The San Bernardino Sun wrote a great article regarding the proposed close and the Memorial Day Rally. Check out an excerpt and be sure to read the full article as well!
A group held a rolling rally on Memorial Day, May 25, to bring awareness to the proposed closure. More than 1,000 motorcycles and 1,500 cars participated in the rally, said David Jensen, a Navy veteran who started the group, “Save Barstow Veterans Home.”
As of Tuesday morning, nearly 19,000 had signed an online petition urging Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Donald Trump to keep the home open. The goal is 25,000 signatures.
“Our whole community is just up in arms over this because we all have an attachment to veterans,” said Jensen, of Daggett. “We’re a military town. There are two military facilities right next to our town and other military facilities pretty close to us. It’s necessary for these military folks. When they retire they retire here.”
The effort has grabbed the attention of other local, state and federal lawmakers, including Supervisors Dawn Rowe and Curt Hagman, and Rep. Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley, who have sent letters to the state opposing the closure.
Chris Bubser, a Democrat running against Obernolte in November for the 8th Congressional District seat, also opposes the closure.
“Governor Newsom, closure of the #Barstow Veterans Home is not acceptable,” Bubser said in a tweet. “Especially in these challenging times, we cannot balance the #California budget by cutting vital services for #veterans in an already under-served part of the state.”
Obernolte, who sits on three state legislative budget committees, said the governor is not taking into account the $3 million-plus the state gets from the federal government to house veterans in Barstow. Moreover, the governor does not write the budget, he said.
The Legislature will continue hammering out the budget details over the next four weeks before sending it to Newsom for his signature. Last week, a budget subcommittee rejected the proposal to close the home, but the fight will continue until the proposal dies, Obernolte announced via Twitter.
“This veterans home represents our commitment as a society to the veterans who have served our country,” Obernolte said. “These veterans are not just an item in the budget. They represent real people with real families and real lives. They’re a segment of our population we have an obligation to protect.”
Jensen said he hopes their efforts will get Newsom’s attention. He also hopes Newsom will announce that no CalVets homes will be closed nor will any funding be used to help balance the budget.
“I know it’s tough times,” Jensen said. “It’s tough times for everybody. The state really has to look elsewhere.”