Opinion: The VA Master Plan Politics and Rhetoric Doesn't Help Veterans

Support Our Troops!  Make that battle cry and anyone with the slightest opposition to foreign invasions or policing is sent scurrying to the nearest crevice to hide.

The same hypocrisy is being perpetrated on our heroes at home.  Washington allowed the West LA Veterans campus to lay virtually dormant for decades, without proper funding, administration or an effective plan.  Now, after a veteran-inspired lawsuit by the ACLU, politicians and new VA Secretary Robert McDonald are pushing for a virtual utopia with housing and services for thousands.

The problem is, the government moves slowly, and while the plan is honorable, and housing and services are desperately needed, it does no one any good to expel income producing institutions before you are ready to put the land to good use.

The reality is that institutions and “veteran-centric” use of the land are not mutually exclusive. The campus area is over 350 acres and it will be decades before the majority of that land is put to good use for veterans, even with major dedication and funding.  Fencing off the land just as a show of commitment will not help anyone, especially veterans.  It will just emphasize the lack of activity and punish the neighborhood.  The collateral damage will be felt by UCLA, Brentwood School, Brentwood Village, Brentwood residents, and AYSO.

Be bold, initiate a realistic plan and work with veterans, the community and local government to make it happen.