New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

The City

The City TEXAS FIRM REAPS MILLIONS BOOKING COVID HOTEL ROOMS FOR NYC by Greg B. Smith

TEXAS FIRM REAPS MILLIONS BOOKING COVID HOTEL ROOMS FOR NYC

In an interview with THE CITY Friday, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chair of the city contracts committee, questioned Crewfacilities’ $27 per room, per night fee, noting that the industry norm for such a booking fee is typically 10% of the room rate. That would come out to $12 to $16. As of last week, Crewfacilities had charged $2.5 million in these fees.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) Photo: William Alatriste for the New York City Council

Kallos called on OEM to cancel the contract, estimating that between the $27 fee and the $71 per-day meal charge, Crewfacilities could be charging taxpayers $3,000 per month — above the cost of hotel rooms — for each guest.

“At the height of the pandemic we were desperate for hotel rooms and we got ripped off by a contract with $27 overhead,” he said. “We can and must do better by cutting out the middleman and going directly to the hotels. We can use the savings to fund essential services for youth and seniors this summer.”

As for the cost of an $18 breakfast, he added,  “That better be one fancy breakfast. If it’s $18 for a bagel and coffee, that’s expensive even for New York City.”

The City AS CITY VOWS NEW FACADE CRACKDOWN, OLD VIOLATIONS LEAVE BUILDINGS ‘UNSAFE’ by Rachel Holiday Smith

AS CITY VOWS NEW FACADE CRACKDOWN, OLD VIOLATIONS LEAVE BUILDINGS ‘UNSAFE’
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.”

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

TRANSIT UNION DEMANDS MORE SUBWAY CLEANERS TO COMBAT FILTHY TRAINS

City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) pointed to the lack of public restrooms in the Second Avenue stations that opened in 2017.

“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.

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.

The City PARKS DEPARTMENT MAY SHRINK COSTLY BATHROOMS TO SAVE CASH by Yoav Gonen

PARKS DEPARTMENT MAY SHRINK COSTLY BATHROOMS TO SAVE CASH

The Parks Department is looking to curb the cost of constructing new public bathrooms — by making them smaller.

Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver Tuesday said the agency is exploring stand-alone units tested in other cities, such as the Portland Loo and trailer-like bathrooms in Boston.