For New York City Council
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: August 30, 2013
MANHATTAN’S DISTRICT 5 (Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island): A few months ago, this race looked as if it would be an easy win for Assemblyman Micah Kellner. Then came the accusations against him of sexual harassment — charges now being investigated by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics in Albany. Fortunately, there is a better candidate in this race: Ben Kallos, a lawyer and activist. Mr. Kallos has government experience as a legislative aide in Albany, where he worked to begin putting voting records online. He has impressive proposals to help students who attend the City University of New York by forgiving college loans to those who work and stay in the city, and to require developers to build more affordable apartments to get tax abatements. He wants to expand broadband service and revisit congestion pricing. Ben Kallos brings fresh ideas and merits this seat.
Confronted with corruption in Albany, Ben put voting records online so New Yorkers could finally hold politicians accountable.
Since then he's run a government reform organization that successfully removed corruption from government and served as Policy Director for former Public Advocate Mark Green.
Ben grew up on the Upper East Side with his grandparents, who fled anti-Semitism in Europe and his mother who still lives here, and who Ben currently supports in her battle against Parkinson's disease.
Graduating from Bronx Science, Ben knows that our public schools are more than just budget line. he also attended SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he paid his own way.
In the Council, Ben will promote transparency to ensure every dollar gets spent to improve your qulaity of life - from affordable housing to senior services to better schools.
Protecting Your Quality of Life
- Fought corruption by making voting records easily accessible online
- Forced developers to invest in the community
- Supported seniors by advocating for home and community care to keep them healthy and independent
- Protected residents and businesses along the 2nd Avenue subway construction by advocating for safety and helping to draft small business grants legislation
- Improved education by supporting new schools
- Committed to fighting the Marine Transfer Station on 91st Street
As a member of the City Council, he will represent you in the Fifth District, be open and accountable to you, and put the focus back on issues of utmost importance to the community, succeeding Councilmember Jessica Lappin as she runs for Manhattan Borough President.
Banks and related financial companies have accumulated more than $3 million in unpaid fines for failing to clean up dirty properties around New York City, the I-Team has found.
Many of the properties are foreclosed homes that spiraled into disrepair after the housing crisis of 2007 and 2008.
Helene Van Clief lives across the street from one of the derelict buildings. The property at 637 East 182nd Street in the Bronx is a boarded up multifamily building with broken glass and empty liquor bottles in the front yard.
Since HSBC foreclosed on the property last year, the New York City Environmental Control Board has issued the bank seven tickets for violations, including dirty sidewalks and a rodent infestation.
According to city records, HSBC has yet to pay those fines -- and more than $787,000 owed for violations related to garbage, debris and unsafe conditions at other buildings.
HSBC told the I-Team it is not the landlord of most of those properties but rather a "trustee" for the real owners, investors who bought mortgage bonds associated with the buildings, and is therefore not responsible for addressing the violations in those cases.
Council Member Ben Kallos, an Upper East Side Democrat, has sponsored four bills to give the Department of Finance more tools to help collect environmental fines.
"The reality is, if you're a bank and you own a property you have to maintain it,” Kallos said.
Kallos blames a sort of corporate shell game for difficulties collecting on violations issued to financial institutions. Although banks may have central offices with well-known Manhattan addresses, when they act as trustees, they often list the addresses of each foreclosed property on city filings.
New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, who chairs the Council's governmental operations committee, have the board credit for improvements, saying that “great strides” had been made to “improve the process.”
“However, I grow concerned as 2016 approaches and the presidential election, being an election which people will come out and vote for in numbers we haven’t seen since 2012 and most likely 2008 beforehand ... that the N.Y.C. B.O.E. is not relocating staffers to problem areas where lines form,” Kallos told Capital.
“Navigating a Bureaucratic Maze to Renew Food Stamp Benefits” (news article, July 24) vividly demonstrates that it is still far too difficult for many struggling New Yorkers to get federal SNAP benefits (the new name for food stamps) to which they are entitled. That’s why we strongly support thebill proposed by City Councilman Ben Kallos that would ease the burden.
But with the projections still going up, City Councilman Ben Kallos questioned how the city estimates its legal liabilities. He said other spending needs are going unmet because of the funds reserved for litigation.
"With regard to investing in defending these frivolous lawsuits, the key issue here is: We should be seeing a return on our investment, and that should be reflected in the judgment-and-claims budget," Kallos (D-Manhattan) said.
At a July 23 meeting sponsored by City Councilman Ben Kallos to discuss a proposed 900-foot building on residential Sutton Place, Community Board 6 member Terrence O'Neal urged his residents to brush up on their knowledge of neighborhood zoning laws.
New York, NY— After reports of a Second Avenue construction worker falling and sustaining injuries, Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the East Side and Roosevelt Island, released the following statement:
New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell-Weill Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have also agreed to coordinate with the city as it upgrades the waterfront, according to City Councilman Ben Kallos.
New York-Presbyterian is currently constructing an ambulatory care center and Sloan Kettering's new outpatient cancer care facility and science and health building are also under construction.
"Revitalizing and improving the East River Esplanade has been one of my top priorities and one of the best ways to do this is to engage in active public-private partnerships, like this one with HSS," said City Councilman Ben Kallos. "Everyone benefits when the Esplanade is improved and maintained, especially in a part of the city that has one of the lowest amounts of open space.”