Champion UCLA Baseball Dealt Death Blow by Courts

In 1887, on a a vast expanse of land then known as Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica and donated to the federal government by Senator John P. Jones and Arcadia B. de Baker, the Sawtelle National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was erected on what was to become a vast expanse of facilities dedicated, as and for the expressed purpose of the donors of the land, for the benefit of veterans of the US armed services. This today includes the Los Angeles National Cemetery, the West Los Angeles Medical Center/Wadsworth Hospital, and numerous other Veterans Administration facilities. It also includes Brentwood School (a K-to-12 private school), a Sodexho Marriott Laundry Services plant, 20th Century Fox Television storage facilities, and among many other non-VA-related businesses, the UCLA Jackie Robinson Stadium. And therein lies the rub.

I always wondered just why other businesses were allowed to build structures and do business in the middle of the VA facilities, and I always wondered why in the 1960s UCLA built its baseball field there. The answer has now been provided, by a federal judge.

Los Angeles County has the highest number of homeless veterans in the country, now said to number 6,300 (but actually down from over 8,000 in 2011)

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and a lot of people have wondered why sufficient housing for these fellows has not been built at the VA facility. Among those wondering were lawyers with the ACLU., qnd they did something about it, filing suit on behalf of veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries. Said ACLU chief counsel Mark Rosenbaum:

“… the Veterans Affairs is putting the needs of private school students and college students over our veterans.”

US District Court Judge S. James Otero agreed, and he has this week issued a ruling stating that the agency has abused its discretion in leasing out land for purposes “totally divorced from the provision of healthcare”. In his ruling, Judge Otero gave the parties six months to appeal and negotiate, and if no settlement is forthcoming and

no appeal successful, in six months it is extremely likely that he will order the cancellation of such leases, and in effect kick Brentwood School, Sodexho Marriott Laundry Services, 20th Century Fox, and UCLA and all the rest, off of veterans’-dedicated property.

So, just how do you go about moving a stadium? UCLA better figure that out, and where to move it to, pretty quickly.

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