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There are better ways for Congress to help veterans

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Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:04 am, Sat Jul 14, 2012.

According to a Lodi News-Sentinel story earlier this week, Congressman Jerry McNerney will hold a July 16 workshop to help veterans access the newly created Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. VRAP will offer eligible, unemployed veterans up to one year of career retraining.

Since more returning veterans settle in California than any other state, it's noble that Rep. McNerney should be part of the efforts to ease the military's transition back to civilian life. But, of course, the task of getting our veterans employed will require more than workshops. On that note, Rep. McNerney has failed to act.

Three months ago, the New York Times provided painful insights into returning soldiers' ordeals. In April, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it plans to hire about 1,600 additional psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health clinicians in an effort to reduce long wait times at medical centers.

The department says it has also established a policy to do mental health evaluations of all veterans not in crisis within 14 days, a goal it says it meets 95 percent of the time. Nevertheless, the disability compensation system faces a growing backlog as about 900,000 veterans await the disposition on their claims.

In his statement Eric K. Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, said: "History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. As more veterans return home, we must ensure that all veterans have access to quality mental health care."

Assume the best scenario — the veterans are successfully treated and their claims approved and promptly processed. Then what becomes of them if they can't find jobs?

Even a successful job search can last for 18 months, during which time the most confident applicant can experience periods of self-doubt and depression. For vets, the grind of looking for work could take such a toll that further counseling could be required.

Unfortunately Rep. McNerney, like most of his Democratic colleagues, could have intervened. Last year, House Judiciary Committee passed Chairman Lamar Smith's Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885) that would have made E-Verify mandatory. E-Verify is the free, online federal program that checks whether new employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about 7 million illegal immigrants hold payroll jobs. Smith's legislation would gradually remove them from their jobs and, at the same time, prevent other illegal immigrants from taking future positions that might go to veterans.

Rep. McNerney has not cosponsored Chairman Smith's bill.

In addition, President Obama's June 15 executive order will give work permits to about 1.2 million previously unemployable 16- to 30-year-old illegal immigrants. In 2010, McNerney voted for the DREAM Act legislation that was targeted for that age group. The DREAM Act passed the House, but was defeated in the Senate.

Obama's unilateral decision to artificially flood the employment market with 1.2 million additional workers is not in veterans' — or other unemployed Americans' — best interests

I placed telephone calls and sent emails to Rep. McNerney's office seeking comment. A spokesman said only that the Congressman continues to be proactive on veterans' causes. As for my direct questions regarding the Congressman's failure to co-sponsor the Legal Workforce Act or his opinion of President Obama's decision to grant work permits to illegal immigrants, I received no reply.

Window dressing like workshops or federal programs with fancy names is meaningless to struggling, unemployed Americans. Rep. McNerney isn't alone in his abandonment of American workers. Only 75 House members cosponsored Smith's bill.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pa. Contact Joe at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:48 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I'm not out to prove anything, Mr. Baumbach.

    Since I don't keep an extensive file on comments (I wouldn't waste any room on my hard drive with anything you have ever said), I don't have, nor do I care to, have available at my fingertips past comments.

    You have, and will I continue to state, most stridently proclaimed that no bigotry exists in Lodi. Even when other posters (names withheld) have said anything blatently bigoted, you have claimed it was not.

    He said, she said. Doesn't solve anything.

    What is evident is that YOU are an apologist for ill behavior as long as the ill behavior is demonstrated by your buddies. Anyone else gets called to task with your utmost haughty attitude.

    It's all laughable, really.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:52 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ms Bobin stated... Witness how stridently Mr. Baumbach proclaims there is no bigotry, no racism, no ill-will toward immigrants, legal or illegal, in Lodi.

    Then I stated... Ms Bobin, if you could find any post that stated there is no bigotry, no racism, no ill-will toward immigrants, legal or illegal, in Lodi, I would be interested since it never happened.

    Then Ms Bobin's evidence is... From your letter dated August 13, 2011: Personally, I think the people of Lodi are generally warm, friendly and welcoming of people who are different than themselves. I see Lodi as a good place to live and bring up family compared to many other places."

    Ms Bobin, thank for substantiating your ability to distort and lie. This is a perfect example of how you claim I said something but did not. One who says “GENERALLY”, that does not mean “always” by any stretch of the imagination.

    I am always thankful to you when you take the time to prove I am right and you are wrong.


  • Joanne Bobin posted at 1:04 pm on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    From your letter dated August 13, 2011:

    "Some feel that racism is a prevalent problem in this city. Some feel that large numbers of people here are bigots and do not welcome diversity in Lodi. One poster repeatedly states that she sees bigots around every corner in Lodi.

    Personally, I think the people of Lodi are generally warm, friendly and welcoming of people who are different than themselves. I see Lodi as a good place to live and bring up family compared to many other places."

    By your second paragraph, you are emphatically stating what you claim are my statements are wrong. By the way, I believe I originally stated that "there ARE bigots around every corner," not that "I see bigots." Since I am not psychic, that would be impossible and I never said it.

    I know you will dance all around this, making ridiculous claims, but you, by these statements, claim there is no bigotry in Lodi.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:05 am on Wed, Jul 18, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ms Bobin stated...: It is the audience. Witness how stridently Mr. Baumbach proclaims there is no bigotry, no racism, no ill-will toward immigrants, legal or illegal, in Lodi.

    Ms Bobn, if you could fnd any post that stated there is no bigotry, no racism, no ill-will toward immigrants, legal or illegal, in Lodi, I would be interested since it never happened.

    You definitely are an Obama sheeple that uses lies and distortions to force the person they hate to respond to counter the lie.

    I can not say you are mindless as you clearly intend and calculate your bold faced lies.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:31 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Mr. Barrow: It is the audience. Witness how stridently Mr. Baumbach proclaims there is no bigotry, no racism, no ill-will toward immigrants, legal or illegal, in Lodi.

    That's what Joe Guzzardi's mission is - getting like minded citizens of Lodi teed-off.

    Joe must be stewing in his own juices in Pittsburgh, though. My son lived there for a year and a half while at graduate school and had nothing but negative things to say about the city even though there are many cultural activities. And, the Carnegie/Mellon names are prominent throughout.

    I understand though, from his writings, that Guzzardi does not live in Pittsburgh proper, but in a suburb where he is no doubt insulated from the riff-raff that he so dislikes.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 9:36 am on Tue, Jul 17, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    As long as there are individuals who write columns, i.e., Joe Guzzardi and Wade Heath, and individuals who write letters and make comments in this forum that are bigoted, I will make a comment.

    If you call that an obsession, so be it. I could call your fascination with Thailand obsessive because you seem to mention it all the time.

    As long as there are individuals who spew hate in this town, I will make comments.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 4:40 pm on Mon, Jul 16, 2012.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1601

    Joe don’t they have any politics going on in Pittsburgh? Joe left California because of his obsession with illegal immigration and overpopulation. Now he lives in Pittsburgh and bashes California in general and Lodi in particular and the News Journal pays him for that privilege. Come on LNS show a little civic pride and dump this guy. If a local resident has negative things to say about this community fair enough but getting ridiculed by some guy from Pittsburgh? I mean really it's Pittsburgh. Can Joe even vote in California?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 12:37 pm on Mon, Jul 16, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ms Bobin stated...I doubt very much that that quote shows how "obsessed" I am with bigotry.

    Ms Bobin, you know very well I have dozens of your posts where you reference your perception of the bigot population in Lodi. I was being polite by giving one example. Are you seriously going to deny your obsession with what you perceive widespread bigotry. I think you Miss your friend Mr Channey who like you thinks of Lodi as a good old boy City that fosters bigorty around every corner.

    If you like, I can post one example each day for the next month in order to substantiate my claim. I would prefer to let it go as it is obvious to anyone who follows. [scared]

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:54 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I doubt very much that that quote shows how "obsessed" I am with bigotry.

    What it actually illustrates is how people in this town view minorities.

    In case you haven't noticed, Mr. Baumbach, which you have not, is that Joe Guzzardi wants to put an end to ALL immigration, legal or illegal. "Thoughs" who think otherwise cannot read the lines, let alone between the lines.

    You would have to be most inattentive to notice that. If you don't believe me, email Mr. Guzzardi and ask him personally, then print his response in this forum.

    Why else would he be a member of "Californians for Population Stabilization?"

    Your inability to grasp the obvious is laughable.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:33 am on Mon, Jul 16, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ms Bobin stated...Joe Guzzardi's obsession with illegal immigrants is used

    Yes, Joe is concerned and maybe even obsessed with fairness and law. He has promoted legal immigration and it appears he feels bad that people who follow the law and take years to do it the legal way, are stepped on by thoughs that break the law.

    Its almost hilarious that Ms Bobin, who often shows obsessions with what she perceives as bigots, rants on and on about Joe's obssession. The difference is that Joe has a link to reality where Ms Bobin does not.

    Her following post shows how obsessed she really is...

    Joanne Bobin posted at 5:44 pm on Wed, Jun 15, 2011...

    Don't worry, Mr. Baumbach. While walking through Lodi I don't have to look under rocks, through windows, etc. All I have to do is enjoy a cup of coffee at Starbucks at 6AM and eavesdrop on the Boys Club (retired police, fire and sheriffs) who convene there daily, to hear some hair-curling bigoted talk. How do I know what their occupations were? One would have to be deaf to not hear them brag about their huge retirement checks and benefits.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:56 am on Sun, Jul 15, 2012.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    My only comment can be that it is so sad that so many are lately bashing veterans, veterans causes/benefits, and those who support them.

    Joe Guzzardi's obsession with illegal immigrants is used in this column to quash veterans' concerns and promote his hate of illegals. He should be ashamed. Is he really promoting the idea that we should send ALL of our veterans into the agricultural fields to work?

    Is he suggesting that the 7 million illegals on payroll are taking away high-paying jobs? What of the EMPLOYERS who employ these illegals?

    As for bashing veterans, witness Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois who has bashed his opponent, Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Duckworth, who left two legs in Iraq and has limited use of one arm due to injuries suffered when her helicopter was downed.

    He claims that "she talks too much about her military service."

    Joe Walsh, a CONGRESSMAN, the same dirtball who was found to owe almost $100,000 in back CHILD SUPPORT to his children and had no problem making excuses for it.

    It is not uncommon for Congressman, such as Jerry McNerney, to take up a specific cause in addition to their regular duties. To bash McNerney for helping to assist veterans is unfathomable, nay, UN-PATRIOTIC.

    Mr. Weiner - I was unable to find the story through your link - "page not found." Please supply the correct link.

  • Ron Werner posted at 8:57 am on Sun, Jul 15, 2012.

    Ron Werner Posts: 101

    There is a nursing home for veterans in Fresno that is brand new, state of the art, cost $158M to build and sits vacant. http://www.cbs47.tv/news/local/story/Fresno-veterans-home-getting-national-attention/TH1aq0Q7GkqK8hy-67e-iw.cspx.
    Evidently the state of Corruptifornia cannot find enough money to operate the facility due to budget constraints. We can fund a bullet train but we cannot fund a verterans home that sits vacant. Just another example of how our federal and state politicians have wasted our money.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:11 pm on Sat, Jul 14, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Mr. McNerney cannot find it in his heart to vote for legislation that Nancy Pelosi is against, even if it would benefit veterans. Sad really.

    Mr Gill is looking better by the minute


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