Loading...
05-26-1998 V: RANS AFFAIRS ADVISOROARD CITY OF LAS CRUCES P .O. DRAWER 2000 LAS CRUCES , NEW MEXICO 88004 26 May 1998 The board convened at 1300 in the Board Room of Branigan Memorial Library. Roll call was taken. Present were: Chairman Joseph Heintz, Vice Chairman Warren Rogers, Vietnam vets rep Elsa Baker, VFW rep Robert Wiley. AMVETS rep Noel Cooley was excused as was Fred Frank DAV rep and J J Dewey American Legion rep. Those present constituted a quorum. Others present were Kelly Smyer rep Senator Bingaman, Donna McClanahan rep Joe Skeen and Louise Rutledge rep Senator Pete Domenici . The minutes of last month' s meeting were approved. The Memorial Day ceremonies were discussed. The VFW Auxiliary ceremony at 0800 at the Picacho bridge over the Rio Grande was excellent and well attended. The UVC 0900 ceremony had over 200 attendees. Cecilia Jimenez, Chair person of the UVC conducted the ceremony, the first time a woman veteran offic- iated, and did a very professional job. Mayor Smith spoke for the City of Las Cruces and read a proclamation for the holiday from the city. Command Sergeant Major William Jemison of WSMR was guest speaker. He made an outstanding presentation. Comments were that he was clearly understood and gave a talk that was enjoyed by all and really covered the purpose and history of Memorial Day. WSMR, NM National Guard, and Las Cruces veterans organizations were present with their colors . In all, it was an excellent ceremony. The reception following at VFW 10124 was well attended. Elsa Baker presented a report on the status of the Veterans Memorial Park. Action on a Request for Proposal has been initiated and must undergo legal review before it is issued by city purchasing. The Homebuilders Association is expected to respond. (Encl 1) The DAV Chap 10 monthly newsletter was discussed which covered the action in the Senate on funding of the VA in the FY 99 federal budget proposal, especially the elimination of authority to compensate veterans for tobacco related disabilities . An amendment by Senator John D. Rockefeller to safeguard this authority was defeated. An amendment by Senator Domenici to further study the issue passed. (Encl 2) Meeting adjourned at 1350 . Next meeting 25 JUNE. Warren Rogers Acting Secretary 2 Encl a/s VAAB 26 May 1998 Veterans Memorial Park. City Landscape Architect, Joni Gutierrez, has prepared a Request for Proposal (RFP) concerning the Veterans Memorial Park. The RFP is undergoing legal review at this time. When the legal review process is com- pleted, the RFP will go to Purchasing. Purchasing will then issue the RFP with a 10 day response period. The Homebuilders Association is expected to respond to the RFP and indicate what they can do within the resources the City of Las Cruces has earmarked for this project. This approach is being used because of the many legal and insurance considerations that apply. • MESILLA VALLEY CIR 10 NON-PROFIT ORG. DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS US POSTAGE PAID • P. 0. BOX 6275 PERMIT 222 LAS CRUCES, NM 88006 LAS CRUCES. NM MESILLA VALLEY CHAPTER 10 NEWSLETTER MAY 1998 The regular chapter meeting will be at 1800 for disabilities related to tobacco use that began in Tuesday 2 June at the American Legion 1185 E military service. The so-called savings from denying Madrid Avenue. The auxiliary will meet there at the disability compensation and survivor's benefits would same time. be used to pay for other non-VA programs. The United Veterans Council of Dona Ana There has been much written by the DAV County held the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at National Headquarters and the Department of New Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery at 9:00 a.m. Monday 25 Mexico about Senator Domenici's amendment to the May. Following the ceremony there was a reception U. S. Senate bill to revoke the VA's authority to pay at VFW Post 10124, 709 S. Valley Drive. Veterans veterans disability compensation for tobacco-related from the city met and had an enjoyable time visiting illnesses and use the so-called savings to fund trans- and renewing friendships with fellow veterans. portation projects. Senator Domenici's amendment is to have the proposal studied to allow another chance for The annual DAV State Convention will be in the VA authortiy to pay for tobacco related Albuquerque 11, 12 and 13 JUNE 1998 at the compensation be restored rather than revoked. Ramada Inn East, 25 Hotel Circle, Eubank & Freeway, Albuquerque, NM 87123. Telephone 1-800-435-9843. The unprecedented raid on veterans programs to pay for pork-barrel projects is an outrage. It is The President's FY 99 budget proposals, if unfairly wrong to strip veterans of their right to enacted, fails to provide enough resources to improve compensation for illnesses and disabilities directly the quality and timeliness of the claims adjudication resulting from tobacco use that began in military and benefits delivery system. The proposed VA service. No other federal beneficiaries would be Budget is believed to be inadequate to maintain high denied payments for tobacco-related disabilities. Social quality medical care for sick and disabled veterans. Security disability payments to a totally disabled smoker who never served in the military would not be The VA has developed a sweeping plan to affected. remedy the claims backlog issue and resolve some of the problems that have plagued the system for years. An amendment to safeguard service-connected These efforts will be seriously hampered without disability compensation for tobacco related illnesses sufficient staff and other resources: was defeated. Senator Domenici then submitted an amendment directing the VA, the Office of What is worse is that the proposed budget Management and Budged and the General Accounting lays the groundwork for an unsettling shift in public Office to study the issue of compensation for tobacco policy regarding this nation's veterans. If these related disabilities. Motion passed. No new disability proposed changes were so be enacted, they would claims would be paid for until the study is severely weaken the VA's capacity to meet the needs completed. Although this amendment initially takes of our veterans. money from the VA for increased spending on pork barrel, tobacco compensation might ultimately be One outrageous proposal would be to strip restored to the VA, a good parlimentary move by the VA of its current authority to compensate veterans Senator Domenici who always supports the veterans. WARREN ROGERS, ADJ e I Z