May Newsletter: Retirement for All, Pesticides Banned, No More Robot Dogs, Empty Storefronts, Affordable Housing, Free Summer Camp, Saving Our Planet, and Cleaning Up Our Streets
Below is a re-post of my City Council government office's May newsletter. For the original, visit BenKallos.com/newsletters
Every New Yorker should be able to retire, but few have access to savings through their employers, which is about to change. After working with now-Attorney General Tish James and the Obama administration, fighting Trump and Steve Bannon who made it a top priority to stop us and two acts of Congress over the course of 8 years, the Council just passed Retirement Security for All.
Earth Day is more important than ever, particularly during a climate emergency. After kindergarten students of Paula Rogovin at P.S. 290 advocated to ban toxic pesticides, I introduced legislation back in 2015 to do just that. The New York Times reported on 6 years of advocacy by these children who have emerged as an unlikely force that finally won this ban. As we seek to close marine-transfer-to-landfill stations like the one on East 91st, we as a city must achieve zero waste and my legislation to do so got a second hearing just as the city had cut funding to vital diversion programs like composting. With reduced trash pick up and rats everywhere, I've also proposed legislation to put rat-proof solar compactors on every corner that can hold five times more trash and clean up our streets.
I’ve allocated $3 million to redesign Ruppert Park. Share your vision for the park at a virtual Scoping Session hosted by the Parks Department on May 20 at 6pm.
Our environment and children also won participatory budgeting with more than 500 residents voting to fund new trees and guards for sidewalks and new laptops for 15 public schools.
We forced the NYPD to retire their robot "dog" that they used in public housing, following a subpoena and legislation to prohibit them from being weaponized. The truth is that we need community policing where police officers are building relationships with residents, not military robots. With Derek Chauvin convicted on all three counts, many celebrated that there might finally be accountability for the murderer of George Floyd and we as a nation have taken the first step in a long journey towards justice.
The best thing we can do for our city's future is to invest in our children. On Roosevelt Island, I joined Congress Member Carolyn Maloney to cut the ribbon on a new Youth Center. In the City Council, I authored legislation for Universal Summer Camp and am proud to support Mayor de Blasio's Summer Rising program offering free summer learning, enrichment, and play at public schools throughout the city.
Another road to recovery is filling vacant storefronts and supporting our non-profits who have been on the front lines of this pandemic. That's why I introduced legislation to force absentee landlords that hide behind LLCs to reveal their names. As chair of the Contracts Committee, I was also able to win permanent funding to cover overhead costs for non-profits that work on behalf of the city to help those who need it most.
As continue to fight Covid-19, anyone over age 16 can walk up for a vaccine without an appointment.
This month please join us for our annual forum on how to fight overdevelopment as well as preserve and build affordable housing. Thanks to my support in the Council we even have an opportunity to own your own affordable studio coop in the neighborhood.
As we celebrate Mother's day, I mourn the loss of my mother and celebrate my wife and all the mothers out there as we fight for pay equity in this recovery.
Yours in service,
Overdevelopment, Preservation, and Affordable Housing Forum
Affordable Home Ownership Opportunity
Public Hearings on Property Taxes
Free Legal Clinics
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Retirement Security for All
- DigiDog Sent to the Farm
- Pesticides Finally Banned Following Student Activism
- Participatory Budgeting Results
- A Solar Compactor on Every Corner
- Zero Waste by 2030
- Proposal to Spend $22 Billion to Save the Planet
EDUCATION & YOUTH
- 3-K Fully Funded for 2023
- Billions in Federal Funding to Be Invested NYC Education, Thanks to Congresswoman Maloney
- Cutting the Ribbon on the Newly Renovated Roosevelt Island Youth Center
- Summer Rising
COVID-19 + Recovery
- Finding Empty Storefront Owners So We Can Recover
- Won Full Funding for NYC Nonprofits on the Front Lines
- New Yorkers 16 and Up Can Get Vaccinated, No Appointment Needed
- Museums, Zoos & Movie Theaters See Indoor Capacity Increase
- Citywide Curfew Extended
- “Back to Normal” on July 1st
- Overdevelopment, Preservation and Affordable Housing Town Hall
- Info Session for Affordable Homeownership Opportunity at 1402 York Ave
- Scoping Session on $3 Million Ruppert Park Redesign
- Property Tax Reform Public Hearings Are Back
- Blood Center Update at Community Board 8 Land Use Committee Meeting
- First Friday Online
- Free Mask Distribution