2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Michael G. Scala
Council District: 32
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? We currently do not have a campaign office location.
Action Shows Commitment!
What have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process? During my time as legal counsel and legislative director in the State Senate, I worked on legislation that advanced disability rights, including a bill requiring school buses to be equipped with air conditioning for children who require it.
Will you only attend / sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities (PWDs including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible? Yes, whenever possible.
Local Law 28 requires City department and agency “advertising and other materials pertaining to public events to include information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities” but it does not include elected officials or Community Boards. Do you believe the law should be amended to include electeds and Community Boards? In the absence of an amendment to Local Law 28, would you voluntarily comply? Yes, elected officials and community boards should not be exempted .
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? One of our most trusted campaign organizers is Stephen Charles, a former board member of the 504 Democrats.
What would be your strategy to work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? I will maintain close contact with groups such as the 504 Democrats, keeping disability advocates in my circle, and will seek their input on issues important to them .
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? I will only introduce, sponsor and vote for legislation that widens the scope of civil rights for persons with disabilities. In addition, the office will hold public events that are not only accessible to PWDs, but that focus on the challenges they face and how we can meet them.
Will all events planned by your office be accessible with all material including the appropriate accessibility symbols (such as the wheelchair, ASL CART, etc)? Yes.
What is your position on the development of supported apartments/homes for people with disabled in your borough? My belief is that we should increase focus on the development of supported homes for PWDs.
Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of “visitability” in the Building Code? Yes, this is a commendable goal.
What will you do to expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.? This has been an issue in our district, disabled commuters have been unable to access the subway platform at several stops where elevators have not been properly fixed yet. We think this is disgraceful and will fight for all residents in our district to have access to all modes of transportation available .
Access-A-Ride (AAR) users experience unnecessarily long trips, causing users to be late for work and appointments. Users have been stranded and penalized as a "no-show" when the vehicle never arrived. Riders who complain report they have been subject to retaliation. What would you do to improve the quality of service? As City Councilman, I will put tremendous pressure on the MTA and NYC Transit to ensure that Access-A-Ride works as intended and puts a stop to these unjust practices.
VI. Community Boards:
Do you support requiring all Community Board meetings and functions to be accessible, including requiring sign language interpreters and large print format material? I will fight to make Community Board meetings more accessible to individuals with disabilities.
b How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board? Decisions will be made on a case by case basis, but I will make it a point to diversify the Community Boards of my community.
VII. Discretionary Funds:
Will you use your discretionary funds to support organizations serving PWDS or service organizations seeking to make their programs accessible to PWDS? Yes.
a. What steps do you think NYC should take to encourage business owners to make their establishments more accessible? More outreach from elected officials and the city as a whole.
How would you ensure that emergency evacuation for PWDS provisions are put in place to improve survival rates of PWDs in the event of fire, attack, blackout, or other emergency situations? I would work diligently to make sure these provisions are in place, and make sure to take my cues from PWDS advocacy groups when they see any flaws in existing systems.
X. Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
Mayor Bloomberg elevated the Director of the (MOPD) to a Commissioner without any increase in budget. How would you ensure that city departments/agencies coordinate through MOPD? I would work to secure an increase to the budget of the MOPD, so that they play more of an integral role.
How do you believe the City Council should enforce and do oversight regarding the work of the office and be certain of the implementation and its efforts? By providing them more of a voice in decision making.