About Ben Kallos

Endorsed by The New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013, Ben Kallos represent the East Side and Roosevelt Island in the City Council. He grew up in the neighborhood with his grandparents who fled anti-Semitism in Europe and his mother who still lives here.

MORE SCHOOL SEATS AND STEM FUNDING
Won 400 universal Pre-Kindergarten seats for the district and invested millions for STEM (Science, Technology & Math) in public schools.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION
Authored laws to prohibit outside income, limit influence of lobbyists and eliminate “legal bribery”; and investigated the Rivington nursing home scandal.

INVESTING IN BETTER PARKS
Secured more than $150 million to rehabilitate and expand the East River Esplanade with Congressmember Maloney.

HOLDING THE MTA ACCOUNTABLE
Helped open the 2nd Avenue Subway on-time with Governor Cuomo, secured three East Side ferry stops, added off-board payment to M79 and M86, and won 79 new buses for the M15.

EXPANDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Won two consecutive rent freezes for 1.1 million rent-stabilized tenants and passed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing.

CLEANING UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Purchased 300 new trash cans to keep more than 100 intersections clean and litter free.

OPPOSING THE MARINE TRANSFER STATION
Exposed high costs, moved the ramp, and limited to only using one-third of capacity to keep 300 trucks off our roads—let’s dump the dump.

Stop Super-Scrapers

Please preserve our community so that everyone can keep their right to light and air by rezoning our neighborhood to maintain density but preserving context by replacing R10 that allows buildings of unlimited height with a contextual height cap of 210 feet, through R10A or R10X, the tallest height caps allowed under residential zoning.

Updates

Press Coverage
Thursday, December 21, 2017

Los residentes de El Barrio ahora podrán beneficiarse de los programas educativos y servicios comunitarios de la exclusiva escuela Marymount School, situada en el número 20 de la lista de las mejores escuelas privadas de la ciudad de Nueva York de 2018, según el ranking del sitio web Niche.

La educación de un solo estudiante en algunas de las escuelas de ese listado puede costar hasta $50,000 al año; sin embargo, en East Harlem, muchos padres trabajadores no superan los $40, 000 en ingresos anuales, como el mexicano Marcelo Suárez, un empleado de restaurante y residente del vecindario por más de una década.

“Trabajo duro para darles a mis tres hijos educación de calidad. He tenido hasta dos trabajos para comprarles útiles escolares y todo lo que necesitan. Quisiera hacer más por ellos, ayudarlos a que logren sus sueños, aprovechar cualquier oportunidad que los ayude a mejorar”, dijo Suárez, de 43 años.

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Press Coverage
Our Town
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The street, bisecting the site of the long-demolished Jacob Ruppert and Co. Knickerbocker Brewery, has been closed to vehicular traffic for 42 years and serves as an open-air community space.

Officially named James Cagney Place, for the song-and-dance man who grew up on East 96th Street, it is the hill where a 5-year boy named Ben

Kallos once played in the puddles on a rainy day with other local kids.

Now, he’s the 36-year-old City Council member representing the area, and he’s never stopped coming to the block — a “staple of childhood on the Upper East Side,” he calls it — especially for sledding after a snow.

“This portion of East 91st Street has been a closed play street for longer than I have been alive,” Kallos added.

In recent years, that status appeared to be in doubt: A possible threat to the landscaped, red-brick pedestrian plaza-and-walkway suddenly loomed on the horizon — the city’s planned Marine Transfer Station.

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On Tuesday, the Council approved Intro 1015-A, a bill sponsored by Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Jumaane Williams, with input from Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, to hold building owners who receive tax abatements accountable to the city.

Starting in 2020, landlords who aren’t providing affordable apartments after they have received financial windfalls in the form of city financing or tax breaks will be required to register their units with the city.

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The goal of the legislation is to make the housing lottery application and search process more efficient and transparent for renters. Applicants would be able to track their application’s progress online and see their place on the waiting lists. By 2021, residents will be able to verify if the rent landlords are charging is legal.

Council Member Benjamin Kallos, who was a lead sponsor on the bill, called Housing Connect “incredibly broken” because it doesn’t match renters with available units. Following the passage of Kallos’ bill, the HPD said it will upgrade and expand the capabilities of their website.

The final version of the bill does help the city enforce rent limits for apartments that are not income-restricted, although Kallos originally hoped to apply it to other rent-regulated units. Aaron Carr of the nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative told the WSJ that renters in rent-stabilized suffer the most under the new bill. “Tens of thousands of units in the buildings receiving those 

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Press Coverage
Thursday, December 21, 2017

coming to the rescue is Council Member Ben Kallos, whose bill has just been passed. The bill seeks to turn down the volume during the off hours that construction sites aren't taking off, whether it be on the Upper East Side or across the East River in Queens or back across to Manhattan's West Side where construction seems never-ending.

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The bill also cuts in half the amount of noise allowed to come from a construction site when work is being done before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

"New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but that shouldn't be because of after-hours construction noise waking you up," City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said in a statement. "Our new law will turn down the volume on after hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods."

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Press Release

 Council Passes Bill Requiring Department of Education to Report The Number of Children Turned Away from Neighborhood Public Schools
 
Geographic Diversity Would Be Added as Measure for Public Schools
 

New York, NY – Today the City Council passed legislation forcing the Department of Education to report the number of children from each neighborhood who apply to attend a particular school, the number of seats available at each school, how many offers of admission were made, and total enrollment in all public schools. The legislation authored by Council Member Ben Kallos will show the current geographic diversity in NYC schools, whether there are sufficient numbers of school seats in each neighborhood, and how many children are being turned away from the public school system because the City lacks the capacity to allow children to attend school in the neighborhood in which they live. 

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Press Release

New York, NY – On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, the New York City Council passed several bills endorsed by the Progressive Caucus in its current session policy platform. Including the bills passed today, the Caucus and its members have sponsored and advocated for the passage of nearly 50 bills representing crucial advancements in progressive issues including tenant safety, workers’ rights, affordable housing, and community safety.

The bills passed today endorsed through the Progressive Caucus’ Current Session ‘Advancement Agenda’ include: (1) Community Land Trusts (I. 1269), which amends the administrative code of NYC as it relates to creation of regulatory agreements with community land trusts; (2) Asthma Allergens (I. 385), which calls to regulate indoor asthma allergen hazards in residential dwelling and pest management; (3) Right to Request Flexible Schedule (I. 1399), which protects employees who seek temporary changes to their work schedule for personal events and certain scheduling changes; (4) Right to Know Act, a legislative package that aims to protect the civil rights of New Yorkers while promoting communication, transparency and accountability for everyday interactions between NYPD and the public; and (5) Automatic Benefits (I. 855), which would support a study regarding the feasibility and cost of utilizing City administrative data to determine individuals who are likely eligible for public assistance and to provide electronic notices of eligibility. The nearly 50 passed bills endorsed by the Caucus are listed at the end of the release.

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

It’s no secret that New York is an obnoxious place—it’s known as the city that never sleeps for good reason. But any resident here will tell you that they absolutely cherish their beauty sleep. 

On Tuesday, the City Council passed a measure aimed at keeping Gothamites from being woken from their peaceful slumbers. The legislation, dubbed the Noise Complaint Response Act, proposes more strict standards and oversight on construction crews that operate after hours (between 6pm and 7am).

Introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, the measure would require the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to more thoroughly inspect and respond to late-night noise complaints. Currently, crews working overnight are forbidden from creating noise that exceeds 85 decibels within 200 feet of a residential building. This legislation forces that figure to drop to 75 decibels in 2020 and removes some barriers that prevent the DEP from investigating noise complaints. 

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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.

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