Moses sheds staff, Pereira parts ways with City Council committee assignments – only at Bridgeport®

File Image: Maria Pereira and Ernie Newton during happier times.

A defiant Maria Pereira on Monday night was stripped of committee assignments by the city council for refusing to apologize for derogatory remarks she made about Ernie Newton who sits next to her at meetings plenaries of the council.

Several council members, including Newton, claim the volatile Pereira broke down in tears when a solid majority of council members voted to censure and dismiss the contracts and education/social services committees.

This means that, barring an apology, Pereira has no voice in committee and his voice is essentially silenced from debate.

Despite his own run-ins with the law, Pereira will often express his enmity towards people by conveniently bringing up their past. They are getting “criminal” this and “criminal” that even though she has endorsed candidates with criminal backgrounds and is asking her constituency of former Upper East Side delinquents for their votes for public office.

Several board members are part of the back-to-school community, including Newton, Fred Hodges who works in back-to-school, and Jorge Cruz.

About 20 years ago, Newton was convicted of public corruption and sentenced to five years in federal prison. He resigned his seat in the state senate. He has spoken out about the disproportionate sentences people of color face in the justice system, calling himself the “Moses of my people,” a comment that often finds good-natured resonance in the political community.

Newton several years ago made a political comeback by winning a seat on the City Council which launched his political career in 1981. He also works in the reintegration community helping ex-offenders pursue life skills and a job.

Pereira backed Joe Ganim when he returned to mayor in 2015 with a second chance message. Soon after, they had a political falling out, a common occurrence with Pereira’s political dealings. The list of breakups takes place on the street, around the corner, across the city limits and in the neighboring county.

A number of council members convinced council chairman Aidee Nieves to put the matter to a vote.

The contentious Pereira, according to council members, said she would take the action to court and promised to hold primaries next year against all council members voting to sanction her.

“I try to bring decorum to the board,” Newton says, “so we don’t have what happened when she was on the school board,” a reference to the often vociferous clashes she had with other board members when she served on the education body.

“If she ever found it in her heart to use her skills for the betterment of the city, she would be one hell of a person,” says Newton. “But she uses everything to go against people.”

Newton and Pereira have had quite a few political fights over the years, including a literal pissing contest in 2019 when they challenged each other to urine tests for foreign substances.

A number of council members observe that Pereira is under a lot of stress to deliver a campaign manager victory for state Rep. Jack Hennessy, who got into a Democratic primary battle on Aug. 9 with the councilman. Marcus Brown.

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