City remembers LaBonge on anniversary of his death

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — City officials remembered former Councilman Tom LaBonge, who was known as Mr. Los Angeles, on the one-year anniversary of his death Jan. 7.

“One year ago, L.A. lost a giant in Tom LaBonge — a true public servant who brought so much passion and decency to the task of building a stronger, safer and fairer Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted. “Today, we remember the imprint he left on the a city he loved — and that loved him right back.”

LaBonge died Jan. 7, 2021 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.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said she began her birthday that day with a sunrise hike “to visit our very dear friend Tom LaBonge’s favorite location in Los Angeles.”

The councilwoman walked to the newly named Tom LaBonge Panorama, an overlook area at Mount Hollywood, where she ran into LaBonge’s wife and family, her office said.

The city renamed the Mount Hollywood Summit in Griffith Park, where LaBonge frequently hiked, “Tom LaBonge Summit” following his death.

“I just wanted to wish up into the universe and everywhere in Los Angeles, God bless you, Tom LaBonge, we miss you every day,” Rodriguez said during that day’s City Council meeting.

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

On Oct. 9, LaBonge’s birthday last year, the city held five “Tom LaBonge Day of Service” cleanup events to celebrate what would have been his 68th birthday.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who — following the 2021 City Council redistricting process represents some of LaBonge’s former district — said on Twitter: “We’re thinking of you Tom — today and every day — and in your spirit, we’ll keep doing all we can to ‘enjoy and love Los Angeles.’ Every day is indeed a blessing.”

 

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