I want to thank Maria Becerra for her dedication, passion and concern for the citizens of Hammond. In her 27 years as the director of housing, there was never a question regarding her professionalism and performance on the job. Furthermore, her department was devoid of any controversy.
Her accomplishment in office became a model for other communities and was often lauded by her peers, including Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. Ironic that her residency was never a problem after 26 years of service.
Her termination of employment was no more than a capricious conspiracy because of her zeal to be unbiased in the delivery of proper housing. For anyone to imply by trying to bathe in purity that druggies and pushers were being housed is truly underhanded. If the mayor knew these types were anywhere in the city, he should have reported it to police.
Her termination is a tremendous loss to Hammond, not to mention the $200,000 the citizens of Hammond have to dish out to settle the suit, not a mere bag of shells. It was she who saved the city millions of dollars by not pursuing her suit. No matter how you slice it, it is still bologna, so let's cut the bull. Her dismissal was never about Hammond. It was about politics.
- Tony Barreda, Hammond