Intense Town Committee Primary Looms, Pereira Leads Slate Against City Council Incumbents In Upper East Side

Pereira, Fonseca, Ganim
Maria Pereira, left, during happier days with Joe Ganim. At center is Delores Fonseca running on Pereira’s DTC slate.

If you enjoy ferocity in campaign battles, check out the Democratic Town Committee war for control of the Upper East Side. Dem voters in the 138th District could have 27 candidates from which to choose. Three slates, one organized by Board of Education member Maria Pereira, another that includes City Council members Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith and a third led by veteran political operatives Charles Hare and Leticia Colon will compete for nine seats March 1.

The district largely will have a new look no matter the outcome. City Librarian Scott Hughes who served as district leader following a primary battle two years ago has stepped aside saying he has a lot on his plate with new libraries coming on line. Former City Council member Melanie Jackson, a district committee member, is also not in the running. Voting precincts are Thomas Hooker School and J.F.K. Campus.

Pereira had supported Paoletto and Smith for City Council, but she was turned off by their support of Tom McCarthy for another term as council president after she said they had committed not to vote for McCarthy. She is also opposed to city councilors serving on the town committee.

Pereira is a lightning rod in city politics with a fire-breathing campaign intensity rarely seen in municipal elections. While controversial to some high-information voters in the city, her hard work and independent streak has built a sturdy base of support in the Hooker School voting precinct that has produced winning results on behalf of herself and candidates she supports.

Pereira has assembled a slate in which no one can be a city employee, nor their parents, spouses or children.

“I sought out those I felt were honest, intelligent and articulate,” Pereira says. “Those in political power cannot control these individuals because they have nothing to leverage against them. All these individuals have already demonstrated they care about the 138th and have done some advocacy or volunteer work within the 138th and/or the city of Bridgeport.”

The Pereira slate includes education advocate and ex school board candidate Eric Alicea, Angel Figueroa, active in improving conditions at Success Village, Helen Losak who’s taken on adult entertainment establishments in the neighborhood as well as residents involved in little league and parent advisory council.

Paoletto, Smith
City Council members Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith.

This primary is a test for council members Paoletto and Smith who supported Joe Ganim for mayor. No incumbent council member wants to absorb a district primary loss shortly after winning election. Long-time district leader Martha Santiago and committee member James Morton III are also running with Paoletto and Smith as well as Robert Curwen Jr. whose father represented the district on the City Council for more than a decade and Kelly Perez, an administrative aide to Ganim.

Hare has run for a variety of offices throughout the decades, Colon has served on the City Council and Board of Education.

Slates must submit signatures from five percent of registered Democrats in the district by January 27. If signatures are approved by elections officials the respective slate of candidates will appear on the March 1 primary ballot. This is not winner take all. The top nine vote producers among all the candidates win seats on the town committee. Absentee ballot voting among a large proportion of senior citizens could be key in this district primary.

Bridgeport’s 90-member Democratic Town Committee is comprised of 10 districts. They select a chairman and endorse candidates for public office.



  1. Let the games begin. It’s time to put up or shut up for those who want change because if they don’t get involved then they only have themselves to blame. Someone said, time will tell.

  2. Well aren’t we lucky up here in the 138th, 27 candidates for the town committee. Let’s see, Maria Pereira has her own slate of candidates who are willing to kiss her ring and leave their brains at the doorstep. Just so Maria knows, Helen Losak has a brother who is a sgt in the police department. Maria, any of your candidates who were active in little league should know after 60 years little league folded up.
    Can you imagine, we will have a revival of sorts with Curwen’s kid and Paoletto and Martha Santiago are running on the same ticket, nothing like the bad old days. Leticia Colon, go back to the South End.

  3. She always says she has put together an honest team and acts surprised when they do their own thing later on. Then maybe you should pick better people rather than blaming them later. Fool me once shame on them, fool me twice shame on who? And then she thinks they are the enemy, friends of the dark side, or terrorists. It’s like she is waging a holy war on terror and God forbid if the person has a brain and disagrees. Ummm excuse me, McCarthy at least has a brain and experience, do we really want the council to be led by one of these other council idiots?

    1. BptPorter,
      MCarthy is by far the best choice for council President. It is not surprising it was unanimous. In the event something happens to the Mayor, McCarthy would replace him. I do not expect anything to happen.

  4. Steve, I agree with you, for this cycle anyway. We never know who the next council class will be. BptPorter, all we can do is start out with the best intentions as we put together a TC slate. You’re right when you say people change once they’re in office, or influenced by unseen circumstances as time goes by; we can say this is true in any political office. I’ve experienced this scenario, but I swallow hard my misjudgment and correct it as soon as the time arrives. Getting upset accomplishes nothing nor does it change the situation. There’s always another time.


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