He put a trash can on every corner in his district, but can he clean up all of Manhattan?
Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos is betting voters will say yes as he officially launches his borough president run.
“We’ve proven that communities with a Council member and a borough president who actually work for them instead of big money donors can accomplish almost anything,” he told the Daily News.
“I want to continue the work of [term-limited BP] Gale Brewer standing up to the mayor and real estate in favor of communities,” he added.
The Democrat cited his work on ethics reforms along with constituent services during his nearly six years so far on the Council.
The term-limited pol recently authored legislation to increase taxpayer matching funds to political candidates, with the goal of reducing the influence of big money in politics. His bill increased matching funds so they apply to nearly 90% of a pol’s donations, up from the status quo of 75%...
“I’m willing to live by the reforms that I put forward. I’m running under the system that I authored,” said Kallos, 38.
In an implicit dig at a potential rival ... Kallos also emphasized he doesn’t take campaign contributions from the real estate industry.
“When I got elected, I was one of the only people who didn’t take real estate” cash, Kallos said.
“It was really lonely in the City Council all these years,” he added, noting that declining real estate bucks has come into vogue since then...
Kallos’s most visible impact has come in the form of green, wide-lidded receptacles on every corner in the Upper East Side. He allocated $310,490 to set up 516 trash cans since 2016, according to his office.
“When I go around the borough, people are like, how do i get the new trash cans?” he said.
He promised to take a hands-on approach to constituent concerns if elected borough president, saying he’s already visited every community board in Manhattan.
“I think it’s about being present,” Kallos said. “90% of life is showing up and a lot of these folks have been ignored, particularly by members who have been running [for citywide office] and haven’t been focused on their districts.”
While the BP is viewed as a ceremonial job, Kallos promised to use all the powers at the office’s disposal to continue his crusade against new “super-tall” buildings. Among other steps, he said he’d use funds to hire urban planners and other experts for community boards so residents can fight back.
“If the borough president and the local Council member and the community board are aligned, we really can accomplish anything,” he said.
Kallos kicks off his campaign Wednesday with a string of endorsements. They come from: Communications Workers of America Local 1101, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12, Organization of Staff Analysts, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, Steamfitters Local 638 and the New York Professional Nurses Union.