BRIDGEPORT \u2014 On Tuesday morning, Lydia Martinez had breakfast with state Sen. Dennis Bradley. Martinez, the current City Clerk, a former councilwoman and well-known Democratic mover-and-shaker, thinks of herself as \u201ca mother\u201d to Bradley and has supported his political ambitions over the past several years. A few hours after they dined, Bradley, along with his former campaign treasurer, Jessica Martinez, a Board of Education member, became the latest Bridgeport officials ensnared in a federal criminal probe, turning themselves in on charges they attempted to fraudulently obtain $179,850 in state campaign grants. Lydia Martinez said while Bradley appeared to be in a hurry \u2014 \u201che only had a cup of coffee\u201d \u2014 she claimed to be unaware of what was about to transpire. She said the federal investigation did not come up during their breakfast. \u201cHe loves me a lot. I don\u2019t think he would worry me with something like that,\u201d Martinez said, adding, \u201cDennis is a fantastic person. ... The community loves him very much (and) will be very sad if something happens to him.\u201d But others were more concerned Tuesday about the further harm Bradley\u2019s and Jessica Martinez\u2019s arrests could do to Bridgeport\u2019s longtime reputation as a corrupt city that is still reeling from another recent scandal. On Monday and then Tuesday, former Police Chief Armando Perez and ex-Personnel Director David Dunn, respectively, began federal prison sentences after pleading guilty last October to conspiring to help Perez cheat in 2018 to become top cop. \u201cWe just got over the whole police chief scandal and, sure enough, there\u2019s another taking place,\u201d said retired state Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport. \u201cIt almost seems never-ending. I just don\u2019t know when this is going to stop.\u201d Caruso said the fact a state legislator is involved will only make it that much more challenging for Bradley\u2019s fellow city lawmakers to get things done at the Capitol in Hartford. \u201cIt compounds the negative perceptions and feelings that others have about Bridgeport from around the state, from surrounding communities,\u201d Caruso said. \u201cToday is another black eye for Bridgeport,\u201d Bradley\u2019s legislative colleague, state Rep. Steven Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, said Tuesday. \u201cI believe in due process of law but these allegations are very troubling and implicate a violation of public trust. It puts another cloud over the legislature and makes our job that much difficult.\u201d While still being allowed to continue his legislative duties, Bradley\u2019s influence was severely curtailed Tuesday by Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, who stripped him of his title of deputy majority leader and from committee assignments, including co-chairmanship of the public safety and security committee. Gov. Ned Lamont was \u201csupportive\u201d of Looney\u2019s actions, according to Max Reiss, communications director for the governor, who noted Lamont was \u201caware of the serious allegations against Senator Bradley.\u201d State Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said he was \u201ctroubled\u201d by the allegations and said that the onus is on majority Democrats. \u201cThose of us fortunate enough to be elected to the state Senate have a special obligation to make and uphold the law,\u201d said Kelly. \u201cThe trust and faith that our constituents place in us must never be broken. Our court system will carefully weigh these allegations. In the meantime, it is incumbent upon Connecticut Democrats to take steps to rebuild the public\u2019s trust.\u201d State Rep. Chris Rosario, D-Bridgeport, said he was shocked and disappointed in Bradley\u2019s arrest, but emphasized \u201cthe Bridgeport delegation is going to continue doing its business. We have a lot of work to do here in the final days of the session.\u201d Mayor Joe Ganim\u2019s office did not return a request for comment about the situation. Ganim is one of the examples cited when people talk about corruption in Bridgeport. First elected mayor in 1991, he was convicted in 2003 of federal charges of running a pay-to-play operation out of City Hall, served seven years in prison, then waged a comeback in 2015. Born and raised in the city, Gemeem Davis is a leader of the Bridgeport Generation Now civic group which for the last few years has been advocating for cleaner, more ethical local politics and government. \u201cIt absolutely breaks my heart people use this city for their own personal gain and just leave us exposed,\u201d said Davis. \u201cBut it makes me work harder to stay and to do my part to dismantle the system of corruption that is here.\u201d Another resident, Donald Greenberg, is a retired Fairfield University politics professor. He said Bridgeport had seemed to be moving in a more positive direction. \u201cThen you had the thing with Dunn and the police chief and now this,\u201d Greenberg said. He blames the situation on one-party control \u2014 Bridgeport is a Democrat-run city with a weak opposition Republican party \u2014 leading to a lack of oversight and accountability, coupled with a host of socioeconomic issues and poor voter turnout. He said it leaves many people \u201cwaiting for the next shoe to fall.\u201d Dan Onofrio is executive director of the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce and, like his predecessors, has had to try to convince investors not to pass the city by. \u201cWhen we\u2019re trying to recruit businesses and bring organizations from outside the region ... it\u2019s difficult to show Bridgeport in a positive light because all they see or read or hear are these particular stories,\u201d Onofrio said. \u201cThat said, when we do break down and isolate and separate the good and the bad, there\u2019s so much more good that\u2019s happening. \u201cBridgeport is pretty resilient,\u201d Onofrio said. \u201cWe work through these issues and rise above them. That\u2019s all we can do and we keep moving forward as best we can.\u201d Martinez has found turning to a higher power works. And that, she said, is what she intends to do for Bradley. \u201cI\u2019m going to start praying now,\u201d she said.