City conducts cleanup events in memory of Tom LaBonge

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The city remembered the late City Councilman Tom LaBonge Oct. 9 with five “Tom LaBonge Day of Service” cleanup events around the city.

City officials spoke at each event, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, LaBonge’s widow Brigid LaBonge and Nelson Mejia of the Department of Water and Power kicked off the cleanup at Silver Lake Meadows.

“Tom’s love for Los Angeles was legendary, and the joy he had for public service was contagious,” O’Farrell said. “Tom was always ready to lend a helping hand. He carried tools, gloves and supplies in his car, and was often seen throughout his district — and across the city — picking up trash, clearing storm drains or cutting back overgrown brush.

“Tom never missed a moment to beautify even the smallest corner of the city and never missed a moment to be of service to others.”

Other cleanups were held at the Griffith Park Trails Cafe, attended by City Attorney Mike Feuer, Controller Ron Galperin, Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Board of Public Works President Greg Good; the Watts Towers, where Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Board of Public Works President Pro Tempore Mike Davis attended; Algin Sutton Park in South Los Angeles attended by Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, L.A. Civil Rights Executive Director Capri Maddox and Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull; and Victory Outreach Church in North Hollywood, where Councilman Paul Krekorian and Pastor Raymond Solorzano were on hand.

Today on #TomLaBonge Day of Service, we’re celebrating and honoring Tom’s legacy,” Garcetti tweeted.  “Thank you to @LACivilRights and @LACityDPW for hosting community beautification events across our city and to all the volunteers who showed up for #MrLA.

“Today, over 250 Angelenos showed up to show their love for #TomLaBonge and love for LA. From South LA to the Valley, we cleaned parks & neighborhoods, celebrated our communities, and brought people together — which is what Tom did best.  

The events celebrated what would have been LaBonge’s 68th birthday Oct. 6. LaBonge died Jan. 7 at his Silver Lake home at age 67.

He represented the council’s Fourth District from 2001-15, overseeing an area that includes Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, the Miracle Mile, Fairfax District and much of Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Griffith Park.

He was known for his love of Griffith Park’s trails and hills, and was frequently spotted hiking through the park, as well as taking it upon himself to clean up trash and debris around the community.

During his time in office, he expanded the park by 500 acres and was involved in the Griffith Observatory’s restoration and expansion.

Prior to being elected to the City Council, LaBonge was a city employee for more than 25 years. He went to work for Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson of the 13th District in 1976, then joined Council President John Ferraro’s Fourth Council District office in 1978.

He also served as chief of field operations for then-Mayor Richard Riordan.

Following his death, Los Angeles rushed to honor him in several ways.

The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority dedicated the future Wilshire/La Brea station on the Purple Line extension to him, and the city’s 311 information line added an audio clip of LaBonge to its system.

L.A. also renamed the Mount Hollywood Summit in Griffith Park, where LaBonge frequently hiked, “Tom LaBonge Summit.”

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