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Another Sketchy Use of Money Meant to Improve L.A. Streets?

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Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by Lucyrk in LA via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Today the Los Angeles City Council will consider transferring money that by law has to improve streets to fund a staffmember that will partially focus on improving streets. The item was uncovered by the blog Hollywood Unbound, which pays particular attention to the little-talked about Street Furniture Revenue Fund, an account funded by ads placed on bus shelters and other pieces of street furniture. "This is in no way, shape, or form a legal use of Street Furniture Revenue Funds," stated the Hollywood blogger.

At issue is $125,000 that City Councilmember Paul Koretz wants to use for "staff efforts to focus on transit related projects, sidewalk projects, curb/sidewalk improvements; beautification projects needed to improve conditions for public transit patrons, and all expenses relating or incidental hereto, as well as on general services to the community."

The problem is the vague "general services to the community."

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"I can not stress this point enough," continued Hollywood Unbound. "The purpose of Street Furniture Revenue Funds is not to pay for unidentified staff costs and salaries, but to improve public streets, public transit systems, and beautify public right-of-ways... It is disappointing to see that the needs, safety, and well-being of residents and visitors of Council District 5 is less important to Councilmember Paul Koretz than his need to fund his 19 person staff."

Earlier this year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vetoed another City Councilmember's attempt to use the fund for staff salaries.