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Battle Over West LA VA Property Heats Up

Veterans Charge Feinstein’s District Director with Dereliction of Duty

By Gene Simes @ 2:00 PM April 30, 2008

“We the Veterans,” a unified alliance and fellowship with America's military Veterans, recently was represented on behalf of Operation Firing For Effect , a leading Veterans organization headquartered in Rochester, NY, to file a Congressional Complaint against California’s senior Senator, Diane Feinstein.

They demanded either the full and absolute cooperation of her West Los Angeles staff or the immediate termination of her District Director, Trevor Daley.

The complaint charges Mr. Daley with “Dereliction of Duty” as the result of his refusal to work with or even respond to Veterans and their justified complaints and concerns regarding the ongoing abuse and outright taking of Veterans land at the Los Angeles National Veterans Home, which completely violates the specific purpose of the land grant Deed of 1888, “To be permanently maintained as a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.”

A Soldier's Duty Is Never Done

Rusty Rustan, a disabled Vietnam War Veteran and the California Director of OFFE, officially presented the complaint during a scheduled April 14 meeting with members of Sen. Feinstein's Washington D.C. staff.

The complaint outlines the sequence of events during the Senator’s Jan. 16 press conference at the West L.A. Veterans National Home where she declared: “This property is meant to serve veterans. That’s in the original land grant and it should be maintained. And we're all in agreement about that.”

‘Senator, Why Do You Support a Public Park?’

After her press conference, the senator met with Robert Rosebrock and Francisco Juarez, Co-Directors of “We the Veterans.”

Mr. Juarez specifically asked her why she supported a public park on Veterans land. The senator responded that she knew nothing about any public park. However, Mr. Trevor Daley, the senator’s District Director, sheepishly informed her that there was in fact a public park being planned on Veterans land. The senator seemed bewildered and said, “I’m embarrassed.”

‘There Will Be No Park Here’

Mr. Rosebrock further informed the senator that Veterans Park Conservancy, a non-profit special interest organization, has plans to convert all Veterans’ land north of Wilshire Boulevard into a Central Park West. The senator responded firmly, “There will be no park here.”

Mr. Juarez thanked the senator for her support, and he handed her a copy of the Veterans’ “Declaration of Enforcement,” which he explained was written to unequivocally honor, protect and preserve the Veterans’ land just as it was deeded 120 years ago. The senator agreed to read the Declaration. She assured Mr. Juarez and Mr. Rosebrock that she would respond and also agreed to meet with them again to discuss, as she proudly stated, “building the finest healthcare facility in the nation for America’s veterans.”

A Charge to Keep

On Jan. 29, Mr. Rosebrock and Mr. Juarez met with Mr. Daley at the senator’s West L.A. office to discuss the public park agreement, the Declaration, and related issues they shared with the senator at her news conference.

Mr. Daley agreed to promptly meet again with Mr. Juarez and Mr. Rosebrock for a detailed tour of the grounds at the National Home so that they could show him, first-hand, where major areas of abuse and misuse were taking place with Veterans’ land.

On Feb. 6, Mr. Daley sent an email to both Mr. Rosebrock and Mr. Juarez confirming: “As we discussed when we met last week, the senator has been a supporter of the Veterans Park Conservancy in the past. However, when she met with you last month, she asked me to please check into these agreements and closely look at the concerns you raised. She charged me with checking with the V.A. into the details of these agreements.”

Dereliction of Duty

Mr. Rosebrock and Mr. Juarez made repeated efforts to schedule and engage the agreed upon tour of the V.A. grounds with Mr. Daley. But he consistently kept putting off the tour.

The two sent Mr. Daley repeated e-mails and left phone messages with Mr. Daley regarding his responsibility charged by the senator to find answers and details regarding the land use agreements, including the Ssnator's promise to read the Declaration and to meet with them again.

Mr. Daley continued to ignore Mr. Rosebrock and Mr. Juarez, which finally prompted the filing of their Congressional Complaint against Mr. Daley for “Dereliction of Duty.”

More Complaints

In addition to the aforementioned complaint, “We the Veterans” also filed complaints with Sen. Feinstein’s office against Veterans Park Conservancy and its executive director, Ms. Sue Young, demanding repayment of $1 million of Veterans’ healthcare money that was taken to help build a wrought iron fence that serves as an entryway into Brentwood, at the expense of Veterans’ healthcare services.

Additional complaints that were filed included a demand that Veterans Park Conservancy immediately remove the word “Park” that the organization had engraved in stone at the Veterans Home and rightfully replace it with the word “Home.”

­ “We the Veterans” also issued a “cease and desist” order, demanding the termination of any further land discussions about a public park and other non-Veteran entities, as well as “Eviction Notices” to all commercial and non-commercial entities that currently occupy land and/or buildings on Veterans’ property that do not directly benefit America’s military Veterans.

Boxer and Waxman Given Notice

In addition to serving the complaints to Sen. Feinstein’s Washington D.C. office, Mr. Rustan, a resident, California native and disabled Veteran of Huntington Beach, delivered copies of the complaints to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-West L.A.) staff as well. The powerful Congressman has held office for 34 years in the 30th District, which is the responsible steward for overseeing the operations and services of the Los Angeles National Veterans Home.

More Veterans Than 42 States Combined

In a letter dated Feb. 11, 2007, to then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Nicholson, Sens. Feinstein and Boxer and Congressman Waxman jointly declared: “There are more veterans living within 50 miles of the West L.A. V.A. than there are in 42 other states combined. We need a plan that effectively focuses on their needs. We request that you take prompt action to halt projects that are not consistent with the core mission of the V.A. and fulfill the Congressional mandate to draft a master plan for the V.A. land.”

Think about this: There are more Veterans living within 50 miles of the Los Angeles V.A. than 42 states combined. That is a phenomenal responsibility. Yet all of the emphasis has been placed on building a public community park for Brentwood.

This begs the question: Why does Sen. Feinstein have a District Deputy like Mr. Daley, a non-Veteran, whose jurisdictional responsibilities encompass this great National Home that 26 million Veterans nationwide have access to? But he doesn’t even have the time or decency to respond to Veterans’ inquiries, even after he was specifically charged by the senator to find answers to their serious claims and concerns.

And why is it that Mr. Daley knows about a public park and the senator doesn’t?

There’s just way too much at stake here to allow any more neglect and abuse against our Veterans and their deeded property, while the local community gets priority attention for a public park.

It all boils down to the necessity of new leadership at the Senator’s West L.A. office.

­ Let’s Build the Senator's Dream

Fellow Americans, it’s time for our elected public servants to fully protect and preserve the Veterans hallowed land just as other generations have for the past 120 years.

This great Veterans’ healthcare and rehabilitation center is far too important to be dealing with non-Veteran issues and commercial leases including some public park that unnecessarily distracts from the paramount responsibility of the Veterans Administration to provide healthcare and rehabilitation services.

Sens. Feinstein and Boxer, along with Congressman Waxman, need to take a responsible and positive leadership role by hiring new staff members that fully understand the needs of America’s military Veterans and possess the ability to work constructively with them, not against them, or to ignore them.

This Congressional delegation must take full responsibility and work cooperatively with all Veterans to plan and immediately implement Sen. Feinstein’s vision of “building the finest healthcare facility in the nation for America’s veterans.”

Mr. Simes served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Vietnam War combat Veteran, and he was awarded the Purple Heart. He is CEO of Operation Firing For Effect, (, which is headquartered New York and represents and assists America’s military Veterans nationwide. He is a popular and respected talk show host on Stardust Radio (


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