Maria Pereira and Ernie Newton have gone back and forth from literal pissing contests to sharp exchanges from their City Council perches. The talk of Monday’s council meeting wasn’t the regular business of the legislative body but an emotional apology from the provocative Pereira for inflammatory insults directed at Newton and by extension the reentry community leading the council to strip her of committee assignments, which further marginalized her influence.
To council members watching the mea culpa it was a rare show of humility from someone whose calling card is measured by defiance and not deference. With tears flowing, according to council members, Pereira expressed regret for her actions. In exchange Council President Aidee Nieves restored, backed by peers, her status to the Contracts and Education committees.
“For me, it’s about forgiveness,” says Newton. “It’s about the work of the council, not the name calling. She has the ability to be an effective council member.”
Unclear the jump point that led to this coda. Some council members say Pereira is battling health issues while others observe the stressors magnified by City Councilman Marcus Brown’s primary defeat of incumbent State Rep. Jack Hennessy whose campaign Pereira helmed.
Pereira had been trying to build a neighborhood powerbase in the city in advance of next year’s municipal election cycle, a problematic undertaking for someone stubborn to coalition building, compromise and diplomacy.
Her hard-handed retail politicking regarded in her Upper East Side district has failed in other neighborhoods.
Still, her research dedication and gift for crafting arguments–albeit often at the point of a verbal bayonet–are skill sets rare in city politics.
Is this an isolated magnanimous moment or an extended venture into political pragmatism?
2022-2023 City Council committee appointments:
A step forward for the City Council as the restoration of Council member Pereira’s committee assignments restores to 19 the number of members with active committee assignments.
Of course, the City Council still is attempting to function with one Council member reduction. Is there a timely solution within the rules? Or does the City need to review the rules for better function addressing City issues?
Normally I think of the Council with seven subcommittees. However, ten months ago they created a Special Committee to Oversee the Community Development Block Grant activity annually I suspect. What is the word from that Committee or from the Chairpersons? Time will tell.
When it comes to reentry in Bridgeport, Scott Wilderman and Ernie Newton are competing with me.
I have access to the same list they do and have compiled leads that match the desired profile.. Wilderman and Newton’s method requires a grant, staff, pencils, parking spots and an imported STRIVE program — that’s a cookie cutter approach to complex issue. Reentry is a for-profit business and I’m prepared to use mankind’s most accurate measuring device to prove it!
I know Ernie Newton as an original member of Lennie’s clubhouse and I know Scott Wilderman because we worked for competing firms in the same industry in Hartford.
Competition in community services combined with second chance efforts can be good news for folks who call Bridgeport home. Why do you call it a “for-profit” business? Can you say more to help the community learn where public dollars are being spent and where the results of those expenditures is recorded regularly and show up publicly? Thanks for this pre-holiday gift to the community. Time will tell.
For-profit means no public dollars needed! The pandemic, demographics and trends in prison release have produced a motivated, reliable and useful workforce — just what the world needs. God gave everyone talent — turning that talent into a money-making skill is part of the current zeitgeist. I show the brave how to do the impossible — I get to see the smile on their faces, while others just lecture them.