Howard Beach, NY — Michael Gennaro Scala, First Vice President of the Queens Public Transit Committee, announced early Monday morning that he will be running to represent the 32nd District of the New York City Council.
“It’s time to wage an aggressive battle for better transportation,” Scala, a South Queens attorney with experience in the private and public sectors, 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.”
Aside from issues of transportation, Scala plans to 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. His record and background prepare him well for these challenges.
As a civil litigator, Mike has successfully argued cases throughout the New York court system. Clients of his practice have included local homeowners for whom he has been able to provide legal relief. Prior to his admission to the New York State Bar, he worked for the legal department of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) as well as for the healthcare non-profit National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
During the 201st New York State Legislature, Mike served as legal counsel and legislative director in the New York 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 due to his effort and pertinacity.
One such bill, requiring police reports of missing adults, was signed by the governor on September 9, 2016, and has become Section 837-F-2 of the Executive Law.
In this capacity, Mike 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.
While Scala believes the incumbent Councilmember has done an estimable job in certain respects, term limits as adopted by the people of New York City should be followed. Under current law, city officials can serve two consecutive terms. The incumbent seeks 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.
“It comes down to what you think is right. I could easily run for three terms. But it’s about the people. They voted for term limits three times already. This is what they obviously want,” he said in a press conference as reported by The Wave newspaper.
The 32nd District covers the neighborhoods of Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven.