New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Coverage

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — The International Union of Operating Engineers’ six New York locals are endorsing City Council Member Ben Kallos, who last week launched an early bid for Manhattan borough president. Kallos has pushed bills to track construction deaths and injuries and to require workers on city-subsidized projects to get prevailing wage.

 

Upper East Side Council Member Ben Kallos officially kicked off his campaign last week to become the next borough president of Manhattan, running on a platform of anti-corruption and community empowerment...

Kallos said he wants to continue the work he started on the Council, which he notes has included adding a thousand pre-kindergarten seats to his district, securing $200 million for parks and cleaning up the streets of the Upper East Side by adding green trashcans on every corner.

He also pointed to his record on cleaning up the political system. When he first ran in 2013, Kallos rejected donations from real estate companies and corporations, saying he hoped it would push other members to do the same. Since then, he helped pass legislation to ban outside income for members...

When speaking about their work with Kallos, leaders of the Upper East Side described the councilman as someone who is caring, a good listener and invested in working with the community.

Community Board 8 chair, Alida Camp, said Kallos has been a good partner of the board since he’s taken up his role on the city council. She said he often attends the board’s meetings ...

Valerie Mason, president of the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association, said she appreciated how Kallos has empowered community groups and taught them how to be activists.

Betty Cooper Wallerstein, who serves as the head of the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, said the quality most distinct about Kallos is how much he cares. She said this was particularly important because she has seen a lot of representatives who come into office with their own ideas and are not open to what others have to say.

Wallerstein said she’s seen Kallos listen to constituents, evaluate what they’ve had to say and changed his position on things because of what the community needed...

 

City Councilmember Ben Kallos announced his bid Wednesday to replace the term-limited Borough President Gale Brewer, touting a record as a reformer in the City Council and several labor union endorsements. Kallos also cited the fact that he was one of the first members of the City Council to refuse campaign contributions from the real estate industry.

"Without the corrupting influence of big money from real estate I've been free to stand up for residents alongside our Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and win. We've made so much progress and the stakes have never been higher, we can't afford to lose momentum. Manhattan's next Borough President must continue the work of Gale Brewer, standing up to the Mayor and real estate, in favor of communities," Kallos said in his announcement.

Kallos has represented the City Council's Fifth District — which spans much of the Upper East side, Roosevelt Island and small portions of East Harlem and Midtown East — since 2014. Since taking office, Kallos has fought for improvements in his district such as the installation of new trash cans on every corner and the addition of more than 1,000 Pre-K seats. Kallos has also fought for reforms in the City Council, authoring laws to limit outside income for councilmembers and eliminate compensation for leadership and committee posts...

Seven labor unions endorsed Kallos on the day of his campaign launch, including: Communications Workers of America Local 1101, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12, New York Professional Nurses Union, Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA), Steamfitters Local 638, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

 

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%...

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...

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.

 

Meet the 32-year-old who could be your next city councilmember.

Ben Kallos is not your typical Upper East Sider.

He went to state school because, he said, he couldn’t afford an Ivy League education. His Hungarian grandparents immigrated to New York in the 1950s. He grew up on the East Side but went to high school at Bronx Science. He got his law degree, worked in private practice, then the New York State Assembly and a good government group.

None of that has stopped the 32-year-old from winning the Democratic primary for City Council on the Upper East Side. Kallos, barring an upset by his Republican counterpart, David Garland, would succeed Jessica Lappin in district five come November. (Over the weekend, Kallos won the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney for the post.)

 

Various winners in City Council primaries gathered with members of Common Cause New York on the steps of City Hall today to castigate the influence of independent expenditures, especially Jobs for New York, a group backed by real estate interests.

'Campaign finance is a great equalizer, it allows idealist candidates who are reformers to get elected without being in debt to the very special interest we are running against. In my race the most frequent contribution was 10 dollars,' said Mr. Kallos.

 

There was one NYC candidate who stood out amongst the rest, Ben Kallos. Ben Kallos’ is not your normal City Council Candidate. He was endorsed by Craig Newmark and Richard M. Stallman, among others. For the last few years, Kallos has been running a Drupal based website, asking the public for their ideas.

Kallos is also one of first 50 people who joined BetaNYC when it was called “Open Government NYC.” Since then, he has been a vocal member for open government and a dedicated open source developer. As a member of the Brigade and on the campaign trail, Ben spoke openly about his ideas for Open Government.

 

We continue our series on City Council candidates with a Q&A with government transparency advocate Ben Kallos, who’s running to represent District 5 in Yorkville, Roosevelt Island, and the Upper East Side. Yesterday, we ran a Q&A with Republican candidate David Garland.

 

Call it City Council 2.0. Ben Kallos, a Democratic candidate for the District 5 City Council seat, is using his experience as a tech entrepreneur to run a campaign promising everything from publishing city records online to expanding Internet service to serve more low-income families.

 

... Upper East Siders ... Ben Kallos ... are running for a seat on the City Council. We interviewed each of them about five issues that Upper East Side residents find most pressing.

How would you make sure that the Marine Transfer Station was not built?

Ben Kallos: I try to have a wider scope. This issue has been going on for seven years and nothing’s happened. New York is 15 percent recycling, and San Francisco is over 75 percent recycling. My question is why is New York City following an obsolete waste management plan. We should be educating people about recycling and not putting 50 percent of our waste into the ground. We need to make sure the vehicles we are using for waste transportation aren’t emitting fumes. This is a local issue, but we need to broaden our scope. We’re in this together as a city.

 

Ben Kallos, a candidate to represent Roosevelt Island in the NYC Council adds: Today's resignation of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director demonstrates that the concerted efforts of Roosevelt Islanders who bravely rallied, testified and spoke out to reform the Public Safety Department can achieve results. Residents no longer have to rely on empty political promises, instead taking action to better our community. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of members of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee led by Erin Feely Nahem, who had to make personal sacrifices and faced adversity for her tireless efforts. We eagerly await the results of the investigation into Public Safety Department by the Inspector General who can create an oversight board of resident to prevent future misconduct.

 

As we’ve reported, though, the proposed text looks a bit different than the version that cleared the committee earlier this year — for example, it cut two paragraphs that promoted open-source software. That’s not exactly music to the ears of open government advocates — one, for example, told us that a government pivot to open source would be a cost-saver and potential job creator.

 

 Joseph Strong, a representative from City Council candidate Ben Kallos’ office said that his team started giving out water to residents as soon as they heard about the power outage.

 

By funding public college education for all – regardless of immigration status – the City will build a better workforce, earn more in taxes and become stronger.

 

A comprehensive policy platform created exclusively by advocacy group Manhattan Young Democrats was adopted today by City Council Candidate Ben Kallos for inclusion in his campaigns solutions for a better City.

 

Following child care funding cuts in the Final Executive Budget affecting thousands of working families, Council Candidate Ben Kallos joined Executive Director of DC 1707 Raglan George, Jr. at the “One Man One March,” along with Mabel Everett, President of Local 205 Day Care Employees, to call on Mayor Bloomberg to restore funding to help provide for New York City’s children, single parents and families living in poverty.

 

 

A New York City Council candidate who had made his name as a technology consultant and spearheaded an open government initiative several years ago found parts of his website copied by another City Council candidate in a different borough, as Politicker first reported.

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Ben Kallos is a Democrat running for City Council on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. Kallos, who previously served as director of policy and communication for former Public Advocate Mark Green's 2009 campaign, heads up Kallos Consulting, which has the tagline "Where Technology, Politics and Law Come Together."

He was also a cofounder of the Open Government Foundation, a New York-based non-profit started in 2009. On his website, Kallos says that the platform was the first "to post attendance, legislation and voting records going back to 1995 along with an application that showed how often your New York City or State legislator voted with the majority." He notes that the New York State Senate and the New York City Council launched similar portals with that information shortly thereafter. The information on the OGF's website has not been updated since 2009. Kallos Consulting also focused on web development for organizations including the Democratic National Committee’s Law School Democrats, the New York State Democratic Party, and New York City Government’s Community Board 8 in Manhattan, according to his website. Kallos said his website was developed with Drupal.

According to the NYCCFB, Alvarez has raised $16,988.00, and Kallos has raised $63,288.00.

According to Politicker, Kallos sees the imitation as flattery. “The fact that our campaign’s open platform focused on solutions and progressive internship program have become a model demonstrates that we are not only leading by example, but changing the dialogue,” he told the news site.

 

The internships section of the Pedro Alvarez website was identical to the section on the Ben Kallos website.

Ben Kallos, a candidate for City Council on the Upper East Side, was apparently offering campaign internships in the south Bronx.

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Mr. Kallos, for his part, seemed unperturbed about another campaign copying his website. Rather than address the identical website sections when reached for comment, he touted the strength of his own campaign.

“The fact that our campaign’s open platform focused on solutions and progressive internship program have become a model demonstrates that we are not only leading by example, but changing the dialog,” Mr. Kallos stated.