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Bush Signs Bill To Save Veterans' Property In Los Angeles

By       Message Kevin Norte       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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President Bush signed H.R. 2764 into law on Wednesday, December 26, 2007.  One hundred ninety-four Republicans and 78 Democrats voted in favor of H.R. 2764.  In its final version, 76 Senators supported it.  In part it bars commercial development on the sprawling West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus in Brentwood and Westwood.The measure had been inserted into a larger appropriations bill by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) who did not cast a vote on the bill.   Although the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Bush administration had favored opening the 388-acre complex to commercial business as a means of generating revenue the president did not veto the measure.

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.

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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.

 

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Kevin Norte is a legal analyst, frequent guest Op-Ed contributor for Los Angeles's Metropolitian-New Enterprise, political blogger, and an attorney. Kevin, earlier in his career helped organize the attorneys at his place of employment into an (more...)
 

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