“Every child deserves to be safe, regardless of where they go to school,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Any school should be able to request a safety agent to protect students. I am proud to support Council Member Greenfield in his efforts to keep our children safe.”
A proposed development by the Bauhouse Group to build a 900-foot tall residential tower in the historic Sutton Place neighborhood shocked many when it was revealed by Our Town in April. Since then, according to Community Board 6 and Councilmember Ben Kallos, residents who live in the area have joined forces in a plan to stop, or at least limit, the scope of the project.
The city's ambitious goal to stop sending waste to landfills by 2030 makes two controversial garbage stations unnecessary, a group of pols charged Wednesday.
Macy's and Mayor de Blasio Announce that the 39th Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks - the Nation's Largest Independence Day Display - Will Return to Celebrate America's Birthday Live from New York City this Year From Two Locations on the East River
“With fireworks on the East River, Roosevelt Islanders and East Siders should have a great vantage point with which to view them,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am thrilled that the fireworks have been moved back to where many New Yorkers, from Brooklyn to Queens to Manhattan can enjoy them.”
On a later panel, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilman Ben Kallos discussed how technology could help bridge the gap between the government and the public. With the establishment of laws she spearheaded, including open data and webcasting legislation, "now the challenge is making it work," Brewer said, to ensure that agencies fulfill the mandate, data is available in real-time and is up-to-date, as agencies also still face logistical and bandwidth hurdles when seeking to webcast meetings.
Kallos said Council legislation will be available through an open application programming interface beginning in July. Council legislation, meeting and member datawas already recently added to the open data portal. While those datasets had a deadline of Jan. 1, Council land use items are currently only scheduled to come on the portal in December 2018. Kallos emphasized the need for a partnership between government and the private sector and technology developers to ensure that the right of kind of data is made available in the right format.
After receiving a flood of complaints from residents, City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, sent a letter to the DOB's Manhattan commissioner, Martin Rebholz, on May 11 demanding the agency limit the number of after-hour variances the city grants to developers.
"As you are well aware, City Council District 5 is a densely packed residential area which makes any construction work done in the area extremely disturbing to residents," the councilman wrote. "This problem has only worsened with the increase in the approval of new construction projects and the Department of Building's willingness to grant after-hour variances to this project despite the negative impact on the quality of life of the residents in this area."
A Department of Buildings spokesman said the agency is reviewing Kallos' concerns with the site.
Building state-of-the-art marine transfer stations, with the extra step of cranes putting containers onto barges, has become very expensive. The total construction cost for these stations is approaching $1 billion.
"The day the Solid Waste Management Plan was passed in 2006 it was already obsolete," says Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the neighborhoods around the 91st Street MTS.
He has joined a long line of local politicians that have taken up the cause. In a March 25 preliminary budget hearing at City Hall, he grilled DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia over rising construction costs.
City Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee, will introduce a resolution at Thursday’s full-body Stated Meeting calling on members of the United States Congress to commit to a constitutional amendment that would limit independent expenditures in election campaigns. It is a move aimed at reducing the “dark money” spent during political campaigns and to counteract the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United ruling.
“It’s important we put people power over corporate power,” Kallos told Gotham Gazette, “and it’s important to implement public finance to empower voters over independent expenditures.”
“Most of these properties were calendared before the technology existed for public outreach and dissemination of information existed,” said Upper East Side Councilmember Ben Kallos in a letter to the LPC. “Now, the LPC can and must make available to the public the extensive research compiled on these landmarks, including initial hearings’ files and statements of significance. Once the information is disseminated, 60 days of public input and testimony must be taken before any decisions on these landmarks are made behind closed doors.”
Since taking office on Jan. 1, 2014, New York City Council Member Ben Kallos has made it a priority to introduce legislation that uses technology to overcome issues in the Big Apple.
From requiring New York City laws to be easily accessible online, to improving the transparency of government operations, Kallos -- who represents NYC's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island -- has leveraged his background as a software developer to illustrate the value of tech use in the public sector.
Government Technology spoke to Kallos about the strides he’s made during his first year in office, and how technology will continue to play a vital part of his legislative agenda in 2015 and beyond.
Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the City Council Governmental Operations Committee, spoke similarly, but did express concern about the general issue of underfunding BOE operations. Kallos told Gotham Gazette that while the BOE tends to overestimate its financial need, if it is not appropriately funded "it is the elections and democratic process that suffers." While Kallos is looking for stronger numbers in the executive budget, he also said that "if we over-budget then that means that another agency loses."
At a hearing of the City Council's Committee on Governmental Operations Thursday, issues of community board function will be taken up through bills to introduce term limits for board members and to add professional urban planners to board staff.
The term-limit bill, introduced by Council Member Daniel Dromm in December last year, would allow community board appointees to serve up to six consecutive two-year terms. Currently, there is no limit on how many terms a community board member can serve. The bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, who chairs the government operations committee, would enact the six-term limit starting for members appointed in April 2016.
Free breakfast has been available to all 1.1 million New York City school students since 2003. All city schools offer the meal before the school day begins, but some also serve breakfast in classrooms after the start of school, or provide bagged breakfasts that children can eat in the classroom.
“We need to provide some transparency around what schools are doing,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, an Upper East Side Democrat and co-sponsor of the legislation. Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin is the bill’s other co-sponsor.
Under the bill, the Department of Education would be required to publicly post the number of students who receive free breakfast before and after the school day begins, as well as the number of schools that have a salad bar in their cafeteria, and the number of students served after-school snacks and dinner.
The letter to de Blasio is signed by Council Members Garodnick, Donovan Richards, Fernando Cabrera, Rafael Espinal, Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, Andy King, Stephen Levin, Mark Levine, Carlos Menchaca, Rosie Mendez, I. Daneek Miller, Antonio Reynoso, and James Vacca. It states, in part, "Creating a sustainable regional food system that meets [the $1 billion] demand and offers equal access to nutritious food will improve public health, bolster the city's "good food" economy, build resilience in the wake of extreme weather events and reduce the city's "foodprint" as a way to mitigate the impacts of climate change."
Tenants would get a voter registration form with every new lease under a bill that will be introduced in the City Council this week.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) will sponsor the legislation, which would require landlords to distribute the forms, encouraging newcomers to the city to sign up to vote and people who are moving within the five boroughs to update their registration.
“People are coming from all over the country,” Kallos said. “This will make sure that as people get here, they will register to vote as they get their lease.”
The Gotham Gazette reported that New York City Council members Ben Kallos, Laurie Cumbo and Robert Cornegy are trying to pass an ordinance to help parents re-enter the workplace.
The Council will also create pilot a texting initiative that will push alerts and information to New Yorkers. Councilman Ben Kallos, said one of the roadmap's biggest plans was to release more data from the Council and city agencies in databases that can be access by civic groups and the public easily for free.
"It means anyone who can access information when they want it on their own terms," he said.
The 2016 ballot for the council’s District Five, which covers part of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, includes funding options like $280,000 toward improving exterior lighting on the New York Public Library East 67th Street branch, $500,000 to build a green roof for environmental education at PS/IS 217, $385,000 for a community garden at Lexington Houses, $400,000 to renovate the John Jay Park basketball courts, and $150,000 to put in bus bulbs along East 86th Street—along with 11 alternatives.