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Beilenson Seeks to Prevent Land Sale at VA Complex

May 21, 1987|MATHIS CHAZANOV | Times Staff Writer

Taking advantage of the Democratic majority in the U. S. Senate, Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles) has introduced legislation to bar the Reagan Administration from selling land at the Veterans Administration complex in Westwood.

A similar bill last year resulted in an 18-month moratorium on the proposed sale, but the Senate, then dominated by Republicans, would not go along with a permanent ban.

Now, with the the Democrats enjoying a 55-45 advantage in the Senate and Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) heading the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Beilenson expects the proposed sale to be scuttled, aides said.

The sale, originally set for 109 acres but later reduced to 80 acres, was intended as a deficit-reduction measure, according to Administration officials.

Another 32 acres, reduced from 46, at the Veterans Administration hospital in Sepulveda would also be affected.

"We are not willing to sacrifice our veterans' needs and the small amount of open space left in our community in the name of deficit reduction," Beilenson said.

The proposed sale includes areas that federal officials have determined to be surplus, among them a patients' golf course, lawns at the southern end of the property and a ravine and baseball field that separate the residential community of Brentwood from the VA's psychiatric hospital.

Local officials protested the planned sale, citing fears that development of the empty space would increase congestion in the already clogged streets around the VA complex.

VA officials said the land may be needed in the future as the number of aging World War II and Korean War veterans is expected to increase. Their position was supported by Rep. G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Cranston has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

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