LOS FELIZ—On Friday, January 8, the city of Los Angeles announced the death of Former Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge who passed away on Thursday, January 7, at the age of 67.
LaBonge, also known to some as “Mr. Los Angeles” represented the people of the 4th Council District for 14 years; this includes the neighborhoods of Hancock Park, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Larchmont Village, Los Feliz, Miracle Mile, Sherman Oaks, Silverlake, Toluca Lake, Windsor Square, and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys. He was elected in 2001 after winning a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of councilmember John Ferraro. Prior to his tenure with the Los Angeles City Council, he worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and also served as a special assistant to Mayor Richard Riordan.
“Tom LaBonge was so much more than an elected representative. He was the ultimate goodwill ambassador, servant, and historian for his City of Angels, and an icon. He led with his heart and truly loved the men and women of the LAPD,” said Chief of Police Michel Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department.
During his tenure in office, LaBonge served as Chairman for the Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee and served as Vice Chairman for the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, the Ad Hoc River Committee, and the Rules and Elections Committee.
His priorities as a councilmember included neighborhood preservation and enhancement, improved transportation systems, public safety, mobility, library expansion, tourism, and improvement of parks and open space.
LaBonge accomplished the expansion of Griffith Park by 500 acres, installation of “Urban Lights” at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles River installation of Sunnynook Park, and the No Smoking in Public Parks Ordinance, among other things.
“In a City of 4 million, Tom LaBonge was Mr. Los Angeles. As a Councilmember, he took care of his constituents and was a champion for one of LA’s greatest treasures, Griffith Park. Tom LaBonge loved Los Angeles and Los Angeles loved him right back. Our hearts are heavy tonight,” said LA City Council President Nury Martinez.
“For over a decade, Tom LaBonge and I worked together, as colleagues and neighboring Councilmembers. We often said that while we shared a border, there was no dividing line between us, our work, and our districts,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “From the revitalization of Hollywood to the preservation of Silver Lake, there was no better friend or partner I ever had. No one knew more Angelenos, no person gave more waking hours to our city, no one was a greater cheerleader for our town than Tom.”
“I am proud to have served the Los Angeles for 39.6 years. The amount of knowledge and experience I gathered, and the relationships I made through the years of working for the City of Los Angeles have served me well. I left City Hall, but I’m never leaving Los Angeles,” LaBonge stated in his Linkedln profile.