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Letters to the Editor: Sept. 10

Sep. 9, 2012 - 02:16PM   |  
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VA’s conference scandal

And you thought the General Services Administration had problems. Now surfaces the outrageous waste of taxpayers’ dollars at the Veterans Affairs Department [“VA, embroiled in scandal, looks to avoid fate of GSA,” Aug. 20 issue; and “Orlando training conferences land VA in more hot water,” Sept. 3 issue].

It is disturbing that Secretary Eric Shinseki would let this type of activity happen — $5.2 million for two conferences in Orlando, Fla., $2.1 million for a conference in Chicago, another couple million for Vegas.

Do you know the difference between VA and college students going to Florida on spring break? The college students’ parents pay for them, and the taxpayers pay for VA.

How many billions of dollars do you think VA paid to install the VA Nationwide Teleconferencing System (VANTS)? Seems that it would have eliminated about 90 percent of the kind of thing that happened in Orlando. If I remember correctly, it was argued that VANTS would improve communication and reduce conferences.

Now comes the real issue: As a veterans advocate, I am watching veterans being denied nursing home care because VA cannot afford to pay the cost. I am watching veterans benefits and medical care being reduced because VA cannot afford to provide certain care.

As a disabled Vietnam veteran, I personally have experienced this.

In my opinion, this is a crime against the American taxpayer and a lot of people should be prosecuted.

— Homer Ford, Muskogee, Okla.

Use excess facilities

I find it interesting that while senior Air Force leaders talk of having excess facilities, they have spent millions on construction at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and still have troops using portable toilets.

Why not move the operation to a base or bases that have some of the excess capacity that the Air Force wants to shed?

This would improve morale, maximize use of existing facilities, save construction costs, show concern for a hardworking career field and show the taxpayers the Air Force leaders have some common sense.

— Former Air Force 1st Lt. John Bolen, Springfield, Ohio

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