VA officials have been attempting to open portions of the property to commercial development for several years, and White House officials estimate that such a move could generate as much as $4 billion in revenue.Those who oppose commercial development, however, said it went against the intent of donors who gave the property to the VA in the 1800s for veterans’ services.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Feinstein were among the strongest critics of commercial development.
“This is not a revenue source any more than Yosemite or the Gettysburg Cemetery,” Yaroslavsky said at a news conference on December 19, 2007 outside the VA offices. The event included veterans and neighborhood groups who urged the president not to veto the measure.
Feinstein’s provision bars the VA from signing long-term commercial agreements, or enhanced-use leases, to sell the land piecemeal. Several businesses already use the VA property to store rental cars and buses and to operate a laundry service, and their businesses won’t be affected by the legislation, Feinstein’s staff said.
Yaroslavsky was correct when he said that he was confident the provision would become law.
True, there are no major financial appropriations at either the federal or state level but there are many Veteran Based 501 ( c ) (3) charities that are willing to enter into long term leases at the property to build rehabilitation centers and new housing for veterans.
Now, with the property saved, it is time to call on the various committees and commissions that oversee Veteran’s affairs such as The Governor’s Committee on Labor for People With Disabilities (Note-one of their mandates is to set policies to help disabled Veterans get back to work), to work with the government to make the lives better for our deserving Veterans.