December News: Victory Against Overdevelopment, Online Voter Registration, New Parks and Gyms, Scaffolding and Town Hall with Mayor
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, I remain most thankful for your support. With a new low in voter turnout I was able to pass legislation I authored to provide Online Voter Registration through the City Council to make it easier to register and vote.
On the last day of November the City Council voted to rezone the East Fifties and stop the march of super-tall buildings for billionaires from 57th Street into the Sutton Area. Within minutes of the vote and our rezoning becoming law, an order was issued and all work was stopped at one of the potential sites in the district for a super-tall building for billionaires at 58 Sutton. This was the culmination of a three year first of its kind grass-roots community rezoning. After years of out-of-control out-of-scale over-development I wanted to put residents over real estate, and we did.
With construction all around us, we are fighting to keep it safe, passing the Crane Modernization Act and continuing our advocacy to get unnecessary scaffolding down especially following a recent collapse injuring six.
We are fighting for more public spaces with the opening of Andrew Haswell Green Park Phase 2A at 60th Street on the Esplanade, passing new laws requiring building owners to open public plazas with signage detailing required amenities with steep fines for non-compliance, and working with Spence to share their new Field House during school hours with public schools that have no regulation physical education space like P.S. 151 and P.S. 527.
Our bike safety program has found new partners, brought 10% of all e-bike enforcement to our neighborhood, and continued to deliver results.
I hope to see you on Tuesday, December 5 at 5PM, for our annual office holiday party, and again on Thursday, December 7 at 8pm (note the time change), where you can ask Mayor Bill de Blasio questions at his Town Hall for the Upper East Side.
P.S. Happy holidays and have a happy New Year! If you’d like to pick up free Menorahs, you can do so at my office (donated by Chabad YP).
- Victory on Sutton Area Rezoning at City Council (Without Grandfather Clause)
- Scaffolding Collapse Renews Outcry for Bill to Get Them Down
- More Public Spaces to Be Opened to Public Under New Bill Passed by Council
- Online Voter Registration is Passed By the Council
PARKS & ENVIRONMENT
- Bike Safety Program Gets Results
- Straphangers Campaign Recognized for 40 Years of Service
- Ben in Your Building Discussing Ed Koch Bridge On-Ramp
JOBS & ECONOMY
- Crane Safety Legisaltion Passes
- The Fight Against Hunger With Brian Lehrer
- API Access Available to the Public on City Council Website
- Open Camps
- Kicking Off Anime NYC Inaugural Weekend
- Protesting the DNAInfo and Gothamist Shutdown
- Phipps Neighborhood Building Service Worker Protest
- Fourth Annual Turkey Giveaway
- Roosevelt Island Community Coalition Awards
- East Side Taskforce on Homeless Outreach and Services Prompts Partnerships
Yesterday, the New York City Council voted to rezone the East Fifties and stop the march of super-tall buildings for billionaires from 57th Street into the Sutton Area. Within minutes of the vote and our rezoning becoming law, an order was issued and all work was stopped at one of the potential sites in the district for a super-tall building for billionaires at 58 Sutton.
This was the culmination of a three year first of its kind grass-roots community rezoning. After years of out-of-control out-of-scale over-development I wanted to put residents over real estate, and we did.
In 2015, we founded the East River Fifties Alliance, which has grown to 45 buildings in the area, and 2,600 individuals from 500 buildings all over the city with support from Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, CIVITAS, and citywide organizations like the Municipal Arts Society. Council Member Dan Garodnick, Senator Liz Krueger, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joined me as co-applicants, and Congress Member Carolyn Maloney joined in support.
This happened thanks to the support of residents like you. Heroes like Herndon Werth and Charles Fernandez stood up to buyouts and threats from billionaires. Leaders like Dieter Seelig, former President of the Sutton Area Community got us started and Alan Kersh, Robert Shepler, Jessica Osborn, and Lisa Mercurio put countless volunteer hours into ERFA.
We did something no one thought could be done. They kept saying we would never rezone before they finished their foundation. We did just that yesterday and the work stopped just before they could finish their foundation or any other potential site in the neighborhood.
The rezoning removed the grandfather clause and will protect the Sutton Area East of First Avenue from 52nd to 59th st from supertall towers by limiting zoning lot mergers, limiting the width of towers, and forcing most of the air rights to be used in the base of a building.
The new developer had previously made thinly veiled threats to retaliate with inspiration from “The Count of Monte Cristo” and has promised to appeal, but we will continue to fight for you and to protect our community.
If you haven’t already, please share your support on our petition at BenKallos.com/petition/StopSuperScrapers
Please also consider financially supporting the East River Fifties Alliance at ERFA.nyc/donate
The newsletter is back! We send the newsletter once a month so we don't clutter your mailbox and keep you up to date on everything going on in the community, as well as opportunities to influence government decisions by making your voice heard.
Thank you to all the residents who came out to the polls in the Primary and General Elections, where we won with 7,847 votes at 75% and 22,514 votes at 81% respectively. This is a testament to our partnership and shows that empowering residents helps to govern honestly and inclusively—and it's the best way to get things done.
During the blackout period when we could not send government newsletters because of our pending elections, we won Universal School Lunch, launched ferry service and opened Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, rolled out bus countdown clocks, broke ground on $35 million in improvements to the East River Esplanade, signed tenant safety legislation I authored into law, and I was even recognized as one of the best Council Members by City and State.
Last month we broke ground on $1 million in renovations to the East River Esplanade in partnership with the Hospital for Special Surgery, cut the ribbon on a new laboratory building with Memorial Sloan Kettering, made progress on rezoning Sutton to stop supertall skyscrapers, passed two bills so that schools ensure no child goes hungry and train teachers to support GSAs, passed legislation to open the city's $85 billion budget and welcomed the Technion Israel Institute of Technology world tour.
As November starts I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and take this opportunity to invite everyone to my annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 5th, 5-7pm. RSVP
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
- Sutton Rezoning at City Planning Commission
- Scaffolding Bill Gets Hearing
- Marijuana Smoking at 180 East 88th Street
- Height Protections for Upper East Side
- Ensuring No Child Goes Hungry (Bill Passed)
- Support GSAs in Public Schools (Bill Passed)
- Silicon Island: Technion Israel Institute of Technology World Tour
- Fighting to Fund Hunter Science Campus Construction
PARKS & ENVIRONMENT
- Breaking Ground on East River Esplanade Construction at HSS
- It's My Park Day
- Banning Toxic Pesticides from Parks
- Climate Works for All Building Retrofits
- New MSK Center for Laboratory Medicine Ribbon Cutting
- Senior Health Fair Success
- American Academy Committee on Nutrition and Obesity
- Asphalt Green Swim Meet
- Plan to Fight Double Parking and Move Deliveries Off-Hours
- Bike Safety Helmet Fitting
- Bernie, Bill and Ben
- Protesting Gun Violence with Congress Member Maloney
- Know Your Rights for Immigrants at Islamic Cultural Center
- Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach
- Youth Action March
- Building Service Worker Helping Hand Award
- Honoring former Community Board Chair David Liston
- Halloween Neighborhood Celebrations
As we welcome the autumn temperatures of October for those of you who celebrate Shannah Tova as I reflect during these days of awe, if I or my team have disappointed you, please let me know so that we may seek your forgiveness as we try to do better in the coming year.
It is deeply sad that October started out with the tragic and horrifically violent events in Las Vegas that took the lives of at least 59 people. I hope that this nation can finally adopt gun control and that this coming year be a blessed one filled with peace, health and joy.
September was a month with many timely hearings surrounding several pieces of legislation my office is trying to turn into law. Whether it is taking on construction noise, making Zero Waste by 2030 a law, banning toxic pesticides in our City’s parks or even supporting students with Gender-Sexuality Alliances in our schools, I have been working to improve our great City.
Now that flu season is just around the corner I want to invite residents to our October Annual Senior Health Fair on Thursday, October 19 from 11am to 2pm at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House where No-Cost flu shots will be available to residents who RSVP.
If you are interested in the Participatory Budgeting process and being a key part of deciding how the community spends $1 million, now is the time to get involved and submit your ideas. On Tuesday, October 17 at 6pm join us for a Participatory Budgeting Assembly at my District Office at 244 East 93rd Street RSVP. If you can’t make it that day make sure to submit your ideas online.
P.S. If you’d like to meet with me this month keep in mind that First Friday is canceled in observance of Sukkot but you can still meet with me on specific policy ideas during Brain Storming with Ben on Tuesday, October 10, at 6pm RSVP.
October 19, 11am-2pm
October 14, 11am-2:30pm
October 17, 6pm-7pm
October 19, 11am-2pm
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
October 7, 8am-10am
October 5, 12, 19 & 26
October 17, 6pm
No First Friday in Observance Due to Religious Observance
5. Free Childcare for Government Meetings
6. P.S 290 Students Lobby to Ban Pesticides in City Parks
7. Gender Sexuality Alliance Legislation Hearing
8. Environmental Committee Hearing on Noise in New York City
9. Hearing on Agencies Not Enforcing Quality of Life Violations
10.Zero Waste Hearing Codifying 1573 into Law
11. East River Greenway Construction on Esplanade Announced
12. $959.00 Trash Cans
13. My Scaffolding Bill Would Help Businesses
14. Labor Day Parade
15. Asphalt Green Gets New Pool Filters
16. Annual Town Hall Recap and Thank You
Happy Labor Day, welcome back to school and, for those who celebrate, Happy Jewish New Year.
New York City is the first city in the country to guarantee legal representation to tenants facing eviction with a new “Right to Counsel.” We also enacted laws I authored to protect tenant safety from landlords who fail to make repairs or never finish.
Commutes are getting better. We launched a ferry service on Roosevelt Island, after years of advocacy, travel is now available by air (by tram), land (by car, bus, and train) and now water (by ferry), all offering improved commutes. Ferry service will be coming to the Upper East Side next year. You may have noticed new bus countdown clocks throughout the neighborhood. I also proposed solutions for the MTA to improve subway service and hope you will join our fight to cuts to crosstown bus service.
P.S. Brain Storm with Ben is canceled in September so it does not conflict with the Primary Election.
September 19, 6PM
September 27, 6PM
DISTRICT OFFICE EVETS
September 1, 8AM-10AM
September 7, 14, 21, 28,
Septmber 12, 20, 27, 11AM - 2PM
September 4, 5, 11, 18, 20, 25,
September 28, 6:30PM
FIGHTING FOR TENANTS
INVESTING IN OUR ECONOMY
- Cornell Tech Roosevelt Island Community Day
- 7 Open Source Myths Debunked Gov Loop
- Bridging the Digital Divide Personal Democracy Forum 2017
- Legislation to Respond to Noise
- Chasing News on Scaffolding
- National Night Out Against Crime
- Protecting the East 91st Street Plaza
- Protecting and Strengthening the Affordable Care Act with Congress Member Maloney
We also broken ground on the reconstruction of the East River Esplanade with $35 million that I secured as co-chair of the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney.
When the MTA proposed service cuts of up to 33% to the M31, M57, M66 and M72, over Father's Day Weekend, I authored a letter with fellow elected officials which was followed by maintained service levels on the M57. Join us in fighting for crosstown bus service at BenKallos.com/share/CrosstownBus
- Groundbreaking on East River Esplanade
- Stop Work Order on Sutton Superscraper
- Fighting Cuts to Crosstown Bus Service
QUALITY OF LIFE
- Resistance: Saving Medicaid and Affordable Care Act and Standing with Transgender Military and Immigrants
- Fighting for Net Neutrality, Again
Happy Fourth of July as we celebrate our nation's independence and remember that in every generation we must do our part to fight injustice.
Last month, we won more victories in our fight against overdevelopment and for affordable housing. Community Board 6 set a quick 21-day timeline in June voting unanimously for a community-led rezoning of the Sutton Area that trades height for affordability. The Rent Guidelines Board which sets rents for 1.6 million rent-stabilized apartments voted for a low increase of 1.25% on one-year and 2% on two-year leases after two consecutive rent freezes.
In June we celebrated Pride and graduations for both our students and PTA Presidents. I joined the Pride March and introduced legislation on behalf of East Side Middle School students to encourage Gender Sexuality Alliances. I also shared congratulations and the secret of life with students graduating from schools in the district and thanked PTA Presidents for their service.
This summer, I hope you will take advantage of our parks, especially the Indoor airconditioned tennis courts at the Queensboro Oval now open to the public for as little as $15 or join me for Theatre in Carl Schurz Park. If you are as big a fan of healthy farm to table food as I am, I hope you will join me for Cooking with Kallos or participate in our Fresh Food Box one week to see how you like it.
Even though we can't send our newsletter by electronic mail to those who subscribed through BenKallos.com for the next couple of months, we are keeping our promise to keep you informed by posting our newsletter on our website and circulating it through social media. If you want a printed copy you can come pick it up from our District Office. Please consider forwarding this newsletter on to anyone and everyone.
July 12 - 16, 7PM - 9PM
July 16, 11AM – 1PM
July 6, 13, 20, 27, 3:30PM – 6:30PM
DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
July 7, 8AM – 10AM
July 11, 6PM – 7PM
July 11, 19, 26, 11AM – 2PM
July 10, 17,19, 24, 31, 3PM – 6PM
July 27, 6:30PM – 7:30PM
Table of Contents
- Rezoning Victory at CB6, Now on to City Planning
- Low Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments and Rent Freeze for Seniors and Disabled
- Upper East Side Legionnaires Cluster Update
- Automatic Benefits Hearing
- Global Sampling Day
- Rat Academy
- Buy Produce from the Farm and Cooking With Kallos
- Celebrating Pride with Legislation to Encourage Gender Sexuality Alliances
- Eleanor Roosevelt High School's New Music Room and Retirement of Parent Coordinator
- Recognizing Parent-Teacher Association Leaders
- Opposing Cuts to East and West Side Bus Service
- Bike Safety: Ebikes, Free Helmets, and Inspring Barcelona
New York City’s $85.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year funds the programs and services that we rely on in our neighborhoods and keeps our city running, including public schools, transit, parks, youth and senior centers, quality of life enforcement, and of course the programs my office brings to serve you directly.
Over the years, I am proud to have secured or allocated funding for priorities in our community:
- $100 million in additional funding secured for the East River Esplanade
- $100 million in capital funding for improvements to public library systems
- $50 million for 79 new buses on the M15, M101, M102, and M103 for delivery by end of 2018 and $1.7 million for Select Bus Service on the M79
- $30 million to operate three new ferry stops that will open on Roosevelt Island this summer and East 60th and East 90th Streets in 2018
- $22.9 million to support our seniors
- $16 million to maintain youth afterschool programs
- $12.5 million to expand free lunch from middle schools to include grade schools students
- $200 million for NYCHA maintenance and repairs
- $200,000 from the NYC Clean Up Initiative used for new large trash cans to keep our neighborhood clean
To get involved and active on issues that have a direct impact on your community and make your voice heard in local government, please sign up for our monthly newsletter at BenKallos.com/Subscribe
Council Member, District 5
Over the past 11 days, seven cases of legionnaires disease have been reported in the Lenox Hill area of the Upper East Side, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Of the seven cases, four patients are recovering and two have already been discharged from the hospital. Sadly, one member of our community has died, and my thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones.
Upper East Side Legionnaires' Disease
Information Session with Department of Health
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street
Event details subject to change so please RSVP
Please be on the lookout for respiratory symptoms, which may be a sign of the disease, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. Those at high risk include people aged 50 or older, especially cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung disease or with weakened immune systems.
In 2015, following the outbreak in the Bronx I co-sponsored legislation introduced by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which was signed into law as Local Law 77 of 2015 to require registration, inspection, cleaning, disinfecting, testing, and annual certification in order to reduce and contain the growth of Legionella in cooling towers, which causes Legionnaire's.
I am in close contact with the Health Department as they identify the source of the cluster and eliminate it as quickly as possible.
- Press Release from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Sign and Symptoms
- NYC Health Department Information on Legionnaires' Disease
As I promised during my campaign for City Council in 2013, I have endeavored to have an open and transparent office that is accountable to you the people. One of the most effective ways was through our monthly email newsletter.
As we get closer to the primary elections on September 12, 2017 and the general elections on November 7, 2017 and I begin to run for re-election to the New York City Council, current law prohibits elected officials from sending newsletters to residents, even if they have subscribed to receive them on a monthly basis. The 2017 election “blackout period” begins June 14, 2017, and ends after the elections. During this period my government office will only be able to send physical and digital correspondence specifically related to constituent service, the budget, and events.
We will still be able to provide news in person at our district office, by phone 212-860-1950, email at BKallosBenKallos [dot] com, through our website at BenKallos.com and social media so please follow Twitter.com/BenKallos and like Facebook.com/BenKallos.
As always we are here to help.
First Friday, 8AM - 10AM, District Office, Join me and your neighbors for a conversation.
Free Legal Clinics
By appointment from 3pm-6pm:
Fresh Food Box
Thursdays, 3:30pm and 6:30pm (through November)
Here to Help
We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:
Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email at bkallosbenkallos [dot] com with any unresolved 311 complaints.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs*
FREE Bike Helmets
Roosevelt Island Town Hall
All FREE N.Y. Classical Theatre:
Cooking with Kallos
Town Hall: FREE Reusable Bags
Emergency Preparedness: FREE Go Bags
Senior Health Fair: FREE Flu Shots