New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Michael Rock

Kings County Politics Electeds, Experts Split over Handling Graffiti by Michael Rock

Electeds, Experts Split over Handling Graffiti

After grilling De Blasio’s decision on CBS News, City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) expressed that it is possible to clean the graffiti without resorting to broken windows policing. “Graffiti doesn’t lead to violence. The theory of broken windows was disproven a long time ago,” said Kallos.

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“Our local government has a very basic responsibility to keep our City clean,” said Kallos. “Removing graffiti from public places and property should be covered in our City’s $86 billion budget, but if the Mayor is not going to do it, the least I can do is clean the neighborhood I represent.”   

New York County Politics Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 27, 2020 by Michael Rock

Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 27, 2020

Kallos, Adams Want Healthier City Meals

Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos

Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, East Harlem) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D) announced legislation Wednesday mandating nutritional standards for free city-funded delivery and  “grab and go meals,” the Gotham Gazette reported.

The bill came after reports emerged showing that many of these important meals lacked substance.

“Candy and potato chips and Bugles and things like that. That is a sometimes treat,” said Kallos. “That is not something that is part of a core diet and we need to make sure that for those who don’t have a choice in the matter or literally relying on the city for their food, that we are providing them with healthy options so that if they eat that diet, they will not only be healthy but lose weight.”

New York County Politics Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 13, 2020 by Michael Rock

Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 13, 2020

Assemblymember Dan Quart (Upper East Side, Midtown East) arranged a free mask giveaway Wednesday morning from nine to ten at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza with City Councilmember Keith Powers (D-Midtown East, Upper East Side, Murray Hill), Patch reported Tuesday.

He will host another Friday at the same time in Carl Schurz Park. Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, East Harlem) and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island) will accompany him.

New York County Politics Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 7, 2020 by Michael Rock

Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 7, 2020

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

After Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) announced a plan to lay off numerous doctors, police officers, and teachers to balance the city budget Wednesday, numerous city officials rebuked him, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) and Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, East Harlem) represented Manhattan in calling for the mayor to preserve these important jobs and instead cut ThriveNYC, a controversial $1 billion mental health program headed by De Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray.

“At a time when city workers are on the frontline of the pandemic, the mayor should not threaten their livelihoods in this way,” said Stringer. “From ballooning contracts to runaway spending without results, I have said repeatedly that agencies can find greater savings without harming our workers.”

New York County Politics Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Apr. 27, 2020 by Michael Rock

Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Apr. 27, 2020

Kallos Blasts DOE’s iPad Investment

Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos

The city Department of Education’s investment into remote schooling included over $269 million in iPads for students, the New York Post reported Saturday.  Each of the 300,000 iPads and key services for them cost $897.

Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, East Harlem) criticized the investment, saying they could have spent less on laptops that had more utility for learning, and called it “a waste of money.”

“For what they spent on an iPad, they could have bought a full functioning laptop for every kid in the system,” Kallos said. “Instead, we got a bunch of iPads which don’t really create equity when families have laptops and broadband.”

New York County Politics Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup by Michael Rock

Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup

Kallos Promotes Electronic Voter Registration

Council Member Ben Kallos

Council Member Ben Kallos

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more lawmakers to consider electronic voter registration as an option, Gothamist reported Tuesday.

As the piece explains, a current bill from State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Michael Blake (D-Bronx) grew out a push by City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East, Sutton Place, East Harlem) to allow residents of the five boroughs to register to vote online. Despite the bill passing into law, the city’s Board of Elections would not honor online registrations because the city Campaign Finance Board created the system. 

“While we’re telling everyone to just stay home, it’s wrong to still require people to print out a voter registration form, fill it out by hand, get a postage stamp, go to a post office, expose themselves to mail it, when we could just as easily do it online,” Kallos told Gothamist. “And then, similarly, it’s a little bit crazy that we would require very low-wage workers at the Board of Elections, often making minimum wage, to go in at a time like this and literally transcribe what people hand write into a computer, when we could just skip the step…let people enter it from home and keep everybody safe during the process.”