South Bay

‘Most Insensitive Thing': Veterans Turned Away From San Jose Center Over Parking Rule

Dozens of veterans in the South Bay allege that they are missing out on crucial services.

They say they go to the San Jose Veterans Center on North First Street for counseling and other treatment, only to be turned away by a man guarding the front gate.

Three tenants occupy the building, and each is assigned a specific number of parking spots. However, when the Veterans Center uses up all its 10 spaces, the landlord refuses to let any of them in – even if there are available spots on the premises.

So the veterans, some with visible disabilities, are forced to park blocks away and walk to the center.

“I got my own problems,” said veteran Juan Zuniga, adding that officials are meant to “teach tolerance” at the center.

Fellow veteran Doug Dodd agreed.

Many of them are “suffering from PTSD,” he said, and “don’t need additional stimuli to upset us.

Dodd was assigned to the flight deck on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, and visits the center twice every week for counseling. But on Friday, veteran after veteran was turned away from the parking lot.

“Well that’s about the most insensitive thing you can do to a bunch of veterans, coming somewhere for resources,” Supervisor David Cortese said.

Cortese is now trying to help the Veterans Center find a new home – one, he says, where veterans are welcomed and not forced to walk blocks to obtain services they’ve earned.

“These people have given their all for this country and to have somebody disrespect them like that really upsets me,” Dodd said.

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