New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Bill of Rights, Resident Law Making and Empowering Council and Borough Presidents Over Mayor in Land Use Proposed for City Charter Commission

Kallos Chides NYPD Commissioner for Failure to Maintain Telegraph and Suggest Removal of Poverty Wages

Read the Full Testimony


New York, NY- Today Council Member Ben Kallos testified before the City Council’s Charter Revision Commission. In his testimony, Kallos highlighted a number of areas in the City’s Charter that he is calling for the commission’s attention on.
  • Bill of Rights to free higher education, affordable health and mental health care, and, access to parks, libraries, public transit and affordable internet
  • Protect the will of the people requiring anything passed by referendum to come back before voters for changes. 
  • Empowering City Council and Borough Presidents with appointments to Mayoral Boards with Land Use Powers
  • Right for residents to propose legislation for Council hearing and vote
 According to his testimony, any part of the Charter adopted through a vote of the people should only be subject to change by those same people at another vote. In his view, New Yorkers need the protections offered by a bill of rights from any potential assault the Federal government can come ups with. Such a bill a bill of rights would guarantee New Yorkers a right to a free higher education and childcare, affordable health and mental health care, access to parks, libraries, and public transit, affordable internet, freedom from hunger, clean air and water. Kallos’ recommendation included democratizing many of the city’s most powerful boards with appointments from the Borough Presidents and the City Council instead of the Mayor.
Council Member Kallos’ other recommendations to the City Council commission include giving everyday New Yorkers the ability and avenues to participate in the legislative process by submitting bills for that he refers to as guaranteed hearings and votes. In addition, in what has become his signature issue Kallos’ once again called for the City to “enshrine campaign finance and ethics reforms in the City Charter.
“Our City’s Charter is truly a living document but it up us to make sure it remains alive,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. "The world and therefore New York City have changed drastically since 1989, this must be reflected in improvements to our Charter.  Among many other changes, we need guaranteed rights, a democratization of powers in our City government so that it is more fair and reflective of our people and at the same time we need to reflect the outstanding advances in technology we have made  in our Charter so that we are able to keep up with other major cities in the 21st century."

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