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VA Settlement Leaves Future of JRS In Doubt

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Yesterday, the Veterans Administration announced that they have settled the lawsuit over improper land use at the West Los Angeles VA Campus. While UCLA issued a statement from Chancellor Gene Block which sounded like everything is great for UCLA, the VA's press release indicates that the future of Jackie Robinson Stadium is anything but secure.

uclabruins.com

Yesterday afternoon, while reading Twitter, I came across a tweet from the UCLA Newsroom.

Now, I immediately tried clicking the link to read the statement from UCLA. It didn't work. But this isn't a story about a bad link being tweeted out by UCLA. So, I went to the UCLA Newsroom site to find the article in question. It turns out it can be found here.

In the release, Chancellor Gene Block says the following:

We welcome this new day at the Department of Veterans Affairs; we applaud this outcome and understand the need to find lasting housing solutions for our local veterans. We are eager to work with Secretary McDonald to strengthen the VA’s relationship with UCLA, including Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UCLA has a nearly 70-year collaborative relationship with the VA, providing research, teaching and medical service to our veterans. We look forward to participating in the master planning process in order to build upon our work to help make the West LA VA a 21st century campus that will meet the unique health needs of today’s veterans.

If you just read that statement, you will probably think that there was a settlement to the West LA VA Land Use lawsuit which was relatively favorable to UCLA. But, UCLA's statement lacks any real details about what actually happened.

That led me to the VA website to try to get the actual details. There, I found a press release that heralded a "historic breakthrough agreement."

So what does this "historic" agreement entail?

Well, first and foremost, it announced fantastic news regarding homeless veterans. The VA is going to start implementing an accelerated Master Plan for the VA campus. This is good news for homeless veterans as it should help them get off the streets and get the medical care that they need and that they deserve. There can be no doubt about that.

As the VA puts together its Master Plan, it "will also describe an exit strategy for third-party land use agreements that do not comply with applicable laws, and do not fit within the Master Plan."

Please read that again.

In other words, all of the third-party land use agreements will be exited by the VA.

So, which is it?

Is Gene Block's rosy outlook going to save Jackie Robinson Stadium?

Based on the VA press release, the only conclusion a rational human being can reach is that it is now doubtful that JRS can be saved. (So much for being part of an "irrational fan base.")

It sure seems like it is time for UCLA to implement their JRS backup plan. Of course, that does require that UCLA has a backup plan. You know, that's the "Plan B" they should have started working on once the judge in the case issued his previous ruling in the VA case saying that the VA's lease agreements were in violation of the agreement which gave them the land in the first place.

But, instead of working on Plan B, UCLA started raising money for a Basketball Facility which should have been incorporated into the Pauley Pavilion Renovation project years ago. In a series of tweets on May 23rd when the Basketball Facility was announced and which have since been removed by the Wooden Athletic Fund, the WAF expressed that a replacement for JRS didn't need to be a priority over the Basketball Facility because they were "optimistic" that JRS would be allowed to remain in place.

In other words, there is no Plan B.

Now, UCLA needs to develop plans to replace the stadium on the VA land as quickly as possible.

It's more of Dan Guerrero's leadership at its finest.