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The Valley

VA Chief Vows to Save Clinic

November 21, 2001|MASSIE RITSCH

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi promised Tuesday that the only veterans clinic in the San Fernando Valley will remain open.

At a meeting with 300 veterans at the Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center, Principi assured the former military men and women that the sprawling clinic in North Hills will continue providing medical and counseling services.

On Veterans Day, Valley veterans picketed the clinic and complained that services were being cut, forcing them to endure freeway gridlock and long bus rides to receive treatment at a West Los Angeles center.

Harry Coleman, one of the protest leaders, said his fellow veterans were cautiously optimistic after meeting with the Cabinet secretary for several hours. Previous VA secretaries have met with them, but "this was different," Coleman said.

The forum was sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Panorama City), whose district includes the Sepulveda clinic.

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