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Sound Bites: Bridgeport council member sidelined for offensive comments

Bridgeport City Hall is also known as McLevy Hall which is a municipal building-Bridgeport, Connecticut
Shoba Dasari
Bridgeport City Hall.

Good morning. Bridgeport’s City Council voted in a 13-1 decision this week to strip council member Maria Pereira of her co-chair of the influential contracts subcommittee. 

This was in response to her making several offensive comments toward city officials and community members following the council’s passage of a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza. Pereira defended her comments but refused to apologize, saying she has the right to free speech. She accused council members of trying to damage her reputation during an election year.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

Nearly 11 miles of wastewater management tunnels and pipelines were successfully constructed along the south shore of Long Island. The structures are a part of the Bay Park Conveyance Project, which seeks to improve water quality and storm resiliency along the Western Bays. The pipes will carry nitrogen-treated water to an ocean location three miles offshore to disperse wastewater.

Connecticut rideshare and delivery drivers rallied at the state Capitol to call for fair pay and benefits. The drivers wrote to legislators to set minimum pay standards, ensure transparency and equal treatment for drivers and passengers, prevent company wage theft, and protect them from deactivation. According to the Drivers United Foundation, drivers remain largely unprotected by state or federal labor and employment law.

New York’s state university system will invest nearly $10 million to provide 3,000 SUNY students with internships before graduation. Over 367,000 students are enrolled in SUNY campuses. Gov. Kathy Hochul said these internships will help ensure thousands of graduates are prepared to enter the professional workforce upon completion of their degrees. Each internship will align with SUNY programs and be tailored to the student’s interests and career goals.

Almost 120 Connecticut United Parcel Service employees will be laid off by April. This includes 72 part-time employees, 23 full-time employees and 23 part-time supervisors. These terminationsare a part of a company-wide wave of UPS layoffs impacting 12,000 employees due to decreasing domestic and international shipping volumes. The layoffs could save UPS $1 billion.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is pressured to provide financial resources to help restore beaches in East Hampton. Montauk beaches were severely damaged by storms throughout December and January. State Assemblymember Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor) and Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) requested Hochul take action so the town could use the funds to restore the beaches for the 2024 summer season and increase coastal resiliency amid worsening climate change impacts.

A Hartford resident sued Connecticut State Representative Robin Comey for crashing into their vehicle in March 2023. Comey was intoxicated when they collided with another vehicle, causing their car to flip onto John Green’s car. Green reportedly lost two teeth and needed treatment for his damaged gut, shoulder and hip. Comey was arrested and charged with operating under the influence. Green is seeking $15,000 in damages.

Gun rights advocates sued New York state police departments for implementing the concealed carry law. These out-of-state organizations — Gun Owners of America and the Gun Owners Foundation — argue New York does not recognize gun permits from other states — and that the law violates their Second Amendment rights. They asserted frustration in not being able to bring their firearms into the state without being identified as criminals.

Former Fairfield Town employees were sentenced to two years of probation. Emmet Hibson, the former human resources director, and Brian Carey, the former town conservation director, were charged with illegally dumping harmful material contaminated with PCBs to build an artificial ridge near a solid waste dump. As a part of their probation, the duo must complete a combined 480 hours of community service and will pay an unknown sum in restitution. After two years, their charges will be dismissed.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.