Notes from Bulgaria
Dec 14, 2010 | 3779 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We get a lot of odd press releases in our inbox, but even we were a little confused by the numerous dispatches we have been receiving from Bulgaria courtesy of Councilman Dan Halloran's office over the past week.

Halloran was invited to Bulgaria by the conservative political party Order, Law and Justice to advise "the party on rule of law and constitutional reform issues," according to one of Halloran's emails. In fact, the Order, Law and Justice party was so eager for Halloran to advise them, that they even paid for his trip.

We weren't aware that Halloran was such a player in the world of Bulgarian politics, but according to his dispatches, Halloran is an outspoken critic of the ruling Bulgarian party, which he made known to the American ambassador to Bulgaria during a meeting at a restaurant in downtown Sofia.

From one of Halloran's missives from the Balkans: "That party’s leader, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, was revealed to have deep connections to mobsters and is linked to over 30 unsolved murders, according to a 2007 report by the American political magazine Congressional Quarterly."

And while Halloran sat down and met with the ambassador, that didn't prevent the councilman from criticizing him in a keynote speech before approximately 3,000 members of the Order, Law and Justice party during their fifth anniversary celebration.

At the event, Halloran presented party Chairman Yane Yanev with a copy of the ethics manual of the City Council, which prevents conflicts of interests and fosters a transparent government, because no one on the City Council has even been accused of anything even remotely secretive. (Can you say "slush fund?")

Halloran also gave a lecture before students at Sophia University, in which he outlined the seriousness of his international mission.

“I am here in Sofia to help the next generation of Bulgarian leaders understand how to make their government transparent and their leaders responsive," he said. "The Bulgarian Constitution is over 10,000 words long, yet it does not address the needs of the people or limit the size of the government. And many Bulgarians are denied basic rights, such as a free press."

Speaking of the press, we sat down with Halloran while he was running for City Council, and we don't remember him once mentioning his Bulgarian connections, or his plans to address the concerns of the Bulgarian people if he was elected to office. Either that, or we zoned that part out.

Wait a minute, have we really just been writing about the issues within Bulgarian politics? We apologize. You can expect that we'll get back to groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings and charity ping-pong tournaments next week. Unless we find out that Halloran cut a ribbon on a new Gyuvetch restaurant in Bulgaria, in which case we'll have no choice but to return to critiquing political matters outside the Five Boroughs.

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