Photo Courtesy of Scala
Scala is an attorney and the first vice president of the Queens Public Transit Committee.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Howard Beach attorney and public transportation activist, Mike Scala, announced on Monday that he will be running to represent the 32nd District of the City Council.
“It’s time to wage an aggressive battle for better transportation,” Scala said. “This means working to improve and expand ferry service. It means diligently and dutifully advocating against Select Bus Service on Cross Bay and Woodhaven boulevards, a plan that every community along the proposed route rejected. It means forcefully promoting the QueensRail to reduce the commutes working people are making to and from Midtown Manhattan by up to 45 minutes. It means never giving up the fight, even in the face of resistance.”
The 32nd Council District covers Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven.
Scala, as first vice president of the Queens Public Transit Committee, has written opinion pieces for The Forum.
But, as he said on Monday, he plans to also focus on holding the City more accountable to communities, citing the Build It Back fiasco; stopping the warehousing of homeless families without input from local leaders and elected officials; as well as contending for better education and health care access for his constituents.
According to Scala’s campaign, prior to his admission to the New York Bar, he worked for the legal department of the State United Teachers union, as well as for the healthcare non-profit National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
According to his campaign, during the 201st New York State Legislature, Scala served as legal counsel and legislative director in the State Senate. His duties included drafting, managing and negotiating proposed laws. Several of them, including an initiative to help veterans find work in the state, passed the Senate, including legislation requiring police reports of missing adults, was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last September.
In this capacity, Scala was also involved in the state budget process, which included a $12.94 million allocation for transportation improvements in Rockaway and $10.15 million for St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.
The challenger, who is presumably running on the Democratic line, also addressed the incumbent, long-time City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), on Monday. In March, Ulrich announced that instead of taking a shot at Gracie Mansion this year he would be running for a third Council term.
“It’s something that I’ve been considering for quite some time now, mulling it over these past few months with my family, my friends, and my supporters, and I’ve decided that this would not be the right move for me to make,” Ulrich said of a possible run for mayor.
Scala said that, while he believes that Ulrich “has done an estimable job in certain respects,” term limits as adopted by the people of NYC should be followed. Under current law, city officials can serve two consecutive terms. Scala ripped Ulrich for seeking “to take advantage of a loophole that allows officials elected prior to 2010 to run for an extra term – a loophole the councilmember once said we had a ‘moral obligation’ to close.”