Lawsuit seeks to speed housing on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus for vets with PTSD
On a Sunday morning in February, hundreds of people gathered at the Veterans Affairs campus in the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Bell Gardens to protest an ambitious overhaul of the campus, which is currently suffering from years of poor management, poor security, and a lack of housing for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
On that Saturday morning, as thousands of people descended on the campus, they were met by the sounds of horns, cars, and chants of “No more silence.” Several people were arrested for the protest, which drew tens of thousands of people onto the campus to voice their outrage over the administration’s plans to expand.
But for the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, the scene was also a preview of the challenges they will face in seeking to protect veterans’ care while also building a new housing complex.
On December 8, 2019, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Bury granted the state of California’s request to immediately stop new construction projects on the campus. It’s the first such motion Bury has granted regarding new construction projects at the Bell Gardens campus.
Since then, the state of California has filed three more motions to stop construction projects, and Judge Bury has granted those, too, making the current state of the campus’s construction project look like a construction project made with blocks of concrete.
The lawsuit, filed before Judge Bury’s orders, alleges that the state did so to pressure Bury into preventing the construction projects because the plaintiffs fear that they have been “disenfranchised” and that they don’t control the court.
The lawsuit was filed by the Alliance for Justice, which has a membership of more than 10,000 people that includes attorneys, attorneys for disabled veterans, as well as a group of civil rights and civil liberties advocates, according to their website. The lawsuit alleges that the judge “fails to protect and enforce the rights of veterans and their families,” and that the judge “abruptly and unlawfully prevents construction” and “injects bias, fear, and intimidation into a matter that is solely about safety,” according to this lawsuit.
What’s at the heart of the case?
The lawsuit contends