New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Post

New York Post School chancellor afraid mock elections would cause bullying by Michael Gartland

School chancellor afraid mock elections would cause bullying

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said Wednesday she is concerned that holding mock presidential elections in schools could lead to the type of bullying common in the real race for the White House.

New York Post Councilman wants closing churches converted to schools by Rich Calder

Councilman wants closing churches converted to schools

A Manhattan legislator says the possible downsizing of Catholic churches in the Big Apple could provide desperately needed space to the public school system.

City Councilman Ben Kallos fired off a letter last week to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo urging them to consider acquiring churches that might come on the market.

“Although we wish to avoid the closings, they present a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to build new schools,” said Kallos.

New York Post Even de Blasio is projecting a homeless increase next year by Michael Gartland

Even de Blasio is projecting a homeless increase next year

New Yorkers who say they’re seeing a lot more homeless on the streets better brace for next year — when even the de Blasio administration is projecting an increase.

The numbers are contained in small type in the mayor’s Management Report, which predicts that 3,350 individuals will be sleeping “on the streets, in parks, under highways, on subways, and in the public transportation stations in New York City.”

New York Post De Blasio’s affordable-housing plan doesn’t have many backers by Michael Gartland

De Blasio’s affordable-housing plan doesn’t have many backers

“I share the mayor’s goal for affordability, but have concerns about the lack of mixed-income developments proposed in the plan,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan).

“A middle-income family should still have somewhere to live in this city. They’re not provided for in the mayor’s plan.”

New York Post De Blasio's legal department pressured to file cases online by Julia Marsh

De Blasio's legal department pressured to file cases online

Manhattan Democrat Ben Kallos wrote to the city’s Law Department on Monday after reading an exclusive story in The Post about how the agency paid InSync Litigation Services $1.2 million over the past five years to deliver legal papers by hand when it could have filed them online for free.

 

  

New York Post Councilman wants de Blasio to combat illegal hotels by Michael Gartland

Councilman wants de Blasio to combat illegal hotels

A Manhattan councilman is calling on Mayor de Blasio to do more to combat illegal hotels, saying they pose a threat to tourists and neighbors alike.

In a Feb. 16 letter to the city’s Department of Information Technology, Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos urged the agency to provide more public information on complaints about illegal hotels and apartment owners that use sites like Airbnb and requested that 311 create a specific category for people to lodge complaints.

New York Post NYC City Council Schedules Hear Over Airbnb Safety Concerns by Bruce Golding

NYC City Council Schedules Hear Over Airbnb Safety Concerns

City Council members want to grill the subletting service Airbnb about fears renters could die in a fire while struggling to flee an unfamiliar apartment.

“We need to ensure Airbnb is not putting profit over people by allowing listings that cram too many tourists into apartments far too small to guarantee their safe escape from danger,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side).

The council’s Housing and Buildings Committee has scheduled a Jan. 20 hearing over “short-term rentals” arranged through Airbnb and other sites.

In a recent affidavit, an FDNY official said that, unlike hotels, apartments being illegally used for “transient occupancy” don’t offer visitors a “detailed fire-safety and evacuation plan.”

An Airbnb spokesman said the company was “eager to participate” in the hearing, and insisted, “We take safety seriously.”

New York Post Hail, Hail, the Cab's All Here by Post Editorial Board

Hail, Hail, the Cab's All Here

Note the latest proposal from freshman City Councilmember Ben Kallos. The Upper East Side Democrat wants the Taxi and Limousine Commission to approve a city-branded e-hail app. This would give yellow cabs the technology to take on Uber and others on their own turf.

Yellow cabs wouldn’t be required to use the app, but considering the impact Uber’s app has had on the traditional yellow-cab model, they would be foolish not to.

Kallos’ idea is good as far as it goes and contrasts favorably with how other municipalities have reacted to an industry disrupter like Uber. In India, for example, New Delhi has just banned Uber.

New York Post NYC cabs could get app to compete with Uber, Lyft by Yoav Gonen

NYC cabs could get app to compete with Uber, Lyft

E-hail yes!

A Manhattan lawmaker is introducing legislation Monday that would require the city to launch a universal e-hail app for yellow and green cabs — the latest salvo against app-based taxi services like Uber.

City Council Member Ben Kallos says such an app would make the old-time, hand-hail yellow and green cabs significantly more competitive against the newer car service firms.

“City taxis need an app of their own to compete, and New Yorkers need to be able to get a cab in the rain without having to worry about surge pricing,” said Kallos, who’s also a software developer.

New York Post Plan calls for free Wi-Fi kiosks on city street corners by Aaron Short

Plan calls for free Wi-Fi kiosks on city street corners

The fastest Wi-Fi in town is coming to street corners around the city — and it won’t cost a cent to use.

City officials have reached a 12-year deal to install 10,000 kiosks in all five boroughs, they said, which according to one of the private operators involved will constitute the “largest and fastest” free Internet program in the world. 

City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who has pushed to expand wireless access, said the network would encourage other cities to follow New York’s lead.

“We are nearer than ever to universal broadband in public spaces and a meaningful step toward closing the digital divide,” he said.