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.
“We’re here to stop the parade of super-scrapers across 57th Street,” Kallos said. “Draw the line at a residential neighborhood.”
New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, said, “I commend FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and BFJ Planning for undertaking this thoughtful, responsive study. Our diverse neighborhoods are threatened by a perfect storm of development interests and outdated zoning laws. By acting now and working cooperatively with the City, together we can preserve local character and build contextually and sustainably to benefit the community.”
The Healthy Happy Meals bill, proposed by NYC council member Benjamin Kallos, would require that fast-food meals marketed with toys or other merchandise meant for kids include a serving of fruit, vegetables or whole grain, with no more than 35% of calories coming from fat. Furthermore, the meals must contain fewer than 10% of calories from saturated fat or added sugar, and they can’t have more than 600 milligrams of sodium.
To determine whether those changes would affect how children eat, a team of researchers from New York University analyzed receipts from 358 purchases made at McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants in the NYC area. The purchases included 422 meals for children. Not surprisingly, the NYU researchers found that 98% of the meals did not meet the proposed guidelines, according to the paper, published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. On average, adults purchased 600 calories per child, and 36% of those calories came from fat.
One of the bills introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos, the committee chair, would require the Department of Education, which is already under a requirement to provide voter registration information to graduating seniors, to receive such material from the Board of Elections in other languages, based on schools' student population.
Kim, a New Jersey native pursuing a degree in economics, interned with New York City Council member Ben Kallos this past summer, and she’s received a number of awards at Barnard, like the Jo Greene Iwabe Prize and the SGA Leadership Award, an award presented to students who display responsibility in building a community at Barnard.
Where can principals turn if they are not getting the support they need?
Under the old network system, there was an element of competition among the support networks. If principals were not pleased with their support, they could turn to one of the other networks if it was not already overburdened.
Council member Benjamin Kallos noted that under the new system, most schools don’t have a choice about who to turn to for help. He asked officials how they planned to handle principals who felt they are not getting what they need.
DOT already maps NYPD crash data for all streets citywide, albeit by intersection, so we know the streets where crashes occur. What the public doesn’t know is whether police are concentrating enforcement in areas where it’s most needed to prevent crashes. In 2014 Council Member Ben Kallos introduced a bill to require the city to release and map data on all moving violations — including date, time, and latitude and longitude coordinates — to be published at least once a month. Though Rodriguez is listed as a co-sponsor of the Kallos bill, it went nowhere.
The New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations held a hearing today to address the City’s dismal voter registration and turnoutnumbers. The legislation discussed improves the distribution and tracking of voterregistration forms, promotes absentee voting, and decreases the barriers to entry for those seeking to register.
"In 2016, New Yorkers will have at least four opportunities to vote: three separate primaries and a general election. Implementing these reforms ahead of the 2016 election will broaden the voter pool and allow more individuals to participate in our democracy,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations.
Last night as Hurricane Joaquin approached the East Coast, New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito joined Council Member Ben Kallos at the site of previous Superstorm Sandy flooding to train nearly 100 residents on preparing for emergencies and to distribute free Go Bags.
Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, also has tracked improvement on the issue, thanks to a summer of work to address what he sees as one of the most pressing issues in his district.
Kallos said a renewed focus from officers in the 19th Precinct has resulted in a 52% increase in enforcement actions against bikes and a corresponding 18% drop in bike and vehicle collisions.
Working with his office, the Department of Transportation has given away 10,500 bells and 10,100 lights to bikers.
“This is something we’ve taken very seriously,” Kallos said in an interview. “A lot of this revolves around residents feeling empowered to do something.”
Yet while numbers from police and the new survey show improvement on the issue, it has yet to filter down to how people feel in the street. The September meeting of Wallerstein’s group, for instance, was dominated by the issue, with a number of speakers expressing frustration that bikers who break traffic laws or ride the wrong way seem rarely get punished.
Wallerstein said the emotion surrounding the issue springs from fear, particularly among older New Yorkers, few of whom are riding the bikes that are now crowding the streets.
“It’s very, very frightening,” she said. “The biker knows he can easily get around. But elderly people can’t do that.”
Wallerstein said her group is planning another bike survey in the neighborhood next month.
Kallos welcomed the input. “Unless the community steps up to the plate,” he said, “there will never be an end in sight.”