Last Update: Thursday, December 12, 2013
|Federal Judge Rules Department of Veterans Affairs Misused Land Designated for Homeless Veterans in West Los Angeles|
|Written by Diana Martinez|
|Thursday, 05 September 2013 08:59|
Aldo Dipre`, 94-year old World War II Veteran and resident of North Hills displays victory messages to passing motorists at the 285th consecutive Sunday Rally of the Veterans Revolution
"Finally a victory for veterans," proclaimed veteran Robert Rosebrock.
On August 29, Federal Judge S. James Otero ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) violated federal law when it leased portions of its sprawling West L.A. campus to 11 businesses and organizations for purposes unrelated to providing medical care or treatment for homeless and disabled veterans.
The ruling comes more than two years after the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the Inner City Law Center and others filed suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs, DVA on behalf of homeless and disabled veterans, who could often be seen sitting in wheelchairs in the blistering sun and sleeping outside the gates of the campus. It was an irony that was photographed and documented by Rosebrock and other vets who had weekend protests which they termed a "Veteran's Revolution," when it seemed that no one was listening.
They often held signs that counted the hundreds of days of their public demonstrations. The judges ruling found that federal statutes governed the use of DVA property unambiguously prohibit the DVA from entering into land use agreements with private parties on the West L.A. campus unless the agreements are directly related to providing medical care or related services to veterans.
The 400 acre property, which was originally deeded in 1888 to the predecessor to the VA for the exclusive purpose of providing a home for disabled vets. The order did not affect two land use agreements challenged in the suit that had expired or lapsed.
"This is a victory for homeless and disabled veterans who served our nation in its time of need only to find that the VA deserted them in theirs," said Mark Rosenbaum, chief counsel for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California stated in a news release for the organization.
"From today forward, the only leases on the VA campus will be devoted, as Congress mandated, to the delivery of health care, not tennis courts for private school students or laundry facilities for luxury hotels.
And maybe it hastens the day when it is no longer true that in the home of the brave, the brave have no home." "With thousands of veterans homeless in L.A. County, we hope this ruling will encourage the VA to use more of its West L.A. campus to directly benefit veterans," said Adam Murray, executive director of the Inner City Law Center.
The ruling voided nine agreements that included : a 20-acre parcel for Brentwood private school's athletic complex; a laundry processing facility, and outside entertainment events including farmer's markets.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 05 September 2013 09:02|