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Veterans should be honored, not shortchanged This...

Veterans should be

honored, not shortchanged

This Veterans Day (Nov. 11), we remember those who wore the

uniform -- the soldiers of the Persian Gulf, the Marines of Khe Sanh,


the airmen of MiG Alley, the sailors of Midway.

Similarly, in Iraq, it is clear that the men and women of

America’s military -- our finest youth -- have carried out their

missions well, and continue to do so at great risk. They too deserve


our honor, and our prayers for their safe return. On a Veterans Day

when Americans are under fire, Congress ought to be expressing our

warmest thanks, not giving veterans the cold shoulder.

Currently, veterans who retire after a full military career are

entitled to a pension in gratitude for their service. If a veteran

was disabled while in the service, they receive compensation for that

disability. But, cruelly, their pensions are reduced a dollar for

every dollar of disability pay they receive.


This system cheats America’s 700,000 disabled military retirees --

those who have given the most for our nation. They earned their

retirement, and should be paid a full pension. They sacrificed their

well-being for the nation, and should receive their full disability

pay. Every dollar.

The Republican majority in the House recently announced a scheme

that would phase out the disability penalty for some (not all), but

over a period of 10 years. That’s small comfort, particularly for


those of America’s greatest generation, the World War II veterans for

whom 10 years may be a lifetime.

What’s worse, under this scheme, more than 480,000 disabled

retirees -- more than half -- would get no relief. None.

This Republican proposal sends a terrible message to the men and

women defending us today: Stand your post. Offer your life in defense

of the country. And, if you make it back, we might -- just might --

give some of you a fraction of what you deserve.

We didn’t ask what it would cost to put our soldiers in the

situation that caused the disability. Can we honestly say that we

have enough money to fight the nation’s wars, but not enough to

compensate the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines disabled in

them? Can we honestly say that we have enough money to cut taxes for

a few wealthy people, but not enough to do right by our veterans?

That we have enough money to fund defenses against imaginary missile

threats, but not enough for our disabled veterans?

On this Veterans Day, and indeed on every day, America should

honor the debt it owes to its veterans. America’s military veterans

were there for us, wherever and whenever duty called. It’s our turn

to stand up for them.


Sherman (D-Burbank) represents

roughly half of the San Fernando Valley

Just when you thought it was safe to use your cell phone

I’d like to respond to letters from Eden Rosen (Oct. 22)and Wesley

Greene (Oct. 18).

Ms. Rosen was responding to my letter in which I expressed

frustration over the only topics in the Community Forum lately being

about renaming the Bob Hope Airport and the use of cell phones at


I think Ms. Rosen completely missed my point about the cell

phones. I was referring to the debate about whether or not high

school students should be able to use their phones on campus, and how

tired I was of reading about that subject.

Somehow she misread my statement and turned it into a debate about

safety issues while driving and talking on a cell phone. However, I

never mentioned anything about that. How did we get from high school

students carrying cell phones to MTA drivers talking on their phones

while driving?

Second, I completely agree with Wesley Greene’s annoyance with

people speaking on their phones very loudly in public.

A few weeks ago, I was in line at a store in Burbank behind a

woman who was having a very loud, but an obviously very personal,

conversation with someone on her phone. Because I was in line, I was

trapped into hearing this conversation. It was very uncomfortable.

I think the most annoying use of cell phones in public places

would have to be at the movies. Just last weekend I was seeing a

movie and the person sitting in front of me received a call and

proceeded to carry on a conversation. A little consideration and

etiquette would be so much appreciated in public places like this.