New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Statement by Council Member Ben Kallos on Charter Revision Commission’s Preliminary Staff Report

I applaud the staff recommendations released today by the New York City Charter Revision Commission. The Commissioners must adopt the strongest among them to reset the foundation of this great city and create a democracy that empowers every voice in elections and governance.

A full public match campaign finance system that will finally incentivize and allow candidates to run on small dollars alone, such as in legislation I authored in 2016 and testified to the Commission earlier this year, will reduce the corrupting influence of big dollars and special interests in our elections process and empower New Yorkers who cannot write checks of $4,950 but still want their voices heard.

We must also enrich and empower our City’s 59 Community Boards. Since 2014, I have advocated for term limits because they create a culture of getting things done, one where current and outgoing members mentor new members and pass on knowledge, and which allows new voices and new ideas to enter the public discussion. Term limits better ensure that Community Boards, our most local form of government, reflect the neighborhoods they represent. This, coupled with providing dedicated planning staff and binding power to veto or initiate Uniform Land Use Review Procedures, will give Community Boards the voice they deserve.

While government seldom reflects the voices of those who speak out, it is great to see so many voices from all over the city reflected in the New York City Charter Revision Commission Preliminary Staff Report. I encourage New Yorkers to join me in comment over the next week to support the most important recommendations and strengthen others as together we remake New York.

We look to the Commissioners to put the strongest recommendations on the ballot - ones that could not be accomplished through the legislative process- for an ambitious set of charter reforms that New Yorkers can vote for and restore a democracy of, by, and for the People!

Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.