Fresno Veterans Home expects late opening

FRESNO, Calif.

Peter Gravett said, "The good news is it is gonna open and just a few months delay."

Construction is expected to wrap up in April of next year. But the home won't be open for veterans until at least August of 2012. That's because the legislature cut $7 million to staff the place. Republicans Assembly Member Linda Halderman accused Democrats of sacrificing veterans and hiding it in the budget.

Halderman said, "It was buried in there and was done as an 11th hour behind closed doors negotiation which I was not a part."

But, no Republican in the Assembly voted for the budget. Democrat Assembly Member Henry T. Perea says tough decisions had to be made to deal with the states massive deficit. "When we look at budget cuts made across the board, none of it was easy."

Perea is behind legislation to find more money, and disputes Republican allegations the home will sit empty and decay. "This facility that we've all invested in will be maintained until we are able to find the creative solutions to move folks in sooner rather than later."

One solution is to gradually open with just a few residents at a time.

Veterans advocate Charlie Waters says both sides need to come together to make this work. "I tell my Republican friends, draw a damn bill up if you want to do something, but cooperate and help us, don't sit there and argue."

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