New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Daily News

New York Daily News Upper East Side “can tipper” picked up for psychiatric observation: police by GRAHAM RAYMAN

Upper East Side “can tipper” picked up for psychiatric observation: police

In response to The News’ story, the NYPD, the Department of Homeless Services and local pols zeroed in. Councilman Ben Kallos said Monday that DHS would be sending an outreach team to try to persuade the man to accept additional services.

New York Daily News Upper East Side homeless ‘can tipper’ has caused unchecked mayhem for years, frustrating neighbors by MAGGIE FLAHAVE, KERRY BURKE and GRAHAM RAYMAN


Upper East Side homeless ‘can tipper’ has caused unchecked mayhem for years, frustrating neighbors

The homeless man menaces a woman trying to make her way past him on the sidewalk. (Andrew Fine)

Sanitation Department officials, meanwhile, declined to answer questions about how they are handling the man’s antics, and twice referred the News to city Department of Homeless Services.

Homeless Services did not respond to inquiries.

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) is frustrated and noted that he successfully pushed the city to spend $250,000 for 250 heavy duty trash in the neighborhood.

“It’s a little infuriating to have someone running around knocking them over,” he said. “There is a problem with the city when someone is being allowed to go out there and destroy property worth thousands of dollars. We are failing our taxpayers.”

New York Daily News Irked at noisy dirt bikes? Councilman has a modest proposal by GRAHAM RAYMAN

Irked at noisy dirt bikes? Councilman has a modest proposal

The ear-splitting noise from dirt bikes, ATVs and unmuffled cars with giant speakers is back with a vengeance this summer, and one city councilman has a plan to deal with it.

City Council member Ben Kallos will introduce a bill Thursday that would create a network of video cameras and high-tech microphones to catch the miscreants and then fine them up to $1,575 for a third offense.

The lead motorcycle of approximately 50 ATV's and motorcycles on 8th Ave. and W. 54th St. in Manhattan on July 15.

The lead motorcycle of approximately 50 ATV's and motorcycles on 8th Ave. and W. 54th St. in Manhattan on July 15. (Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News)

Kallos, who represents parts of the Upper East Side, Midtown and East Harlem, says the bill was born out of his frustration at the inability of the police or other city agencies to deal with the problem.

“I get these complaints all the time and I have my own panic response of picking up my daughter when I hear them,” he said. “Every New Yorker knows how bad this is. So I said, f--- it, let’s put in a bill.”

New York Daily News Airbnb rentals could be required to register with NYC says Manhattan lawmaker Ben Kallos by Shant Shahrigian

Airbnb rentals could be required to register with NYC says Manhattan lawmaker Ben Kallos

While the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement is charged with implementing the law, it has been “nearly impossible” to do so, Kallos says, due to legal challenges.

That’s where his bill comes in.

By requiring renters to register with the city before offerings are advertised online, the city would be able to reject them in advance. Failure to comply would result in steep fines.

Kallos expects thousands of units to go off the short-term-rental market as a result — paving the way for hotels to start recouping losses from the pandemic.

New York Daily News NYPD returns ‘scary’ robot dog to manufacturer after backlash by John Annese

NYPD returns ‘scary’ robot dog to manufacturer after backlash

Kallos — who issued a subpoena to learn that the NYPD leased Digidog at $7,850 a month for 12 months, with a minimum payment of $94,200 — cheered the robot’s return to its maker.

“Our city needs more community policing, officers connecting to residents, not scary military-style gadgets that scare folks,” the Upper East Side Democrat said. “We did the work to find out how much was spent on this and we put pressure on the city to adjust priorities. I am glad the robot dog has been put down and we can use the money that would have gone to buying more of these to invest in communities and building better relationships with residents.”

New York Daily News Back in business: Too many vacancies on too many blocks by Daily News Editorial Board

Back in business: Too many vacancies on too many blocks

One problem is that commercial rents here don’t obey normal laws of supply and demand. Generations ago, many proprietors owned their stores. Nowadays, most rent and they often lease from limited-liability companies or sprawling investment groups disconnected from the neighborhood. So though owners ask for sky-high rents, many can afford to leave a space empty for years, waiting for a deep-pocketed occupant to come along and snap it up.

The tax code doesn’t help, since property owners can count losses from vacancies as offsets on what they owe. Some mortgages have minimum rent rates locked in, and others are securitized and sold as financial products — all of which makes it extremely difficult for tenants to negotiate lower rents with their landlords in response to, oh, say, a world-changing pandemic.

With such a complex welter of causes, it’s unlikely legislation sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos, which would require disclosure of obscure property owners’ identities, will do much to help fill empty retail spaces. It will shine a light on who it is that’s behind the glass, though, and we count that as a step forward.

New York Daily News NYC should boost free supper for students, says Manhattan councilman by Shant Shahrigian

NYC should boost free supper for students, says Manhattan councilman

The city should boost its free supper program for students, says Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos.

The push would build off of existing programs providing free breakfast and lunch at city schools.

Kallos, a Democrat, says if the city expands after-school programs, it will be able to tap federal funds for late-day meals.

“We’re leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table,” Kallos told the Daily News. “We could guarantee every child three square meals a day and end youth hunger as we know it.

“We should have community schools where the schools are there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while parents are at work,” he added.

The Education Department already offers supper at after-school programs, but at a far lower rate than free breakfast and lunch. In fiscal year 2019, the latest year for which the department had data, an average of 58,128 suppers were given out per day. That compared with 218,153 free breakfasts before the bell per day and 603,244 daily free lunches.

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New York Daily News Manhattan lawmaker wants more thorough data on NYPD arrests by Shant Shahrigian

Manhattan lawmaker wants more thorough data on NYPD arrests

Councilman Ben Kallos plans to introduce a bill requiring the NYPD to include all crimes in its weekly updates of the CompStat website, which currently maps the “seven major” crimes like murder and rape, along with a handful of other types of illegality.

“Whether it is the ongoing war on drugs only happening in certain communities or just other types of overpolicing, it would be helpful for folks to see that on a map and be able to see that happening in real time,” the Upper East Side Democrat told the Daily News on Wednesday.

New York Daily News NYC Councilman Kallos to push for expanded early voting access, blasts Albany lawmakers by Michael Gartland, Denis Slattery

NYC Councilman Kallos to push for expanded early voting access, blasts Albany lawmakers

Just months after New York City offered early voting for the first time during a presidential election, voters could soon get more early voting options under a new City Council bill expected to be introduced Thursday.

The bill, which Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos, plans to introduce to the Council at a Thursday meeting, would increase the number of early voting sites, with expanded hours of operation and at least two sites required in each Council district initially for the upcoming June primary.


“This would add at least two early voting polling sites per Council district for the coming election and would eventually scale up to eight. It would also give voters more hours to vote,” Kallos told the Daily News. “During the last election, there were zero early voting sites in my Council district. To be fair, one was 500 feet outside my district, but we don’t have enough early voting sites.”

Kallos blamed the city Board of Elections and legislators in Albany and called state lawmakers “corrupt” for not passing a law mandating more early voting sites.

The current state law requires just seven sites per county, he pointed out.

New York Daily News NYC would share meeting info via new app, under bill from Manhattan lawmaker by Shant Shahrigian

NYC would share meeting info via new app, under bill from Manhattan lawmaker

You can’t fight City Hall, but it’s good to know what they’re doing from time to time.

Under a forthcoming bill from Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the city would be required to do a better job sharing info about future meetings and city business.

The legislation, set to be introduced Thursday, would make the city create an app to publish timely information about every public meeting held by municipal government entities.

The bill also mandates a standard format for the presentation of the info on the app and on city government websites.

“I want to put government in people’s pockets in a good way with an app that will tell you what’s happening and when you need to make your voice heard, so you get the city you want,” Kallos told the Daily News on Tuesday.

NYC Council Member Ben Kallos (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

A task force would be convened to come up with a concept to display meeting info on the app and city websites, according to Kallos.

He said by using open-source software for the app, the city could produce the technology cost-free.

New Yorkers who want to get involved with their communities are often in the dark about things like monthly community council meetings at local precincts and how to register to testify at City Council hearings, Kallos said.

“Ever since this election, people keep stopping me in the street asking me how they can get more involved in government,” the councilman said. “That’s a feature, not a bug. I think government is deliberate in making it difficult for people to get involved.”