Fellow Veterans and Friends of Veterans:
For more than 13 ½ years, the Old Veterans Guard (OVG) has been peacefully and non-violently protesting the VA’s misuse of Veterans 1888 Deeded land and the abuse of disabled homeless Veterans in Los Angeles. Correspondingly, our two-fold Mission is to “Save Our Veterans Land” and “Bring Our Homeless Veterans HOME.”
In 2009, a corrupt VA police force falsely arrested me six times outside the VA for displaying the American Flag, which led to a 2011 Federal Judgment via an ACLU lawsuit against VA officials who violated my First Amendment Right by their practicing viewpoint discrimination through selective enforcement.
This ultimately led to another ACLU lawsuit against the VA that produced a Federal Judgment in 2013 for nine non-Veteran entities holding real estate deals with the VA that were adjudicated as “unauthorized by law and therefore void.”
On January 28, 2015, the VA entered into a “settlement agreement” with the #1 Objective and promise “to end Veteran homelessness in Greater LA by 2015 and beyond.”
Nearly seven years later and Los Angeles is still our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans with 4,000 living inhumanely in back-alley squalor and “Skid Row” conditions throughout Greater LA.
Additionally, there are now more illegal occupants on VA property than when the Judgment against the “gang of nine” was entered nearly nine years ago.
Over these past 13 ½ years, the OVG has repeatedly requested that the VA establish an Emergency Veterans Tent City on the Grand Lawn and we have been repeatedly denied and rejected by a series of WLA VA Executive Directors including Chuck Dorman, Donna Beiter, Ann Brown, and over the past two years Steve Braverman.
Repeatedly, our plans for a Veterans Tent City inside the VA were blasphemously rebuffed as these VA bureaucrats refused to provide necessary Emergency shelter and care for homeless Veterans, while repeatedly misusing VA land to benefit non-Veteran entities.
In April 2020, the Old Veterans Guard independently protested against the “Skid Row” stigma of Veteran homelessness by providing new, top-quality 14 x 10 walk-in tents with cots, blankets, and clothing that were made through private donations, allowing us to feature a one-of-a-kind Veterans “Pride Row” situated on the San Vicente sidewalk adjacent to the Los Angeles VA.
Each tent was celebrated with a proud display of the American Flag and reinforced with a resident protocol of pride for one’s self and Military Service, cleanliness, orderliness, discipline, decorum and civility, thereby respectfully establishing a wholesome and secure Veterans “Pride Row” that would help homeless Veterans transition into respectful and safe permanent housing and become productive citizens to society.
Here are two local news clips that featured the establishment of Veterans “Pride Row” a year-and-a-half ago.
KABC TV SALUTES
In July 2020 – AMVETS – a congressionally chartered Veteran Service Organization (VSO), secretly snuck in and hijacked our “Pride Row” by deviously signing up unsuspecting homeless Veteran residents as their new members, then spitefully removed the word “Pride” from the OVG’s principled, honorable, and respected Tent City establishment.
Robert Reynolds, acting as a “double agent” who volunteered to assist the OVG as a tent installer while conspiring with AMVETS as their “coordinator,” sent the following e-mail on July 12, 2020 to James Spencer, Associate Director of the Old Veterans Guard,
“We already received financial backing making us self sufficient from here on out. Credit is given where credit is due, and the power is now with the Veterans who live at the encampment and inside the VA.”
Not sure where their “financial backing” and “power” comes from, but AMVETS is sanctioned by Congress, answers to Congress, and gets money from Congress.
Members of Congress get campaign money from the West LA wealthy and powerful who control the Los Angeles VA as their own fiefdom.
AMVETS illegally occupies “Building 264” on VA property for their own “storage” – Rent Free – while disabled homeless Veterans live shamefully on the sidewalk outside the VA.
Moreover, AMVETS purportedly claims to have been fighting for 30 years against so-called “land grab” inside the VA with nothing more to show for than a couple of dust-collecting “resolutions,” while within a couple of months they resolutely came outside the VA and “tent grabbed” Veterans “Pride Row,” bragging that they had their own financial backing and the power to run it as their own.
And run it unilaterally they did.
After AMVETS leadership removed the word “Pride,” their deceptive “Veterans Row” ruse regressed into an unsanitary, uncivilized, unruly, disorderly, and repulsive Veterans “Skid Row” with a proliferation of assaults, thefts, and other crimes while their clutter, squalor, disrespect for the American Flag and overall disgusting appearance became a national public eyesore as well as an embarrassment to all U.S. Military Veterans.
Tragically, this unforgivable fiasco regressed even further when AMVETS notoriously transformed it into Veterans “Death Row” as there were nine alleged deaths that included two murders of elderly homeless Veterans by younger homeless Veterans, plus apparent deaths from drug overdose, alcohol poisoning, suicide, et. al., which all led to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva ordering the rat-infested, unsightly, unhealthy, inhumane, and deadly encampment be permanently closed-down and cleaned-up by November 1, 2021.
AMVETS’ hijacking of the OVG’s Veterans ”Pride Row” was their own protest – which was against pride for one’s self and Military Service, cleanliness, orderliness, discipline, decorum and civility – and they succeeded.
AMVETS’ credit and responsibility are quite clear with their notorious “Skid Row” and “Death Row” results.
As Robert Reynolds proudly boasted in his e-mail to James Spencer: “Credit is given where credit is due.”
For the record, the OVG’s “Pride Row” was dedicated as a “hand-up to shape-up” for homeless recovery, which is in complete contrast to AMVETS “hand-out to hang-out” spiraling down death trap.
In addition to the two tragic murders of elderly homeless Veterans, there were numerous assaults, including Navy Veteran Scott Baty telling CBS-LA at the November 1 eviction: “Get out of here and get somewhere safe. I was assaulted maybe eight times out here. Slugged in the face, knocked out, it hasn’t been fun.”
How any human being could allow his or her own self to live in such disgraceful, inhumane, and dangerous conditions is difficult to comprehend. (see attached photos)
Even far worse, how AMVETS could oversee and condone such atrocious “living conditions” that are far below even the-worst-of-the-worst in third-world countries – on American soil with U.S. Military Veterans – is beyond comprehension – or so we thought.
The foregoing notwithstanding, it is totally incomprehensible how AMVETS’ failed and disgraceful supervision that converted a respectful and safe Veterans “Pride Row” into a shameful slum infestation with criminal and murderous results “outside” the VA, are now joining forces with the WLA VA bureaucrats to oversee their own slipshod and dysfunctional encampment “inside” the VA.
Robert Reynolds was quoted by the media saying: “We set up new tents on the other side of the fence, the same ones that they have with American flags — so everyone’s got a location.”
This includes 8 x 8 “tiny homes” that are not even half the size of our 14 x 10 walk-in tents. At an outrageous price of $10,000 each, we could purchase 40 “Pride Row” tents and cots.
Living inside one of these “tiny homes” doesn’t even provide enough space to change your mind, let alone your clothes. Just another VA / AMVETS disaster.
Meanwhile, not one member of the media ever questioned Robert Reynolds on how he and his AMVETS cabal could be closed-down and evicted outside the VA by the LA County Sheriff but were now selected by WLA VA bureaucrats to help them oversee their own dysfunctional encampment inside the VA grounds.
As mentioned, we have repeatedly called for a structured and disciplined Veterans Tent City inside the VA and after the demise of Veterans “Pride Row,” Vietnam Veterans of America Region 9 respectfully requested that the WLA VA’s top officials – Steve Braverman and Robert McKenrick – allow us to set up an isolated “Vietnam Veterans Row” Tent City inside the VA grounds for elderly homeless Vietnam Veterans.
In phone conversations and e-mails, both Braverman and McKenrick fully agreed, and this was further confirmed on November 19, 2020 by the following e-mail from Shirley Bearden, Voluntary Service at WLA VA
<< Hello Mr. Rosebrock, I understand you will be donating 10 tents to be given to the Vietnam Veterans for their row at CTRS on the VA grounds. I have attached a donation form for you to complete and return. Please deliver the tents to Ms. Estelle Ana at the CTRS area.>>
My immediate response: << I spoke with Estelle and she directed me to drop off Tents and Cots to Building 258, which I will do around 1 PM this afternoon. Attached is donation form and it can be signed at drop off. Let me know it there’s anything else you need.>>
After the delivery, Braverman and McKendrick refused to honor their promises of the isolated Row for a Vietnam Veterans Tent City, and instead required it to be muddled together with the rest of their disoriented and ineffective operation, and we rightfully objected and declined.
Essentially, we were defrauded as these tents were stolen from us because of the lies and deception by Braverman and McKendrick. This twosome also refused to refund the $3,000 cost for the actual 12 tents and cots we delivered, but instead they used our entrusted good-faith Vietnam Veteran tents muddled within their disorderly and feckless encampment.
One of the murdered homeless Veterans at AMVETS “Death Row” outside the VA was Andre Butler, a 68-year old disabled wheelchair-bound Vietnam War Veteran who was stabbed to death on September 15 by a much younger homeless Veteran living with his girlfriend.
Had Braverman and McKendrick honored our plan for an isolated Vietnam Veterans Row inside the VA where guns and knives are prohibited, Andre Butler would more than likely be alive today, and so would most of the others since drugs and alcohol are also prohibited inside the VA.
Sadly, Andre’s murder on “Death Row” was viewed casually and disrespectfully by Robert Reynolds who told a Spectrum News1 reporter: “It was difficult when Andre passed away, but honestly veterans dying out here is nothing new.”
While murder and dying at “Death Row” was “old news” to Robert Reynolds, virtually all the “new news” reported during the November 1 cleanup was centered around Reynolds who seemed to blame everyone but himself and AMVETS for the atrocious “Death Row” encampment they unilaterally created, while the media essentially applauded them for now moving inside the VA to join forces and “oversee” the very homeless Veterans they failed on the outside of the VA with their new “financial backing” from a non-profit organization located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
One would think that solving the homeless Veteran problem in Los Angeles is not rocket science. But apparently it is beyond that as more than a half-century ago we sent three Astronauts to the Moon 250,000 miles away and safely returned them back to Earth. Yet today, nether the VA nor AMVETS could safely move a small group of homeless Veterans from one side of a fence to the other side without nine deaths that included two murders and multiple assaults.
Now the WLA VA bureaucrats and AMVETS are incredulously joining forces inside the VA to supposedly resolve the homeless Veteran problem in Los Angeles.
Albert Einstein famously proffered this theory: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
It’s time to initiate “Einstein’s Theory for Solving LA’s Homeless Veteran Problem” by removing all these amateur negative thinkers who have failed our homeless Veterans and replacing them with professional positive thinkers to finally honor the VA’s January 28, 2015 promise to “end Veteran homelessness in Greater LA in 2015 and beyond.”
On behalf of all homeless Veterans in Los Angeles, this is to respectfully request that VA Secretary Denis McDonough immediately institute professional and positive thinking at the Los Angeles VA by calling in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install an official Veterans Tent City and further assign the National Guard to officially oversee the operation for resolving LA’s homeless Veteran problem in the same safe and respectful manner our Federal Government shelters and cares for illegal aliens and foreign refugees living on our Military bases.
God Bless America and the Veterans Revolution