New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Observer

New York Observer Council Progressive Caucus Elects New Leadership Team by Ross Barkan

Council Progressive Caucus Elects New Leadership Team

The City Council’s Progressive Caucus, the left-leaning coalition that sparked the liberal shift of the council this year, has elected new leadership.

Councilmen Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso have been elected co-chairs of the caucus, replacing Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is now speaker of the body, and Councilman Brad Lander, now a deputy leader of the council. The two councilmen beat out Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez in a vote taken last week, according to caucus spokeswoman Mary Tek.

 

New York Observer State Senate Records Get More Transparent by Gillian Reagan

State Senate Records Get More Transparent

The New York State Senate's chief information officer team just launched an early version of their Open Legislation Portal today.

Mr. Hoppin and his team will update the site by the end of the month with more information that "has never been seen before on the Internet," according to Mr. Hoppin, thanks to the rules reforms passed by the Senate in June. The data collected, which was previously only available by enacting the Freedom of Information Act, will include detailed transcripts of sessions, committee votes and committee attendance.

As the Observer reported in June, Ben Kallos, former chief of staff to Assemblyman Jonathan Bing who was working on Mark Green's campaign, launched NewYork.OpenLegislation.org, which allowed users see how each lawmaker voted on a particular piece of legislation and see whether lawmakers  attended their  committee meetings. Mr. Kallos and a few of his colleagues paid for the site out of his own pocket.

The state's moves to make this kind of data more available to the public are ahead of City Hall, where Gale Brewer, chair of the Council's Technology in Government Committee, is leading the open legislation charge.

 

New York Observer Another Transparency Web Site by Azi Paybarah

Another Transparency Web Site

Ben Kallos, former chief of staff to Assemblyman Jonathan Bing who is currently working on Mark Green's campaign, is launching a new Web site that allows users to search the attendance records of state lawmakers, making available information that the state isn’t so quick to provide. (Ask folks in the Albany press corps about that.)

New York Observer The Insurgents of 2010 by Editorial Board

The Insurgents of 2010

Mr. Kallos has kept himself busy, putting his knowledge of technology and geeky insights to use in local government. The result is a series of Web sites that take local political info out of dusty file cabinets and up online. One site lets people see if they’re registered to vote. Another lets users check the attendance records of state lawmakers. His latest creation: a crowd-sourced calendar for political events around New York City and the state.