New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Post

New York Post NYPD faces first major budget cut in decades amid ‘perfect storm’ of factors by Julia Marsh, Nolan Hicks

NYPD faces first major budget cut in decades amid ‘perfect storm’ of factors

The NYPD is facing its first budget cut in at least two decades — thanks to a “perfect storm” of events including “dire economic circumstances,” fallout from the George Floyd killing and calls for reform from the progressive wing of the City Council, experts and insiders said.

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Meanwhile, the City Council’s 21-member progressive caucus is meeting with criminal justice reformers who want $1 billion in cuts this year to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget as a response to charges of police misconduct.

“Many members of the progressive caucus have already come out in favor of #Defund NYPD and we will be taking a formal position as a caucus shortly,” said Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the group’s chair co-chair.

New York Post NYC leaders slam de Blasio plan to cut frontline workers, suggest slashing ThriveNYC instead by Julia Marsh

NYC leaders slam de Blasio plan to cut frontline workers, suggest slashing ThriveNYC instead

 

“We’re very concerned even more so now about mental health especially regarding our students who have been through a sort of traumatic once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Deputy Budget Director Kenneth Godiner replied.

“Can we cut our bloated contracts?” Manhattan Democrat Ben Kallos asked Godiner.

Godiner promised to look at the issue.

De Blasio defended ThriveNYC during his press briefing, saying he disagreed with Stringer’s assessment that it wasn’t making an impact.

“Anything that’s about health and safety is a priority whether it’s about physical health or mental health,” he said.
A mayoral spokeswoman defended ThriveNYC’s annual budget of about $250 million a year for four years, and instead detailed planned cuts to mental health consultants in schools as well as delays to mobile treatment teams and crisis response teams.

New York Post DOE’s $269M iPad deal for remote learning is a ‘waste of money,’ says lawmaker by Susan Edelman

DOE’s $269M iPad deal for remote learning is a ‘waste of money,’ says lawmaker

 

The total cost: $269,187,271, the DOE said. The department will seek federal reimbursement, it added.

At least one lawmaker, City Councilman Ben Kallos, said the DOE “got a bad deal,” because laptops are not only much cheaper than iPads but better for schoolwork.

Enlarge Image“This is such a waste of money,” he told the Post.

DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot called it a “cost effective long-term investment in our kids that will be used as an educational tool long after the COVID crisis passes.”

The iPads are being “loaned” to kids, not given for free. A tracking device is installed in case kids do not return them.

Barbot said the DOE chose iPads because Apple could commit to producing devices on a large scale in a short time frame and give students connectivity without WiFi.

New York Post NYC Council holds first online meeting 5 weeks after coronavirus shutdown by Rich Calder

NYC Council holds first online meeting 5 weeks after coronavirus shutdown

The City Council met remotely Wednesday for the first time in its 82-year history — ending its five-week shutdown in response to the coronavirus.

The meeting, aired live on the Council’s website, was attended by 50 members — including seven who said they had recovered from the disease over the past month.

“The entire city has had to adjust daily to this ever-changing crisis in ways we never imagined,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson — speaking from his boyfriend’s house in Brooklyn.

“Certainly, our predecessors 82 years ago never imagined a remote stated meeting.

“The Council is proud to practice social distancing while continuing to pass legislation to improve the lives of New Yorkers. We’re looking forward in the weeks to come to holding remote stated meetings and introducing bills that are critical to coping with this crisis and its aftermath.”

At all times, the video feed included 25 council members or lawyers, who would rotate in and out of boxed screens as they were called for vote or speak.

Some like Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) sat in from his Bay Ridge district office, while others like Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) voted from home, occasionally petting his cat nearby. Councilman Chaim Deutch (D-Brooklyn) appeared to be the only legislator outdoors during the meeting, at one point even sporting a protective mask.

New York Post Emails suggest false testimony by de Blasio official over whistleblower’s firing by Julia Marsh

Emails suggest false testimony by de Blasio official over whistleblower’s firing

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who was one of the members questioning Camilo at the hearing, was surprised by the disclosure.

“I’m deeply disappointed in the administration for lying under oath and for doing so with knowledge and willfully,” Kallos said.

“I understand the litigation risk that they were dealing with however there were numerous other questions that were answered with, ‘We can’t answer due to ongoing litigation,'” Kallos said.

“I think we need to look into holding this administration accountable if they come before the council and swear under oath it needs to be the truth,” Kallos said.

New York Post Court order ‘beheading’ UWS tower could impact another super tall building by Sam Raskin, Jennifer Gould Keil, Nolan Hicks

Court order ‘beheading’ UWS tower could impact another super tall building

An opportunistic lawmaker hopes to use a controversial ruling that would knock 20 stories off of a nearly-complete Upper West Side condo highrise to cut another building in Midtown down to size.

“We’re going to file a motion to [re]argue based on this,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who represents a swath of Midtown and the Upper East Side.

The lawmaker’s target is an 847-foot pencil-thin skyscraper currently under construction at 430 East 58th Street that he would like to see cut down to just 400 feet.

New York Post More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings by Steve Cuozzo

More scaffolds won’t make NYC safer — we must fix Department of Buildings

Moreover, it is by no means clear that “sidewalk bridges” — which are really sidewalk tunnels — don’t cause more deaths and injuries than they prevent. Council Member Ben Kallos last January cited seven instances of people in the city injured by scaffold collapses since 2017.

In one case, Katherine Lefavre, then 34, was nearly killed when a “shed” collapsed at 568 Broadway in Soho in November 2018. The accident fractured the top model’s spine and required her to learn how to walk again.

New York Post City forcing dozens of property owners to erect emergency scaffolding by Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonJanuary

City forcing dozens of property owners to erect emergency scaffolding

La Rocca said there are more than 9,500 sidewalk sheds up in the city and that they have remained in place for an average of 300 days.

Some officials said that’s too long.

“New York City has 344 miles of sidewalk sheds,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said. “That’s enough to stretch from City Hall to Canada. We need to study using drone technology and innovative solutions to get sidewalk sheds down while keeping New Yorkers safe.”

One hurdle facing the proposed drone-inspection measure is a 1948 city law, initially intended for airplanes and helicopters, that would prohibit the use of drones within the city.

New York Post New York can end its insane scaffolding plague by New York Post Editorial

New York can end its insane scaffolding plague

City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-UES) has a couple of bills to force landlords to take scaffolding down more rapidly, but the real estate industry fights furiously to avoid the added costs.

What’s needed is leadership to forge some compromise to end a mess unique to New York. If cities can avoid eternal scaffolding everywhere else in the world, it can be done here, too.

New York Post Some scaffolds in NYC have been up for more than 13 years by Georgett Roberts, Julia Marsh and Jorge Fitz-GibbonDecember

Some scaffolds in NYC have been up for more than 13 years

“It’s a quality of life problem for people who live in the buildings in the shadow of these sheds,” said city Councilman Ben Kallos, whose bill to put a timetable on sheds has lingered in committee for three years.

“There’s no reason we should have 300 miles of sidewalk sheds,” Kallos said. “We are the only city that does this. No one wants to walk under that scaffolding unless it’s raining.”

The scaffold scourge was raised Sunday by Post columnist Miranda Devine, who noted that the city has been “uglified” by the jungle of sidewalk sheds.

“It’s ugly,” agreed Crystal Gonzalez, manager at a supermarket across the street from the five-story building at 191 E. 115th St. that has been surrounded by scaffolding since December 2007.