No greater love has anyone for the City of Angels than to devote most of his adult life to its public service.
For that, Tom LaBonge deserves honor as LA’s ambassador to sister cities, its amateur historian and official greeter and cheerleader.
But there comes a time to make way for others more able to deal with the big problems the city he loves so dearly faces.
And for Tom LaBonge that time has come.
For the good of the city, he loves so dearly Tom should retire from the City Council and accept the accolades and honors, the hefty pension and the love of everyone.
Tom talks a lot at Council meetings but says very little. He seems to have little grasp of the complexities of issues or have anything to add to debates that themselves offer little to the public discourse or knowledge.
His colleagues snicker when he rises to speak, smirk when he strings together the disjointed thoughts that pour out of him, the remembrances of the good old days when Tom Bradley was mayor and John Ferraro stood like a tall protective oak over City Hall and Gil Lindsay did his business under that canopy of shade.
Two younger men –Stephen Box and Tomas O’Grady — are both far more capable than Tom of representing Council District 4 and standing up for the whole city..
They are challenging LaBonge in the March 8 election. Like all incumbents, LaBonge draws on money from unions, developers, contractors and assorted insiders while Box and O’Grady rely on grassroots support from ordinary citizens.
The LA Clean Sweep movement — a political action committee formed by ordinary citizens with no more agenda than to end the corruption and bring responsible government back to City Hall — has voted to support Stephen Box.
Box has worked tirelessly for years to organize and empower Neighborhood Councils, helped lead the citywide effort to make cycling safe and end police harassment, and played a key role in the defeat of Measure B two years, the $4 billion solar energy boondoggle.
He has raised enough money to qualify for city matching funds and run a credible campaign with professional help and an army of more than 200 volunteers to staff phone banks and walk precincts.
On Sunday Box and his supporters held a press conference in the rain at Garfield Place and Hollywood Blvd. to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to abolish Community Redevelopment Agencies and accuse LaBonge of consistently siding with developers against the interests of the community.
The site is a 1.8 acre vacant lot surrounded by a chain link
fencing. Residents have fought for so long to turn the site into a park that the lot is commonly referred to as “Garfield
Park.” LaBonge has thwarted their efforts in hopes of using CRA tax dollars to aid a commercial developer.
Last weekend, Clean Sweep sent a dozen precinct walkers into Latino neighborhoods of North Hollywood, a constituency that LaBonge has long neglected. These are voters struggling to pay their soaring DWP bills and make ends meet but whose concerns fall on deaf ears..
In coming weeks, Clean Sweep volunteers will work others parts of the heavily-gerrymandered district that twists through Toluca Lake, Silverlake, Los Feliz and parts of Hollywood.
End City Hall’s giveaways of public money to the rich, restore library, parks and public safety services, support fiscal responsibility, honesty and integrity, don’t sit on the sidelines — get involved in efforts to sweep City Hall clean.