Bah Humbug! Pereira Disses Mayor’s People At Tree Lighting

Nob Hill tree lighting
Tree lighting at Nob Hill Park.

It’s supposed to be peace, love and good cheer for everyone, right? Santa Claus arrives with an elf, poinsettias all around, cupcakes, candy canes, hot chocolate, apple cider, toys for kids, everything free for Friday’s Nob Hill Park neighborhood lighting on the Upper East Side with more than 100 attending. The mayor’s people showed up and one of the event organizers, school board member Maria Pereira, proclaims yeah it’s a public park but you’re not welcome at this event.

Isn’t the holiday season the time to put aside the political BS? Not for Pereira who has no tolerance for political niceties even though the event was organized with the assistance of the 138th Democratic Town Committee District, which she leads. She made it clear to the DJ in so many words, “No one is to touch this microphone unless I tell you.” The mayor had contemplated showing up, but then reversed course.

Nob Hill goodies
Lots of goodies awaited the kids.

Pereira supported Ganim for mayor, but that relationship didn’t take long to blow up after his election last year. City Council members Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith, with whom Pereira has also had a falling out, attended the tree lightings organized by neighborhood residents of the 138th District. The other tree lighting took place Saturday at Success Park.

Paoletto knew Pereira did not want him there, but that did not stop him from greeting constituents at both events. Paoletto and Smith are up for reelection in 2017, a campaign cycle for all 20 City Council seats and five school board positions up for grabs. Pereira wants to knock them out of their council seats. Paoletto says game on.

Pereira and cop
Pereira Friday night with city’s finest.

Police Chief AJ Perez, appointed by Ganim, showed up to Friday’s tree lighting in full uniform with six officers.

Pereira argues the mayor’s office should have called her to ask about proper protocol. Still, she says, she would not invite him. Bah humbug, says Pereira. So much for holly jolly.

Smith, Paoletto tree lighting
Nessah Smith, center, and Anthony Paoletto, right, with a constituent at tree lighting.

As for the two events, Pereira says she received a lot of organizational help from town committee and district residents including Helen Losak, Eric Stewart-Alicea, Erris Roy Allen, Michelle Fox, Andrea White, Cynthia Infante, JoAnn Kennedy, Tammy Boyle, Karen Jackson and President of the Nob Hill Condo Association Michele Small.

Pereira also wants to publicly thank Fire Chief Richard Thode, city firefighters and police officers as well as Public Facilities Director John Ricci.

Hmmm, look for a few snowball fights between Pereira and Ganim supporters this winter.



  1. Sure, the Ganim Administration is in pure BS Holiday mode, but that is what the American culture requires of its official institutions at this time of year. To try to counter this expected, albeit perfunctory, holiday resonance at this time is simply Scrooge-like, petty, and unflatteringly revealing. This move was ill-considered. But Ganim should have symbolically flipped the bird and shown up anyway. Also unflatteringly revealing. Chalk up some negatives for both factions. Humbug! Stupid! Not what Bridgeport needs or deserves. Petty a-holes! Merry Christmas. Hope Santa brings lots of ego-stuffers for all involved.

  2. Can Maria participate in any event or initiative in the city without causing unnecessary drama? One would think with all the bridges she has burned, she will soon find herself on a desolate island envying Elba.

    1. Ms. Palmer, I didn’t “participate” in the event. It was my idea, I spearheaded the organization and planning and spent hundreds of hours on it.

      I created drama??? I suggest you direct your comments to Ganim. Everything was running beautifully until his payroll showed up.

  3. Good lord, if Ms. Pereira were able, she’d take Santa Claus to court for something. Her act is getting old, she gets along with no one. Enough already. Geeezz.

  4. “Pereira argues the mayor’s office should have called her to ask about proper protocol. Still, she says, she would not invite him.” Give us all a fucking break. Who does this woman think she is? City officials do not need permission from Maria Pereira or any other pain-in-the-ass gadfly to attend events held in public parks.

  5. Description:
    Is the “Christmas spirit” found in gifts, trees and lights? No! It’s found in the joy of knowing that the history-changing story of Christ’s birth is true!

  6. So let me get this straight. While all the “haters” and “do-nothings” were doing nothing in their communities/neighborhoods for their neighbors and residents, six members of the 138th TC spent 12 weeks working to plan a great neighborhood Christmas Tree Lighting event by garnering almost $2,000 in cash donations, gift cards, baked goods, apple cider, candy canes, a DJ, etc. so our children and residents could enjoy a great community-building event; and I’m the negative one.

    Well haters, I hate to break the news to you but the amount of praise, smiles, and thank-yous we received from our 138th neighbors is what matters.

    We raffled off 10 adult prizes and about 25 toys at each event. Every child received a holiday cupcake, a candy cane decorated to look like Rudolph, and was able to pick a craft ornament, door hanger, or holiday face mask after visiting with Santa. Many of the attendees were shocked the event was FREE and at no cost to them.

    We had over 150 attendees at the Nob Hill Park lighting and slightly over 100 attendees at the Success Park lighting.

    Those who attended it were joyous and grateful.

    That is what the holidays are truly about. Getting joy from giving, not receiving. The 138th TC and our wonderful volunteers felt amazing because some of us were out there for six hours in the freezing cold to set up, volunteer at the event and help break down, and we didn’t care because we accomplished something wonderful for adorable, polite and deserving children and their families.

    You won’t find any non-political attendees who complained because they showered us with praise. And quite frankly, it is only their opinions that matter.

    Now you can all go back to “whining” and “complaining” as the 138th TC continues to get out in our community and do good work on their behalf.

    In fact, we are already on to our next community-building event. 🙂

    1. The naysayers simply need to visit our “138th District In-the-know” Facebook page and view the photos of our events. The photos speak for themselves.

  7. As far as Joe Ganim attending; approximately 10 minutes before the event was about to kick off, Tom Guzewicz showed up wearing his City of Bridgeport ID. I said hello (I like Tom) to Tom and asked him what he was doing here. I knew he was on McCarthy’s TC and did not reside in the neighborhood. He stated “I’m kinda the mayor’s guy and I was sent here ahead of him.” I asked “who is him?” He said the mayor.

    I stated “I’m sorry, who invited the mayor because we certainly didn’t do so?” He said “well he’s the mayor.” This man has broken EVERY single promise he made around the BOE, the BPS, our 21,000 students, and I have a pending lawsuit against him and he thinks it’s appropriate to invite himself to an event spearheaded by myself and organized by six members of the 138th? This further demonstrates Ganim’s arrogance and hubris.

    I said “right, the very mayor who promised to “STOP Raising TAXES” and then increased taxes between $300 – $1,200 per homeowner in the neighborhood.” I went on to say “the mayor could certainly attend because it was a public park, however we would not welcome him, recognize him, or allow him to speak.”

    He stepped away and started making calls on his cellphone. He came up to me a few minutes later and tried to twist my arm with “you pulled a permit and the mayor signed off on it because …” I cut him off with “I never pulled a permit and if you think I believe for one second Mayor Ganim is sitting in his office personally signing Christmas Tree Lighting permits, you have another think coming.”

    He then stated “well we provided you with all the police you requested.” I replied “we never requested any police officers. It’s a Christmas tree lighting not a boxing match. And, do I need to remind you all those arriving pay OUTRAGEOUS taxes that pay for our police officers. Don’t act like you are doing us a favor by providing taxpayer-funded police officers.”

    Not a single non-political attendee saw this exchange or knew about it. AJ Perez arrived in full uniform and I welcomed him and we took a quick photo together. After all his daughter and mom live in the neighborhood.

    He left shortly after, presumably because of my refusal to recognize Mayor Ganim if he chose to attend.

    The very next night at Success Village not a single police officer showed up. I like AJ, but he has to stop using the BPD for political reasons, which is what has been clearly occurring.

    To close, there wasn’t a single non-political attendee who cared that Ganim was not there. This was NOT a political event nor should Christmas Tree Lightings be political.

    It was about doing something nice for those children, parents, grandparents and families that reside in the 138th. We absolutely accomplished our goal and that’s all that really mattered.

    To further clarify, Mayor Ganim will NOT be invited or welcome to any 138th TC-organized events. For those who don’t like it, organize your own events and feel free to invite him.

    1. I have observed that Mayor Ganim has been invited to one or more gatherings to participate in “conversation” that includes talking and listening about community issues and has found it easier to send someone else. Does it seem that “public entertainment” sites where photo images are shot of him but not “position statements” by him are chosen to attend?
      Comments about Police Department “bookings” are interesting at this time. I am instructed that when police coverage is requested, arranged, or otherwise deemed necessary for events like this, and it is accomplished with officers on overtime, there is a minimum of four hours credited to their service of this nature. There is some fairness to that policy and contractual issue, but were the public aware of the direct OT expense and the future pension obligation for overtime service, there would likely be more taxpayer uproar. Daytime? No alcohol? Celebration not controversial? Weapon issues?
      We are spending public safety money per a budget that grows and grows (even when for years there was leadership attempting to stem it), but are unwilling to fund schools in the same way. What’s up with that?
      With the number of tree lightings this year in many neighborhoods (another coming up in Brooklawn soon) around the City, we may get some light shed on where Mayor Ganim really lives and celebrates with his close neighbors. Time will tell.

    2. Hey Maria,
      Did you ever consider Joseph P. Ganim holds the highest elected office in the city? He was rubbing your nose in it. No one gives a rat’s ass about your pending lawsuits against the mayor, the city, the City Council, the BOE, the PTA, blah-blah-blah. It looks as if you’re civic-minded only when everyone plays by your rules.

  8. Maria, it’s great that you and the 138th DTC planned a successful event to bring the community together.

    Unfortunately, you cannot dictate which members of the community attend and not if the goal is to serve the entire 138th. Why wouldn’t your elected council members attend? Weren’t they elected to represent that very community? Why wouldn’t Mayor Ganim? I get it. I’m never thrilled when he’s at events in my neighborhood, but I’d be bitching if he doesn’t show his face as mayor either.

    I wish you could rise above the cage of animosity you have so carefully built around yourself these long years and actually work to get things done in the city we all love so dearly.

    Can you imagine the great things that could be accomplished if all our elected officials and community leaders worked with one another instead of against?

    As much as I enjoy reading OIB like a gossip column over my morning coffee, I would much prefer to be inspired by you rather than disgusted. I suppose I write this in vain, because you will never read anything with an open mind, but at least it’s for my fellow readers who are equally fed up.

    1. You’re 100% correct. You wrote this in vain. I don’t believe we have ever met, therefore your opinion doesn’t impact or influence me.

      The residents in attendance LOVED the event. Those are the only opinions that matter. Several attendees couldn’t believe Anthony and Nessah attended.

      I never approached them about attending because they are irrelevant to me. They knew they weren’t welcome and they often looked uncomfortable, but it is a public park.

  9. Maria, is this Christmas tree lighting about the celebration of the birth of Christ or is it about you and your town committee members? If it’s not about the birth of Christ then change the name of the event and stop pimping the name Christmas tree lighting.

  10. Jeff and Ron, I concur with both of your observations. Maria’s actions were reprehensible and uncalled-for. While it’s certainly within her purview to disagree with the Mayor about his policies and his actions, the office of the Mayor needs to be respected. I have been an outspoken critic of Mayor Ganim in this forum, but as the Mayor of the city he is more than welcome at any function that is given by the Firebird Society because good taste and protocol dictates such. Being the bigger person can’t be that hard, can it?

  11. Maria, you have a lot of nerve. You pay no taxes either on the house you rent or your BF’s car. You really are a mooch.
    Now that you have shown your complete disregard for the mayor, what are you going to do when we need a city service and it does not show up? You have a big mouth and really have not accomplished anything up here.

    1. Andy, any “services” delivered or not delivered to the 138th district are a reflection of our City Council members. It is no way the responsibility of the Town Committee members.

      You are such a curmudgeon and are the individual who does nothing positive in our community. What bothers you is I have a strong following in the neighborhood you were raised in, we live on the same street, and I am well-respected among our neighbors.

      Let it go already, Andy.

  12. I can say two positive things. First, it was apparently a very nice event and second, Maria Pereira is consistent. You get what you get and you don’t get upset.

    It is extremely disappointing she actually verbalizes her disgust for the Ganim administration. They talk about the 138th putting this together but I do not think Mr. and Mrs. Fonseca, two very high-profile and very well-liked town committee members were part of the celebration. They were hand-picked by Pereira and I remember her introducing me to them a year ago as though they were walking on water. Much like Ganim during the campaign. Much like Anthony, Nessah, Angel etc. Maria Pereira has no problem burning bridges. She is a one-man army. If I were in battle I’d want her in my corner. If I were looking for a friend, I’d run the other way. She is very focused and does not need anyone to validate her existence. I am not interested in her past that became an issue during the election. I do not care if she owns or rents her home. I do know she is definitely not a peacemaker. She is very disrespectful of the Mayor. That is none of my business. Any other individual would have invited the Mayor and the two elected councilmen. You hold your nose and do the right thing. She turned a lovely event into a political event. It makes it difficult for people to support her. She could learn a lot from Dolly Fonseca. A positive, joyful energetic woman also on the 138th town committee. She is a bridge builder and when the 138th is in need of help from the Mayor and the city, the 138th will be happy a bridge builder is part of the 138th.

    Anthony and Nessa should be commended for showing up. Those who voted for them and support them were happy to see them. The Nob Hill community I am certain was happy to see their elected officials.

    We are living in such questionable times. A little kindness and respect wouldn’t hurt.

    1. If you notice, Maria can’t get anyone on OIB who supports her actions, that’s why she will never expand her base of supporters and voters.

      There have been a number of smart and wise women who have shared wisdom, knowledge, information in their effort to assist, encourage and support Maria but it doesn’t take long for Maria to push people away. She has reached her height in elected politics and from here on it will be all downhill. It’s her way or the highway because it’s always about Maria.

    2. Steve,
      You posted “They talk about the 138th putting this together but I do not think Mr. and Mrs. Fonseca, two very high-profile and very well-liked town committee members were part of the celebration. They were hand-picked by Pereira and I remember her introducing me to them a year ago as though they were walking on water.

      “I do know she is definitely not a peacemaker. She is very disrespectful of the Mayor. That is none of my business. Any other individual would have invited the Mayor and the two elected councilmen. You hold your nose and do the right thing. She turned a lovely event into a political event.

      “She could learn a lot from Dolly Fonseca. A positive, joyful energetic woman also on the 138th town committee. She is a bridge builder and when the 138th is in need of help from the Mayor and the city, the 138th will be happy a bridge builder is part of the 138th.

      “Anthony and Nessa should be commended for showing up. Those who voted for them and support them were happy to see them. The Nob Hill community I am certain was happy to see their elected officials.”

      As I stated, only six members of the 138th TC organized this event. The Fonsecas are such “bridge builders” that six of the nine members have not interacted with them since the March 1st election.

      Dolly Fonseca is so beloved, when her family organized a milestone birthday celebration for her mother, her own family did not invite her. In fact, when we were knocking on doors last February, Dolly asked me to knock on her husband’s parents door because they refused to speak with Dolly or their own son Raphael.

      Raphael’s parents are lovely people of faith, however they later told me they have such disdain for Dolly and how she had changed their beloved son; neither they nor Raphael’s own siblings would speak with them.

      In one breath you are speaking about how disrespectful I am of the Mayor, in the next breath you state it is none of your business, and then you follow up with another opinion???

      Every city council candidate who ran with Ganim lost except for Nessah and Anthony. Do you think that was a coincidence? Well, we are certainly going to find out within the next nine months.

      There were NO political speeches made or allowed. It was not a political event. The only individual who tried to make this wonderful event political was Mayor Ganim.

      Once again, anyone who doesn’t agree with our decision to not publicly welcome, acknowledge, or allow the Mayor to speak; please organize your own community event and invite him. The majority of the 138th TC members will not.

      NO ONE cared that Mayor Ganim was NOT there. NO ONE.

      1. You are mad at Dolly and her husband because they would not kiss your ass.
        To say things allegedly said by Ralph’s parents is lower than whale shit. Maria, Ralph has done alright for himself and his family; same holds true for Dolly.
        You put all this time into the BOE and the 138th and accomplished squat. Ralph and Dolly spent years running an inner city baseball league. Go ahead, write about me.

      2. Maria Pereira, thank you for copying my entire post.

        I do not know what to say about your airing Dolly’s personal business. I don’t know if she could or should sue you for character assassination. It seems to me you were very upset when Mr. Stallworth had literature bringing up your past that some might consider psychotic as your other choice pick for the DTC Angel. Now I was not expecting a complete and disrespectful character assassination of Dolly and her husband. I am kind of stunned to tell you the truth. How do you look at yourself in the mirror? I can understand you may not be on the same page, but that assault on the Fonsecas was absolutely unnecessary.

        1. Steve,
          They can sue me for “character assassination” but they would lose because what I posted here is factual. Who would represent them, Paul Ganim?

          The Fonsecas are such quality people, on the night of the Democratic primary he texted me “congratulations on your first loss. Well deserved.”

          I responded with “your parents hugged me, kissed me, and voted for me. So who has really experienced a “loss?”

          He responded with silence.

          Then Dollie texted me repeatedly and stated “woohoo! Charlie Wins! I do have a lot of influence in Thomas Hooker. Ha ha congrats on your first loss!”

          I responded with “no, you don’t have a lot of “influence” in Hooker School. But you are certainly regularly under the influence.

          “I easily won Hooker and did not walk over half of it.

          “I helped your in-laws with an issue. They hugged me, kissed me, and voted for me. We know they would not do that for you! Ouch.”

          She went nuts and texted me seven more times including that she blocked me which was interesting because they initiated the inappropriate texts. After she “blocked” me, she texted me again.

          I won’t start it, however I am more than happy to finish it.

          These are just some examples of the amazing Fonsecas. I believe I posted here that before the DTC election, she texted Eric that he was a “pussy.” He responded and they had an exchange. When she couldn’t handle it anymore she texted him that if he didn’t stop texting her she was going to call the police although she initiated the texting. She texted Erris that he was “fake.” She texted that she “didn’t give a shit about Helen” and she texted me to “kiss my ass” and yelled out while exiting my home, “fuck you.”

          I can prove every single thing I posted here.

          1. “Only In Bridgeport” readers continue to read how Maria Pereira makes these personal attacks on people. I’ve never heard of any elected city person ever being so careless and disrespectful and she is in a position to make things better for our children in school. What a terrible example for the students in the Bridgeport school system.

          2. Maria,
            It is not whether or not you can prove anything about your Town Committee members. It is about the disrespect you have for them and their family and friends who may read these posts. I can ot imagine what would happen if people started retaliating with hurtful comments.

            I know you to be a very intelligent woman. Being unnecessarily caustic is so beneath you. Like most on the blog, I am certain nobody will judge the Fonsecas on your commentary. I would not judge you on others’ opinions. I am not sure if Eric Alicea gave you permission to throw him into the conversation, I would be surprised if he did as he is a gentlemen.

          3. Steve,
            What is the fee to enter the fantasy world you live in?

            I “disrespected” the Fonsecas??? Have a conversation with the other TC members and let them share with you the OUTRAGEOUS behavior the Fonsecas demonstrated throughout our DTC election.

            He is fairly reasonable, however he enables her OUTRAGEOUS behavior. They were both 100% wrong in what they were trying to do behind the scenes and it completely backfired on them.

            There is much more that can be written here, but I will not do so.

            Steve, you don’t speak for all the readers of OIB and you certainly aren’t the moral compass of OIB. In closing, I know Eric much better than you and we speak on a very regular basis, therefore if he has any concerns he will let me know, however he has never expressed concern over any of my other posts.

  13. Maria loves this, she craves the attention, the proof of this is her above post where she recites verbatim her conversation with Mr. Guzewicz. It’s like she couldn’t wait to recite it. As Mr. Mackey just said, she has gone as far as she can now, who in their right mind would vote for her? Who would ask her to be on any committee? She’s a bitter woman who enjoys the attention she causes. I suspect she has some deep-seated issues in her personal life and uses these “arguments” to suppress them.

  14. This time I have to agree with Maria. She and her colleagues did all the work and they deserve the credit.
    Do you think JG sent Tommy G as his advance man in true Christmas spirit or merely to help provide the mayor with some free PR work without any heavy lifting?
    If Tommy G had reported there were four or five people huddled in the cold, do you think JG would have left his warm abode (wherever that might be) to venture out into the cold to greet a handful of residents?
    I may not always agree with Maria’s methodology but the little politicians who showed up or wanted to show up demonstrated no respect for her or her hard work.

  15. Generally speaking, at these types of events at this time of the year, I would put politics to the side and think of ALL the holidays in December and what this time of the year “MAY” represent. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men (ALL PEOPLE. MY OWN COMMENTARY).


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