Ben answers to a constituency of 168,000 people, 100,000 of which are voters. He defines his commitment to these citizens by stating, “This office belongs to the people.” Indeed, the first Friday morning of every month, from 8 to 10, his doors are open to anyone who wants to stop by and discuss issues. In addition, the second Tuesday of each month is “policy night”, also a venue for open exchange.
Council Member Ben Kallos showed his continued support for our community by attending Taste of Sutton. He has been a great partner with the Sutton Area Community by carefully listening to us, taking our concerns to heart and working directly on improving our community.
Councilmember Ben Kallos has been actively engaged in opposing this project and has posted an online petition (BenKallos.com/petition/suttonplace) that has received over 2000 signatures.
In response to the budget deal, Council members focused on gains made, praising the 'breakfast after the bell' provision in the budget for reducing negativity around hunger for elementary school children. "Hungry kids will face less stigma at school because of $17.9 million for 'breakfast after the bell' for 339,000 children at 530 elementary schools, which I rallied for and introduced legislation supporting," said Council Member Ben Kallos in a post-budget statement. Kallos, a strong supporter of expanding free school meals, added that "New York City is now an important step away from being near last among big cities in public school breakfast participation."
But City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who has waged a campaign to clean up a board that built a bad rep as a nest of patronage and blundering, had plenty to say.
“The Board of Elections waited until just after the (city) budget agreement was announced to sneak in a raise for top managers, who are already overpaid,” fumed Kallos, who helps oversee the agency as head of the Council’s Governmental Operations Committee.
Kallos said the raise money would have been better spent preparing and running elections to cut down on long lines and head off problems for voters.
“Between refusing to (advertise) for open positions or major meetings, failure to correct for nepotism, and constant overspending, they should be cutting salaries — not raising them,” Kallos said.
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.
"We would have universal broadband in New York City, if only Verizon had kept its promise to provide universal fiber to every home, as was required by the 2008 franchise agreement. Countless New Yorkers have tried to get fiber in their homes only to be told it was 'unavailable,' and I know because I am one of them," said council member Ben Kallos.
"Mayor de Blasio's administration's shocking audit shows that Verizon did not deliver on its word to do just that, stalling the city's modernization for years. Now, I join the Mayor and advocates to strongly call on Verizon to do what is right and make good on its promises so that all New Yorkers can access Fiber Internet."
Bidders on a Law Department request for proposal to publish the City Charter, rules and laws in a format more accessible to the public will not be able to derive revenue from that official online publication following revisions to the R.F.P. advocated by Councilman Ben Kallos.
This is the first year that 16- and 17-year-olds can join the city’s community boards, the local advisory groups where the civic-minded, the concerned and the community’s grumblers do battle against encroaching developers, vet liquor license applicants and air block-by-block grievances. Nineteen of them were appointed as unpaid members after the State Legislature lowered the age minimum from 18 last year, an unusual privilege even in a country taking small steps toward expanding youthful civic engagement.
After a bicycle hit-and-run on the Upper East Side last Tuesday left a 67-year-old woman severely injured after she was struck in a bike lane, City Councilman Ben Kallos announced a plan last night to help protect pedestrians in the neighborhood.
"We're trying to make sure that anyone using our sidewalk, the pedestrians, stay safe whether it be from cars or cyclists, Kallos said at a news conference with NYPD auxiliary officers on the corner of 86th and First Avenue, the location of the accident. "And that's vice-versa for safety for bikes from cars and pedestrians. We can all share the streets together."
Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the island and used to run a technology consulting firm, said the school's location makes sense because it easily connects to the headquarters of east side and Long Island City tech firms.
"It will make the tram, ferry service and F train a viable corridor," he said.
Following the report of the crash and fleeing cyclist, Upper East Side Councilmember Ben Kallos issued a statement which read, in part, “This devastating collision is a call to action to fight harder to ensure all can be safe in our streets. I hope the suspect who fled the scene will soon be apprehended.”
On Monday, June 15, Kallos, along with auxiliary police officers, handed out bike safety materials at the site of the accident and followed that up with an announced Safe Cycling Initiative. He believes there should be increased enforcement and education for every threat to pedestrian safety on the streets and says that he will be working with city agencies and nonprofits to put those plans into action.
The bill has been heard and is under consideration to be heard by the full Council, according to a spokeswoman for City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chairman of the governmental operations committee.
Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Councilmen Ben Kallos and Corey Johnson were among the elected officials who crowded around the enormous H-shaped stage and shook hands with the Democratic front-runner. Ms. James—who earlier this year demurred before endorsing the former first lady’s candidacy—told the Observer that she saw Ms. Clinton as a “she-ro,” and applauded the emphasis Ms. Clinton put on paid sick and family leave in her speech.
“She’s a woman. I want to be on the right side of history,” the public advocate said, noting that Ms. Clinton would be the first female commander-in-chief. “She touched on 90 percent of the things I care about”
Mr. Kallos seemed overjoyed that the ex-senator’s campaign launched in his Manhattan district.
“Pleasure to welcome the next POTUS Hillary Clinton to my district,” Mr. Kallos tweeted, cheering Ms. Clinton’s previous calls for automatic, universal voter registration.
As Clinton talked about some of the structural challenges facing America—changes in technology, the rise of global trade—Ben Kallos, the councilman representing Roosevelt Island, posed for a selfie.
“It’s all about the almighty dollar too often, and that is in exchange for living conditions of human beings and right now we say no to that,” said City Council member Jumaane D. Williams, who along with City Council members Dan Garodnick, and Ben Kallos, came out in support against predatory equity landlords. “Human capital is the most important thing that we have in this city of New York and we want to make sure that everybody has the ability to live in an affordable unit and have protections against arbitrary evictions and to live in a unit fit for a human to occupy.”
Under the bill being introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) Wednesday, businesses could lose their licenses or permits if they have $50,000 overdue for two years, or $25,000 overdue for five years. They’d also get hit if they owe $10,000 and fail to make three straight payments on a payment plan.
“There’s $1.5 billion that’s sitting on the table,” Kallos said. “Passing these laws to revoke permits would do a lot to improve quality of life.”
Councilmember Ben Kallos pressed Fuleihan on the Law Department's projected rise in spending for judgments and claims against the city, which was estimated to rise from $710 million in fiscal year F.Y. 2016 to $817 million in F.Y. 2019, documents show.
Kallos said the Law Department "was unable to answer" questions about the increase and "further stated that this number is set by" the Office of Management and Budget.
“While last year I pushed for a rent freeze … this year I am joining with the tenant advocates in calling for a rent rollback,” City Council member Margaret Chin said as cited by Capital. Council members Corey Johnson, Dan Garodnick, Ben Kallos, Jumaane Williams, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine also attended the meeting and called for a rent rollback.
Nancy Ploeger, president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, along with Councilmembers Ben Kallos and David Garodnick, announced the launch of the Second Ave. app last month.
The app is designed to help businesses that have been hurt by the ongoing construction of the Second Ave. subway. The app gives users easy access to the 457 businesses along the avenue.
“We have a lot of young people around Second Avenue and of course everyone using apps today,” said Ploeger.
Kallos and Garodnick helped find money for the project, allocating $10,000 to bring the idea to life. According to Kallos, public-private partnership was an essential model for supporting the small businesses that suffer because of necessary infrastructure improvements.
Chin was not alone. Council members Corey Johnson, Dan Garodnick, Ben Kallos, Jumaane Williams, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine also called on the R.G.B. to reduce rents on stabilized apartments.
Earlier in the afternoon, Councilman Ben Kallos will participate in a panel on "Designing the Digital Legislature" along with Seamus Kraft, executive director of the OpenGov Foundation, a co-creator of the Free Law Founders with Kallos, and David Moore, executive director of the Participatory Politics Foundation.
"For too long, rent increases have outpaced inflation, wage growth and landlord expenses. Now, we have the opportunity to right those wrongs through a rent rollback. As landlord costs have gone down with fuel prices, now is the moment to provide much-needed relief to tenants. I am proud to stand alongside hardworking New Yorkers in calling for a rent rollback this year," said Council Member Ben Kallos.
James, along with Council members Daniel Dromm, Andy King, Brad Lander and Ben Kallos and child hunger advocates, held a press conference outside the Department of Education headquarters on Wednesday during which they called on de Blasio to include free lunch for all city schoolchildren in the final budget.