We've quickly picked up the "labor candidate" label. With so few pro-labor candidates running, I am the only union-side labor attorney running for City Council and one of a handful who has ever served a union. Our work with organized labor as a Chief of Staff in the Assembly, as Executive Director of New Roosevelt, and in the year since we launched our campaign has earned us endorsement letters from Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1179, Boilermakers Local Lodge No. 5, Communication Workers of America Local 1101, and Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2, which you can find at KallosForCouncil.com/Endorsements with coverage in Crain's Insider and the Daily News, and with many more to come.
|Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1179||Boilermakers Local Lodge No. 5||Communication Workers of America Local 1101||Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2|
We've also continued our trend as the only candidate to hold substantive events, with a discussion on "Labor and the 2013 Elections: Organizing for the 21st Century" featuring former Deputy Comptroller Barbara Mehlsack, a partner at Gorlick, Kravitz and Listhaus, P.C. Video of the full discussion is available below or online at KallosForCouncil.com/video.
As the "tech candidate" I am thrilled to have Cornell NYC Tech being built on Roosevelt Island, which is in our district. However, in keeping with our campaign's theme, "A Vision for the Future with the Experiece to Get It Done," we know that any new development must be "sustainable" by investing in the infrastructure necessary to support the new constituency it will bring. At the February City Planning Commission (CPC)'s Public Hearing on the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) we were the only campaign for City Council to provide testimony, which you can read here. Our testimony called for:
- Achieving sustainability by Cornell NYC Tech supporting its own infrastructure
- Rethinking long-term zoning and phasing of Cornell construction
- Making the Cornell NYC Tech Campus fully accessible for the disabled
- Amending the ULURP, which promised 20% open space, to conform with Cornell’s public promise of 35% open space
- Supporting access for bicycles and BikeShare at the Cornell NYC Tech Campus
On February 26, we took a break from the campaign to celebrate Black History month and the passage of the 15th Amendment at Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center with Youth Employment Services (YES) and General Equivalency Degree (GED) program participants, along with local residents and seniors. We presented a non-political and non-partisan program on the importance of voting. I spoke in my individual capacity as a voting rights advocate, with Gabe Gallucci, an organizer for President Obama, and civil rights leader Mark Favors. The presentation was followed by a voter registration drive, where volunteers registered new voters.
Our campaign sent a complaint to the New York State Inspector General requesting the creation of an oversight body consisting of residents and an investigation into the “unprovoked” attack of 20-year-old Roosevelt Island resident Anthony Jones by members of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, which was reported in the Daily News earlier this year.
Following our complaint, we added a "Share Your Public Safety Department (PSD) Stories" feature to our campaign site so that residents can share their stories, either publicly or privately, for submission to the Inspector General, Police, or Court.
We were also privileged to be the only City Council campaign to join the "Stop PSD Brutality Community Rally" where dozens of Roosevelt Island residents shared their stories of brutality at the hands of the officers of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation's (RIOC) Public Safety Department. The stories were as shocking as they were numerous and we hope that our complaint before the Inspector General can be one of the solutions to finally remedy years of misconduct.
|NY1 Interview at Stop PSD Brutality Community Rally||Statement on Share Your PSD Stories at Conclusion of Stop PSD Brutality Community Rally|
We are already taking action to ensure safe public transportatin, with our initiative to "Bring Back the Booths." We've continued the theme by supporting the drivers, matrons and mechanics of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1181 when they went on strike over the Employee Protection Provision (EPP). The EPP has kept our City's children safe with professionals who have the training and experience to get them to school safely every morning and evening day-in and day-out. Our campaign is about more than just sign-on letters and introducing legislation that doesn't go anywhere, we are all about results. We took to the streets by joining the picket line, marching across the Brooklyn Bridge with more than 7,000 brothers and sisters in organized labor to whom we then spoke at the rally, and were the only candidate or elected officer to call attention to an accident by a bus operator without the EPP, where 14 were injured including the driver, matron, and children.
|Picket Line with ATU Local 1181||Rally After the March with ATU Local 1181||Speaking on the Legal Decision that Lead to the Strike over the EPP|
Gorlick, Kravitz & Listhaus, P.C. hosts a fundraiser for firm alumnus City Council Candidate Benjamin J. Kallos Labor Law and the 2013 Elections: Organizing for the 21st CenturyFeaturing Partner and Former NYC Deputy Comptroller Barbara S. Mehlsack 7PM, Wednesday, February, 20th, 2013Gorlick, Kravitz & Listhaus, P.C.17 State Street, 4th Floor Contribution Appreciated. All Are Welcome. Limited Space is Available. Please Buy Tickets or RSVP to financekallosforcouncil [dot] com
Over MLK Weekend I was proud to honor his legacy as a freedom fighter by leading a teach-in and action at Money Out / Voters In as Executive Director of New Roosevelt, a sponsor along with Common Cause, Demos, Citizen Action, MoveOn, Public Citizen, SEUI 32BJ, TWU Local 100, UFT, Move to Amend and many others. You can read more in this Sunday's Newsday.
Our campaign is dedicated to transparency. While most campaign barely have more than a donation site with a short about page we are demonstrating our commitment with the first "open platform" where you can suggest your own solutions and vote on those of others. But we didn't invent the idea.
In memory of Aaron Swartz, O'Reilly Media has made its Open Government book available for free. With materials written by Tim O'Reilly, Carl Malamud, Beth Noveck, Micah Sifry, Ellen Miller, Aaron Schwartz, and even President Barack Obama, you'll soon understand the importance of transparency and electing someone who understand the importance of an open campaign, let alone an open government.
Please sign our petition calling for the return of subway booth and their clerks on the Upper East Side. Fox News and DNAinfo.com recently reported on the Transportation Committee of Community Board 8 Manhattan where residents called for a restoration of subway booth and their clerks which many believe has lead to malfunctioning MetroCard vending machines. To volunteer on this project send an electronic mail to ActionKallosForCouncil [dot] com.
Please join our campaign for a better City by reinventing the payphone as part of a design challenge by Mayor Bloomberg, the Chief Digital Officer, and DoITT. Payphones currently generate $17.7 million in annual revenue with $1.2 million from calls and an overwhelming $15.9 from advertising, both of which are shared with the City that receives 36% or $6.3 million. The contest seeks to rethink design for better aesthetics, sustainability, and new infrastructure to support growing community needs while improving annual revenue. As the only "tech" candidate for City Council, once elected we will continue to support and pursue innovative contests like these as we rethink the City of New York. Submissions are due February 18th, with information sessions starting January 23. You can learn more at nyc.gov/reinventpayphones.