By Mark Hallum
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) released a video on YouTube calling out his Democratic opponent for his role in a rap group producing lyrics in which sexist and racist remarks were often made alongside comments about committing violence against police officers and marijuana use.
But Democratic candidate Mike Scala defended his past by explaining his behavior was the result of growing up with a single mother in south Queens, and that he has “evolved” since his days in the group known as “The Fam.”
“It goes without saying that the man writing this today, the Democratic nominee for New York City Council, has come a long way since (his) youth [sic]. 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,” Scala responded on his personal Facebook page. “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.”
The video that Ulrich’s campaign put together brought to the surface Scala’s rap career using lyrics such as “Rap and me go together like Spanish chicks and strollers,” and “But every time these cops talk, I wanna break their jawbone.”
Scala’s website, which was last updated in 2013 and uses his rapper pseudonym “Pizon,” offers transcripts of the lyrics to some songs.
Ulrich’s campaign video called on viewers to denounce racism, sexism, violence and bigotry.
“I understand they would rather talk about rap music than the fact he supported the Constitutional Convention to achieve ‘pension entitlement reform,’ but we won’t fall for the distraction,” Scala continued. “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.”
The video was recently removed from YouTube.
Scala, who earned a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 2013, was recently endorsed by U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Assemblywoman Stacy Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach).
Scala has been regarded by his supporters as a transit advocate who fights for better bus and rail service through south Queens. He is an outspoken supporter of reactivating the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR, ferry service and better management of the A train in the Rockaways, which he deems confusing for riders since it branches off in different parts in and around the peninsula.
Scala is strongly opposed to Select Bus Service along Cross Bay Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard, where the ongoing redesign and the planned bus stops are viewed as dangerous by residents.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall