Sometimes you can say a lot by saying nothing. Former City Councilwoman Michele Small did just that Tuesday night in quiet solidarity with Samia Suliman who returned to the City Council to fill the seat Small vacated recently.
Both Small and Suliman have endured the wrath of Councilwoman Maria Pereira and both have had enough. In her own measured demeanor Small sent a message to her ex council partner Pereira who had dictated how she should vote.
Pereira did the same to Suliman when once aligned, now Small and Suliman join the extensive list of subjugated victims who’ve walked away from Pereira. Small stood close to Suliman at the front of the council chambers as Mayor Joe Ganim issued the oath of office.
In a city that rarely disappoints for its politics and personality clashes the council meeting lived up to the mantra issued decades ago by former Councilman Tom Mulligan declaring meetings the “Monday night fights.” The difference was this was a Tuesday.
The council by 15-1 (guess who voted no?) also issued a censure of Pereira for inflammatory remarks she’s made at meetings about ex offenders in general and specifically toward Councilman Ernie Newton.
Pereira, who’s Upper East Side constituency features hundreds of ex offenders, lately has been tossing the word “felon” around like nickels and dimes, although she never uses the word when they support her. Only when she’s inconvenienced. She supported Ganim in his return to the mayoralty in 2015 running on a second-chance message.
Pereira has also had her own clashes with the law.
Several council members are among the reentry community including Newton, Fred Hodges who works in reentry and Jorge Cruz.
“There wasn’t just fireworks, there were cherry bombs going off,” said Cruz of the raucously loud exchanges. “The council chambers was ablaze in colors.”
People in the reentry community also spoke against Pereira Tuesday night during the public comments portion of the meeting.
“We got tired of it,” says Cruz. “We had people come in who’ve transformed their lives. She’s a disgrace. She thinks she’s the mayor, council president and city attorney. She’s a narcissist, a witch from hell.”
Many in the room were also surprised when urban warrior Helen Losak, once aligned with Pereira, condemned her language and treatment of people. Losak and Periera took turns firing off accusations at each other. Losak, as well, joined the group for the oath of office ceremony.
Council rules prohibit public belligerence among the legislative body. The rules call for an opportunity to apologize. When Pereira refused, at the request of Council President Aidee Nieves, a censure ensued.
A censure is nothing more than symbolic, but in this case represents a galvanizing unity among council members. The council president can also strip her of committee assignments.
Pereira’s acting more and more like an attention-junkie narcissist marooned on her own island.
“She’s out of control,” says Newton. “Ex offenders are taxpayers and property owners,” adding a reminder that Pereira is neither taxpayer nor property owner. She doesn’t earn a living professionally. “We let her know we’re not going to forget. She took a terrible whooping last night.”
Can it be a Small and Suliman ticket in the next election? A year and a half is a long time, but short in politics. Time Will Tell.
I do not attend the entirety of most meetings. It is fascinating to hear the issues that are raised in the public speaking sessions. Often there is info that never shows up again in a Council sub-committee meeting because the public generally knows that its voice is not welcome (except in unusual cases) and predictability of Chair demeanor to guests asking questions or making comments. Last night was no exception on matters like the towing list where I learned that if stopped locally with a necessary car tow, I do not have an option to use a tower attached to a service contract like AAA. How is the City rotating towing list “trumping” and costing taxpayers more funds at a vulnerable time? Is this FAIR? Or merely an additional fare for drivers to endure?
Last night Maria stepped to the speaker’s stand, where she had three minutes to speak her piece. But peace did not reign and two minutes or more of her time was wasted. She was interrupted, in a style with which she is familiar, loud and brash, and the ensuing “noise” benefits no one in an audience unless you are recruiting candidates for a new edition of Cities competing for a position whose members of the public are competing for “HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?” Council member Fred Hodges spoke of his distaste and outrage at the ‘goings on’. Where is the TV monitor? Warned away? Forgot the Tuesday? Disagreements on pay or display? Time will tell.
John, generally, people who get stopped in the Port by the police and have their car towed don’t pay for AAA service. 🙂
That being said, it’s a racket, just getting on the list is racketeer-ish. 🤣
A more substantive inquiry is if the police are in on it, causing more financial pain to an already financially vulnerable population when they walk that discretion line seeking out cars to be towed for impoundment. like infraction quotes, or parking meters tickets, for its coffers. However, one would think in an accident they would be able to call their own towing service and destination.
P.S, John, the Port is having another police recruitment drive. It seems in recent years there has been a low recruitment turnout. Being a member of the NAACP are they involved in any recruitment drives to find qualified color people for police advancement for the department, Just wondering.
Join today. 🙂
Freedom to choose your own service? And end up paying for it with no up front disclosure about services and hours of towing? And finding things “missing in the action” in contrast with TV expectations of benefiting from folks trained (or not) in chain of custody methodology? Looks like a mention of this by one of the public speakers reveals corruption, and abuses of power that are grounds for complaints, grievances, etc.
Enough folks, with enough Council candidates willing to listen to them and take up the tasks, should put G2 in a wary place. Hard to prove you have no notion of what is going on when you have been CEO for so many years. Seems it would be a lot easier to point at other areas of unseemly, secret, or illegal behavior funded with the public dollar? And vote those with bad behavior out while looking for those with integrity and energy into office.
Not too early to start working on these subjects. Take a look at your tax bill. It was accompanied by a letter from G2 taking credit for certain things where he did not utter a dozen words about this past budget year. His priorities are not yours. Why not? Isn’t that how a system should work? Time will tell.
John, having a hard time understanding your point, are you taking in parables.🤣
Who’s the freedom to choose,? The elected government’s freedom to choose, or the people’s freedom to choose? I have little doubt that the public speaker’s grievances and complaints weren’t warranted. However there is a line to be acknowledged between the government’s and people’s freedoms and that of chaos.
That being said, I hope my inquiry about the NAACP’s recruitment drive efforts to attract people of color to go out and join the BPD. One would think given the many grievances they raised about the department and its officers that this is the opportunity and wanting to assist in that recruiting process to ” get officers that look like them”, the community, to join teh police department.
At any rate, John, there’s grievance all over the place. Tow companies and auto shops are notorious for their scheming hustles. 🙂
P.S John, public speaker’s voices may or may not be welcome, but from my perspective, you can barely make out what people are saying anyway. That audio sound system in that echo chamber called City Hall is the worse. JS
Maria P. is a Bridgeport Rose, but never accused of being thornless, you got to love her!
Maybe next time Maria will run people in every District for City Council?