Blogs

January 13, 2013

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Aaron Swartz. As a progressive activist fighting for transparency and accountability in government, I have seen firsthand how damaging intimidation from the opposition can be. It's saddening that instead of being celebrated for his genius, Aaron faced prosecution aiming to silence him. He will be remembered long after his untimely passing, for he has emboldened a generation to keep pushing for open access to information. If we ever expect to fulfill the ideals upon which this country was foundws, we must have a free and open government accountable to all citizens. We must pick up where Aaron left off, and continue to breathe life into the torch of progress, so that his death will not be in vain.

Nearly 50 percent of the world's population have experienced some sort of mental health issue in their lives.  Our campaign is committed to supporting improved access to mental health.  In the meantime, if you or someone you know is currently depressed and in need of help, please call 800-LIFE-NET 24/7 to speak with someone who can help.

 

December 20, 2012

Thank you to all of you who came out to celebrate the holidays with our campaign for a better city.   Pictures from the event are available on Flickr and Facebook.

 

 

December 12, 2012

Read on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-kallos/hurrican-sandy-union-workers_b_2288688.html.

Our workers, who do so much, too often receive little recognition for their efforts, as much of their work is done out of sight. Maintenance workers, cleaners, transit workers, healthcare workers, grocers -- all have been affected by the hurricane in unseen ways, and have contributed significantly to the recovery. Join us in showing our appreciation, ask yourself these questions ...

Were you able to take the subway home Sunday evening before the hurricane?

Thank the MTA employees, members of Transit Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), who stayed late to keep the trains running until 7 p.m. and the buses until 10 p.m., instead of returning home to their families. These same workers labored tirelessly to restore services.

The worst catastrophe to strike the NYC subway in its 108 years of operation had lines running within a few days and the majority of trains resumed within two weeks, a repair effort recognized as 'bordering on magic' (Flegenheimer). Thousands of overtime hours on the part of transit workers were required for this achievement.

Were you able to get last minute supplies at your local grocery or corner store?

Thank the members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), who stayed late and kept the shelves stocked.

UFCW Local 1,500 employees at stores like Fairway and Key Foods remained at work providing essentials to New York City residents rather than returning immediately home as the hurricane approached. These workers and others maintained supply lines even in Lower Manhattan, where road closures and flooding made transportation nearly impossible.

Was your home or office repaired and reopened quickly?

Thank our doormen, maintenance workers, and superintendents, many of whom belong to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ. Also, thank our school maintenance workers who helped create and maintain shelters for those displaced by the hurricane.

Hundreds of building workers stayed with residents during the hurricane instead of returning to their own families. Their efforts were invaluable in repairing and cleaning these buildings after Sandy. One 32BJ member, building manager John Coyne, remained on site after residents were evacuated, caring for their property and their pets (Barron).

Did you have electricity throughout the storm, or was electricity quickly restored?

Thank Con Edison's workers, members of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Locals 1-2, and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Though outages persist, IBEW and UWUA employees have worked 12+ hour shifts, often six or more days a week, repairing infrastructure. UWUA members who have lost their homes and even family members continue to work to return power to our businesses and homes.

Was your home or business kept safe while you were away, or did you receive help from one of the countless officers and firefighters who remain stationed in affected areas?

Thank the police officers of the NYPD, represented by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, as well as your local firefighters, represented by the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) 94.

145 Firefighters in Queens subdued a three-alarm fire in residential neighborhoods spread by the hurricane winds (Dolnick and Kilgannon), and the efforts of thousands of New York's police officers protected people and property, preventing the predicted increase in crime following the disaster.

Do you know anyone displaced by the storm and given shelter in a New York hotel?

Thank our hotel workers who care for them, many of who belong to the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (NYHTC).

34,000 residents of New York and New Jersey received emergency shelter in hotels (Maxwell). Thousands of NYHTC workers, who represent 75 percent of the hotel sector in NYC, cared for them during their stay.

Did you or someone you know receive medical attention during the hurricane?

Voice your appreciation for the nurses, doctors, and other healthcare staff, members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the SEIU Doctors Council, and SEIU 1199, who cared for patients throughout Hurricane Sandy.

As flood waters washed over the streets, hundreds of medical staff, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers evacuated 1,200 patients from Manhattan's NYU Langone Medical Center, Bellevue, and VA hospitals, as well as Coney Island Hospital (Evans). These are only a few of the contributions from our healthcare workers during this emergency.

Listed here are only a handful of examples of New York City's workers demonstrating their commitment to this City and it's residents. While electrical workers, roofers, plumbers, bricklayers, water utility workers, and many others work to rebuild our streets and structures, teachers, healthcare workers, transit workers, and sanitation workers strive to return services.

Though their efforts are not always seen, in times of emergency, our City depends on our workers' courage, strength and dedication.

Recognize these efforts. Thank our workers.

Rerferences

Barron, James. "Defier of Police and Storm, Tender of Residents' Cats and Fish." City Room Blog(November 13, 2012). The New York Times Online. Accessed November 14, 2012.

Dolnick, Sam and Corey Kilgannon. "Wind-Driven Flames Reduce Scores of Homes to Embers in Queens Enclave." New York Times Online (October 30, 2012). Accessed November 12, 2012.

Evans, Heidi. "No Date Set to Reopen Hospitals that Evacuated During Hurricane Sandy." NY Daily News Online (November 11, 2012). Accessed November 12, 2012.

Flegenheimer, Matt. "New York Subway Repairs Border 'on the Edge of Magic'." The New York Times Online (November 8, 2012). Accessed November 8, 2012.

Maxwell, Judy. "Hotels Filled to Capacity in Wake of Hurricane Sandy." Asian Hospitality Online (November, 2012). Accessed November 12, 2012.

 

July 21, 2012

 

Today I went to support Con Ed workers as they protested outside CEO Kevin Burke’s house on 86th street and York Avenue. These men and women are among the 8,500 workers that have been locked out since the beginning of July after failing to reach a fair and equitable contract with Con Ed. Now New York State must provide unemployment insurance to all 8,500 workers amounting to as much as $430 per week. When you do the math, that means every week, $3,655,000 of taxpayer money is being used for unemployment payments.

This brings us to a question that a lot have been asking; if all of the workers are locked out, who is doing their job? Con Ed is forcing managers to fill the empty jobs. Three managers have already been severely burned, demonstrating the danger in forcing managers to do jobs for which they likely do not have the proper training. According to the New York Post, Con Ed also has been hiding the locations of black outs from the press. By keeping people in the dark about this (no pun intended), Con Ed is endangering the lives of many citizens, especially those who need electricity the most.

As I walked to meet Benjamin Kallos, a candidate for city council representing District 5 at the protest, I was bombarded with flyers and handouts with the titles “Stop Rewarding (Power) Failure”, “Dump Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke”, and “Con Ed To New Yorkers: Drop Dead!” Spirits were high among the protesters who are resisting Con Ed’s efforts to divide the union on the issue of health care and pensions. I wormed my way through the crowd of people wearing Tee- shirts with the words “If we go out, the lights go out!” on the back, and finally met up with Ben.

Soon I joined in the protest and learned from one protester that:

 

We are not on strike. We have been locked out. Con Ed has locked 8,500 union employees out, which means that they are not bargaining in good faith for a contract so they have decided not to have us employed anymore. We are not on strike. We are protesting to get our jobs back. We want to go back to work. We want a contract.

 

Con Ed has made a new offer to the union, which it has released to the press today. However, the protesters were less than pleased that Con Ed seemed to be bargaining in public instead of at the bargaining table. They are hopeful of reaching a fair contract soon and of restoring “the integrity of the City’s power system”, as we all are. 

 

July 19, 2012

Volunteer Gardening with Carl Schurz Park Conservancy

Saturday, July 21, 2012
10AM – 2PM (Weather Permitting)
Carl Schurz Park, Garden on 86th Street Mall at East End Avenue
(Students or children who wish to participate must be accompanied by an adult or parent with whom they work.)

Summer Sounds: Steve Shaiman and Swingtime Big Band
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
7PM - 8:30PM (Weather Permitting)
Carl Schurz Park, John Finley Walk,
(East 86th Street staircase, overlooking the East River. 
Limited seating on a first come, first served basis)

Sunset Film Festival: Happy Feet
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
8:30PM (Weather Permitting)
(Kids, come early and visit the Scribble Press 
table and find your inner fishy artist!)

Learn More About the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy and Events at http://CarlSchurzParkNYC.org

 

 

July 18, 2012

Join 400 New Yorkers for NYC Camp (pronounced “nice camp”) hosted at Columbia University’s Faculty House from Thursday, July 19, 2012 through Monday, July 23, 2012.  Some programs of interest are a Newbie/Beginner Training, a Job Fair and the Higher Education Summit.

I will be presenting at the Non Profit Summit on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 1PM: “Nonprofit? There's an App for That! Drupal Modules for Activism, Donations and other Nonprofit Needs”

Please register for your free training before all the spaces fill up.

 

 

July 16, 2012

Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 17 at 5:30PM at 4 Irving Place off 14th Street, please join me, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York City Central Labor Council in a rally to support more than 8,500 Con Edison workers who have been locked out of their jobs for more than 2 weeks since July 1.

Public safety must be the top priority.  We survived one heat wave, with injuries to three managers.  With 95 degree weather in store for New York City in the coming days Con Edison must end the lockout in order to avoid any possible economic or physical injury let alone fatalities that could result from short or long term power loss.

Con Edison has stopped reporting power outages.  If your power goes out and you still have smart phone service please tweet the location with the hashtag #BlackOutNYC

 

July 3, 2012

 

Today’s public finance filing placed our campaign for a better city in the lead to deliver on our mission for a better city.  Nearly 350 of you raised almost $35,000 for this effort and as an investment in our future.  Based on today’s filing we will be eligible to receive $65,040 in public funds for what will be a total of nearly $100,000 that can be used in this election.  We still have a ways to go, and will need to raise another $90,000, but being more than a quarter of the way there so early in the process is a testament to your comment to a progressive campaign for meaningful change.


Thank you for your support in putting our campaign in the lead for this important milestone!

 

June 29, 2012

 

As always, I try to save the best for last and we’ve got three events coming up in the next two weeks.  While the election is in 2013, this July will be my first filing, and will be used by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, community groups, news media, and others to determine the credibility of my candidacy.  Your early support matters!

Tech Event

Please join Raj Goel of BrainLink and Charles Rawls of BadWolf Partners for a tech event:

Wednesday, June 27, 2010
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
BadWolf Partners
36-19 Starr Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101

The event will feature a menu that is as creative as my campaign for City Council:

  • Vodka infused cherry tomatoes (aka deconstructed bloody mary)
  • Wine-infused fruit salad (aka Deconstructed Sangria)
  • Rum-infused pineapples & coconuts (Deconstructed Pina Colada)
  • Reisling-infused strawberries
  • Bourbon-infused cherries
  • An inspired Grapes + Cheese platter
  • Simply the MOST AMAZING MEZZE from Habbibi Queens

Drinks include: Boilermakers, Donalds (Beer + Vodka), Loaded Corona (Corona + Bacardi Limon), etc.

You can learn more about the technology platform at http://kallosforcouncil.com/solutions/technology

RSVP online at https://kallosforcouncil.com/civicrm/event/info?id=23&reset=1

First Amendment Event by TheMusic.FM

Please join TheMusic.FM, NYC-based music blog featuring the best in emerging electronic music, rock & hip hop, and its founder Mike Lewis for an event on the First Amendment:

Thursday, June 28
6PM to 9PM
Professor Thom's
219 2nd Avenue
(2nd Floor "Loft" with outdoor terrace)
$5 Drink Special: Champagne, Wine & Draft Miller Light

Mike Lewis shares, “Ben has supported culture, music and nightlife knowing that they drive the New York City economy, has defended Constitutionally protected freedoms including serving as Amicus Counsel in Viacom v. YouTube.  Ben supports reforming the draconian cabaret laws that criminalize dancing in unapproved venues (in a climate where virtually no new venues can be approved).”

RSVP online at https://kallosforcouncil.com/civicrm/event/info?id=25&reset=1

Community Event

July 9th, 2012
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
 
The Manchester Pub
920 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
 
Open Bar on Beer on Wine

RSVP at https://kallosforcouncil.com/civicrm/event/register?reset=1&id=26

 

June 27, 2012

 

Our Commitment to Transparent Campaign

Did you miss the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic Legal Hackathon or the Redistricting Discussion with Mark Favors the plaintiff in the lawsuit responsible for the Congressional lines for whose Primary Election is this Tuesday?  Don’t worry, the great thing about transparency advocates is that we run our campaigns the way we would run our government and you can watch or read what you missed online in the news or on this website.

Catch up on what you missed at the the Legal Hackathon or watch the opening video in which I participated
.

Redistricting Discussion

Read news coverage on the event in the New York Observerwatch Mark Favors discuss the redistricting lawsuit, or find your pictures.

Parkinson’s Unity Walk

Special thanks to the generous outpouring of support for my “Team Kallos” in this year’s Parking’s Unity Walk.  You can learn more about the walk and where you as a caretaker can get support in the last newslettersee pictures or watch video