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Opposing the Marine Transfer Station

Marine Transfer Stations must not be placed in residential neighborhoods or existing...

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About Ben Kallos

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 mother, who still lives in the neighborhood, and his grandparents, who fled anti-Semitism in Europe. A Bronx Science graduate, Ben knows that our public schools are more than just budget line.  He attended SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he paid his own way through.

In the City Council, Ben chairs the Committee on Governmental Operations, where he promotes transparency to ensure every dollar gets spent to improve your quality of life--from affordable housing to senior services to better schools.

Updates

Press Coverage
DNAinfo.com
Monday, May 18, 2015

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. 

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Press Coverage
Capital New York
Monday, May 18, 2015

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 legislationmeeting 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.

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

“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.”

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Press Coverage
New York Daily News
Thursday, May 21, 2015

The city’s ambitious goal to send zero waste to landfills by 2030 makes two controversial garbage transfer stations — including one on the Upper East Side — unnecessary, and a waste of $390 million, a group of pols charged.  

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Press Release

  New York, NY— Pesticides in parks would be limited by a bill announced today by Council Member Ben Kallos among members of the kindergarten and first grade class at PS 290, who first advocated for the city legislation. The law, co-sponsored by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, would require that the city use only biological pesticides, derived from natural materials, instead of synthetic, traditional pesticides--except under necessary circumstances. The EPA maintains that biological pesticides tend to be less toxic and safer than synthetic pesticides. The bill will be introduced on May 27.

 

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Thursday, May 14, 2015

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.”

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Press Coverage
Government Technology
Monday, May 11, 2015

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.

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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."

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Press Coverage
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

“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.” 

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