LA City Council approves money for jailers, loaned from neighborhood trust fund

The Los Angeles City Council performed a budget backflip Tuesday as it shifted money to pay for guards at the new city jail.

The Los Angeles City Council performed a budget backflip Tuesday as it shifted money to pay for guards at the new city jail.

The saga of the opening of the new downtown jail is a long one. “It’s been sitting for 18 months, complete with nobody in it.” The jail sat empty, says Councilman Creig Smith, because of a city budget deficit.

A few weeks ago, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck finally opened it. Smith says, “The only way that he could do that was to transfer 85 uniformed personnel from patrol duties because there were not enough personnel. At the same time we were furloughing the civilian personnel that were the jailers!”

Now, Smith’s agreed to loan the jail $640,000 from a special trust fund usually reserved for neighborhood projects near the Sunshine Canyon landfill in his San Fernando Valley district. That’ll allow the LAPD to return 27 cops to the streets.

It’s all part of the dance of the dollars – creative accounting inspired by L.A. City Hall’s multi-million budget deficit.

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