Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and Rep. Peter King (R-Nassau) have introduced a bill that would prohibit the planned private development of the St. Albans Veteran’s Administration site.
The St. Albans project has been a source of controversy for years, with the VA believing that replacing the existing facilities with a new nursing home, rehabilitation domiciliary and expanded outpatient facilities is the way to go, despite consistent opposition from many veterans. A private developer would build the facilities in exchange for a long-term lease on part of the site where it would put up housing and stores open to the general public.
The City Council’s Committee on Veterans as well as the full council last week unanimously passed a resolution supporting the desire of many lawmakers and veterans advocates that a full-service hospital be built at the St. Albans VA site rather than giving a portion of the land to a private developer.
The St. Albans project has been a source of controversy for years, with the VA believing that replacing the existing facilities with a new nursing home, psychosocial rehabilitation domiciliary and expanded outpatient facilities is the way to go, despite consistent opposition from many veterans.
Lies and land grabs
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has agreed to help veteran advocates with their fight to get a full-service hospital built at the St. Albans VA site after meeting with them on Feb. 23. The Veterans Administration wants to upgrade the existing medical facilities and allow a portion of the site to be privately developed.
Veteran advocates were to have met with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday to discuss their desire to place a full- service hospital at the St. Albans VA site, rather than have part of the land privately developed, as the Veterans Administration has planned.
Veterans who have been fighting for several years to get a full-service hospital at the the St. Albans VA site have gained yet another powerful ally, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens and Long Island), who this week pledged his support in keeping private development off federal land.
Veterans’ advocates who have been endlessly protesting to get a full-service hospital at the St. Albans VA site have hit another road block, but they aren’t letting that stop them. They plan to take their fight to Washington DC in the coming months in hopes of aiding their cause — to prevent the partial privatization of VA land.
Members of the United Coalition of Veterans and Community Rights gathered on the corner of Linden Boulevard and 179th Street in St. Albans Saturday in protest of the commercial development of the St. Albans VA Hospital. Passionate veterans and community enthusiasts chanted and held picket signs in front of the historic hospital in hopes to sway the VA’s plans to demolish it and build rental units along with a new medical facility they deem inadequate. The rally held was just the latest in an ongoing battle between the VA, veterans and their supporters.
More jobs lost
Steve Epps, a Vietnam veteran, says when he returned home from the war, a sight, smell or sound could trigger unwanted memories, but back then post traumatic stress disorder wasn’t as easily recognized as it is today. If it had been, Epps is sure he would have been diagnosed.
On a bleak Saturday morning a group of elderly Filipino veterans eat their burgers in a small McDonald’s, on Roosevelt Avenue in Elmhurst, and talk about family and fighting the Japanese. Their ears are plugged with hearing aids and walking sticks rest on their thighs as they speak of a distant past that binds them. When approached for an interview, Climaco Gador declines, tapping at his head to suggest that his mind is not as clear as it once was.
In the same week that a low-ranking Army soldier was swiftly sentenced to 10 years for abuses he committed in a United States-run jail in Iraq, the President’s lawyer, who drafted memos calling the Geneva conventions “quaint” and “obsolete,” was, just as swiftly, all but confirmed as the next attorney general. Ten years ago hypocrisy like this would have been met with public outrage, but today it’s the standard operating procedure in the White House.