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Barr The Door, A Piranha Political War In Upper East Side

January 21st, 2018 · 12 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events, State Politics

Pereira, Fonseca, Ganim

From 2015, Maria Pereira, left, and Dollie Fonseca, center, chat with Joe Ganim.

This battle will definitely bare teeth and, perhaps, lose a few. School board member and 138th Democratic District Leader Maria Pereira, the self-styled piranha of city politics, who upset the political establishment in a town committee battle two years ago, is waging district war against some of the people she ran with in 2016. You wanna hot race in a March winter? This is one.

When it comes to primaries, Bridgeport is the place that never disappoints. It’s the favorite sport in town. (Okay, maybe after Sound Tigers hockey.) Various political operatives are scouring neighborhoods for petition signatures to wage town committee battles March 6. Who are these people? They endorse candidates for public office and choose officers to conduct party business. Legendary Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa wants another term to influence support for Mayor Joe Ganim’s gubernatorial bid and if that fails his mayoral reelection next year.

But first things first, the machinations of district primaries. The 138th District encompasses the Upper East Side. Think Beardsley Park area.

Paoletto, Smith

Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith

Two years ago a slate led by Pereira captured all nine district seats. Pereira supported Ganim for mayor in 2015 but they quickly had a falling out. Pereira ran a slate against pols supportive of the mayor and won. But in the mercurial world of city politics anything can happen. Pereira had a falling out with two people who ran on her slate, former school board member Ralphie Fonseca and his wife Dollie who have now joined forces with a slate that includes former City Councilman Anthony Paoletto, treasurer of Ganim’s gubernatorial campaign.

Both slates feature a fascinating configuration of newcomers and veterans of district wars. For her part Pereira’s slate is virtually new from two years except for neighborhood activist Helen Losak. The slate is filled out by Timothy Bassey, Michele Small, Daniel Faber, Sarah Lewis (not this Sarah Lewis), Jacqueline Abrams, Samia Suliman and Charles Hare. Sir Charles has been engaged in city political battles for decades. Others have been actively involved in neighborhood issues but not necessarily politics.

Bassey, Small

Timothy Bassey and Michele Small on Pereira slate.

Joining Paoletto and the Fonsecas on the slate, City Councilor Nessah Smith and an eclectic stew of city operatives, Kevin Monks, Martha Santiago, Abraham Durque, Ty Bird and Tony Barr. Talk about a gift for gab, it’s Ty and Tony.

Tony Barr petition

Tony Barr, never boring.

District Democrats can choose, in this case, from 9 of 18 candidates, with the top 9 winning seats on the town committee. So you could end up with a hybrid on a slate that includes Ty Bird. Gotta love city politics.


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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    If Maria’s slate wins how many will she keep and how many will fall out of favor.I have lived in this neighborhood for almost 75 years and I have coached baseball teams from this area for 30 years, I was a town committee member for more than 10 years and a Park Commissioner for 5 years and I only know 1 candidate besides Maria and that is Helen Losak. My question is what do these people know about the 138th.
    The other group has a lot of former TC members who did nothing for the 138th except what they were told to do you can count Paoletta & Martha Santiago in that group. CC member Smith while a nice person is a Ganim shill and clueless about the neighborhood. Ty Bird was a Curwin flunky . I like Kevin Monks but he has been around a long time and Ralph Fonseca is a Testa foot soldier. We in the 138 are screwed again

  • Maria Pereira

    So the challenge slate has a convicted drug dealer, someone being prosecuted for the hit and run of two children riding bikes, an alcoholic, Ganim’s campaign treasurer who’s father and mother have city jobs, a city council woman who voted for the largest tax increase in Bridgeport’s history, and a city employee.

    Plenty to work with. :)

    There are no city council members on our slate, no drug dealers, no alcoholics, no City employees, no one being prosecuted for a hit and run, etc.

    Let the games begin!

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Go get ‘em!!!

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Why did the BOE go to private garbage collection from the schools?
      Were you aware they changed the size of the dumpsters (smaller) which forces custodians to keep bags of trash in the school until its time for a pick up.
      Why is the BOE or nutrition program using Vazzys to make up school lunches? How many other restaurants are we using

      • Maria Pereira

        We are saving $50,000 annually in refuse with the new company.

        • Andrew C Fardy

          I am all for that but the dumster company brought a smaller dumpster and will not add a day to their pick up schedule thus forcing garbage to be stored inside the school. This garbage includes throw aways from the lunch program. Unhealthy at best, fire hazard at worst

    • Grin Ripper

      It was an Aresta Development!

  • Bob Halstead

    Off subject, Ganim wasn’t the only mayor who served time
    PT Barnum served a two month term in a Bethel prison in 1833. Source: “PT Narnum: the Legend and the Man”. AH Saxon

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Tony Barr ought to get a real job scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    So, the Testocrats have “… a convicted drug dealer, someone being prosecuted for the hit and run of two children riding bikes, an alcoholic, Ganim’s campaign treasurer who’s father and mother have city jobs, a city council woman who voted for the largest tax increase in Bridgeport’s history, and a city employee,” to quote Maria. Is that the best they can do or is Mario attests so cynical that he believes it doesn’t matter?

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