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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

Newsletter

Dear Neighbor,

Ferry service is coming to the East Side, according to an announcement made by the Mayor during his State of the City speech last month -- including a "nerd boat," connecting the East Side, Roosevelt Island and Astoria, which I have long advocated for.

The Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Plan for Manhattan was released, a comprehensive plan for the DOT, NYPD, and other agencies that I contributed to through my "Livable Streets" initiative.

When it is complete, will you be taking the ferry? Write me a note and let me know your plans.

To top it off, I celebrated my birthday this month, and Valentine's Day with my wife. All in all, it has been a great February -- and it is shaping up to be a great March. Please join me this month at First Friday, Policy Night, a housing legal clinic, or a participatory budgeting expo. With all these options, I hope to see you soon!

Sincerely,


Ben Kallos

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Legislation
Thursday, January 22, 2015

Improves upon the Young Adult Voter Registration Act, incluing by requiring distribution of registration forms to high school students in class as well as provided coded forms in order to facilitate tracking. 

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Legislation
Thursday, February 12, 2015

This bill would require the Board of Elections to provide a secure website through which registered voters could track the status of their absentee application and ballot, including the following: receipt of application for absentee ballot by Board of Elections; approval or rejection of application, and reason if rejected; status of ballot being mailed; receipt of completed ballot by Board of Elections; and status of counting completed ballot and reason if rejected.

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Press Coverage
Gotham Gazette
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Voter participation has been steadily declining for decades, and continues to find shocking new lows. Last November, New York was the fifth worse state in the country for voter participation, with a staggering 29.5 percent turnout. In New York City, the turnout was just above 21 percent.

"In this age of devastatingly low voter confidence in our elections," said George, "making voting easy and convenient for citizens is of critical importance."

Now, two bills introduced by members of the New York City Council aim to do just that.

Tuesday morning, the Committee on Governmental Operations, chaired by Council Member Ben Kallos, a Democrat from Manhattan, discussed two new pieces of legislation that could help re-engage thousands of voters in the election process.

"We want every eligible voter to register and cast a ballot," Kallos told Gotham Gazette. "Absentee ballots are essential to maximizing turnout."

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Press Coverage
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Before I became a City Council member, I was a civic technologist and activist seeking to make government better through technology.  In one such action, I FOILed Albany voting records and posted them online for the public to see, prompting the legislature to follow suit. Because of this background, I am especially looking forward to helping other civic technologists create tools that will make government more transparent, efficient and engaging.

These tools have great potential to be tools that the next generation of citizens actually uses to engage with their local officials. The funding from Knight Foundation will allow me to assist teams in doing just that, with firsthand knowledge of how governments use technology.

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Press Release

"A threat to working New Yorkers from Gray Line bus company during ongoing negotiations is unacceptable. Guides help show the greatness of our city, and they should not be laid off or threatened. A great city deserves great guides. Nor can in-person guides be replaced by machines, for both safety and quality of experience. I applaud Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for leading the way on this issue," said Council Member Ben Kallos.

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Press Coverage
Curbed
Monday, February 16, 2015

EVERYWHERE—Council Member Ben Kallos unveiled a proposal today to add an illegal hotels complaint category to the city's 311 App in order to help the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications deal with those types of complaints more efficiently. A recent City Council hearing on Airbnb revealed that the city has a difficult time dealing with the volume of illegal hotel complaints it receives. [UPDATE: The DoITT is responsible for building the app, not for handling individual 311 calls.] 

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Press Coverage
Sheepshead Bites
Monday, February 16, 2015

SBS supporters say M15 ridership would not have increased if passenger travel times were not reduced. If that were true, the corollary must also be true. That since ridership on the M15 was lower in 2013 than it was before SBS began, travel times must have increased with the introduction of SBS so it has not been successful. The logic cuts both ways.

The truth, according to the Straphangers Campaign, is that the M15 bus route with its SBS feature is the most unreliable route in the entire city. Local Councilman Ben Kallos stated that complaints regarding M15 service are among the heaviest grievances he receives.

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Event
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Learn more about the projects that will be on the ballot!

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Event
Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Learn about the projects that will be on your ballot!

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