Photo Courtesy of the Scala Campaign
Follow the bouncing brawl: Team Ulrich and Team Scala faced off this week in a war of words.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Incumbent City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) this week unloaded a sonic October surprise that has reverberated around communities of the 32nd Council District and catapulted the race for the seat between Ulrich and Democratic challenger Mike Scala into the stratosphere of a must-see political prizefight.
Ulrich’s camp on Monday and Wednesday released links to songs featuring Mike “Pizon” Scala and his rap group The Fam. Ulrich ripped Scala for what he characterized as “racist and sexist” rhymes.
Here are a few examples that sparked Ulrich’s outrage:
The track “Change Your Mind,” written and performed by Scala and released in 2011, boasts such lyrics as: “Me and rap go together like Spanish chicks and baby strollers.” And, “I’ve gained the favor of the sniffing coke chicks.”
On “Homegirls Remix” by The Fam, Scala’s verse contains the following lines:
“She told me she loved me when we got back to the car. At the back of the car, told that bitch ‘peace’ and hopped back in the car. But nobody told her stay at the back of the car. Fucked around – hit the bitch in the back with the car.”
“Damn, I think I broke her back with the car. Oh shit. Now I got a dead bitch in the back with the car. So I took a body bag, put the body in the bag, the bag back in the car.”
“Police telling me to back off the car…I looked at the officer and we screamed ‘bitch, get back in the car!’”
“Yeah, you guessed right, I gave it to her mouth.”
In another lyric attributed to Scala, he spits, “Every time these cops talk, I wanna break their jawbone.” The Forum reached out to Capt. Brian Bohannon, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, for reaction to those words, but he declined to comment on the issue.
“We don’t get involved in political debates between candidates,” he added.
The Forum also contacted several elected officials who have endorsed Scala in recent weeks to get their take on the lyrics. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) declined comment, as did Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach). U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, head of the Queens Democratic Party, did not return a request for comment; neither did City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest).
“This type of sick thinking has no place in our community or in City Hall,” said Eric Ulrich 2017 Campaign Manager Liam McCabe.
When reached by The Forum on Tuesday, Scala called Ulrich’s move “a failed attempt to distract voters from the facts he has supported the Constitutional Convention and has been distributing campaign literature falsely stating he is endorsed by the [Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association] and [Transport Workers Union], the latter of which endorsed us yesterday.”
Scala, a Howard Beach attorney and activist, also directed us to his official statement on the matter which was posted to his Facebook page.
“I’ve been blessed to have lived the American Dream. Many of my early years were spent with my single mother in south Queens. I 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,” Scala wrote.
“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,” he continued. “The opposition acknowledges that, trying to make the argument that my having naturally matured as an individual is no different from the councilman evolving on issues. There is a major difference. While our campaign is talking about the issues – including positions this petty councilman changed while holding public office, as recently as last week – they are looking for dirt from many years ago, before I was a public official and grew into the candidate I am now.
“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,” Scala later added.
Ulrich’s campaign on Wednesday noted that the songs and lyrics the councilman spotlighted were written and performed by Scala when he was 27 and 29 years old.
The political pugilism promises to continue as the two candidates are set to spar on Tuesday, Halloween night, at the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Candidates Forum.