A $6 million bathroom drove NYC councilman to push financial transparency legislation

Thanks to a $6 million toilet and a fed-up New York City Council member, NYC may soon finally, after many long years, embrace financial transparency.

According to the New York Post, NYC Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli, a Republican, has begun “pushing new legislation requiring agencies to be more transparent about how they’re spending taxpayer dough.”

“Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli said he will be introducing a bill at Thursday’s meeting that would require the city to post large signs at construction sites of its capital improvement projects,” the Post reported Saturday.

“The signs would be updated at least monthly and identify the actual project under construction, expected costs, the city agency handling oversight and other information to help the public track possible cost overruns and delays.”

In a statement to the Post, Borelli said, “People need to be more outraged by how much things cost. The [city’s] capital procurement process is fundamentally flawed. Despite lip service from previous administrations, nothing significant has been done to help the process.”

He wasn’t kidding.

The Post notes that in 2017, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio greenlit a bathroom facility estimated to cost $6 million. Yet five years later, the bathroom facility at the Seaside Wildlife Nature Park in Great Kills remains incomplete, with costs now estimated at $10 million.

To be fair, the restroom facility will be located in Borelli’s district, and he in fact played a role in convincing de Blasio to greenlight its construction. But to hear him tell it, he didn’t realize it’d cost so much money. He’d just wanted to solve the problem of people at the park “unloading” in public like dogs.

“People go home or find a tree. Either we pay the [price] to the Parks Department for capital costs, or people are stuck pissing behind a tree in perpetuity,” he said to the Post.

In addition to mandating large cost signs at construction sites, Borelli also wants to pass another bill “to create a new 15-person task force whose mission would be to reform the city’s capital construction system.”

Borelli’s been in New York politics since 2013 when he became a New York state senator. Two years later, he switched over to the NYC Council. Not til last year did he finally rise up to the status of minority leader.

Since becoming minority leader, the determined Republican has been on a warpath against abuses of all kinds, including the nasty kind.

About two weeks ago, Borelli introduced a bipartisan bill that “would make it a misdemeanor for people to send ‘unsolicited sexually explicit’ videos or images to others with the ‘intent to harass, annoy or alarm,'” according to the Post.

“This creates a mechanism for the police, so if you’re getting random penis pics, and you happen to know who it’s from and can prove it, at least now there would be a crime to charge someone with. Right now, when it’s not child pornography or it doesn’t fit the bracket of a specific crime, such as harassment, there is no way currently to charge someone,” the lawmaker said at the time.

Paging Anthony Weiner …

For some inexplicable reason, New York seems notorious for its men of power who enjoy sharing videos and photos of their privates with unsuspecting victims.

Ever since Borelli was elected minority leader, he’s been expected to be a big deal — and for a valid reason.

“Republican lawmakers will see their ranks nearly double on the City Council come January — with hopes of a stronger counter-balance to far-left Democrats — and leading them in that effort will be Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli,” the Post reported following last November’s elections.

“As I see it, the city is now a three-party system where there’s the Democrats in power, and there’s the far left in DSA on one side, and there’s the Republicans and moderates on the other. Our job is to be the loyal opposition, but also to be supportive when we can work together to push back on the defund the police movement and other DSA priorities,” Borelli said at the time.

He’s been and remains a fierce critic of the “Defund the Police” movement that overtook the city — and many other blue localities — during the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots. Conversely, he’s been and remains a fierce supporter of gun rights.

He made both positions exceedingly clear after the murder in January of NYPD Officer Jason Rivera:

Pro-guns, pro-police, pro-transparency and anti-penis pics. It sounds like NYC residents made a great decision in electing him to office …

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Vivek Saxena

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