New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Wall Street Journal More Pre-K Seats Planned for Upper East Side by Leslie Brody

More Pre-K Seats Planned for Upper East Side

Wall Street JournalBen Kallos, a Democratic councilman who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, has pushed for more pre-K seats there for years, often sending photos of empty storefronts that could serve as centers to the Department of Education. Mr. Kallos said private pre-K in that area typically starts at $24,000 per child yearly, and getting a free public seat lets parents keep working and stay in the city.

“My only concern is that this is an incredibly popular program and it will continue to be a victim of its own success as more and more parents apply,” and demand will keep outpacing supply, he said.

 

 

 

Wall Street Journal: Bill Seeking Transparency in Affordable Housing Passes New York City Council by Cezary Podkul

Bill Seeking Transparency in Affordable Housing Passes New York City Council

Applicants also would be able to track the progress of their applications and see where they are on waiting lists to rent units, which are awarded by lottery. By 2021, residents also would be able to verify with the city that they are being charged a legal rent.

The legislation is meant to make the application and search process more transparent and efficient, said the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

“I want to make it more like StreetEasy or Zillow,” Mr. Kallos said, referring to the popular housing search websites.

The city already runs a website that helps tenants find income-restricted apartments, NYC Housing Connect, but Mr. Kallos said it is “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t do enough to match tenants with available units.

Wall Street Journal: New York City Landlords Soon Could Be Required to Post Energy Ratings by Josh Barbanel

New York City Landlords Soon Could Be Required to Post Energy Ratings

Large buildings across New York will have to post letter grades in their lobbies disclosing their energy efficiency, if a measure before the City Council passes.

The new rating system is modeled after the ubiquitous grades for sanitation posted in restaurant windows across New York.

The proposal is part of a package of quality-of-life measures due to be taken up by the City Council on Tuesday, at its final scheduled meeting of the year.

A second measure is designed to limit noisy after-hours construction that has led to complaints in residential neighborhoods, especially on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The report card bill was approved by the council’s environmental protection committee on Monday. It requires both commercial and residential buildings with more than 50,000 square feet to post a notice near each building entrance.

The notice would include the posting of a federal energy efficiency rating already required under existing law, and a simplified letter grade from A-D  (or F for some buildings that fail to file) beginning in 2020.

Council member Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan, the lead sponsor of the bill, said he expected it to pass the council easily. He said it would allow commercial tenants and residential renters and owners to pressure building owners for improvements.

“We think that a market-driven approach here will help encourage more efficient buildings,” said Mr. Garodnick, whose tenure on the council ends this month because of term limits. “We think it will foster a higher level of engagement.”

 

Wall Street Journal New York City Council Halts Midtown Tower Construction by Josh Barbanel

New York City Council Halts Midtown Tower Construction

Mr. Kalikow put much of the blame for the shutdown on the local councilman, Ben Kallos, a Democrat. Mr. Kallos signed the application for the zoning change, along with the East River 50s Alliance, and pressed officials to expedite it.

Mr. Kallos’s support was crucial in the council as other members followed his lead on the issue, a courtesy usually extended on local land-use issues.

“I take full credit for it,” Mr. Kallos said, after hearing of Mr. Kalikow’s complaints. He said the developer is welcome to pursue his rights under the law, but that eventually he might find there already are too many super-tall buildings “intended for billionaires.”

Wall Street Journal NYC Councilman To Propose Free Babysitting by Mara Gay

NYC Councilman To Propose Free Babysitting

It’s really hard to get parents to come to community-board meetings,” he said in a phone interview. “Along with that comes a lack of diversity in the people I see involved in government and politics.”

There isn’t yet a cost estimate for the legislation, Mr. Kallos said. The measure would require the city to provide child care upon request through the Administration for Children’s Services, the child-welfare agency.

Wall Street Journal Fight Over Trump Tower Bench Sparks Effort to Crack Down on Public Spaces by Josh Barbanel

Fight Over Trump Tower Bench Sparks Effort to Crack Down on Public Spaces

Council member Ben Kallos of Manhattan, a sponsor of the legislation, said the attention surrounding Mr. Trump’s campaign led to enforcement efforts that other buildings had escaped. Council member Daniel Garodnick is also a sponsor of the legislation.

Wall Street Journal Stop-Work Order Lifted at Site of Manhattan Condo Tower by Josh Barbanel

Stop-Work Order Lifted at Site of Manhattan Condo Tower

Carnegie Hill Neighbors, a preservation group said it planned to file an administrative appeal, and is preparing to go to court if necessary to stop the project.

“I am not sure what kind of building you can build on a 10-by-22-foot lot but I sure wouldn’t want to live there,’ said Council member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, who is opposing the project.

Wall Street Journal Alchemy and the Art of New York City Property Development by Josh Barbanel

Alchemy and the Art of New York City Property Development

But community critics aren’t mollified. “Six feet doesn’t make a difference,” said New York City Council member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat. “An unbuildable 10-foot lot must not give rise to an illegal skyscraper," he said.

Wall Street Journal Community Groups on Manhattan’s East Side Fight Proposed 950-foot Tower by Josh Barbanel

Community Groups on Manhattan’s East Side Fight Proposed 950-foot Tower

The plan, which the groups and officials said they were ready to formally propose to the City Planning Commission as early as this week, calls for buildings in the neighborhood to be no taller than 260 feet.

“I want to stop the march of 1,000-foot towers into residential neighborhoods,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat who is supporting the zoning change.

The groups hope it is approved before development work begins at the site. The proposed change also could discourage bidders at the auction, which was ordered by the court following a dispute between Bauhouse Group and its lenders, led by N. Richard Kalikow.

The zoning change isn’t the only hurdle the project faces. On Wednesday, the Department of Buildings blocked a permit needed to complete demolition of the site, after conducting an audit requested by Mr. Kallos.

The delay is a further setback, since the demolition was intended to enhance the site’s value to potential bidders.

The permit application, submitted as a result of a bankruptcy court order, was for stabilizing a building next door to the tower site, so demolition could proceed. But the buildings department blocked it.

Mr. Kallos said he was told that plans to protect tenants of the building, 426 E. 58th St., weren’t adequate.

Wall Street Journal New York City Voters Wait in Long Lines at Polling Sites by Josh Dawsey

New York City Voters Wait in Long Lines at Polling Sites

Even before dawn broke in New York City on Tuesday, the lines of voters stretched down the block.

With reports of high voter turnout, some voters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens said they waited hours to cast their ballots. Officials reported broken scanner machines and confusion at some polling sites.

“There were massive, massive lines and fire-code issues because so many people couldn’t get inside,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, referring to a polling site on the Upper East Side.

Still, early indications showed that the city’s Board of Elections had fewer problems Tuesday, compared with the presidential primaries in April.