This is not an endorsement of incumbent City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).
Rather, it is an indictment of a pervasive cultural ill that has become a very real threat to decent human beings the world over: the systemic, gradual erosion of accountability.
However, the developments this week in the race between Ulrich and Democratic challenger Mike Scala for the 32nd Council District seat did inspire this treatise on responsibility.
(FULL DISCLOSURE: Mr. Scala has contributed to editorial content in The Forum in past as a guest writer.)
For those who might have dozed under a rock – or, say, below a row of seats on a 3-train car – for a few days, here’s the latest:
The Ulrich campaign on Monday released a video denouncing Scala for his “racist and sexist rap lyrics,” including such gems as “Me and rap go together like Spanish chicks and strollers” and “Every time these cops talk, I wanna break their jawbone.”
Naturally, Ulrich’s camp issue the perfunctory “This type of sick thinking has no place in our community or in City Hall,” and demanded that Scala say he’s sorry for said lyrics, and apologize “to our brave police officers.”
But wait, there’s more.
On Wednesday, Ulrich doubled down, releasing links to songs and videos featuring lines like: “These girls basically my favorite animals,” and “Fuckin’ nitwits, I Twit’ pic’d a pic of my big d–k to six chicks and they all licked it.”
And that’s just a sampling. For more examples, read our story on Page 3.
In response, Scala posted a lengthy statement on his Facebook account attempting to explain the content of his relatively recent record. In it, he calls the tracks in question “old rap songs” (they were produced five and seven years ago) and noted how he “used music and entertainment as an escape and an outlet, eventually being signed to a record label as a young man. While sometimes vulgar (and it’s easy to cherry-pick specific lyrics and disregard positive messages, or attribute some lyrics to me that were written and performed by someone else, as they did), the characters portrayed tended to receive their comeuppance by the end of the song or album.”
Later in the message, Scala feels that “It goes without saying that the man writing this today, the Democratic nominee for New York City Council, has come a long way since youth.”
Those words cannot be written off as the innocent musings of a misspent youth. He was 27 and 29 years old when they were written, produced, recorded, and performed.
In the last paragraph of the post, the Dem candidate posits that his opponent “would rather talk about rap music than the fact he supported the Constitutional Convention to achieve ‘pension entitlement reform,’ but we won’t fall for the distraction. I’m proud to be supported by many men and women in our district, of all backgrounds and walks of life, who believe I can make a positive difference.”
This is not a question of distraction or shifting blame or throwing dirt on a name, or any other trick from the Gotham political playbook. We’d rather talk about accountability and responsibility.
Scala should have owned this from the beginning by immediately apologizing for the offensive language, taken the necessary steps toward making amends with groups that might not have appreciated the slights in the songs – mainly women and police officers. Not once in that note or any other comment from the challenger have we seen the words “I’m sorry.”
And what of the elected officials who provided full-throated endorsements of Mr. Scala prior to this week’s events? We tried to get reactions from each of them, but were met with “no comment” or ignored e-mails and voice messages.
Words and the power they pack took center stage this week. Too bad accountability and responsibility weren’t among them.


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