Scala Demands More Accountability From City Agencies

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Mike Scala’s editorial in this week’s The Forum newspaper.

Mike Scala wrote an editorial for this week’s edition of The Forum, South & West — covering the Queens neighborhoods of Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Broad Channel and others — demanding that city agencies be held more accountable.

In the op ed, Scala recounts construction for Select Bus Service (SBS) beginning at Jamaica Avenue two days after Community Board 9 voted overwhelmingly against the plan. He imagines a scenario where the Department of Transportation sends an email reading “Time for some traffic problems in Woodhaven,” a reference to New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal.

Testimony in opposition to SBS, including from Queens Public Transit Committee members and Scala himself, was provided at the community board meeting before the body’s vote to reject the project. Scala argues that while community boards are advisory in nature, and thus their decisions are not binding, they should be entitled to more consideration from the city.

“Perhaps this means conducting further analysis. Perhaps this means providing the board with a detailed response. It might even include counterarguments and well-formulated reasons the advice will ultimately not be needed,” Scala writes. “It should not, under any circumstances, entail outright ignoring the will of the community.”

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