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Valley Perspective

Sepulveda VA Center Gym

February 18, 2001

The director of [Veterans Administration health care] for this area is still thumbing his nose at the veterans that served this country over the past 70 years. Many that served prior to that are dead. Philip Thomas is apparently of the opinion that if he holds out long enough on the rebuilding of the gymnasium (funding for which has been passed by Congress) the older vets will be dead and the younger ones will give up. Wrong!

I am part of a small group of veterans that formed the Veterans Advisory Board at the Sepulveda VA [facility] so we could fight this guy who swept into this area to impose his bottom-line tactics on the veterans of Southern California. He began his campaign of "help" by closing the gym. (His engineers said it was unstable after the '94 quake. This building was never tagged or declared unsafe by those who inspected it after the quake.)

Many vets (including wheelchair and rehab) used this gym on a daily basis. A note on the door said, "Gym closed indefinitely." There was no explanation, no new place to exercise, no respect.

We have been patient, orderly and resolute in our dealings with this man. He has promised meetings, never showed. His office has called me "a disruptive influence." So be it.

Congress OKd the money for the gym. It's time for Mr. Thomas to act.


Panorama City

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