Bridgeport City Council seeks to censure Councilwoman Maria Pereira
Bridgeport City Council is criticizing one of its own members for using what it says is inappropriate and culturally insensitive language.
Councilmembers Aidee Nieves, Ernie Newton, Mary McBride Lee and Jeanette Herron released a resolution asking the city attorney how to proceed in dealing with "unbecoming, abusive and unparliamentary conduct," also saying Councilwoman Maria Pereira has been culturally insensitive in her use of language.
They point to a recent Facebook post by Pereira, saying Board of Education member Bobbi Brown, "conducts herself in an incredibly disrespectful and quite frankly 'ghetto' manner."
Though Pereira's name is not mentioned anywhere in the resolution, they say it is her behavior that inspired it and that it's the first procedural step toward possibly censuring her. Newton compared Pereira to President Donald Trump, who he says lashes out personally at people on social media whenever they challenge him.
Pereira was joined by supporters in responding to the move, saying her right to free speech, especially as an elected official, is enshrined in the Constitution and any attempt to censure her will lead to a lawsuit.
She showed a list of occasions when she says other City Council members, including Newton, Nieves and McBride Lee, used what she calls racially charged and inappropriate language.
Supporters added that Pereira is a valued elected official because they say she is her own person, beholden to no party or political group, and is not culturally insensitive.
Councilman Jorge Cruz issued a statement saying he would not support any effort to censure Pereira because, "free speech is an elected official's most powerful tool in effecting positive change."