Press Coverage

Gotham Gazette
Samar Khurshid
12/17/17
 

Last month, the New York City Council passed a bill that provides for online voter registration for city residents without requiring DMV-issued identification. With guidance from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office allowing local jurisdictions to pass online registration measures, the bill holds up under state law. But state elections officials can’t agree on the validity of the bill, and city Board of Elections officials have yet to make a decision, portending that the matter may have to eventually be decided in court.

The uncertainty is unfolding as Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to soon sign into law the city bill, Intro. 508, the lead sponsor of which was City Council Member Ben Kallos. The question at hand is whether the city and state Boards of Elections will accept online signatures as valid in registering to vote. As of November 1, per state BOE numbers, there are more than five million registered voters in New York City, but an estimated 700,000-plus eligible voters who are not registered, with more turning 18 years of age each year.

 

CBS New York
Ethan Harp
12/16/17
 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There will soon be an easier way for people in New York City to register to vote.

As WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp reported, a bill signing Saturday might be the start of an online overhaul.

Until now, if you live in New York State, you could only register to vote online if you had a DMV-issued ID.

But City Councilman Ben Kallos pointed out that since most people in Manhattan don’t have a car, the rules kept many eligible voters from signing up.

“The New York State election law makes it so very difficult,” he told Harp.

 

REAL ESTATE WEEKLY
Kyle Campbell
12/6/17
 

Gamma Real Estate will challenge the decision in front of the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, or BSA, a process Kalikow said he believes will be “very objective, very black and white” because of how much progress was made on the site prior to the zoning change.

If the BSA does not grant the appeal, the developer has already taken steps for a potential lawsuit, Kalikow said, including sending a letter to Councilman Ben Kallos, telling him not to delete any emails related to the case.

Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, has championed the re-zoning effort at city hall since a group of his constituents raised the issue in 2015. He said had the proposed change not been stuck in the preapproval stage for more than a year, it would have passed through the council well before construction began on the site.

 

CBS New York
Jessica Borga
12/4/17
 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Construction on upscale condominiumshas been stopped in its tracks on Manhattan’s east side.

New zoning rules now say the controversial tower is too tall.

It’s known as Sutton 58 — the site of a 62-story condo building under construction.

Last Thursday, a City Council vote to limit the construction of tall towers on side streets in the area, led to a stop-work order.

“New Yorkers are sick and tired of out-of-control, out-of-scale overdevelopment, and for so very long, no one would stand up for real estate,” City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) said.

 

Ed Scoop
Kate Roddy
12/4/17
 

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is no longer a luxury. In 2017, it is a necessity,” said Ben Kallos, member of the New York City Council. “Whether you are a small business competing for customers or a high school student doing homework, access to broadband could make the difference between landing a big contract or not, or getting an A on a research paper. I applaud this administration's efforts as New York City works toward universal broadband access."

 

 

Wall Street Journal
Josh Barbanel
12/3/17
 

Mr. Kalikow put much of the blame for the shutdown on the local councilman, Ben Kallos, a Democrat. Mr. Kallos signed the application for the zoning change, along with the East River 50s Alliance, and pressed officials to expedite it.

Mr. Kallos’s support was crucial in the council as other members followed his lead on the issue, a courtesy usually extended on local land-use issues.

“I take full credit for it,” Mr. Kallos said, after hearing of Mr. Kalikow’s complaints. He said the developer is welcome to pursue his rights under the law, but that eventually he might find there already are too many super-tall buildings “intended for billionaires.”

 

Upper East Side Patch
Brenden Krisel
12/1/17
 

The cobblestone-paved road has been a a vital open space in the neighborhood for nearly four decades, City Councilman Ben Kallos said Friday.

"When I got elected four years ago I promised I would protect as much open space as possible," Kallos said Friday. "Everyone here on the Upper East Side knows that we don't have enough open space and we rank among the last in the city for open space." Kallos said Friday.

 

 

Upper East Side Patch
Brendan Krisel
11/30/17
 

City Councilman Ben Kallos hailed Thursday's City Council vote as a win for residents over billionaire developers.

"Today, the City Council voted to stop the march of supertall buildings from commercial districts on 57th Street into residential districts, where they would displace rent-regulated residents to build buildings for billionaires," Kallos said in a statement.

Since the East River Fifties Alliance's creation in 2015, the group has grown to include 45 Sutton Place buildings and 2,600 people from 500 buildings citywide, Kallos said.

 

Our Town
Michael Garofalo
11/29/17
 

In addition to serving the Spence School’s athletics programs, the new facility would provide gym space for physical education classes from P.S. 151 and P.S. 527 under the terms of a proposed, but yet-to-be-finalized agreement between the schools. The two schools are each located near the proposed site of the new Spence facility and have limited space for physical activities. Students at P.S. 151, located at 421 East 88th St., use two converted classrooms for recreational space, while those at P.S. 527, located at 323 East 91st St., use an auditorium with a sloped floor and low ceiling, said City Council Member Ben Kallos, who described the gym-sharing proposal last week at a public hearing on the project at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

According to Kallos, by the time the new building opens for the 2019-2020 school year, Spence and the Department of Education will enter into an agreement allowing the public schools to use the Spence gymnasium for physical education classes during school hours, at no cost to the schools.

 

Next City
Rochel Dovey
11/27/17
 

Meanwhile, legislation that passed the New York City Council earlier this month aims to hold local landlords accountable for their POPS. The rules — part of a package authored by Council Member Ben Kallos — would require additional signage in all POPS areas detailing amenities and hours of operation, and include a website address where visitors could find out more information and register complaints. Landlords who don’t comply could face fines of between $4,000 and $10,000.

 

PIX11
James Ford
11/22/17
 

The DOB statement also puts it in accord with new legislation. Last week, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick sponsored bills that increase fines for POPS violations and require landlords and developers to post signs that clearly explain what POPS amenities are available in buildings that have them.

The bills passed in City Council, and are expected to be signed in to law by Mayor Bill De Blasio before the end of the year.

 

NBC News 4 New York
Andrew Siff
11/21/17
 

City Council Member Ben Kallos said the city should do a better job of making sure scaffolding is taken down in a timely matter.

"Although it is still unclear what exactly caused today’s dangerous incident, we do know that if the structure were not there it would not have collapsed and injured pedestrians," he said in a statement.

 

 

PIX11
Ayanna Harry and Jay Dow
11/20/17
 

MANHATTAN — Before Sunday morning’s scaffolding collapse in SoHo, City Councilman Ben Kallos called for changes to the city’s scaffolding regulations.

“I don’t want to say the sky is falling, but literally, the scaffolding is now falling,” Councilman Kallos said in an interview with PIX11 News.

“I introduced legislation in the City Council that anytime you put up scaffolding, you have seven days to start the work, get the work done within 3-6 months, and then get the scaffolding down, otherwise the city steps in.”

Kallos says the legislation he introduced has been debated amongst City councilmembrs and now he’s in negotiations with the Mayor’s office to push for final approval.

“Every New Yorker is tired of scaffolding. It’s one of the top issues that people just hate about the city,” Kallos said.

Real estate industry executives say it's not cost effective to erect scaffolding, then take it down all while they continue to develop a property.

 

The Real Deal
Kathryn Brenzel
11/20/17
 

Last week, the City Planning Commission approved a controversial rezoning of 10 blocks in Sutton Place but included a clause that would exempt Gamma’s project from the change. Local Council member Ben Kallos, who is a co-sponsor of the rezoning application, is pushing to have the grandfather clause removed before the full council votes on the measure. The rezoning will impose “tower on a base” standards in the area, which means that 45 to 50 percent of a building would need to be built below 150 feet.

Kallos said the grandfather clause might be a “red herring” for extending the rezoning process for another two weeks or so. A change to the application, like removing the clause, would send the measure back to City Planning for review, giving Gamma more time to complete the foundation.

 

Our Town
Michael Garofalo
11/20/17
 

Council Member Ben Kallos, the bill’s author, hopes that the legislation will make it easier for the city’s residents to access the ballot. “Only about 25 percent of Manhattan households own cars,” Kallos said, citing the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “Driver licenses and other state identification cards are not as common among people of color or low-income communities, so having an online voter registration system that anyone can use is incredibly important.”

Seth Stein, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said that the mayor’s office is reviewing the final legislation. “The Administration worked closely with the City Council in crafting this legislation,” he said. “We support online registration and making voting more accessible to New Yorkers.”

The legislation that has an 18-month timeline for implementation, but Kallos said he hopes the online registration system will be up and running “in a matter days or weeks rather than months and months,” noting that a working demonstration of the system is available on his website.

 

CBS New York
Brian Conybeare
11/19/17
 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Strong, gusty winds were being blamed Sunday evening for a scaffolding collapse in SoHo that left six people injured.

As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, one woman just walking down the street was buried under falling debris and had to be rescued.Witnesses posted photos to social media showing wooden planks and metal scaffolding strewn about at the corner of Prince Street and Broadway.

There were frantic moments after the 40-foot section of construction scaffolding suddenly crumpled to the ground at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Artists and Fleas Vendor Market. One woman was across the street inside a Dean & Deluca market.

“Everybody ran from the store to try to remove the rubble before anybody arrived and they got a lot of it off even before the fire department came,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp.

Will Alston works in the building where it happened.

“It was crazy! It was real crazy!” he said.

Alston rushed to help pull wooden plans and twisted metal off one injured woman who was bleeding from the head.

“First thing I did, I just ran outside to check on her — but she was basically like hurt really bad,” he said. “I was pulling some of the scaffold out.”

The FDNY took six people to the hospital – five civilians and a firefighter. All suffered minor injuries, with the most severely injured being a woman whose condition was stable at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue late Sunday, the FDNY said.

 

 

NBC News 4 New York
Wale Aliyu
11/19/17
 

Scaffolding collapsed in SoHo amid high winds Sunday, scattering debris across the street and injuring five people.

The scaffolding collapsed at Broadway and Prince Street, in the heart of SoHo. 

Video and photos showed large metal bars and pieces of wood scattered across the street as bystanders watched or ran to help. One video shows people frantically removing debris from a pile. 

At least one person was seen being taken away on a stretcher. Police said everyone who was hurt suffered minor, non-life-threatening injuries. 

 

ABC7
Cefaan Kim
11/19/17
 

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) --

Six people were hurt after scaffolding collapsed into the street in Lower Manhattan Sunday morning.

The incident happened just after 11:30 a.m. near the intersection of Broadway and Prince in SoHo.

Pictures from the scene show wooden planks all over the street, and FDNY firefighters at the scene.

FDNY officials said "we're absolutely lucky" there aren't more injured in this busy neighborhood. There is a subway stop right at the intersection, and the area was packed with people out enjoying their Sunday morning.

Investigators said strong wind is to blame for the collapse. A piece of plywood "acted like a sail" and blew the whole rig down.

Cellphone video shot moments after the collapse shows bystanders running in to help people trapped:

Two people had to be rescued from under the rubble. They and three others were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor, non-life threatening injuries.

 

CBSN
Sabrina Franza
11/19/17
 

"Scaffolding that is meant to protect residents should not be up long enough that it needs to be inspected over and over again year after year," City Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat representing the Upper East Side, said in a statement.

"We can do a better job at keeping New Yorkers safe, by making sure building repairs are done as soon as possible and scaffolding are up for no longer than they have to be."

 

Curbed
Emily Nonko
11/17/17
 

One such violator is Donald Trump, who helped bring attention to the issue in 2015 after a black marble bench vanished from the pedestrian atrium of Trump Tower and was replaced with an unapproved sales counter. It has since reappeared, but the Trump Organization was still fined $10,000. In response to the bench drama, three new bills to protect POPS were introduced in the City Council this year, sponsored by Council Members Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick.

Other legislation from Council Members Kallos and Garodnick requires additional signage in all POPS detailing amenities and hours of operation, as well as a website for the public to find more information or to register complaints.

 

Total Food Service
Andrew Rigie
11/17/17
 

This is why we support Council Member Ben Kallos’ effort to pass legislation that would regulate the length of time in which scaffolding may stay constructed, helping to mitigate unnecessary scaffolding that stays up for many months or in some cases years beyond its intended purpose. 

 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
11/17/17
 

Brandon West, vice president for policy for the New Kings Democrats, praised the legislation proposed by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) to mandate the New York City Campaign Finance Board to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“This long overdue reform is a great first step to making it finally easier to participate in our democracy,” West said.

 

New York Daily News
Erin Durkin
11/17/17
 

New Yorkers will soon be able to register to vote online after the City Council passed legislation to allow it Thursday.

The city Campaign Finance Board will set up a website and create an app to allow would-be voters to register.

“It seems like every election in New York City, it’s a new low for voter turnout,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), noting the dismal turnout in last week’s mayoral election.

 

The Real Deal
Kathryn Brenzel
11/16/17
 

The application now heads to the City Council, where chances don’t look great for Gamma to escape the zoning change. Local Council member Ben Kallos, who backed the a local community group’s efforts to rezone the area, indicated that he plans to remove the grandfathering clause from the application. The City Council tends to defer to the local council member when it comes to land use applications. The council is expected to vote on the zoning change by the end of the month.

 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Paula Katinas
11/16/17
 

The council’s Committee on Governmental Operations voted to pass legislation sponsored by Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) that would require the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to create a secure website and mobile app for residents who want to register to vote online.

“Democracy should be a click away. We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be registered and receive a confirmation by email, just as with any other website,” Kallos said in a statement.