I am not a political blogger, but this just just infuriated me when I spotted it. In today’s LA Times, on page B3, was this little gem:
Bill omits ban on developing VA campus
A provision to restrict commercial use of the Westside campus was dropped under threat of veto, supporters say.
“By the time it passed Congress last week, the $120-billion emergency war spending bill was missing some language that would have cheered Westside residents who fear that the vast West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus is destined for private development.
“The language, which congressional negotiators had earlier agreed to include, would have barred the federal Department of Veterans Affairs from selling, leasing or otherwise transferring parts of the 388-acre property for commercial development.
“Late in the game, however, the White House Office of Management and Budget said President Bush would veto the legislation unless the VA provision was removed, congressional sources said Friday…..”
The story goes on to say that the language was removed on the insistence of Rob Portman who is the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and, of course, phone calls last week were not returned.
As you can see, this chunk of land occupies a spot between Brentwood and Westwood, two of the more expensive neighborhoods in LA, and not far from the Wilshire District, another high end area.
The worry that developers are eyeing this very valuable piece of property is based on several proposals to partner with private industry in recent years; opposing development are the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, City Council, Mayor Villaraigosa, property owners in the area, and everyone else who is annoyed with the idea of our government property being sold off and not necessarily to the highest bidder. The saving grace may be the fact that the land was originally donated by private citizens and the deed states that it is to be used for veterans…. but there are probably several ways around such a vague statement.
How much longer are we going to tolerate this sort of thing?
And why wasn’t this on the front page?