Preserving a Home for Veterans

The land that hosts the West Los Angeles VA campus was originally donated to the VA under an 1888 deed restriction that created a charitable trust requiring the land to be used as a permanent home for veterans. Unfortunately, the VA, as the trustee of that charitable trust, has not adhered to this requirement, as the West Los Angeles VA campus is not being used as a home for veterans as required by the donors of the land that established the West Los Angeles VA campus in the first instance.

Our position paper is a call to identify the acreage of the West Los Angeles VA campus that is currently under-purposed and to use such land for its intended and required purpose: a home for veterans. It must be a place that welcomes any veteran to it, including those about to return home from war and the 20,000 veterans currently living on the streets of Los Angeles. Indeed, our position paper has received broad support from veterans, as demonstrated by the various letters we have received endorsing our paper, samples of which are enclosed herewith.

The Gopher Plan

A team commonly misrepresented as nuisances presents: The Gopher Plan, a tactic to make the Deed of 1888 entertaining.

Join a father and son gopher duo on their trip through man- and critter-made underground passages to Washington DC to see the President. On their way the duo visits Building 209 at the VA of West LA, one of many empty buildings located on hundreds of acres of land left in trust to veterans in 1888. Here they meet homeless veteran CJ. Motivated by being needed CJ joins the Inter-Species Underground and embraces its mission: break down misconceptions about veterans (and gophers too) so that the landArcadia left to them can again be used as a home and not just as a hospital!

Arcadia's spirit wanders, as does that of CJ's beloved Rose. The two women guide our heroes as they tell stories of Presidents who gave their all for veterans. When the travellers arrive at the nation's front lawn on 11.11.11 the gates to the VA of West LA reopen. The key to the gates is in our heart and the message is the song Yes We Can, Can. Join the Gopher Plan as we sing our way to a happy ending.

Click here for performance locations.

  • Writer, Director, Designer: Lauren Bon
  • Composer: Larry Garf
  • Singers: Carla Werner, Henry Garf, Maya Bon
  • Chorus: Carla Werner, April Fitzsimmons, Rochelle Fabb, Maya Bon, Lauren Bon
  • Metabolic Studio Team: Sarah McCabe, Jaime Wolters, Rochelle Fabb, Curtis Bailey, Andrew Douglas, with Rachel Neubauer
  • Sound Editor and Sound Production: Chris Julian
  • Tour and Workshop Assistant: Henry Garf
  • Character Development Consultants: April Fitzsimmons and anonymous
  • Special Thanks: Doug Tiano and the Echo Park Time Bank for their help in developing the puppets
  • Strawberry Bulletin, special edition newspaper to be distributed with The Gopher Plan tour: Terence Lyons, Larry Flaherty and Janet Owen Driggs
  • Produced by The Metabolic Studio, 2011