As elected offices go, the position of Beep does not offer very much power, but Borough President Markowitz has certainly made the most of what little he has.
Aside from appointing community board members and disbursing a dwindling pool of discretionary funds, a borough president’s remit extends little further than being a cheerleader — like a mascot for a sports team with 2.9 million players.
There is, however, one definite power which the people of Brooklyn have vested in Markowitz — one which he wields with an almost maniacal zeal that defies any sense of reason or scale — the honorary proclamation.
Since our Beep took office in 2002, he has issued more than 15,000 proclamations and citations, according to his office, which could not provide an exact count due to his relentless outpouring of new declarations.
That amounts to nearly three and a half proclamations per day, every day, for nearly 12 years — counting weekends.
Laid end-to-end, Markowitz’s proclamations would stretch more than four miles — from Borough Hall Downtown all the way to Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge, or back and forth across the entire length of the Brooklyn Bridge four times.
Thanks to our prolific pontiff of proclamations, on any given day Brooklynites are honoring an average of 41 different exceptional people, places, ideas, things, events, and restaurant openings.
And based on his track record, Brooklyn’s Caesar of Citations can be expected to sign an additional 126 sheets of calligraphied parchment between now and his retirement on New Year’s Day.
Compared to Markowitz, other borough presidents can look downright lazy, if not coldly indifferent to all the crochet clubs, Little League teams, and school bake sales in their jurisdictions deserving of formal recognition.
In 2009, for example, Markowitz signed 700 honorary proclamations, while his Manhattan counterpart, Scott Stringer, signed only 150, and Staten Island’s Borough President put his name to a mere 100, according to the New York Times.