New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Coverage

The State Assemblymember whose district includes Roosevelt Island (and a candidate for Lappin’s City Council seat when she leaves to run for Borough President this year), previously declined to answer or even acknowledge a request from The WIRE for a statement. He was not at the hearing.  His competition for the Council seat, Ben Kallos, sent a representative to read his statement in opposition to the project and in support of community concerns.

“Cornell NYC Tech can’t claim to be sustainable unless it supports the local infrastructure on which it relies,” Kallos’ campaign asserts.  It goes on to quote a statement by City Planning Commissioner Michelle de la Uz in her no vote for the project: “I am not happy with their exemption from paying for services.”


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been proven to be hypocritical in its unequal treatment of senior management versus regular employees, according to compensation documents obtained by Ben Kallos, a City Council Candidate for the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.

“No contract for workers – no contract for the Chair!” exclaimed Kallos. “The MTA’s rewarding of executives while punishing workers is hypocrisy, especially when using tax dollars.”


"Roosevelt Island NYC Council Candidate Ben Kallos tweets:We need to improve access for @RooseveltIsland especially on weekends w/ no #manhattan bound #mta #f trains"

9:05 PM - 13 Apr 13from Manhattan, NY, United StatesView image on Twitter




Last week’s events call attention to the importance that each one of the fifty-one members of the city’s only legislature have in determining how we as a city spend $77.7 billion dollars, comprising the fourth largest budget in the country after the federal, California, and New York State budgets.


Ben Kallos’s team stepped up to the plate that day when some volunteers didn’t show up, and did the registration for us.


As a City Council candidate for the 5th District, which includes Roosevelt Island, I have been supporting Democracy for Roosevelt Island through my community’s hard fought battle for the freedoms and democracy appreciated by all other residents of New York City. This is because, unlike the rest of the City, Roosevelt Island is managed by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a New York State Agency whose Board members are appointed by the Governor.Roosevelt Island activist and former Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matthew Katz brought to our campaign’s attention that there is now a vacancy on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) Board as a result of the resignation of Sal Ferrara [Ferrera], a nonresident who was appointed in June of 2011 without being elected by Roosevelt Island residents.


Ben Kallos is running to succeed Jessica Lappin as New York City Council Member for Manhattan's 5th District which includes Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side. Last week, Mr Kallos sent the following letter to Roosevelt Island's Assembly Member.


Ben Kallos pressures Gov. Cuomo to strengthen democratic representation on behalf of Roosevelt Island.


NY City Council candidate Ben Kallos was on hand to greetand meet with Roosevelt Island residents while some from his staff volunteered for the Easter Egg Hunt.


Mayor Bloomberg has been a fantastic partner for the tech community. I’d like to see this trickle down to the more local politics – for example, I’m hoping Ben Kallos (and any other technologist candidates – he’s the only one I’m aware of) – will win the upcoming city council election. It makes such a difference to have city officials working closely with the technologists and tech activists here in NYC.



Strap hangers on the Upper East Side say "bring back the booths." A coalition of riders, community leaders and transit workers are collecting signatures to petition the MTA to return station agents and booths to their subways. They claim that crime and vandalism have increased with removal of booths and are demanding the MTA do something about it.


Some Upper East Side strap hangers say the MTA made a big mistake when it stripped their subway station of its manned booths. They say crime has increased at the uptown 86th Street station and vandals are damaging metro card machines and they are causing them to malfunction. Community leaders have started a Bring Back Our Booths petition demanding the MTA stop removing booths and agents.


Benjamin J. Kallos is running in District 5. He has been endorsed by former PA, Mark Green, New Roosevelt Founder, Bill Samuels, and Organizing for America National Military and Veterans Affairs' New York State Director, Rob Diamond.


NYC Council Candidate Ben Kallos, who is seeking to represent Roosevelt Island in the next election, submitted this proposal for a Public Safety Review Board.

Dear Members of RIOC Operations Committee,

In response to repeated allegations of misconduct on behalf of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, and a recent incident in which misconduct was alleged, we sent a letter to the Inspector General calling for an investigation of the Public Safety Department’s behavior. Waiting for results is no longer an option. Roosevelt Island residents demand that fair treatment be made available immediately.

We wish to contribute to your discussion of new policies for the Public Safety Department by proposing the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) under RIOC as a special
committee or a task force. The proposed board would be comprised of both elected Island
residents, residents nominated from the RIOC Board and the sitting RIRA President.

A summary of the duties of the CCRB, excerpted from our full proposal, follows:

(b) Powers and Duties of the Board

  1. The Board shall have the power to receive, investigate, hear, make findings and recommend action against Public Safety Officers.
  2. Any Board action shall be upon complaints against Public Safety Officers that allege misconduct involving excessive use of force, abuse of authority, or use of offensive language, including, but not limited to, comments relating to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
  3. The findings and recommendations of the board shall be submitted to the RIOC Board and the RIOC Board Operations Committee Chair. No finding or recommendation shall be based solely upon an unsworn complaint or statement, nor shall prior unsubstantiated, unfounded or withdrawn complaints be the basis for any such findings or recommendations. It is the responsibility of the RIOC Board to work with the Roosevelt Island Civilian Complaint Board and the Public Safety Department Director to resolve such complaints.
  4. (4) The board shall issue to the RIOC Board a monthly report which describes its activities and summarizes its actions.
  5. (5) The board shall have the responsibility of informing the public about the board and its duties, and shall develop a method of informing the public regarding the provisions of its chapter.

We also call for RIOC to provide free and fair mediation to Roosevelt Island residents in a manner such as the NYC CCRB provides. Because it treats incidents after the fact, mediation alone is not enough, but it can prevent pain and unjust treatment from continuing.

In closing, we ask the RIOC Operations Committee to assess the viability of creating a committee or task force to address Public Safety Department misconduct, and we offer our help toward this end in any way it may be needed. We will submit in paper our full proposal outlining the responsibilities and limits of the proposed CCRB.


A candidate for Jessica Lappin's City Council seat has cast himself as a progressive and government reformer who welcomes a battle with challengers he claims are backed by the political establishment.


Benjamin Kallos — one of several candidates vying for the District 5 City Council seat — has touted himself as a political outsider since launching his campaign last year.


Ben Kallos , Democratic Party primary candidate for 5th NY City Council District (which includes Roosevelt Island) attended the February 16 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Accountability/Brutality Demonstration. Mr. Kallos reported that he submitted a complaint to the NY State Inspector General's Office asking for an investigation into allegations of a pattern of abuse by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department.


New Roosevelt Initiative founder Bill Samuels is endorsing the good-government organization’s executive director Ben Kallos for city Council against Assemblyman Micha Kellner.



Tech’s Influence on Elections

Some candidates are already on board, like Benjamin Kallos, who is running for City Council’s Upper East Side 5th District.

Kallos already advocates for tech-friendly policies. He said the city needs to lessen its dependence on the real estate and finance industries, and focus more on the tech sector. His suggestion, among others, is to provide $50,000 micro-seed grants for startups.