New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Daily News

New York Daily News EXCLUSIVE: New laws to prevent NYC school bus abuses seen in 2018 crisis by Ben Chapman

EXCLUSIVE: New laws to prevent NYC school bus abuses seen in 2018 crisis

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side), a new parent who proposed the GPS bill, said that requiring city school buses to operate electronic tracking devices will provide worried parents with knowledge of their kids’ whereabouts.

“Parents have brought up concerns they don’t know when the bus is coming home,” Kallos said. “Now they’ll finally be in position to know where their kids are. I’m hoping it’ll have a big impact.”

Parents of public school children impacted by problems with the city’s long-struggling bus system were eager for relief promised by the proposed legislation, which would take affect by September.

“Right now it’s the Wild West and we don’t have proper oversight — that why the bus crisis was what it was,” said Rachel Ford, a Queens parent and member of the Parents to Improve School Transportation advocacy group, whose son was delayed on his school bus for nearly four hours at the start of the school year.

New York Daily News EXCLUSIVE: Council bill would apply new contribution limits to special election for public advocate by Jillian Jorgensen

EXCLUSIVE: Council bill would apply new contribution limits to special election for public advocate

The new campaign finance rules approved by voters at the polls last month don’t take effect until 2021 -- but City Councilman Ben Kallos has introduced legislation that would allow candidates in the upcoming special election for public advocate to opt into the new system.

“Almost every single candidate running for public advocate is already an elected official, and only one can win. And I just don’t want that many existing elected officials taking that much money,” Kallos told the News.

An architect of the new system passed as Question 1 on the ballot last November -- which set up a new campaign finance system that slashes contribution limits while increasing the amount of public matching funds a candidate can receive -- Kallos is looking to create similar changes for candidates running in special elections and other races that will crop up between now an

New York Daily News Disabled NYC kids spent hours stranded in the storm on buses, without food or bathrooms by Ben Chapman

Disabled NYC kids spent hours stranded in the storm on buses, without food or bathrooms

Citywide Council on Special Education Co-Chair Gloria Corsino said she was flooded with calls from parents whose kids with disabilities suffered on buses that were stuck on the roads for hours.

“These drivers don’t allow kids to eat on the bus or use the bathroom,” Corsino said. “Imagine the trauma. This is just poor emergency management.”

Manhattan City Councilman Ben Kallos said the storm exposed serious weaknesses in the city’s beleaguered, $1.2 billion yellow bus system, which is already undergoing an overhaul amid widespread service problems, allegations of corruption and a federal investigation.

“All of this could have been prevented,” said Kallos, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side and intervened with the NYPD to help other kids with disabilities get home from the same stricken bus as Reynoso’s son.

“When you already have a bus route that’s three hours long, and then there’s a storm, it’s going to double or triple,” Kallos said. “We’re setting up these drivers and kids for failure.”

The city will investigate busing problems encountered in the storm, said Mayor de Blasio spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg.

New York Daily News New NYPD surveillance cameras to cover stretch of Upper East Side not easily reached by patrol cars by Rocco Parascandola

New NYPD surveillance cameras to cover stretch of Upper East Side not easily reached by patrol cars

City Councilman Ben Kallos said the 8 Argus cameras will cost $336,000.

Kallos said he has always had concerns about cameras and how they might impact on a person’s privacy as well as how law enforcement uses them.

But said his constituents want them.

“No one objected during participatory budgeting,” Kallos said, referring to the process by which citizens have a say in how city money is spent. “People want them.”

He also recalled speaking with a police commander at an FDR pedestrian bridge earlier this year and witnessing the deterrence of cameras.

“Two people walked past us,’’ Kallos explained. “They said, ‘There’s security cameras there — let’s not go there.”

The cameras will link to the NYPD’s Domain Awareness System, the surveillance network of more than 18,000 inter-connected cameras — including those in the private sector — as well as law enforcement databases.

New York Daily News NYC school bus horror stories — and possible fixes — discussed at packed City Council hearing by Ben Chapman

NYC school bus horror stories — and possible fixes — discussed at packed City Council hearing

Even before the hotly anticipated hearing even took place, protesters gathered on the steps of the city Education Department headquarters to call for improved service, and Council Member Ben Kallos (D-UES) led a press conference at City Hall in support of legislation to improve bus service.

Families said problems with bus service are ongoing, despite the city’s efforts.

New York Daily News City Council committee to hold hearing on school bus fiasco following Daily News series by Ben Chapman

City Council committee to hold hearing on school bus fiasco following Daily News series

"Parents should not have to wonder where their child is or when their child is finally getting home from a school bus ride gone off track. With the measures required in this bill, parents picking up or dropping off their child could rest assured knowing when and where their school bus is, using an app on their phone," said Council Member Ben Kallos (D-UES), a new parent who proposed the GPS bill.

New York Daily News Law firm owed $300G by de Blasio lobbied mayor's top aides, won big favor for high-rise developer by Greg B. Smith

Law firm owed $300G by de Blasio lobbied mayor's top aides, won big favor for high-rise developer

A law firm that Mayor de Blasio owes $300,000 in unpaid legal fees to last fall won a zoning loophole for one of its developer clients after lobbying two of the mayor’s top aides, a Daily News investigation has found.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel pressed Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Marisa Lago, the mayor’s appointee as City Planning Commission chairwoman, to halt rezoning that would have killed a residential tower being built on the East Side by the law firm’s client, developer Jonathan Kalikow.

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By then, Councilman Ben Kallos argues, the damage was done. He says the delay allowed Kalikow to build enough of the tower’s foundation to claim the building as substantially completed – the trigger for approval of the entire building by the Board of Standards and Appeals.

“Without this bogus clause, this rezoning could have been done weeks earlier and the community wouldn’t be facing an appeal to a rightfully won rezoning,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan), who opposes Kalikow’s tower.

New York Daily News City pols seek to strip license from sanitation company after its driver killed two people by Cerin Durkin

City pols seek to strip license from sanitation company after its driver killed two people

City Council members are demanding the city yank the license of a sanitation company whose driver killed two people in the Bronx and lied to cops about it.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso and other pols stood outside the city Business Integrity Commission's office Wednesday to push for the shutdown of Sanitation Salvage, one of the city's largest private trash haulers.

 

New York Daily News Construction sites must lower noise during city’s quiet time under new law by Erin Durkin

Construction sites must lower noise during city’s quiet time under new law

Construction done at odd hours will have to turn down the volume under a bill passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

The legislation sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos places stricter limits on construction within 200 feet of a home before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and any time on weekends.

“New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn’t be because of after-hours construction that wakes you up,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan). “Noise is the top complaint in New York City.”

The construction cacophony will be capped at 80 decibels next year, and dropped to 75 in 2020. The current limit is 85 decibels.

New York Daily News City Council passes bill allowing New Yorkers to register to vote online by Erin Durkin

City Council passes bill allowing New Yorkers to register to vote online

New Yorkers will soon be able to register to vote online after the City Council passed legislation to allow it Thursday.

The city Campaign Finance Board will set up a website and create an app to allow would-be voters to register.

“It seems like every election in New York City, it’s a new low for voter turnout,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), noting the dismal turnout in last week’s mayoral election.