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L.A. Area Veterans Facilities Waste Water During Drought

Veterans Affairs facilities in West Los Angeles and Loma Linda are apparently unconcerned about wasting water despite the state’s severe drought.

CBS2 News discovered that the Veterans Affairs (VA) West Los Angeles Medical Center watered its lawn for over two hours with roughly a dozen sprinklers even though the Emergency Water Conservation Plan of the City of Los Angeles limits watering from those kinds of sprinklers to eight minutes per day, and bans watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

When investigative reporter David Goldstein showed up with his cameraman on June 2 and tried to set up cameras, Lina Satele of the VA Public Affairs Office claimed that she could confiscate the cameras because the site was federal property. She threatened, “Can you shut that off? Or I’m going to have to confiscate your cameras.” Goldstein responded, “No, you won’t.”

The cameras recorded watering between 8:41 a.m. and 10:44 a.m., less than last October, when CBS2 found the site watered its lawn for almost six hours.

Goldstein confronted VA grounds supervisor Willy Dye, asserting, “We had it two hours here – 120 minutes – and they recommend eight minutes?”

Dye replied, “Well, what can I say?” When Goldstein continued, “But, you didn’t know? These are your men and women out here,” Dye fired back, “Okay, I’m going to stop the interview right now. We’re going ahead and stop the interview.”

Satele intervened, saying to Goldstein, “I need you to stop.” She defended the watering by claiming it was needed to spruce up the lawn for the coming appearance of the VA secretary.

When Goldstein asked, “The question is: Do you go by the guidelines of the local authority, which is DWP?” Satele said brusquely, “The interview is over.”

In Loma Linda, a CBS2 viewer videotaped a broken sprinkler that released a torrent of water at the VA facility; CBS2 returned weeks later and saw the sprinkler was still gushing water.

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