Blog: Congressman Henry Waxman: Time to "Occupy Brentwood"

Congressman Henry Waxman claims to be stepping up on renovating the Brentwood VA. If he were serious about veterans affairs, he would set up his office at the VA to expedite its construction.

In the February 7th, 2013 edition of The Beach Reporter, the paper reported that Congressman Henry Waxman “mingled with South Bay Democratic Club Members”. After a twenty-minute speech about the fractious culture of Washington politics, from the fiscal cliff, to the sequester, the debt ceiling, and resolutions to fund the government, Waxman paraded his resume and promoted the unique, fanciful liberal interest of “climate change”.

Responding to my question about the business "climate" following the taxes from Obama-WaxmanCare, and the poor "climate" for our homeless veterans,  Waxman went back to his rote responses of blaming Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, whom he loosely charged with attempting to sell the property for debt reduction.

One of the most glaring, and disturbing, lines from The Beach Reporter noted the following:

However, he [Waxman] said that he has been unable to build a proper facility for them [the veterans] due to uncertainty about the land where the VA is located.

The VA has been located in Waxman’s Congressional district since the day he won the office in 1974. After 38 years of Congressman Waxman’s refusal to do anything, the federal government might as well have sold off the land, since it was not being used for its intended purpose: providing our veterans a place for recuperation, restoration and renewal. Now that Congressman Waxman faces future challenges from another Democratic contender,or even a well-prepared independent or Republican candidate, in the new 33rd Congressional district,  and now that he represents a district which no longer has a majority Democratic constituency, Waxman has to mind the interests of all voters. He must abide by a spirit of bipartisanship, or wave ‘bye-bye’ to his overly-long tenure in office.

After his speech and the question and answer period, I spoke with Congressman Waxman with some affability. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Then I told him that he should set up his office at the Brentwood VA. “Call it ‘Occupy Brentwood’”.

Congressman Waxman has already opened a new office in Manhattan Beach. For the time being, though, he ought to consider setting up shop at the Brentwood VA. There, he could rescind the private contracts which are currently operating on the land, as well. Get rid of the dog park, and park every veteran on the property who has no home of his own. His long-term presence to demand faster construction on the property would grab voters' attention in the region.

While living and working at the Brentwood VA, Waxman would experience daily the consequences for his lack of oversight over the facility. Instead of providing for our veterans, he was pursuing steroid abuse in baseball. Instead of providing a calm and clean environment for our returning troops, he was  attempting to implement Cap and Trade. Instead of going after the ruthless privatization of the Brentwood VA, he was grilling tobacco executives, whom everyone knew were going to lie under oath about the damaging consequences of smoking.  I’m glad that I do not have to smell smoke on an airplane, but I would much rather a veteran feel the warmth of a safe room and receive the proper care and comfort which the federal government owes him.

During all the wrangling over Obama-WaxmanCare, the Congressman had the opportunity and the authority to implement subsidies to the Department of Veterans Administration. Walter Reed Veterans Hospital already weathered withering reports about the dilapidated conditions of its facilities along with poor medical practices, including the repeated use of unclean colonoscopy catheters. How long would it take to get a private contractor to prepare make-shift properties on the land while the full reconstruction of the facility continues apace? Instead of railing about the waste and fraud during the Bush administration, Congressman Waxman should redirect time and funds toward supplying food, shelter, clothing, and proper medical care for our veterans.

While Congressman Waxman is staging “Occupy Brentwood”, he could solicit a private contractor to operate the Brentwood VA. If the federal government, including the majority leaders in Congress, refuses to respect the plight of our once fighting and now retiring armed forces, then Washington has no business running the facility in the first place. The veterans fought for our country, not our government, anyway. Congressman Waxman, who never served in the armed forces, has not stood up for or even stood by our veterans, until now.

Like every politician, Congressman Waxman must be concerned with getting reelected. His relocation to Brentwood would send the message loud and clear that he is through playing games, through playing for the cameras, through pandering to rich elitists and left-wing extremists along the Westside. He can "prove his stripes" that he cares. He can make his case to the voters as well as the veterans, and he can even staunch his faltering support with the disillusioned independents.

Congressman Waxman: It’s time for you to “Occupy Brentwood”. You owe them at least that. Do not leave until every homeless veteran in the LA area has an opportunity to “Occupy Brentwood” for themselves.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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