New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

STATEMENT: Ballot Proposals Win

Statement on Question 1

“New Yorkers just voted big money out of politics. After a decade’s long fight for campaign finance reform, I am glad the voters took matters into their own hands and got big money out."
“Starting today candidates for public office in New York City can run on small dollars. The voters have spoken and I hope every candidate in 2021 hears their message, refuse big money from real estate and take more small dollars instead. Voters will finally have a choice come election day with viable candidates running on small dollars."
"Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for calling a Charter Revision Commission that empowered New Yorkers to vote through reforms that we couldn’t get done through the political process. Thank you to the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission for a six months long process with hearings in every borough, online and even by phone with a result that reflects they truly listened to the voices of our city."

Background on Question 1

First introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos in 2016 as Int. 1130 to increase the public matching grant from 55% to 85% of the spending limit and increase the amount of dollars matched from $175 to $250. Kallos secured 32 sponsors and used his Chair of the Committee on Government Operations force a hearing on April 27, 2017, though it had a majority of Council Members as sponsors it did not pass. In 2018, Kallos reintroduced the legislation as Int. 732 with 30 sponsors. Mayor de Blasio called a Charter Revision Commission on democracy where Kallos testified in favor of campaign reforms on May 9June 19July 23, and August 9 including reducing contribution limits, increasing matching ratios, and increasing public funds payments all of which were in part or in whole adopted.
Following adoption of the three ballot questions Council Member Ben Kallos advocated in favor of all three. Kallos weighed in favor of Questions 1 and Question 3 in the NYCCFB’s Voter Guide. Actively participated in the Democracy Yes coalition that included recruiting many supporters of Int. 1130 of 2016. Successfully advocated in favor of a New York Times editorial in support of Question 1. Authored opinion editorials one with Patriotic Millionaire Morris Pearl in City and State and another in Medium. Traveled around the borough of Manhattan securing endorsements of all three from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, as well as Question 1 from the Lexington Democratic Club, Four Freedoms Democratic Club, Downtown Independent Democrats, Uptown Community Democrats, among many others. Kallos even debated other elected officials on all three questions at forums by New Downtown Democrats and Downtown Independent Democrats as well as Community Board 8 Manhattan. As acknowledged at the last debate, by Charter Revision Commission member John Segal, this ballot question 1, he noted advocacy by Kallos for this reform dating back to 2008 when both served on the NYC Bar’s Election Law Committee.

Statement on the Adoption of Question 3

“Term limits are good for democracy and the voters recognized that today. I look forward to seeing our communities reinvigorated by new community board members brought in with a uniform application process where everyone has to apply with appointments and their demographics as public information."

“Urban planners and planning professionals will strengthen our community boards with the expertise they need to stand up to developers. After years of serving on and fighting for our community boards I am glad they will finally get the resources they need."

Background on Question 3

As Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations Council Member Ben Kallos co-prime sponsored Int. 585 of 2014 with Council Member Danny Dromm mandating term limits for community boards and authored Int. 732 of 2015 to provide community boards with urban planners forcing a hearing on both on April 30, 2015. Both bills only gained 8 sponsors and failed to pass the Council. Council Member Kallos testified on June 19, 2018 in favor of term limits and urban planners for community boards at the Charter Revision Commission.

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