Sunday, October 7, 2012

Waxman: Worthy of Dishonorable Discharge

Waxman: Disservice to Our Armed Forces
I have resisted writing this post, for to indict a federal official, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), for not serving our armed veterans with proper care and concern, and especially during a fraught political campaign, is a serious charge which can smack of crass sanctimonious and sentimentality. Veterans should not be props for a political candidate or for a political cause. Nor should we bluntly malign politicians as unpatriotic, regardless of the poor results regarding their oversight of Veterans Administration . Nevertheless, Democrat or Republican, veterans affairs should be an issue that brings both sides of the political spectrum together for the greater good of our armed forced and our country. 

Congressman Waxman is responsible for the Brentwood VA, which resides in the current 30th and future 33rd Congressional district. Outside of the Brentwood VA and adjacent territories, a group of activists on behalf of veterans, including the veterans themselves, have displayed the American flag upside down. At first, I thought that the upside-down flag signaled disgraceful protest, for it is a serious matter to present the American flag contrary to its proper presentation. I have since learned that an upside-down flag is a military signal for distress, particularly because Congressman Henry Waxman, who oversees the Brentwood VA in his district, has done nothing short of gross negligence to our veterans and their land.

Yet following the recent revelations of the Brentwood VA’s private leases and public disrespect to our veterans, many of whom live homeless and marginalized around the Santa Monica Bay, I could forbear no longer. Now that major media outlets, including the liberal leaning Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio, have come forward to report on this issue, the rest of the community must not neglect to notice this matter.

I must add my personal connection, however slight, to the Brentwood VA. My mother, a nurse and at one time a nursing instructor, worked briefly at the Brentwood VA. My father is a Vietnam veteran, and his father fought in World War II. My other grandfather fought in Korea. Having read about the terrible treatment which our veterans have received at the Veterans Administration, I have to wonder why it has taken so long for the mainstream media, or any advocate on behalf of our country and our veterans, to stand up to the powerful federal interests which have done so little yet must do so much more for our armed forces upon returning state side.

Better late than never, NPR reports that  the Brentwood VA has some of the most valuable land in West Los Angeles. Beyond its real estate value, its moral estate on behalf of our fallen deserves greater attention. However, Carolina Winston Barrie – a relative of the original donors of the land – recounted to NPR that much of the land has been converted to uses which have nothing to do with assisting veterans, including a baseball stadium, laundry facilities, and storage for movie sets. Congressman Waxman (who oversees the property, since it resides within his district) and US Senator Dianne Feinstein passed legislation to forbid the sale and lease of VA property. Yet a legal nicety still permits private operations on the land because private interests can still “share” the property. These rental agreements have generated between $28 and $40 million, yet Waxman has no idea where the money has gone, and three building slated for $20 million in renovations have seen no action toward the realization of those projects.

LA Times columnist Steve Lopez reported that Waxman decried his lack of “subpoena power” to investigate what’s going on in the Brentwood VA. Independent challenger Bill Bloomfield quipped while visiting the area that Waxman’s lack of interest or lack of bipartisanship has contributed to the poor status of veterans’ housing. No matter who reports these terrible circumstances, there is no excuse for this lack of oversight. From 2007-2011, Mr. Waxman was the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Surely he had subpoena power then, yet never used it.

In previous posts, I have railed against Waxman-Markey, Obama-Waxman Care, Waxman the Taxman, Waxman all Washed-Up over the Clean Water Act, Waxman who says “I Don’t Know!” “I’m Sorry! And “We’re not broke!” Now I write to indict Waxman the Congressman, the politician who has failed our veterans, and thus has failed to earn another term in office.

Waxman is unfit for reelection precisely because of his poor leadership and stewardship on the matter of Veterans Affairs, specifically the Brentwood VA. He had time to go after Big Government Bush following billion-dollar scandals and waste in Iraq, he pushed ObamaCare and Cap and Trade (which was dead on arrival in the Senate), yet Waxman did nothing when he had the power and the presence to demand necessary reforms on behalf of our veterans.

To the voters of the 33rd – even those who have received letters of response from the Congressman, and those who have good memories of the legislator, Waxman has been derelict in his duty on behalf of our veterans, and for that he deserves nothing less than a dishonorable discharge.

On November 6th, vote out Waxman and vote for Bill Bloomfield for the 33rd!

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