Maria Pereira Dances For Seniors And Votes In Dem Party Squabble, Wanna Cut In?

Pereira, belly dancer
Maria Pereira grooves with belly dancer at Augustana Homes.

Who says Board of Education member Maria Pereira doesn’t have a sense of humor? Wednesday night the self-proclaimed piranha of city politics led her Democratic Town Committee slate in a prance with a belly dancer at an event schmoozing senior citizen voters at Augustana Homes, a key battleground for votes in the 138th District that features three slates, 27 candidates coveting nine seats for control of the Upper East Side 138th District. For more pictures and video from event see here.

Even bon vivant OIB reader Steve Auerbach got in on the action for team Pereira, helping with the raffle.

“What I always thought about the elderly was proven last night at Augustana Homes,” says Pereira about the belly-dancing fun. “The elderly are just elderly, they’re not dead.”

Steve Auerbach assists with raffle.

In these super low turnout party fights, absentee ballots will be key. As of Thursday afternoon, about 800 absentee ballots have been mailed to voters covering three district fights. And it could very well be some city precincts could see more votes registered by absentee than electors who actually show up to the polls.

At stake are seats that make up the 90-member Democratic Town Committee that conducts party business, endorses candidates for office and selects a chairman. Pereira is challenging a slate that is supported by Mayor Joe Ganim. Three of 10 districts have primaries.

In case you missed it, the district battles:

The West Side 132nd District pits veteran political operatives with some new faces. Former City Council President Lisa Parziale has assembled a slate of nine against long-time district leader Mike Freddino and incumbent City Council members Evette Brantley and John Olson.

Joining Parziale on the slate, Public Facilities Director John Ricci, school board member Howard Gardner, former City Council member Bob Halstead, Carol Cocco, Gabrielle Parisi, Gail Santini, Jessica Materna and Oyiboka Benson.

Anthony Lancia, Elaine Pivirotto, Rolanda Smith, Vernon Thompson Jr, Reggie Walker and Marcus Brown round out the Freddino slate.

On the East Side, where primaries are sporting events, the 137th District has quite a fight brewing. Of course, they tend to fight and smooch depending on the day. Veteran pols Maria Valle, Juan Hernandez and Vidal Agosto have formed a slate against long-time establishment operatives Gil Hernandez, City Clerk Lydia Martinez and City Council member Aidee Nieves. The latter slate also includes education advocate Jessica Martinez, Joel Rosario, Teresa Davidson, Maria Hernandez, Anderson Ayala and Alreta Taylor. Rosa Franco, Grisel Seda, Noel Sepulveda, Tageldin Banaga, Guillermo Marin and Jacqueline Richardson fill out the Valle-Agosto slate.

The Upper East Side 138th District has three slates, with 27 candidates, on tap. School board member Maria Pereira has forged a slate of insurgents: Michelle Fox, Angel Figueroa, Eric Alicea, Dolores Fonseca, Rafael Fonseca, Helen Losak, Andrea White and Erris Roy Allen. They are challenging a slate led by City Council members Anthony Paoletto, Nessah Smith as well as Martha Santiago, Kelly Perez, Sonia Belardo, Ty Bird, Kevin Monks, Robert Curwen Jr. and James Morton.

A third slate is also competing led by former city councilor and school board member Leticia Colon and activist Charles Hare. Jose Ramos, Lee Roy Owens, Samia Suliman, Sonia Kirkland, Martha Gil, Marybel Torres and Alfonso Rodriguez round out that slate.

This is not winner slate take all. The top nine vote producers are elected to the DTC.



  1. I really hope Maria was not trying to belly dance. What a sight that would be. BTW Maria must have pissed off all the white people in the neighborhood as there is only one on her slate and who would would run on anyone who asks slate.
    Surprised to see the Fonsecas running with Maria when their relative Martha Santiago is on another line. Ralph and Dolly are good people. If I were going to vote I would vote for them. The rest, forget about. The other two slates have no one who has done anything up here and the two kids from our past councilmen, 0.

  2. Just to be very clear and not to instigate. This was a great party and I was happy to support the seniors as everyone knows I spend a lot of time volunteering with seniors at the Jewish Home.

    I am also supporting Anthony Paoletto. I am not sure if Maria is or not. To be clear, if I were voting in that district I would be voting for Anthony Paoletto. Not because he is the youngest member of the council. I am also a friend of his father whom I had worked with for many years as I was a manager of Home Depot. Maria has a few very dynamic people on her team. Dolores Fonseca is a real dynamic individual. Her energy cannot be contained. She is good for Bridgeport. All 27 candidates are Democrats, I am a Democrat. I am happy they are all running. May the best man or woman win. To be clear, I was not there promoting any candidate. I think Eric Alicea also is a very nice guy as well as most of the slate. The voters will decide. I am not promoting or endorsing anyone. Maria P. is a great campaigner. I was helping a friend. Always more than they help me. 🙂

  3. While I believe primaries are necessary to renew and generate the next round of candidates, neighborhood challenges such as the Town Committee campaigns become a little tricky for those who have friends on different slates. Anthony Paoletto has been a favorite of mine since he was a young teenager, and if he listens, he will learn and become a great council member. Maria Pereira is the most dynamic woman I know and I proudly call her friend. Her hard work and determination will pay off for whatever she pursues. This race will be over in a short time, and hopefully the winners and non-winners will find a common ground and continue their good work.

    1. Lisa–with all due respect to your friendship with MP, but you asked for the winners and non-winners to find common ground. When has MP shown she is willing to work with ANYONE whose opinion differs from hers? Look at the number of slates and political partners she has had and now counts as adversaries. She cannot be the victim of “betrayal” in all those cases, no? In fact, she is running again against elected officials who she worked to get elected. You are her friend, so hopefully you will not experience the other side of her if you ever have an opposing view.

    2. Lisa, would you explain what you mean by “common ground” and “continue their good work,” please? Are you describing the majority of DTC (or RTC candidates) in the City of Bridgeport? Would “common ground” values or ideals be set down on paper for all to comprehend? Would “good work” include any outreach to City institutions like Council or Committee meetings or attendance at Boards or Commissions? For rookies and newcomers to the process, please write the first chapter. Time will tell.

  4. Lifelong Bpt, you may be correct and I agree with Lisa P. Personally, I am a friend of Maria P. A political friend. I have never shared her political ideals and vice versa. I was a Finch supporter, she was Ganim. I am a Ganim supporter and she is not. I am for Clinton, she likes Sanders. I like Chris Rosario and Andre Baker, she does not. I am a huge friend of Jessica Martinez and Maria is the other extreme. Maria should always take the high ground. She can always change that militant mentality. I wish she would. But to be honest, she is a political friend and I never try to change anyone. I know better.

    1. Steven, with all due respect, what was the point of this post? Don’t you think posting her likes and dislikes vs. yours can cause some hard feelings, especially if she confided that information to you? I know if I were her, I’d feel betrayed.

  5. Rumor Mill:
    A one and a two and a … The photo shows Maria Pereira giving the belly dancer last-minute instructions. The dancer’s smile indicates she approves and understands Maria’s intent. Here’s when the crowd roared with delight: when you pinch your nose, shimmy and drop your knees, it’s called “the piranha maneuver.”

    1. JML, stop splitting hairs and questioning semantics, my point is clear. After this is over let’s hope those who are willing get together find a cause for the betterment of the City, and go on with their public service. Is that clear enough?

  6. Hey Lisa, what good will does the DTC produce? The process is simple, the district leaders meet with the town chairmen, things are discussed and people who are not in agreement are reminded of the political jobs in their district. Lo and behold, all 10 district leaders are on board. The 10 go and explain the process to their district members and things move on. You will have a few dissenters but there will always be 96 votes for what the chairmen wants.

    1. Andy, not only are you right, but you didn’t take it far enough. A district meeting is called, discussion of whatever takes place, and the meeting’s over. In almost all cases the other eight members of any given district had no idea there was a district meeting let alone what was decided. So basically one person speaks for the entire district TC. Why can’t a meeting of the entire Town Committee be called so everyone knows what’s going on? Or at the very least, minutes should be taken and sent to every member of the TC. This practice drives me crazy.

      1. Lisa Parziale, so in essence what you are saying is there are 10 district heads who meet secretly with whomever, and the other 80 members are kept in the dark as to what was discussed and/or agreed upon? Basically, they have no input and just get bits and pieces of the outcome of those clandestine meetings? So what in hell is the purpose of having 90 members on the committee?


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