New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Coverage

In a 20-page rebuttal to the December DOI study, BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan said many of the DOI's reform recommendations are inconsistent with how the Board is forced to operate under state law.

He also chewed out the investigators for sending undercover agents -- a move DOI officials have called a standard procedure in a probe of this nature -- to pose as dead or otherwise disqualified voters, and said in the majority of the cases, the city Board had no way to know the people whose names were used at the polls shouldn't or couldn't vote. 

 

The City Council is considering a measure that would lower the minimum-age requirement -- from 18 to 16 -- for anyone serving on NYC's 59 community boards.

Sixteen-year-olds may have the unfortunate reputation of being too self-absorbed, even being troublemakers. At 16, I was definitely of the troublemaking variety.

 

The head of the city Board of Elections stunned City Council members on Tuesday by claiming that the long-battered agency was purposely shorted funds by the city so it would fail.

BOE director Michael Ryan made the conspiracy-laden accusation as part of a pitch to secure a whopping $55 million in additional funding from the city’s coffers, even as his agency remains under investigation by the city.

 

The Board of Elections is pushing a $6.8 million plan to turn old voter machines into voter information kiosks, but the chair of the City Council committee overseeing the agency dismissed the scheme as too costly. 

The machines, costing $4500 a piece, would transform the old lever machines into massive computers where poll workers could check in for work, voters could get directions to their poll sites, and election results could be transmitted at the end of the night.

 

Councilman Ben Kallos asked the city's Law Department today to help investigate what he estimates could be nearly “$4 billion in overspending, on $6 billion worth of contracts."

Kallos, chairman of the Government Operations Committee, made the request during a budget hearing this morning at City Hall, citing a 2012 law that required the City Council to be notified if contracts had significant cost overruns.

 

Check out this video of New York City Council Member Benjamin Kallos coolly picking apart an element of Bloomberg's old trash plan that has gone out of control.

The collection and disposal of trash in New York City, but particularly in Manhattan, is achieved through a mixture of poorly regulated private trash vehicles and relatively well-maintained and environmentally sound government ones. Recycling rates are embarrassingly low, 15 percent compared to up to 75 percent in other cities.

 

Reporters and good government advocates who have grown tired of poor response times to FOIL requests from city agencies may soon find sweet relief. Speaking at a City & State sponsored technology event on Thursday night, City Councilman Ben Kallos said he is interested in revamping the FOIL system. Kallos hopes to simplify requests by allowing online submissions, as well as a way to track the request’s progress online. A draft of the legislation is currently being written and the details have not fully been worked out, but Kallos said he hopes it passes the Council quickly.

 

Upper East Side Residents of District 5 have just been handed a blank check.

Councilman Ben Kallos announced his office is taking part in an abbreviated participatory budgeting program with $1 million available to spend.

Under normal circumstances, a council member taking part in participatory budgeting – where constituents vote on how to spend a certain amount of money in the district – gets seven months to hear and vote on proposals from the community. Because Kallos took office in January, however, the process is being expedited.

 

Since taking office in January, I have been working to ensure you have the services you need, while also working to expand pre-k and afterschool programs to all children, opening up government for public participation, and fighting the marine transfer station slated to be built in our neighborhood.

A new report from Pledge 2 Protect has offered further evidence that the 91st St. Marine Transfer Station will hurt our city. I oppose the marine transfer station and support instead a modern approach that will reduce waste, increase recycling and protect residential neighborhoods – and I am working to spread the word in city government.

 

UPPER EAST SIDE — New playground equipment at theStanley Isaacs Houses, handrails that will help seniors navigate the steps at Carl Schurz Park, and an updated cooling system at the67th Street Library where many people take refuge during the hot summer months.

All of these proposals could go from wish list to reality through Councilman Ben Kallos’s participatory budgeting program.

 

Last week, the newly elected Ben Kallos introduced a bill that would lower the minimum age for Community Board members from 18 years old to 16 years old. According to Kallos, allowing more teens the chance to sit on the governing bodies, which don't make laws but do advise the city on neighborhood matters such as zoning, traffic, liquor licenses, and budgets, will "lay the groundwork for a lifetime of civic engagement."

 

Last week, a bill was introduced to the New York City Council that would lower the required minimum age for Community Board members from 18 to 16.

By doing so, the bill's creator, the newly elected Councilman Ben Kallos, hopes to offset the low percentage of Millennials involved with their Community Boards: in Manhattan, only 6 percent of this year's applicants were between the ages of 18 and 24. Kallos believes it'll be a real-life civics lesson, providing exciting insight to unexciting meetings.

 

UPPER EAST SIDE — The City Council is considering a resolution that would bring civics lessons out of the classroom and into real life for New York City teens.

Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a resolution last week in support of a state bill that would lower the age requirement for serving on neighborhood community boards. Currently, a person must be 18 to become a community board member. The bill, which is backed by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and state Sen. Andrew Lanza, would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to serve.

 

Albany, N.Y. – With the dawn of national Sunshine Week on Sunday, good government advocates will intensify their campaigns for more transparency in New York State, where progress in open government is seen as a mixed bag.

The state has made headway in providing online access to public records, but the state legislature and city government are failing to grant greater access to meetings where policy decisions are made.

 

Freshman Councilman Ben Kallos, representing the Upper East Side, held a hearing Monday as chair of the Government Operations committee aimed at overhauling the application and appointment process to the city’s 59 community boards.

Kallos’ office reported about 1,500 spots were opening across the five boroughs, and that reforms in recent years had been achieved but never standardized.

 

 

Mark Levine, a Jewish councilman from Harlem and Washington Heights, was selected to lead the Jewish caucus in the City Council.

There are 14 Jewish members in the City Council, up from 10 in the previous Council.

 

 

Last weekend, around one hundred members of New York City's civic hacker community came together to help develop tools that would be useful for City Council and local Community Board members as part of Code Across NYC, organized by Code for America brigade betaNYC. As part of the event, open government advocates Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Ben Kallos discussed their transparency advocacy. With input from five Community Board members and New York City officials, the weekend program resulted in the creation of 20 projects, of which 12 were submitted for five awards.

 

 

 

Last weekend, around one hundred members of New York City's civic hacker community came together to help develop tools that would be useful for City Council and local Community Board members as part of Code Across NYC, organized by Code for America brigade betaNYC. As part of the event, open government advocates Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Ben Kallos discussed their transparency advocacy. With input from five Community Board members and New York City officials, the weekend program resulted in the creation of 20 projects, of which 12 were submitted for five awards.