March 1, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

It’s a New Day at the WLA VA

By Marcie Polier Swartz

Founder CEO Village for Vets

 

Since the VA lawsuits of 2011 and the Settlement Agreement of 2015 new leadership has taken over the VA. Veteran’s Oversight Groups monitor the activities as mandated by the Settlement. Richard Valdez*, past Commander of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and currently Legislative Director for California, has been a constant presence while almost every article written about the VA since then asks …“Can the community really work with the VA and Veterans…?” (You can read the Settlement Agreement right here: https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/012815-West-Los-Angeles-California-Principles-for-Partnership-Framework-for-Settlement-Executed.ocr_.pdf)

As a community representative along with Jennifer Turchin, President of the Brentwood Village Chamber of Commerce, we invited Richard to dinner in early 2016. We had seen him at every meeting. We were hoping to get to know him and to develop a closer working relationship. Let me tell you what happened at the dinner. We ate, and he had a cup of coffee. His serious tone conveyed to us that friendship would not be earned over a dinner. He has been watching over our efforts to support the VA and now I think of him as a kind of guardian angel. Let’s talk to Richard today…

 

After the settlement agreement, you and your organization moved into a support and advisory role at the VA. What effect has that had?

“Well, Veterans were not being given the opportunity to express their thoughts on the agreements being made. I carried that message to Washington – to then VA Secretary Bob McDonald. Right on the spot he referred me to Vince Kane, his special assistant, who arranged a seat for us at the table.”

 

What positive changes has your participation resulted in?

“Our focus was solutions oriented vs. argument. The VSO Coalition (Veteran Service Organizations) studied the issues and had to consider the problems veterans face from the perspective of where they were in their life cycle and not from a static one point in life because veterans needs varied.

 

How many Vets does DAV serve every year?

“In West L.A. we serves several thousand Vets a year. We provide claims services and transportation. Our volunteer drivers cover over 100k miles a year driving Vets from home to the VA for their medical appointments and return them to their points of origin.”

There were many Veterans affected by the fires up north. We administered vouchers to them for emergency clothing food and shelter.

Does the DAV play a role in housing homeless Vets?

“Our primary focus is on assisting Vets with claims and appeals. That is the first step in qualifying for HUDVASH and other housing benefits.

 

What is your opinion of the Stand Downs in California?

“They are very important. The Veterans and the Community must come together to make it happen. The VA is doing their part. The VA needs the community to assist. Community involvement can enhance the Veteran’s Experience. Which also provides a positive experience for the Veteran’s families. The better they feel about themselves has a significant impact on the family.”

Your oversight helped us to provide legal services to many Homeless Veterans at the recent Stand Down at the VA. Richard, keep watching…

*Richard recently spoke at Congressman Ted Lieu’s Veterans Day Town Hall at the Wadsworth Theater. His service and career trajectory, which will be the topic for another day, was deeply moving and completely impressive. Like all Veterans, he is to be treasured.

Related Posts

Construction Alert: Topanga Canyon Boulevard Faces Nightly Closures Starting March 4

March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024

Caltrans Announces 18-Mile Project Spanning Chatsworth to PCH Commuters in the Los Angeles area should prepare for significant delays as...

Film Review: Nyad

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

FILM REVIEWNYADRated PG-13121 MinutesReleased November 3rdOscar Nominations: Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress “I failed many times, but I can...

Security Officers Being Deployed at Big Blue Bus Stations and Routes

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

The Guards will be provided by a firm with other security contracts with the city of Santa Monica  By Zach...

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

Upcoming Ice Cream Shop on Montana Ave. Will Serve Multitude of Vegan Flavors

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

The Company Has Come a Long Way Since Its Humble Beginnings as a New York City Food Truck By Zach...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @smmirrornews Pro-Palestine...

(Video) Restaurants Replace Glass Front Doors After Late Night Robbery Spree in Del Ray

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Seven restaurants and small businesses in Del Rey and Venice, including Nick the Greek and Dudley Market, were robbed. Council...

SMMUSD Appoints New Asst. Superintendent of Education Services

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Dr. Williamson Will Assume Her Role on March 8, Bringing 17 Years of Education Experience In a special board meeting...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...