City Council Contenders: Q & A With Ulrich vs. Scala

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Tuesday, November 7 is Election Day, when we vote for who will best serve our community. Mayor, as well as all 51 seats on the NY City Council, including our District 32 seat are up for grabs. Presidential elections always get a large turnout of voters, but local elections directly impact the people. Donovan Richards is running unopposed for the District 31 seat, so we reached out to those in District 32 that voters will have to decide on. The candidates include incumbent Republican, Eric Ulrich, and his Democratic rival, Mike Scala. We asked both candidates similar questions, to give you, the voters, an insight into their respective platforms.

 

Incumbent Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich, and Queens native:

 

Why do you want to continue to be our Councilman instead of running for Mayor?

“I am reminded on a daily basis why I chose the path of public office – to help others and to serve the people of my district. I chose to run for re-election because I genuinely love what I do, and the communities I represent. The residents of District 32 are not just my constituents - they are my neighbors. While I am proud of all that our office has been able to accomplish, especially in the years following Sandy, we are far from finished. If given the opportunity to serve my constituents for another four years, I vow to continue fighting for Rockaway and to stand up to the Mayor to ensure that the Peninsula has an ally at City Hall.

 

What are some of the big things you have done for the Rockaways, and what future plans are in the works?

“Our office spearheaded a number of successful initiatives to bring much-needed resources for the neighborhoods impacted by Sandy:

  • Less than three years after that fateful day, our office celebrated the opening of the Rockaway Beach Skate Park.
  • Our office has helped hundreds of constituents return home, but we are far from done.
  • Five years after Sandy, the Peninsula has recovered in ways I could have never imagined. In 2013, Broad Channel Library reopened.
  • Significant investments have also been made in our district schools.
  • Our office was instrumental in expanding Citywide Ferry’s shuttle bus service.
  • Ensuring that our seniors and our veterans have access to valuable resources has also been a priority.”

 

What do you think our biggest issues are, and how do you plan on solving them?

“We do not need any more studies on beach erosion. The Rockaway Peninsula needs an interim sand replenishment project for our beaches as soon as possible. The shoreline is a key location for recreation by my constituents and people citywide, and a major destination for tourism and the businesses that are supported by it. Mayor de Blasio has promised to do more to protect the Peninsula, but five years after Superstorm Sandy, parts of Rockaway are still vulnerable – and it is unacceptable. Our office has helped hundreds of constituents return home, but we are far from finished. I will continue to stand up to our Mayor to demand accountability within the Build It Back program, sand replenishment for our beaches and infrastructure to protect vulnerable communities on the coastline.”

 

In what ways are you better for the Rockaways, than your opponent?

“Despite trying to distance himself from the de Blasio administration, Michael Scala is a longtime supporter of the Mayor. He has donated to and worked on de Blasio’s campaigns for Mayor. Scala has remained silent on who he will be endorsing for Mayor because he does not want voters to know that he is a rubber stamp for the de Blasio administration.

 

Democratic nominee Mike Scala, a Queens native, attorney, and Howard Beach resident:

 

We want to know why you’re running for councilman?

“I am running to be a strong advocate for our working men and women, one who won't back down in the face of a fight or waver from his principles. We need better transportation, health care and education, and my experience as an attorney in the private and public sectors prepares me well for these battles.”

 

What would you do for Rockaway if you were to win?

“I will work to improve and expand ferry service and move the QueensRail project forward with our Assemblywoman, Stacey Pheffer Amato, who endorsed our campaign. I'll continue the fight against the dangerous Select Bus Service plan, which was rejected by our neighborhoods but supported by the opposing candidate. I'll be a champion of increasing access to health care on the peninsula and innovative after-school programming that focuses on coding and technology. I'll call for more than just an investigation of the disastrous Build It Back program, but restitution to the victims for their pain and suffering. Additionally, I'll demand more input from our neighborhoods before decisions are made by the city.”

 

What do you think are the most important issues and what is your stance on them?

“In addition to the ones cited, the Constitutional Convention is a major issue this year. I have always been opposed to it because I do not want to risk jeopardizing the protections guaranteed by our state constitution such as public employee pensions that cannot be diminished or impaired, collective bargaining and a sound basic education. The other candidate supported it to achieve pension entitlement reform. Our working men and women deserve better.”

 

In what ways are you better for the Rockaways, than your opponent?

“I will be more of a fighter for Rockaway's needs, including better public transportation. As First Vice President of the Queens Public Transit Committee and co-chair of the Rockaway Ferry Committee, I've been at the forefront of these battles. Unlike the opponent, I would not support dangerous ideas like Select Bus Service. I would not say reducing our commutes up to 45 minutes via the QueensRail would not happen in our lifetimes. I will stand up to City Hall when appropriate, without being an obstructionist for its own sake: why continue banging our heads against a brick wall when there is a door in sight?”

 

No matter who you prefer, exercise your right to vote. Let your voice be heard on Tuesday!

 

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