Bill tar­gets com­mer­cial use of VA cam­pus

Los Angeles Times - - California - By Martha Groves

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein (DCalif.) has in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would per­ma­nently pro­hibit the De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs from com­mer­cially de­vel­op­ing any of its West Los An­ge­les Med­i­cal Cen­ter site.

“The De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs has al­lowed in­ap­pro­pri­ate uses of this site over the years, and many in the com­mu­nity be­lieve there is more on the way,” Fe­in­stein said in a state­ment.

“Al­low­ing this land to be de­vel­oped would be a dis­ser­vice to our vet­er­ans and a dis­as­ter for the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity, al­ready be­set by high den­sity and heavy con­ges­tion.”

The bill, in­tro­duced Thurs­day, is a com­pan­ion to leg­is­la­tion put forth May 8 in the House by U.S. Rep. Henry A. Wax­man (DLos An­ge­les).

Fe­in­stein’s leg­is­la­tion would specif­i­cally pro­hibit the VA from en­ter­ing into “en­hanced-use leases,” long-term ar­range­ments that she said “could ul­ti­mately lead to parcels be­ing sold to private de­vel­op­ers.” En­ter­prise Rent-a-Car and Fox En­ter­tain­ment Group are among private com­pa­nies that have ar­range­ments with the VA to use por­tions of the prop­erty.

The West Los An­ge­les Vet­er­ans Af­fairs cam­pus sits on 388 acres on both sides of Wil­shire Boule­vard, west of the 405 Free­way. The landown­ers do­nated the prop­erty to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in 1888 for the exclusive use of vet­er­ans.

Fe­in­stein’s bill would re­quire the VA to sub­mit a mas­ter plan for the prop­erty within a year and would re­quire Congress’ au­tho­riza­tion to fund pro­vi­sions of the plan.

martha.groves@la­times.com

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