Transportation advocate hopes to snag Democratic nom
by Patrick Kearns
Aug 23, 2017 | 759 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mike Scala’s love of politics first came from his passion for music. During the Bush years, Scala would hosted a radio show that touched on current events, which brought him out to colleges to speak to students about getting out to vote.

He later went to Brooklyn Law School with an eye toward getting involved in public policy, eventually working for State Senator James Sanders.

His experience in politics, he believes, is what separates him from Helal Sheikh and William Ruiz, his opponents in the Democratic Primary in the 32nd Council District on September 12.

Scala is most passionate when he’s discussing the transportation issues that plague parts of south Queens.

As the first vice president of the Queens Public Transit Committee, he has advocated for expanding ferry service, revitalizing the QueensRail, and opposed the city's select bus service (SBS) proposal for Cross Bay and Woodhaven boulevards.

“A lot the reason why I’m in this race now is transportation,” Scala said. “We want to have a voice in City Hall, not just screaming from the outside.”

Scala was critical of how the Departemtn of Transportation (DOT) rolled out its SBS plan. He believes that putting bus stops on the median will raise serious safety concerns, especially for children and seniors, and that removing a lane of traffic on a major thoroughfare won’t help congestion.

“The main issue is that the city kind of dictated to us what it was going to be instead of really trying to work with us on it, he said. “We did have these public workshops, and we would attend and try to give our input and it seemed like nothing was really being followed, it was just a formality.

“Our biggest gripe came when CB9 voted against select bus service,” he added. “Two days later the city started doing SBS work on Jamaica and Woodhaven. Almost as if, from the community’s point of view, to stick it to us.”

He was also critical of how current Councilman Eric Ulrich handled the issue. He believes Ulrich allowed it to happen because he believed it was inevitable.

“If the first thing you are saying is you cannot stop this, you’ll never get your other colleagues on board to stand up,” Scala said. “You need to be strong and keep that fight, that’s how you get the political capital to get things done.”

If elecgted, Scala said he won’t just be a rubber stamp for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. Another area where he disagrees with the mayor is his handling of the homeless crisis.

“The main issue is that they’re warehousing homeless in areas that do not accommodate them, not just geographically, but the spaces they’re putting them in, he said. “Hotels, for example, with no kitchens.

“It’s actually against the law,” he added. “The city’s theory is it's an emergency and you have to make exceptions, but when everything is an emergency then the law has no meaning anymore.”

Legislatively, Scala said he wants to make sure the community has more input. On a practical level, he wants to improve and expand current shelters and look for longterm solutions to getting these individuals back on their feet.

Scala said he also supports the neighborhood policing model that’s now being rolled out in the 106th Precinct and started in Rockaway, and he also wants to work towards building strong local hiring goals.

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pedrovaldezriverajr
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August 29, 2017
He is the wild card assuming he wins the city council seat. I will wish him the best of luck in the general primary and possibly on election day.