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Washington, DC – The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved language by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to permanently ban the Department of Veterans Affairs from allowing commercial development at its West Los Angeles Medical Center site.

Senator Feinstein’s provision in the 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill specifically prohibits the VA from entering into enhanced-use leases of the land. It also prevents the VA from selling any portions of the West Los Angeles property for private use.

“This is a victory for America’s veterans and for the West Los Angeles community,” Senator Feinstein said. “The Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed inappropriate uses of this land in the past, and it has failed to guarantee that it will not allow commercial development in the future.”

“The bill approved today by the Appropriations Committee ensures that this land will be used as intended – by veterans – and it will protect a community already straining under the weight of density and heavy congestion.”

“I want to thank the local community leaders who fought tirelessly for so many years to save this land, and I want to especially thank my colleague, Representative Henry Waxman, for his tremendous work in pushing this important legislation in the House.”

“This is the right thing to do and it honors our veterans.  I want to thank Senator Feinstein and Supervisor Yaroslavsky, who have been unwavering in their effort to preserve the West LA VA for veterans,” said Representative Waxman (D-Los Angeles).

“Sen. Feinstein's bill is critical to the protection of the West LA Veterans Administration property, and the preservation of vital services that our veterans require there,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky, who represents the area.

“These hallowed lands were donated to the United States specifically and exclusively for veterans purposes, and they should not be sold, or in any other way disposed of, for private development and private gain at the expense of our nation's fighting men and women.”

The West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus sits on 388 acres on both sides of Wilshire Boulevard, west of Interstate 405. This land was given to the federal government in 1888 for the exclusive use of veterans.

Despite this restriction, the Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed various private uses of the land, including leases for Fox Entertainment Group and Enterprise Rental Car. The VA has provided no guarantees that similar uses would not be allowed in the future.

Summary of Senator Feinstein’s Measure

     The language approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee will:

  • Prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from issuing enhanced-use lease agreements on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs property;
  • Expand the scope of the Cranston Act to cover the full 388-acre West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs property. Currently, the Cranston Act applies to only 109 acres;
  • Prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from exchanging, trading, auctioning or transferring any of the West Los Angeles land.