Sure, when he first took office he pretended that he was going to be just the regular ol' Joe that you elected to office, even waffling a bit on whether he wanted to move into Gracie Mansion and give up his everyday comfortable life in a modest rowhouse in Brooklyn. (Remember all of those great photo ops of the mayor out there early in the morning shoveling his sidewalks just after he got elected?)
Well, apparently the chance to live rent free on prime Upper Manhattan real estate overlooking the East River was just too much to pass up, so in the end he decided to move on up. But surely that was just more of a logistical and practical matter as to be centrally located in the city he was elected to represent, and he wasn't just jumping at the chance to get a taste of the high life without putting a dent in his bank account.
That was until he decided to remodel, because of course you can't move into a mansion and expect to use all of that old furniture. But furnishing a house of that size has got to be expensive, so where in the world would a public servant get the money to do that? It's not like de Blasio has the largesse that our last mayor enjoyed to buy however-many-room's worth of new furnishings.
Easy solution, you just reach out to a furniture store and ask them to give you the stuff for free! You're probably thinking that the First Family would stay practical and reach out to Bob's Discount Furniture or some place like that, but that would prove you are a classless commoner who doesn't know the first thing about asking for a handout.
No, de Blasio and his family approached the shi shi boutique West Elm to help them makeover Gracie Mansion, because no price is too large when it's for free. Sure, the furniture is technically donated to the Gracie Conservancy and will theoretically be used by future mayors and their families, but reports say that West Elm has been catering to the de Blasio's own personal style, including taking the family's height into consideration.
But surely that is the only time that de Blasio is going to try and game the system and wade dangerously close to appearances that he is using his new influence and post for his own personal gain. Surely, the only time right?
Wrong. Now reports surface that the mayor is refusing to reimburse taxpayers for transportation expenses he incurs while running personal errands. Technically, there is nothing wrong that, according to the Conflicts of Interest board, but pretty much every other elected official, including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Comptroller Scott Stringer and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to name a few, make sure to either not use taxpayer-funded transportation for personal business or reimburse the city when they do.
After all, this isn't anything-goes Albany.
But hey, maybe all of these new perks will trickle down to the common folk, like those of us in the media. We hear (we assume our invitation was either lost in the mail of just not sent yet) that the mayor will be hosting a little fete for media types like ourselves; a little party at Gracie Mansion where we can get our chance to suckle on the teet of the taxpayers for at least one evening, enjoying free hors d'oeuvre – or appetizers for the less sophisticated – and fine wine, probably even a few bottles from the mayor's recent trip to Italy, where the local transportation was billed to NYC, incidentally.
What's that you say? We have to pay $30 if we want to go.