian path would have no impact. And congestion pricing will add a toll to the 59th Street Bridge [starting in January, 2021], so they need to show data why one outbound lane would have such drastic implications that they can’t just do this now.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Van Bramer also doesn’t believe the DOT explanation — but went further to say that he no longer believes the mayor cares about his own Vision Zero initiative.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“There is no question in my mind that if there was a will to get it done, it would be done,” he said. “It’s a stall tactic. It’s nonsense. It’s a smokescreen.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Kallos and Van Bramer are the latest to call for more pedestrian space on the Queensboro Bridge. Transportation Alternatives has been<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://campaigns.transalt.org/petition/queensboro-bridge-dangerously-crowded-give-bikes-peds-south-outer-roadway-not-cars" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: rgb(0, 119, 238); text-decoration: none;">petitioning on the issue</a><span>&nbsp;</span>for more than a year, and Bike NY is also agitating.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">“The shared path on the north side is insufficient for the growing numbers of pedestrians and cyclists,” those groups said a statement. “Transitioning away from cars requires more space for sustainable transportation.”</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: &quot;PT Serif&quot;, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Zumhagen provided the following statement, which only confirmed the agency’s 2022 timeline:</p> <blockquote style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 1.875rem; clear: both; display: block; color: gray; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: 400;">We still consider the South Outer Roadway as essential during the reconstruction. However, as we have said in the past, we are evaluating different lane scenarios to understand the impacts and modifications that would be required to convert the SOR to a pedestrian path and use the North Outer Roadway as an exclusive bicycle facility. If found to be feasible, this conversion could be timed to coincide with the completion of the construction work.</p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Wed, 02 Oct 2019 17:07:49 +0000 Abby Damsky 7284 at https://benkallos.com The Villager No more waiting! Upper East Side lawmaker presses city to turn Queensboro Bridge outer roadway into a walkway by ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH https://benkallos.com/press-clip/villager-no-more-waiting-upper-east-side-lawmaker-presses-city-turn-queensboro-bridge <span>The Villager No more waiting! Upper East Side lawmaker presses city to turn Queensboro Bridge outer roadway into a walkway by ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">No more waiting! Upper East Side lawmaker presses city to turn Queensboro Bridge outer roadway into a walkway</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/01/2019 - 9:30am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/villager" hreflang="en">The Villager</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/alejandra-oconnell-domenech" hreflang="en">ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.thevillager.com/2019/09/no-more-waiting-upper-east-side-lawmaker-presses-city-to-turn-queensboro-bridge-outer-roadway-into-a-walkway/">https://www.thevillager.com/2019/09/no-more-waiting-upper-east-side-lawmaker-pr…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-30T13:30:40Z">Mon, 09/30/2019 - 09:30</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-30T12:00:00Z">Mon, 09/30/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH |</strong> Lawmakers from both sides of the East River want the city to make part of the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge a walkway solely for pedestrians.</p> <p>Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos along with Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and state Senator Michael Gianaris called on the Department of Transportation to not stall any longer and turn the Queensboro Bridge’s South (Queens-bound) Outer Roadway into a walkway.</p> <p>“I don’t think we need to wait, I think we need to get it done before congestion pricing,” said Kallos at a press conference held the South Outer Roadway’s entrance at 59th Street. He was joined by Van Bramer and Gianaris, along with a crowd of activists from Transportation Alternatives and Bike NY.</p> <p>Currently, people crossing the bridge by foot in both directions have to share a narrow pathway on the North Outer Roadway with cyclists crossing the bridge also traveling in both directions.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH |</strong>&nbsp;Lawmakers from both sides of the East River want the city to make part of the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge a walkway solely for pedestrians.</p> <p>Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos along with Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and state Senator Michael Gianaris called on the Department of Transportation to not stall any longer and turn the Queensboro Bridge’s South (Queens-bound) Outer Roadway into a walkway.</p> <p>“I don’t think we need to wait, I think we need to get it done before congestion pricing,” said Kallos at a press conference held the South Outer Roadway’s entrance at 59th Street. He was joined by Van Bramer and Gianaris, along with a crowd of activists from Transportation Alternatives and Bike NY.</p> <p>Currently, people crossing the bridge by foot in both directions have to share a narrow pathway on the North Outer Roadway with cyclists crossing the bridge also traveling in both directions.</p> <p>The DOT is currently studying the impacts of turning the South Outer Roadway in a pedestrian-only space, but the agency considers the roadway to be essential for vehicle diversions during the reconstruction of the bridge’s upper roadway.</p> <p>“If found to be feasible, this conversion could be timed to coincide with the completion of the construction work,” said a DOT spokesperson.</p> <p>But Kallos refused to believe that waiting was the only option for the DOT.</p> <p>“I want to see the data why they need to make it more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists for any longer,” said Kallos.</p> <p>Van Bramer also didn’t believe DOT’s excuse.</p> <p>“We know the problem, we know the solution, we just have to summon the courage to do it,” he said.</p> <p>According to DOT data, 5,400 bicyclists crossed the Queensboro Bridge per day in 2017, 35 percent more than five years earlier. Kallos added that with the implementation of Congestion pricing next year, that number of people crossing the bridge by foot or by bike was only going to increase.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> Tue, 01 Oct 2019 13:30:40 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7282 at https://benkallos.com StreetsBlog Council Members: DOT Has ‘No Reason’ to Not Give Queensboro Bridge Lane to Pedestrians by Gersh Kuntzman https://benkallos.com/press-clip/streetsblog-council-members-dot-has-no-reason-not-give-queensboro-bridge-lane <span>StreetsBlog Council Members: DOT Has ‘No Reason’ to Not Give Queensboro Bridge Lane to Pedestrians by Gersh Kuntzman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Council Members: DOT Has ‘No Reason’ to Not Give Queensboro Bridge Lane to Pedestrians</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/27/2019 - 3:03pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/streetsblog" hreflang="en">StreetsBlog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/gersh-kuntzman" hreflang="en">Gersh Kuntzman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/09/26/manhattan-pol-dot-has-no-reason-to-not-give-queensboro-bridge-lane-to-pedestrians/">https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/09/26/manhattan-pol-dot-has-no-reason-to-not-g…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-27T19:03:39Z">Fri, 09/27/2019 - 15:03</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-27T12:00:00Z">Fri, 09/27/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The city’s failure to give more space to the increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge is a betrayal of Vision Zero — and that failure seems based on a fealty to car traffic on a span where bikes and walkers sometimes outnumber drivers.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>East Side Council Member Ben Kallos and his Queens counterpart Jimmy Van Bramer blasted Department of Transportation officials for their continued claim that they cannot convert the south side of the bridge’s outermost lane, also known as the South Outer Roadway, into a pedestrian path so that walkers do not need to share the bridge’s narrow North Outer Roadway with cyclists, who are increasing by double-digit counts.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">The city’s failure to give more space to the increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge is a betrayal of Vision Zero — and that failure seems based on a fealty to car traffic on a span where bikes and walkers sometimes outnumber drivers.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">East Side Council Member Ben Kallos and his Queens counterpart Jimmy Van Bramer blasted Department of Transportation officials for their continued claim that they cannot convert the south side of the bridge’s outermost lane, also known as the South Outer Roadway, into a pedestrian path so that walkers do not need to share the bridge’s narrow North Outer Roadway with cyclists, who are increasing by double-digit counts.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“Clearly, having pedestrians and cyclists share the North Outer Roadway is creating unnecessary conflicts,” Kallos told Streetsblog, which has reported on the dangers — and on how cyclists and pedestrians sometimes outnumber drivers on the bridge. “They should open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians now. There is no reason to wait. Vision Zero dictates that we’re supposed to be making more space for pedestrians and cyclists at the expense of public space for cars.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">The DOT's own Cycling in the City report shows that cycling traffic is increasing on the Queensboro Bridge. Source: DOT</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">The DOT’s own Cycling in the City report shows that cycling traffic is increasing on the Queensboro Bridge. Source: DOT</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">On Friday, Kallos and Van Bramer will rally with activists and commuters at the Manhattan entrance to the South Outer Roadway (across the street from 334 E. 59th Street) to demand an end to the charade of car hegemony over vital public space — especially at a time when bike commuting over the bridge is up 19 percent since 2013, the city says.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">The Department of Transportation says it is studying the idea, but claims that it can’t change anything until 2022, when it will complete its reconstruction of the bridge’s upper roadway. Until then, it says, the South Outer Roadway must compensate for lost vehicular capacity on the span, which currently has five outbound lanes all day.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Kallos isn’t buying what the DOT is selling.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“We’d like to see some proof,” he said. “This is an outgoing lane only, so during the morning rush hour, a pedestrian path would have no impact. And congestion pricing will add a toll to the 59th Street Bridge [starting in January, 2021], so they need to show data why one outbound lane would have such drastic implications that they can’t just do this now.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Van Bramer also doesn’t believe the DOT explanation — but went further to say that he no longer believes the mayor cares about his own Vision Zero initiative.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“There is no question in my mind that if there was a will to get it done, it would be done,” he said. “It’s a stall tactic. It’s nonsense. It’s a smokescreen.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Van Bramer recounted a recent bike ride along the length of Queens Boulevard, which has a protected bike lane for about three-quarters of the stretch — a bike lane that disappears because the mayor has not committed to finishing his own project.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“Once we passed Yellowstone [Boulevard], where the protected bike lane ends, one of the people on the ride with me says, ‘Why do you think this isn’t done yet? Isn’t Vision Zero the mayor’s thing?’ And I just said, ‘No, I don’t think this is his thing.’ He doesn’t come at it from the same place as we do. Things get stalled or politics gets in the way of giving space and safety to cyclists and pedestrians.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Kallos and Van Bramer are the latest to call for more pedestrian space on the Queensboro Bridge. Transportation Alternatives has been petitioning on the issue for more than a year, and Bike NY is also agitating.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“The shared path on the north side is insufficient for the growing numbers of pedestrians and cyclists,” those groups said a statement. “Transitioning away from cars requires more space for sustainable transportation.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">After initial publication of this story Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Zumhagen sent over the following statement, which only confirmed the agency’s 2022 timeline:</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">We still consider the South Outer Roadway as essential during the reconstruction. However, as we have said in the past, we are evaluating different lane scenarios to understand the impacts and modifications that would be required to convert the SOR to a pedestrian path and use the North Outer Roadway as an exclusive bicycle facility. If found to be feasible, this conversion could be timed to coincide with the completion of the construction work.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/public-safety" hreflang="en">Public Safety</a></div> </div> Fri, 27 Sep 2019 19:03:38 +0000 Abby Damsky 7279 at https://benkallos.com Government Technology NYC Council Proposal Would Outfit School Buses With Cameras by SHANT SHAHRIGIAN https://benkallos.com/press-clip/government-technology-nyc-council-proposal-would-outfit-school-buses-cameras-shant <span>Government Technology NYC Council Proposal Would Outfit School Buses With Cameras by SHANT SHAHRIGIAN</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">NYC Council Proposal Would Outfit School Buses With Cameras</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/27/2019 - 2:54pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/government-technology" hreflang="en">Government Technology</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/shant-shahrigian" hreflang="en">SHANT SHAHRIGIAN</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.govtech.com/public-safety/NYC-Council-Proposal-Would-Outfit-School-Buses-With-Cameras.html">https://www.govtech.com/public-safety/NYC-Council-Proposal-Would-Outfit-School-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-25T18:54:48Z">Wed, 09/25/2019 - 14:54</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-27T12:00:00Z">Fri, 09/27/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>If a New York City Council bill being proposed Wednesday goes through, more motorists will be hearing that word when they zoom past school buses.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) wants to require almost every school bus in the city to carry a camera on the stop signs that swing out when kids are picked up and dropped off. There are about 10,000 school buses in the city.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">If a New York City Council bill being proposed Wednesday goes through, more motorists will be hearing that word when they zoom past school buses.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) wants to require almost every school bus in the city to carry a camera on the stop signs that swing out when kids are picked up and dropped off. There are about 10,000 school buses in the city.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">&nbsp;“We have all seen drivers disobey the law and go around a school bus or simply keep driving,” Kallos said in a statement. “Before we have a tragedy, it’s time we use 21st-century technology to change driver behavior as soon as possible."</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Last month, Gov. Cuomo signed into law a bill letting school districts and localities deploy cameras on buses.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Prior to that, a police officer had to catch a driver in the act to ticket him or her for illegally passing a school bus.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">About 50,000 drivers statewide illegally pass a stopped school bus everyday, according to a study cited by Cuomo’s office.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“By not letting this dangerous behavior go unpunished we will be letting drivers know that this is not OK and that the consequences will be in the mail,” Kallos said.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">His bill would impose fines of $250 to $275 on first-time offenders and $300 for second- and third- offenders. Part of the funds raised by the fees would go to the city’s Department of Education.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Fri, 27 Sep 2019 18:54:47 +0000 Abby Damsky 7278 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Every school bus in city would get cameras under proposed NYC Council bill by Shant Shahrigan https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-every-school-bus-city-would-get-cameras-under-proposed-nyc-council <span>New York Daily News Every school bus in city would get cameras under proposed NYC Council bill by Shant Shahrigan</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Every school bus in city would get cameras under proposed NYC Council bill</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/25/2019 - 11:09am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/shant-shahrigan" hreflang="en">Shant Shahrigan</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-ben-kallos-school-bus-cameras-20190925-tot2qe6h3zebjcz47rhl4sgnsu-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-ben-kallos-school-bus-cameras-2019…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-25T15:09:07Z">Wed, 09/25/2019 - 11:09</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-25T12:00:00Z">Wed, 09/25/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>About 50,000 drivers statewide illegally pass a stopped school bus everyday, according to a study cited by Cuomo’s office.</p> <p>“By not letting this dangerous behavior go unpunished we will be letting drivers know that this is not OK and that the consequences will be in the mail,” Kallos said.</p> <p>His bill would impose fines of $250 to $275 on first-time offenders and $300 for second- and third- offenders. Part of the funds raised by the fees would go to the city’s Department of Education.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="Gov. Cuomo signed into law a bill letting school districts and localities deploy cameras on buses." src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/BzQLdWDBT6vPsoocdZhL7OtMLpU=/800x533/top/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/W25Z3YLNWNE7DGYEW6QMBORG2Q.JPG" /></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo signed into law a bill letting school districts and localities deploy cameras on buses. (CHUYN/HANDOUT)</p> <p>Gotcha!</p> <p>If a City Council bill being proposed Wednesday goes through, more motorists will be hearing that word when they zoom past school buses.</p> <p>Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) wants to require almost every school bus in the city to carry a camera on the stop signs that swing out when kids are picked up and dropped off. There are about 10,000 school buses in the city.</p> <p>“We have all seen drivers disobey the law and go around a school bus or simply keep driving,” Kallos said in a statement. “Before we have a tragedy, it’s time we use 21st-century technology to change driver behavior as soon as possible."</p> <p>Last month, Gov. Cuomo&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-school-bus-stop-arm-cameras-tickets-reckless-drivers-20190806-5zbydkkmbvd2rj4r7bjeshomxe-story.html#nt=instory-link">signed into law</a>&nbsp;a bill letting school districts and localities deploy cameras on buses.</p> <p>Prior to that, a police officer had to catch a driver in the act to ticket him or her for illegally passing a school bus.</p> <p>About 50,000 drivers statewide illegally pass a stopped school bus everyday, according to a study cited by Cuomo’s office.</p> <p>“By not letting this dangerous behavior go unpunished we will be letting drivers know that this is not OK and that the consequences will be in the mail,” Kallos said.</p> <p>His bill would impose fines of $250 to $275 on first-time offenders and $300 for second- and third- offenders. Part of the funds raised by the fees would go to the city’s Department of Education.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> Wed, 25 Sep 2019 15:09:07 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7267 at https://benkallos.com Politico De Blasio drives campaign themes, even after campaign is over by By JOE ANUTA https://benkallos.com/press-clip/politico-de-blasio-drives-campaign-themes-even-after-campaign-over-joe-anuta <span>Politico De Blasio drives campaign themes, even after campaign is over by By JOE ANUTA</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">De Blasio drives campaign themes, even after campaign is over</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/24/2019 - 11:54am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/politico" hreflang="en">Politico</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/joe-anuta" hreflang="en">Joe Anuta</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2019/09/23/de-blasio-drives-campaign-themes-even-after-campaign-is-over-1206724?nname=new-york-playbook&amp;nid=0000014f-1646-d88f-a1cf-5f46b74f0000&amp;nrid=00000153-4276-d64e-a9fb-4efe78910000&amp;nlid=630317">https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2019/09/23/de-blasio-d…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-23T15:54:39Z">Mon, 09/23/2019 - 11:54</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Mayor Bill de Blasio officially dropped his bid for the White House last week, but on Monday he rallied for legislation that could have been plucked from his campaign and discussed plans to continue crisscrossing the country to promote progressive causes.</p> <p>The bill would create a system that automatically enrolls workers at companies with 10 or more employees into individual retirement accounts. A mayoral board would oversee the program and hire a private financial management firm to handle the pre-tax money withheld from workers' paychecks. Neither employers nor the city would have to chip into the fund, and firms that already offer a retirement program would be exempt. Employees who are put into the program can choose to opt out or change their contribution rate, which would automatically start at 3 percent.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Mayor Bill de Blasio officially dropped his bid for the White House last week, but on Monday he rallied for legislation that could have been plucked from his campaign and discussed plans to continue crisscrossing the country to promote progressive causes.</p> <p>The bill would create a system that automatically enrolls workers at companies with 10 or more employees into individual retirement accounts. A mayoral board would oversee the program and hire a private financial management firm to handle the pre-tax money withheld from workers' paychecks. Neither employers nor the city would have to chip into the fund, and firms that already offer a retirement program would be exempt. Employees who are put into the program can choose to opt out or change their contribution rate, which would automatically start at 3 percent.</p> <p>“We have people all over this city who … are retired and they don’t know if they’re going to be able to make it, or they are working and they don’t know if they’ll ever be able to retire,” de Blasio said at Monday’s rally. “This is not what we signed up for, everyone. This is not the American dream.”</p> <p>The bill is one of two long-stalled legislative concepts that the mayor pulled from political limbo for inclusion in his January State of the City speech, which in turn provided talking points for his presidential campaign. A bill guaranteeing 10 days of paid vacation, for example, gathered dust in the Council for half a decade before being embraced by de Blasio this year. The mayor repeatedly promised on the stump that the legislation would pass before the end of the year.</p> <p>Retirement security was first proposed in 2015. While de Blasio appeared at a rally in support of the plan in 2016, the concept ran into uncertainty when the Trump administration later rolled back Obama-era guidance about creating and operating these types of initiatives.</p> <p>Now, both are at the top of de Blasio’s agenda, despite significant legislative headwinds.</p> <p>Neither policy has broad backing in the Council. Speaker Corey Johnson, who is eyeing a mayoral run in 2021, said he supports both concepts but is not on board with the way the bills are written.</p> <p>“Far too many people in this city are unprepared for retirement," said Council spokesperson Breeana Mulligan in a statement Monday. "He will monitor this bill as it goes through the legislative process.”</p> <p>The measures have also failed to attract a significant number of cosponsors, despite some lobbying efforts by the mayor's office. De Blasio has been publicly pressuring Johnson on paid personal leave, which he promised on the campaign trail would pass before the end of the year. And Monday’s rally indicates he will now likely be cranking up the heat on retirement security as well.</p> <p>The Trump administration raised an additional hurdle this month when it filed a lawsuit looking to undo California’s system, which also automatically enrolls workers into an IRA. The outcome of that case could affect any program the city might try to launch, though Council Member Ben Kallos, a sponsor of the legislation, said the bill language is being crafted to avoid legal pitfalls.</p> <p>While de Blasio's campaign is finished, he plans to keep operating a political action committee that has attracted scrutiny from the Federal Election Commission. On Monday, he said he'll use it to continue pushing many of the policies that he touted on the campaign trail, such as new taxes to offset automation and legislative efforts aimed at helping blue-collar and low-wage workers.</p> <p>“I will keep fighting here in New York City to make the lives of New Yorkers better, and I will keep fighting on the national level for the changes that we need for New York City and for our country,” de Blasio said.</p> <p>And while the mayor's national ambitions have attracted criticism and hurt his poll numbers at home, Kallos has maintained that de Blasio's desire for a national platform can be a useful tool for helping push legislation through the Council.</p> <p>“With the mayor on the campaign trail, I think there is an opportunity to get a lot of these big ideas like paid personal time and pensions for all done," Kallos told POLITICO earlier this month. "It puts New York City at the forefront as a national leader, and it only bolsters the mayor's credentials as he runs."</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin:0px 344.859px 1em 0px; text-align:start; -webkit-text-stroke-width:0px">&nbsp;</p> <div class="story-interrupt format-s pos-alpha predetermined fixed-story-third-paragraph" style="margin-bottom:1em; width:313.5px; margin-right:31.3438px; text-align:start; -webkit-text-stroke-width:0px"> <div aria-label="Advertisement" class="interrupt-item ad is-loaded"> <div aria-hidden="true" class="ad-slot js-lazy-loadflex vertical " data-google-query-id="CIKEy-Xq6eQCFRRADAodf68KBQ" id="pol-05" style="text-align:center"> <div id="google_ads_iframe_/6326/capitalnewyork/city-hall_3__container__" style="border:0pt none; width:300px">&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 15:54:38 +0000 Abby Damsky 7266 at https://benkallos.com ABC7 New York City unveils new plan to help workers save for retirement by Dave Evans https://benkallos.com/press-clip/abc7-new-york-city-unveils-new-plan-help-workers-save-retirement-dave-evans <span>ABC7 New York City unveils new plan to help workers save for retirement by Dave Evans</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">New York City unveils new plan to help workers save for retirement</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/24/2019 - 9:52am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/abc7" hreflang="en">ABC7</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/dave-evans" hreflang="en">Dave Evans</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://abc7ny.com/finance/nyc-unveils-new-plan-to-help-workers-save-for-retirement/5561888/">https://abc7ny.com/finance/nyc-unveils-new-plan-to-help-workers-save-for-retire…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T13:52:34Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 09:52</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-23T12:00:00Z">Mon, 09/23/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled a new retirement plan for people who work for private companies.</p> <p>The mayor rallied at City Hall Monday for a retirement savings plan that President Trump and Republicans have tried to stop.</p> <p>In New York City, more than 1 million people have no retirement plan other than Social Security. Most who do have a plan have only saved about $12,000.</p> <p>So many are like Onza Lynch, a commercial carter who hauls tons of cardboard every day.</p> <p>"I've worked every day since I was a teenager, now I'm 49 years old and I'm speaking to you today as someone who wishes they could've started saving for a retirement plan 30 years ago," said Lynch.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled a new retirement plan for people who work for private companies.</p> <p>The mayor rallied at City Hall Monday for a retirement savings plan that President Trump and Republicans have tried to stop.</p> <p>In New York City, more than 1 million people have no retirement plan other than Social Security. Most who do have a plan have only saved about $12,000.</p> <p>So many are like Onza Lynch, a commercial carter who hauls tons of cardboard every day.</p> <p>"I've worked every day since I was a teenager, now I'm 49 years old and I'm speaking to you today as someone who wishes they could've started saving for a retirement plan 30 years ago," said Lynch.</p> <p>The city's plan would cost companies nothing, but they would be forced to participate.</p> <p>3 percent would be deducted from every worker's paycheck. Workers can opt out if they want.</p> <p>The initial $3 million cost will be paid by the city.</p> <p>"We have people all over this city who are living that fear, living that anxiety; they're retired and they don't know if they'll make it or they're working and they don't know if they'll ever be able to retire," said the mayor. "This is not what we signed up for. This is not the American dream!"</p> <p>So far states including California and Oregon have retirement plans.</p> <p>New York would become the first city to offer a savings plan for those with none.</p> <p>"I know I can't do this job forever because my body won't allow it and I worry who is going to take care of me?," said Lynch. "I don't want to work until I die. And I don't want to be a burden for my kids. And I want to be able to take care of myself."</p> <p>The mayor and City Council hope this bill will pass by the end of the year. So next year all private companies in New York City with 10 or more employees would have to either offer their own retirement plan or use the city's.<br />  </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:52:34 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7265 at https://benkallos.com WCBS Radio Retirement Plan Under New Bill by Al Jones https://benkallos.com/press-clip/wcbs-radio-retirement-plan-under-new-bill-al-jones <span>WCBS Radio Retirement Plan Under New Bill by Al Jones</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Retirement Plan Under New Bill</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/24/2019 - 9:50am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/wcbs-radio" hreflang="en">WCBS Radio</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/al-jones" hreflang="en">Al Jones</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/bill-would-create-retirement-savings-plan-millions-ny">https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/bill-would-create-retirement-savings-plan-mi…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T13:50:24Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 09:50</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Nearly 2 million New Yorkers would be automatically enrolled in a retirement savings plan under a new proposal before the City Council.</p> <p>As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports, about 1.5 million private sector employees do not have access to a retirement savings program through their workplace.</p> <p>The Universal Retirement Security bill, which has the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio would change that.</p> <p>“Over a million New Yorkers work their whole lives and have nothing to show for it,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “Rather than work until the day they die, Universal Retirement Security will allow more New Yorkers to breathe a sigh of relief later in life and truly enjoy the years they’ve earned.”</p> <p>Co-sponsor of the legislation, Councilman Ben Kallos, explained that companies would not contribute to the Universal Retirement Savings Program and stressed that it would cost employers nothing.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Nearly 2 million New Yorkers would be automatically enrolled in a retirement savings plan under a new proposal before the City Council.</p> <p>As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports, about 1.5 million private sector employees do not have access to a retirement savings program through their workplace.</p> <p>The Universal Retirement Security bill, which has the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio would change that.</p> <p>“Over a million New Yorkers work their whole lives and have nothing to show for it,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “Rather than work until the day they die, Universal Retirement Security will allow more New Yorkers to breathe a sigh of relief later in life and truly enjoy the years they’ve earned.”</p> <p>Co-sponsor of the legislation, Councilman Ben Kallos, explained that companies would not contribute to the Universal Retirement Savings Program and stressed that it would cost employers nothing.</p> <p>“Auto-enrollment of the employees would be mandatory through payroll reduction through employers with ten or more employees who have not offered a retirement savings plan for the past two years,” the councilman said. “Employees over the 21 years of age, who have worked more than 20 hours a week, would be auto-enrolled with a default contribution rate of three percent.”</p> <p>Employees would be able to transfer the savings account from job to job and, consistent with ERISA eligibility, part-time workers who work at least 20 hours per week would also be covered.</p> <p>Kallos notes that employees would be able to opt out if they didn't want the three percent deducted from their paychecks.</p> <p>The bill has also gained the support of local congressional leaders.</p> <p>“The American people deserve peace of mind and to know their hard earned benefits will be available when they need them. Sadly, too many New Yorkers suffer from retirement insecurity. I’m thankful that the City has introduced a plan to curb this problem and help more New Yorkers retire with dignity,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.</p> <p>Businesses that have already have a retirement program would not be able to drop their current plan to enroll in the one created by New York City.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:50:24 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7264 at https://benkallos.com Gotham Gazette After Rally with De Blasio, City Council Hears Bills on Private Sector Retirement Security by Samar Khurshid https://benkallos.com/press-clip/gotham-gazette-after-rally-de-blasio-city-council-hears-bills-private-sector-retirement <span>Gotham Gazette After Rally with De Blasio, City Council Hears Bills on Private Sector Retirement Security by Samar Khurshid</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">After Rally with De Blasio, City Council Hears Bills on Private Sector Retirement Security</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/24/2019 - 9:48am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/gotham-gazette" hreflang="en">Gotham Gazette</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/samar-khurshid" hreflang="en">Samar Khurshid</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8809-de-blasio-city-council-hearing-bills-on-private-sector-retirement-security">https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8809-de-blasio-city-council-hearing-bills-on…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T13:48:31Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 09:48</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Just days after he ended his presidential campaign that was focused on issues affecting working people, Mayor Bill de Blasio rallied with AARP volunteers and City Council Members at City Hall on Monday to push for a proposal that could help millions of New York workers save for their futures.</p> <p>The Retirement Security for All proposal, which de Blasio first raised three years ago and then again in his State of the City speech this year, would establish a retirement savings program for private-sector employees whose employers do not currently provide those options, and a city government board to oversee its implementation.</p> <p>There are two bills in the&nbsp;<a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=718209&amp;GUID=FDBB3D88-8CBD-425B-8BC8-3F72745C3636&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=">legislative package</a>&nbsp;that would create the system and the board and sponsored by Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Ben Kallos, who led a hearing on the proposal shortly after the Monday morning rally.</p> <p>“You should not have to work until you die,” de Blasio said at the rally. “You should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You should be able to have some time in your life when you retire with dignity.”</p> <p>The mayor said that 40% of New Yorkers aged 50-64 have less than $10,000 saved for when they retire.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There are two bills in the <a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=718209&amp;GUID=FDBB3D88-8CBD-425B-8BC8-3F72745C3636&amp;Options=info&amp;Search=" rel="nofollow">legislative package</a> that would create the system and the board and sponsored by Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Ben Kallos, who led a hearing on the proposal shortly after the Monday morning rally.</p> <p>“You should not have to work until you die,” de Blasio said at the rally. “You should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You should be able to have some time in your life when you retire with dignity.”</p> <p>The mayor said that 40% of New Yorkers aged 50-64 have less than $10,000 saved for when they retire.</p> <p>At the hearing of the Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor, chaired by Miller, there was broad support for the legislation as well as opposition from some who raised concerns about the administrative burdens the program could place on employers and small businesses.</p> <p>Kallos’ bill would mandate that businesses with ten or more employees automatically enroll their workers in individual retirement accounts, while giving them the option to opt out. The retirement plans would be funded only through employee payroll deductions, at a default rate of 3% of income, though employees would be allowed to choose a higher or lower rate.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:48:31 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7263 at https://benkallos.com Crain's New York De Blasio makes push for city-run universal retirement program by Will Bredderman https://benkallos.com/press-clip/crains-new-york-de-blasio-makes-push-city-run-universal-retirement-program-will <span>Crain&#039;s New York De Blasio makes push for city-run universal retirement program by Will Bredderman</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">De Blasio makes push for city-run universal retirement program</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/24/2019 - 9:46am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/crains-new-york" hreflang="en">Crain&#039;s New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/will-bredderman" hreflang="en">Will Bredderman</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/politics/de-blasio-makes-push-city-run-universal-retirement-program">https://www.crainsnewyork.com/politics/de-blasio-makes-push-city-run-universal-…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-23T13:46:18Z">Mon, 09/23/2019 - 09:46</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The bill, sponsored by Queens Councilman I. Daneek Miller and Manhattan Councilman Benjamin Kallos,&nbsp;would apply to any private sector employer of 10 employees or more.&nbsp;Kallos promised at the event that it would cost businesses nothing, though they would be responsible for making the deductions from their payroll and giving the set-aside funds to the city.&nbsp;</p> <p>The legislation would automatically dock&nbsp;3% of an employee's income, although the individual could&nbsp;choose to subsequently adjust that figure or&nbsp;opt out of the program entirely.&nbsp;De Blasio estimated that the new retirement system would have a "small initial start-up cost" of $1.5 million to $3 million annually for the first three years, after which it would sustain itself off investment earnings.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Mayor Bill de Blasio might have given up his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/politics/winners-and-losers-de-blasios-failed-presidential-bid">White House ambitions</a>, but he's not backing down from his feud with President Donald Trump.</p> <p>De Blasio rallied at City Hall with the AARP and other advocates for a bill that would establish&nbsp;a city-managed individual retirement account and automatically&nbsp;enroll private sector workers who do not have access to a 401(k) or pension program through their employer. The renewed push for the "universal retirement" initiative,&nbsp;which follows a similar effort&nbsp;the mayor made five years ago, comes in spite of Trump and Congress's repeal of an Obama-era rule which explicitly permitted such systems—and which already exist in Oregon, California, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland.</p> <p>"The Obama administration Labor Department was working with us," de Blasio said at the gathering in the rotunda. "And then the election changed everything, and we had to reset the strategy, which we have done."</p> <p>The administration believes that existing federal law allows such a program, even after the revocation of the&nbsp;Department of Labor's administrative order.</p> <p>"We believe we're on very strong legal ground," said John Adler, director of the mayor's office of pension and retirement affairs.</p> <p>The bill, sponsored by Queens Councilman I. Daneek Miller and Manhattan Councilman Benjamin Kallos,&nbsp;would apply to any private sector employer of 10 employees or more.&nbsp;Kallos promised at the event that it would cost businesses nothing, though they would be responsible for making the deductions from their payroll and giving the set-aside funds to the city.&nbsp;</p> <p>The legislation would automatically dock&nbsp;3% of an employee's income, although the individual could&nbsp;choose to subsequently adjust that figure or&nbsp;opt out of the program entirely.&nbsp;De Blasio estimated that the new retirement system would have a "small initial start-up cost" of $1.5 million to $3 million annually for the first three years, after which it would sustain itself off investment earnings.</p> <p>Although the proposal received a hearing on Monday, its path to realization remains unclear: only six of the council's 51 members have signed on to the measure thus far.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:46:18 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7262 at https://benkallos.com New York Daily News Mayor de Blasio pushes automatic retirement accounts for NYC workers by Shant Shahrigan https://benkallos.com/press-clip/new-york-daily-news-mayor-de-blasio-pushes-automatic-retirement-accounts-nyc-workers <span>New York Daily News Mayor de Blasio pushes automatic retirement accounts for NYC workers by Shant Shahrigan</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Mayor de Blasio pushes automatic retirement accounts for NYC workers</div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/24/2019 - 9:41am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/new-york-daily-news" hreflang="en">New York Daily News</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/shant-shahrigan" hreflang="en">Shant Shahrigan</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-de-blasio-retirement-accounts-20190923-4p3zyghvbvf2lac3qzyjvu4dcu-story.html">https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-de-blasio-retirement-accounts-2019…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-23T13:41:29Z">Mon, 09/23/2019 - 09:41</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-24T12:00:00Z">Tue, 09/24/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Because of the lack of coverage, we are going to face a crisis in the next 10 years,” New School Professor Teresa Ghilarducci, who co-authored the study, told the Daily News.</p> <p>She applauded the legislation from Councilmen Daneek Miller (D-Brooklyn) and Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), saying, “It makes a huge difference” for both young and old workers.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="Mayor Bill de Blasio touts legislation mandating retirement accounts for workers in New York City in the City Hall Rotunda on Monday." src="https://www.nydailynews.com/resizer/dij-2lKnfrzdHGgftCgnnixz6xY=/800x600/top/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/EZRFCZTC7VBOJPQJTLYWCBIOVE.jpg" /></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio touts legislation mandating retirement accounts for workers in New York City in the City Hall Rotunda on Monday. (Shant Shahrigian/New York Daily News)</p> <p>More than 2 million New Yorkers would be automatically enrolled in retirement savings plans under a bill touted by Mayor de Blasio on Monday.</p> <p>“You should not have to work until you die. You should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor,” he said in the City Hall Rotunda. “You should be able to have some time in your life where you retire in dignity.”</p> <p>Under the plan, workers at every business in the city with 10 or more employees would be automatically enrolled in individual retirement plans, or IRAs, with a contribution rate of 3% of their salaries per paycheck.</p> <p>The plan would apply to every worker above age 21, and businesses with fewer than 10 employees could sign up, too. The city is proposing Roth IRAs in which withdrawals are tax-free after retirement.</p> <p>The mayor would appoint a panel to administer the accounts, while day-to-day operations will “likely” be run by a private third-party company, according to John Adler, director of the Mayor’s Office of Pensions &amp; Investments.</p> <p>Just over a third of of the city’s full-time workers, or 3,102,485 people, had retirement plans in 2017, according to a 2018 study by the New School for Social Research. And the rate of coverage is actually declining — from 36% in 2016 to 35% in 2017 in the city; and from 47% to 42% statewide.</p> <p>“Because of the lack of coverage, we are going to face a crisis in the next 10 years,” New School Professor Teresa Ghilarducci, who co-authored the study, told the Daily News.</p> <p>She applauded the legislation from Councilmen Daneek Miller (D-Brooklyn) and Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), saying, “It makes a huge difference” for both young and old workers.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-20190923-ldpuc4w4tzfhxh2tv27oil6fka-story.html#nt=interstitial-auto">[More Politics] No more schleppin’: de Blasio promises to travel less, work more »</a></strong></p> <p>Compound interest will enable young earners to save thousands in the long haul, she said, while older workers will have a cushion whenever the next recession hits.</p> <p>The Council held a hearing on the legislation on Monday, with reps from AARP and the DC37 union of municipal employees attending.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:41:28 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7261 at https://benkallos.com Crain's New York Make Retirement Savings Plans Accessible to All New Yorkers by Ben Kallos, I. Daneek Miller, Beth Finkle https://benkallos.com/press-clip/crains-new-york-make-retirement-savings-plans-accessible-all-new-yorkers-ben-kallos-i <span>Crain&#039;s New York Make Retirement Savings Plans Accessible to All New Yorkers by Ben Kallos, I. Daneek Miller, Beth Finkle</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Make Retirement Savings Plans Accessible to All New Yorkers </div> <span><span lang="" about="/users/josh-jamieson" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Josh Jamieson</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/23/2019 - 1:02pm</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/crains-new-york" hreflang="en">Crain&#039;s New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/press-clip-author/ben-kallos" hreflang="en">Ben Kallos</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/i-daneek-miller" hreflang="en">I. Daneek Miller</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/beth-finkle" hreflang="en">Beth Finkle</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/op-ed/make-retirement-savings-plans-accessible-all-new-yorkers">https://www.crainsnewyork.com/op-ed/make-retirement-savings-plans-accessible-al…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-23T17:02:49Z">Mon, 09/23/2019 - 13:02</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-23T12:00:00Z">Mon, 09/23/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At 73 years old, Kitty Ruderman enjoys&nbsp;<a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/asked-answered/kindur-ceo-helping-boomers-navigate-retirement">being retired</a>. She volunteers with a number of nonprofits, including AARP, advocating on behalf of folks like herself. She’s grateful to have no major health issues draining her energy or her bank account.&nbsp;But with her rent higher than her Social Security income, she’s worried. If her&nbsp;<a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/economy/big-apple-living-taking-bigger-bite-out-paychecks-stringer">cost of living</a>&nbsp;doesn’t go up – if she doesn’t get sick, if her rent doesn’t increase, if she has no new expenses – she estimates that she can maintain her current lifestyle for another 10 years. After that, she doesn’t know.</p> <p>Middle- and low-income New Yorkers&nbsp;<a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcomptroller.nyc.gov%2Freports%2Faffordability-index%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723859355&amp;sdata=bjiY6R%2BD28P4GKxt1dTmcMn89al9UX1h4p7vVPZKs0k%3D&amp;reserved=0">increasingly struggle</a>&nbsp;to pay the bills&nbsp;and even seniors like Kitty, who worked for decades saving for retirement, are among those hit hardest by the City’s affordability crisis.</p> <p>The most recent&nbsp;<a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcomptroller.nyc.gov%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fdocuments%2FC__WWW_NYC-site_rsnyc_pdf_NYC_RetReadiness_v18_ForWebOpt.pdf&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723869370&amp;sdata=cwL4Z6mP8k9MGPA6lwnI%2BFQFpqSuv94dHlFzoyL%2FZ8o%3D&amp;reserved=0">data</a>&nbsp;show that more than one third of New Yorkers between the ages of&nbsp;50&nbsp;and&nbsp;64&nbsp;have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Most of these folks are disproportionately&nbsp;<a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Faarp-states.brightspotcdn.com%2F99%2F73%2Fda48247723efcc428025125d3ddb%2Faarp-disparitiespapersummary-booklet-final.pdf&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723869370&amp;sdata=%2FVDYsnM%2FoqULr7rIFF%2BYuRB9tBA%2FMm5zpoO%2FEZk219s%3D&amp;reserved=0">people of color</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;White 50-plus New Yorkers’&nbsp;<a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/health-care/retirement-plan-payout-boosted-mount-sinai-ceos-pay-above-12-million-2017">retirement incomes</a>&nbsp;are almost double that of black, Asian and Latino New Yorkers, and the majority of 50-plus New Yorkers of color are likely to retire with incomes near the poverty threshold.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At 73 years old, Kitty Ruderman enjoys <a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/asked-answered/kindur-ceo-helping-boomers-navigate-retirement" rel="nofollow">being retired</a>. She volunteers with a number of nonprofits, including AARP, advocating on behalf of folks like herself. She’s grateful to have no major health issues draining her energy or her bank account. But with her rent higher than her Social Security income, she’s worried. If her <a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/economy/big-apple-living-taking-bigger-bite-out-paychecks-stringer" rel="nofollow">cost of living</a> doesn’t go up – if she doesn’t get sick, if her rent doesn’t increase, if she has no new expenses – she estimates that she can maintain her current lifestyle for another 10 years. After that, she doesn’t know.</p> <p>Middle- and low-income New Yorkers <a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcomptroller.nyc.gov%2Freports%2Faffordability-index%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723859355&amp;sdata=bjiY6R%2BD28P4GKxt1dTmcMn89al9UX1h4p7vVPZKs0k%3D&amp;reserved=0" rel="nofollow">increasingly struggle</a> to pay the bills and even seniors like Kitty, who worked for decades saving for retirement, are among those hit hardest by the City’s affordability crisis.</p> <p>The most recent <a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcomptroller.nyc.gov%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fdocuments%2FC__WWW_NYC-site_rsnyc_pdf_NYC_RetReadiness_v18_ForWebOpt.pdf&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723869370&amp;sdata=cwL4Z6mP8k9MGPA6lwnI%2BFQFpqSuv94dHlFzoyL%2FZ8o%3D&amp;reserved=0" rel="nofollow">data</a> show that more than one third of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Most of these folks are disproportionately <a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Faarp-states.brightspotcdn.com%2F99%2F73%2Fda48247723efcc428025125d3ddb%2Faarp-disparitiespapersummary-booklet-final.pdf&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723869370&amp;sdata=%2FVDYsnM%2FoqULr7rIFF%2BYuRB9tBA%2FMm5zpoO%2FEZk219s%3D&amp;reserved=0" rel="nofollow">people of color</a>.  White 50-plus New Yorkers’ <a href="https://www.crainsnewyork.com/health-care/retirement-plan-payout-boosted-mount-sinai-ceos-pay-above-12-million-2017" rel="nofollow">retirement incomes</a> are almost double that of black, Asian and Latino New Yorkers, and the majority of 50-plus New Yorkers of color are likely to retire with incomes near the poverty threshold.</p> <p>Too many New Yorkers are facing the very real possibility that they will have to rely solely on Social Security income in their retirement or will not be able to retire at all. This is even more true for New Yorkers of color who are significantly less likely than their white counterparts to have workplace retirement savings opportunities.  This is neither acceptable, nor sustainable.</p> <p>Sadly, the situation is not much better for younger generations. There are roughly 3.5 million private-sector workers in New York City, and over half don’t have access to any kind of retirement savings plan at work. If we don’t act now, we can expect to see this crisis continue.</p> <p><a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aarp.org%2Fcontent%2Fdam%2Faarp%2Fppi%2F2017-01%2FRetirement%2520Access%2520Race%2520Ethnicity.pdf&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723879377&amp;sdata=F5JOIW9h1xKOqLJq9O1%2BAo22a%2BaDpSxeJQCGrDg4d5E%3D&amp;reserved=0" rel="nofollow">Data</a> shows people are a full 15 times more likely to save for retirement if an employer offers a plan. Under the “Retirement Savings for All” proposal currently before the City Council, employees will be automatically enrolled in a retirement account, with the choice to opt out, increasing retirement security for millions of New Yorkers. </p> <p>Not only will the program help working New Yorkers, it will do so without any cost to businesses or taxpayers. To help ensure that their employees are able to retire comfortably, employers will only need to add the payroll deductions.  Employers won’t contribute to the accounts, nor would any public funds be directed to the accounts.</p> <p>Left unaddressed, the retirement savings crisis facing our seniors could have a dire impact on our economy. Residents aged 50 and up represented more than $70 billion in consumer spending in 2011. A <a href="https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aarp.org%2Fcontent%2Fdam%2Faarp%2Fresearch%2Fsurveys_statistics%2Fgeneral%2F2015%2F2015-NYC-Survey-GenX-Boomer-Voters-res-gen.pdf&amp;data=02%7C01%7Clbeltran%40crainsnewyork.com%7C55e8d536d9f341cafa2908d73e093dbf%7C2c6dce2dd43a4e78905e80e15b0a4b44%7C0%7C0%7C637046081723879377&amp;sdata=Q51NabI3c7Yc9d3giQ7Kn93ukp7RWg6KXLLsANnb%2BF4%3D&amp;reserved=0" rel="nofollow">survey</a> conducted by AARP found that over half of all Boomers, and two-thirds of Gen X say they will likely leave the City because they can no longer afford to live here. Their significant spending power will be lost if they flee.</p> <p>All New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to save for retirement, plan for their future, and to be able to retire with dignity. We have a simple yet innovative solution in front of us that will help working New Yorkers without putting a financial strain on businesses or taxpayers. </p> <p>With Workplace Retirement Savings we can improve the wellbeing and security of millions of New Yorkers. It’s the financially responsible thing to do, but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. </p> <p><em>Beth Finkel is the New York state director of AARP. Ben Kallos is a New York City councilman representing district 5, who is also bill sponsor of Intro. 901 and retirement security attorney. I. Daneek Miller is a New York City councilman representing the 27th district, and also the chair of the Committee on Civil and Labor, and Retirement Security for All. Miller is also a sponsor of Intro. 901. </em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/other" hreflang="en">Other</a></div> </div> Mon, 23 Sep 2019 17:02:48 +0000 Josh Jamieson 7258 at https://benkallos.com AM New York Tenant housing court history could become a protected class under city bill by By Sarina Trangle https://benkallos.com/press-clip/am-new-york-tenant-housing-court-history-could-become-protected-class-under-city-bill <span>AM New York Tenant housing court history could become a protected class under city bill by By Sarina Trangle</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">Tenant housing court history could become a protected class under city bill</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/19/2019 - 11:55am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/am-new-york" hreflang="en">AM New York</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/sarina-trangle" hreflang="en">Sarina Trangle</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.amny.com/real-estate/nyc-tenant-blacklist-ban-1.36511535">https://www.amny.com/real-estate/nyc-tenant-blacklist-ban-1.36511535</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-18T15:55:41Z">Wed, 09/18/2019 - 11:55</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-19T12:00:00Z">Thu, 09/19/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In a bid to root out so-called tenant blacklisting, the city may expand its list of protected classes to include people who have been involved in housing court cases.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>At a hearing Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration indicated it supported a bill that would empower the city's Commission on Human Rights to investigate when New Yorkers believe a landlord opted not to rent to them because of their history in housing court.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Earlier this summer, the state banned this practice, often referred to as tenant blacklisting. Lawyers who represent renters have long spoken out against owners that reject anyone included in databases of people who have been involved in any housing court action — even in cases that tenants win — over the past seven years. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The state's prohibition, however, exclusively tasks the attorney general with enforcement and does not allow renters to take owners to court with their own attorneys.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In a bid to root out so-called tenant blacklisting, the city may expand its list of protected classes to include people who have been involved in housing court cases.</p> <p>At a hearing Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration indicated it supported a bill that would empower the city's Commission on Human Rights to investigate when New Yorkers believe a landlord opted not to rent to them because of their history in housing court.</p> <p>Earlier this summer, the state banned this practice, often referred to as tenant blacklisting. Lawyers who represent renters have long spoken out against owners that reject anyone included in databases of people who have been involved in any housing court action — even in cases that tenants win — over the past seven years.</p> <p>The state's prohibition, however, exclusively tasks the attorney general with enforcement and does not allow renters to take owners to court with their own attorneys.</p> <p>To further bolster the ban, City Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a measure that would allow the city's Commission on Human Rights to investigate suspected blacklisting. Kallos' team and the Legal Aid Society said the measure would also permit renters to privately pursue cases in court.</p> <p>"We can't have a legal system where somebody can go to housing court, be vindicated and even win against a bad landlord, and then repeatedly be denied a place," Kallos said. "Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are named in housing court cases every year, and they're reported on these blacklists."</p> <p>Robert Desir, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, said the existence of the context-less and at times inaccurate databases can intimidate people who are legally withholding rent in an attempt to compel their landlord to make repairs.</p> <p>“This practice also has a chilling effect on tenants who owe rent because they’re not getting repairs from their landlords," Desir said.</p> <p>The Commission on Human Rights is eager to collaborate with lawmakers on the matter, according to Dana Sussman, its deputy commissioner of policy and intergovernmental affairs.</p> <p>“The administration and the Commission look forward to working with the Council to consider ways that the city can strengthen these protections," Susman said.</p> <p>The Community Housing Improvement Program, which represents owners of rent-regulated properties, argued the effort to ban blacklisting hurts those it aims to help by compelling landlords to place a greater emphasis on credit scores and income.</p> <p>"In the past, our members would have gladly given a low-income tenant with a solid history of paying their rent an apartment, even if they had a low credit score because of medical bills or emergency expenses," CHIP's Executive Director Jay Martin said in a statement. "Owners and property managers can no longer do that, forcing them to turn away people who most need affordable housing."</p> <p>Still others said Kallos' legislation did not go far enough. The fines are not substantial enough to impact landlords, according to Lucy Block, the research and policy associate at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, which advocates for policies that promote affordable housing. The commission could impose fines that start at $100 per unit per month, for the first five instances, and may rise to $2,000 per unit per month, with an additional $250,000 surcharge for egregious offenders.</p> <p>James Fishman, an attorney who represents tenants on blacklists, said the measure should more explicitly include brokers and presume that those looking at tenant screening reports considered their contents. He said it would make more sense to license and regulate the companies that produce tenant screening reports.</p> <p>“It does have some significant flaws, which should be recognized and addressed," Fishman said. "It must be emphasized that even if it is enacted, with or without these flaws, the problem of tenant blacklisting will not disappear."</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/category/issues/affordable-housing" hreflang="en">Affordable Housing</a></div> </div> Thu, 19 Sep 2019 15:55:41 +0000 Abby Damsky 7256 at https://benkallos.com City and State How De Blasio’s absence left the City Council in charge by By JEFF COLTIN https://benkallos.com/press-clip/city-and-state-how-de-blasios-absence-left-city-council-charge-jeff-coltin <span>City and State How De Blasio’s absence left the City Council in charge by By JEFF COLTIN</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-headline field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field--item">How De Blasio’s absence left the City Council in charge</div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/2001" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Abby Damsky</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/19/2019 - 11:35am</span> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-source field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/press-source/city-and-state" hreflang="en">City and State</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/reporter/jeff-coltin" hreflang="en">Jeff Coltin</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-link field--type-link field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/de-blasios-absence-has-left-city-council-charge.html">https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-city/de-blasios-absen…</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-18T15:35:38Z">Wed, 09/18/2019 - 11:35</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-only field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2019-09-19T12:00:00Z">Thu, 09/19/2019 - 12:00pm</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-excerpt field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>When New Yorkers filled Midtown Manhattan for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Iowa. When the power went out on the west side of Manhattan, shrouding his constituents in darkness, de Blasio was, once again, in Iowa. And when anything happened in City Hall, during the month of May, de Blasio wasn’t there, except for a few, rare hours.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>De Blasio officially launched his presidential campaign three months ago, and is still hunting for his breakout “special moment” before the next debate. (If he fails to qualify for that one, as he did with last week’s, the mayor says he may drop out.)</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>But while de Blasio has been on the trail slamming the Republican-led U.S. Senate, the New York City Council has spent the summer dealing with business as usual. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-press-clip-text field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">When New Yorkers filled Midtown Manhattan for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Iowa. When the power went out on the west side of Manhattan, shrouding his constituents in darkness, de Blasio was, once again, in Iowa. And when anything happened in City Hall, during the month of May, de Blasio wasn’t there, except for a few, rare hours.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">De Blasio officially launched his presidential campaign three months ago, and is still hunting for his breakout “special moment” before the next debate. (If he fails to qualify for that one, as he did with last week’s, the mayor says he may drop out.)</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">But while de Blasio has been on the trail slamming the Republican-led U.S. Senate, the New York City Council has spent the summer dealing with business as usual. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“An absentee or part-time mayor only shifts the power dynamics in the Council’s direction,” said Bronx City Councilman Ritchie Torres. The City Charter gives a lot of power to the office of the mayor, but the mayor’s national run has ceded that power to the Council. “It’s an unusual state of affairs,” Torres said. “We’re living through a historical anomaly.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">City Hall argues they’re just as busy as ever, and the administration is requesting legislation from the council at the same rate it always has. But de Blasio and his team seem to be facing problems with their primary legislative focus this summer: paid vacation time. The bill would require private employers to provide two weeks annually paid vacation time for workers. Such a legal requirement is nearly unprecedented in the United States, but it is the norm, and often more generous, in every other industrialized nation. The mayor announced the push in January, saying he hoped the bill would be “voted on quickly.” But that hasn’t happened. In late May, after he announced his presidential campaign, he hosted a City Hall rally to urge action on the bill. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Still, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson remained skeptical of the bill, and the City Council hasn’t moved it, even though de Blasio has been touting it on the campaign trail. Multiple City Council members told City &amp; State that the mayor’s team aggressively lobbied them to show up for the next rally for paid personal time, on Sept. 9. But de Blasio himself wasn’t there to show his support or cajole votes. He was in Puerto Rico, campaigning for president. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">The bill, Torres said, “has been languishing indefinitely. It’s a sign of mayoral powerlessness.”</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Freddi Goldstein, de Blasio’s governmental press secretary, admitted to City &amp; State that the bill “seemingly hit a little bit of a speedbump,” but was loath to connect the bill – or its slow movement – to the presidential campaign. “This is something that he’s been working on all year,” Goldstein said.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">Council members say the mayor’s frequent absences and divided attention have hurt his ability to get things done back home. Put another way by Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli: “I think he’s becoming the butt of more jokes.” The Republican lawmaker is one of the mayor’s most frequent critics - his laptop features a graphic of de Blasio’s face, crossed out - but he has been hearing more people join in his de Blasio-bashing since the beginning of the presidential campaign. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">The polls seem to reflect that. According to the latest Siena poll, 0% of New York City residents want de Blasio as the Democratic nominee, and just 33% have a favorable opinion of him. That’s down significantly from his 46% New York City approval rating from a Siena poll in March, before he launched the presidential campaign.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p style="margin:0in 0in 8pt"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif">“That makes the council more powerful,” said one City Hall insider, who asked for anonymity to speak openly on a sensitive topic. If cou