Strap In City Council Members, Here Comes Maria Piranha

When a new City Council convenes in December it will feature current faces, new faces, returning faces and one piranha with seriously sharp teeth: that would be Maria Pereira, the self-styled piranha of politics, segueing from the Board of Education to the city’s legislative and budget-approving body with the goal of driving more dollars to her first love education while a stick-in-the-eye to the political establishment.

Not since the days of Chris Caruso has the City Council greeted someone as flamboyant as Pereira, but also equally versed in parliamentary procedure governing meetings. Caruso was the boy wonder of city politics in the early 1980s: smart, noisy, particular, focused, the debate wiz out of Notre Dame Catholic High School. His classmate? Yup, Mayor Joe Ganim. You should hear those two go at it behind closed doors. Caruso managed Ganim’s first race for mayor in 1989, but that’s another story.

Chris Caruso with Marilyn Moore on eve of 2019 September primary.

When I was a young reporter a New York Times scribe was in town researching the blood sport known as Bridgeport politics. I told him he needed to see a City Council meeting in action. He took one look at Caruso and declared, “Oh man, that guy is a pain in the ass.”

Caruso wore it with a badge of honor. He’d go on to serve 20 years in the state legislature as well as two razor-close losses for mayor in 2003 and 2007. He’s still around, a slight more kinder and gentler version but still ready to roar as was evidenced when Marilyn Moore invited him to run on her mayoral ticket as town clerk candidate. If she had cut him loose to run her primary race after Kennard Ray left she’d be mayor today.

Pereira Harding
Pereira will prepare for her new role on City Council.

A debate with Caruso can cause human whiplash. Same with Pereira. If Caruso and Pereira ever engage in debate load up on popcorn and serious beverages. It’s worthy of admission.

Pereira is joining the council with running mate Samia Suliman both of whom occupy mighty vote turf in the Upper East Side 138th District.

Also new to the council Matthew McCarthy, a certified public accountant, who had also served in a volunteer role as the city’s hearing officer for parking violations. His brother Marty, a pizza guru, also represented the 130th District that includes Black Rock and a portion of the West End. Scott Burns returns to the council after a two-year absence when he served as budget co-chair.

Pete Spain and Christina Smith are one and done in that category representing the 130th.

Jorge Cruz brings a spirit and passion to the council as an advocate helping substance abusers. Jorge will have plenty to say.

Evette Brantley returns to the City Council representing the West Side/West End 132nd District.

All the rest are returning incumbents. Now, if we could just reenact that literal pissing contest between Pereira and Ernie Newton, the Moses of he peeps, little OIB will make national headlines again.

See City Council election results below:



  1. 2 more years of the same old, same old in the 134th…..Michelle Lyons will do nothing for the tax paying residents and AmyMarie Vizzo-Panniccia will remain out of sighte

  2. Here she comes. Maria to the rescue. No one is more comfortable in the winners circle.
    On a local level, the election is conquered territory. Governing is the new battleground.
    On a 2020 level, battleground states are becoming fewer and fewer.

    1. Ok. I will try it again. Maybe OIB was in a bad mood my first try.

      The balance of the City Council (16 CC reps) are puppets to the TestaGanimDTC apparatus.
      Thank you.

  3. Not to take anything away from Rosalina, Ron, but doesn’t Michele Lyons results in the 134 with 1491 votes top that? In third place for total votes is a newcomer, Matthew McCarthy at 1423 votes. Congratulations on your financial expertise being recognized for its potential in creating a more OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST presentation of financial facts before the audit is done, since that is HISTORY.
    With all of the focus in court, media, and public view on absentee ballots, were those ballots different in number or nature or out of range from previous elections? Time will tell.

    1. JFK officially has significantly more registered Democratic voters than Bridgeport, however JFK is significantly more transient than the Thomas Hooker Precinct, therefore many of the voters registered to vote in JFK don’t necessarily reside in the JFK currently.

  4. The 135th District has three precincts, therefore both City Council candidates should receive the highest number of votes.

    They include Wilbur Cross, Park City Magnet and Hallen School.

    The 136th District also has three precincts.

    1. the number of voting precincts is tied to the split of the council district versus the senate district and the state rep district – tries to make it easier for a person to vote in location regardless of the offices being elected.

      For Example, Winthrop is always 134 locally 22 senate and 127 state rep – but I think there are elections where Blackham is split between two state rep districts but same senate district

  5. Maria,
    Congratulations on your winning effort.
    Is the number of voters in each of ten districts about the same? Is it census based? Does it change after every census count by what mechanism? Does the number of precincts, for instance 3 vs, 2, have anything to do with the population size of a district?
    I am told that the Council hierarchy selects the Committee assignments and they do not necessarily reflect the knowledge, skills or expertise of each Council person Hope you get to serve on Education and focus a light on what support and or mission gets through to the kids in the classroom from that subcommittee. Time will tell.

    Claiming “it’s too much fun” Lennie Grimaldi turned down a $1 billion offer for his beloved webzine, OIB.
    Desperate for high returns a prominent private equity firm is convinced nothing in the markets can beat the return they’d expect from a combination of Maria’s unscripted and fiery rhetoric, the Mayor’s past and the colorful story/drams that surrounds Bridgeport. Investors believe Maria has star power, the story has merit and the upside is limitless. The lure of fast money has a strong appeal. LG was offered a lucrative role in story development.
    Will he change his mind? The offer is still on the table.

  7. John
    You are Right Our City Council President Picks Chairs and Co-Chairs of Committees and who serves on committee. Based of Our Council rules. Its No different as The Speaker of the House of Representatives in Hartford and in Washington Picks who chairs what committee and who serves on those committees. Its ratified by the body.

    1. While we are reviewing City Council Committees, missions and membership, perhaps you can take a moment to go to the City website, click to Department Directory, click to Boards and Commissions and take a look at what happens when you click on Fair Rent Commission?
      Question 1: How many are authorized? Five members and three alternates.
      Question 2: How many listed? Four but expired terms run from 1997-2007
      Question 3: Any Agendas or minutes? NONE

      Perhaps no one is tracking this? Perhaps the Commission was allowed to expire? When was their last breath?
      What happens when local tenants go to New Haven Fair Rent Commission? They are told that they cannot be served by New Haven group.

      Is the Mayoral leadership and those who financially supported his re-election so committed to owning rental properties in the City that keeping such a body well appointed, meeting regularly, and serving the public too onerous?? With homeowners abandoning single family homes in the North End because of age or readiness to cash in on property values, is the ability to keep renters from knowing and exercising rights and fair practices an attractive to making an investment in Bridgeport where the landlord is king? What City Council Committee will take a look at this issue? Which City employee in the Ganim administration was working to maintain or strengthen our citizen serving committees? Time will tell.

  8. No doubt that Maria will be pigeonholed with committee assignments, just as Pete Spain and Rick Torres were.
    I expect though, that Maria will be effective doing what she does best, calling attention to the performance of council members and the complete control of the city council by the Ganim administration.

  9. Someone I trust told Samia and I that the most critical role we will play is to “turn on the lights and watch the coachroaches scurry.”

    I thought it was a highly appropriate statement.


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