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Why Tom LaBonge Should Retire for the Good of the City He Loves

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.

We all know most voters are apathetic, defeated, disengaged or uninformed and are likely to vote for the name they recognize.StephenBox-banner.jpg

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.
GarfieldPress-StephenBox-1.jpg
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.

You can contribute or volunteer to help Stephen Box here or contribute (no limits on donations) or volunteer to help the Clean Sweep campaign here

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.Enhanced by Zemanta

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23 Responses to Why Tom LaBonge Should Retire for the Good of the City He Loves

  1. Anonymous says:

    Tom LaBonge is simply odd. All he does is let everyone who will listen to him that he knows LA history. Big deal!! In council he like all the incumbents are nothing more then lapdogs to the Mayor and brainless adults sitting in chairs. Stephen Box wouldn’t be my first choice as I question why he became a citizen when he decided to run. He’s seems nice enough but everyone knows him as the bike guy that’s it. I do agree that everyone in every community needs to step up and get out there to put the word these incumbents SHOULD NOT BE RE ELECTED EVERY OR ELECTED TO HIGHER OFFICE. They are a shameful group of morons who don’t care about our city and put it in financial ruin.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If being old is an argument against being in office, one must first define “old”. Caution, the highest voter turn out is among seniors.
    Widsom comes from experience and just because someone does not agree with someone or some group, that is no reason to thow the age card.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Time for Tom to get out.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tom is a fossil. La Brea tar pits await him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    9:50 a.m., give the guy a chance. You gotta admit anyone would be better than LaBonge. Further, I suspect that if you sat down with Box, you’d be surprised at what he does know. After all, Clean Sweep wouldn’t be endorsing him just because he is known for riding a bike. And, what difference does it make why he became a citizen? At least he is willing to put his you-know-what on the line in an attempt to save the City.

  6. Anonymous says:

    ODD is what is written on the first post not old. You’re right though the Seniors are the first one to vote mail in. Clean Sweep is a great idea and movement however, as posted here on this blog there are some who didnt’ support some of their endorsements but its ok. Its the movement of LA Clean Sweep that everyone should support. IF not their candidates then definitely helping get rid of the INCUMBENTS. THe buzz word in this election season is ANYONE BUT THE INCUMENTS.

  7. Anonymous says:

    LaBonge and O’Grady support Eminent Domain and the CRA.
    Box is for CRA reform.
    Vote BOX.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For those attending the Valley candidate forum tonight will you ask little Mitch Englander why he has been deceitful and not told the truth that he’s not a “real cop” instead of a Volunteer. The Daily News even had to write an Opinion piece on his deceitfullness. He’s failing to say he’s still working as the Chief of STaff for Smith. And why does he have all those pictures of him in an LAPD Uniform on his web site? He’s really trying to push the LAPD thing and being just as corrupt and lack of character that all the other incumbents have. If Paul Krekorian beat Chris Essel with her millions the grass root support can get anyone in but Engladner who is the nephew of the sleazy Harvey who owns city hall lobbyists.

  9. Bob says:

    Although I support Stephen Box, I want to Thank both Mr. Box and Mr. O’Grady. They are true grass roots people.
    So the City of LA is in the worst financial shape in its history. La Bonge votes to sell off City-owned parking lots and then give $52 million for what? – To build a new City-owned parking lot for a Billionaire.
    That’s schizophrenic.
    Now Box and O’Grady need to get in touch with the people and show the real side of La Bonge. He may try to be nice, but he is also intolerant of the public who goes out of their way to wait to speak.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is Councilmembers like Labonge, Greig Smith, and Wesson who are so clueless and irrelevant to the city that it is a shame such people are even elected. Let’s not squander our opportunity to be rid of them. I include Smith’s heir Englander as part of the group who should not be elected. Please folks support some intelligent candidates like Box, Brad Smith and anyone else but the incumbents.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ron, much as I like the idea of some fresh ideas and personalities in City Hall, I don’t see Tom LaBonge as such a bad person. Overall, he seems to have done a pretty good job of being a moderate voice in the horseshoe, and unlike so many others, he hasn’t let his power get to his head. He is always respectful and attentive to constituents. It’s not like he can single handedly fix the problems of a city behoved to the special interests that pull the strings in the Mayor’s Office. There is a lot to be said for “better the devil you know” especially when you look at the way Carmen Trutanich has allowed power to get to his head. There’s a very sad report of Trutanich barging his way, uninvited, into an awards ceremony on Saturday night (http://losangelesdragnet.blogspot.com) Apparently he thought he was so important that he could interrupt the dinner, grab the mic and hand over some cheesy certificates, and then leave to catch a plane to DC. This was in the City of Bellflower – outside the City of LA, and his LA City certificates had nothing to do with Bellflower. It was just his way of making everyone notice him because he wants to run for DA. After the March elections are over, I hope you will turn the spotlight on Trutanich a little and have him explain how he can ignore his sworn promise to serve a full first term?

  12. Walter Moore says:

    Ouch!
    This seems like a pretty age-ist criticism of LaBonge. That the career politicians on the Clowncil smirk when he speaks makes me like him more. Are we really supposed to give any weight to what those creeps think?
    Plus, do you contend any of them is consistently or even usually coherent? Please.
    This is not, in my opinion, a fair criticism. LaBonge is a likeable, affable guy. His problem isn’t a lack of intellect, or wit, or personality.
    Rather, he has the same problem as every other person on the City Council: they all vote the same way, again and again, for disastrous policies that have run this city into the ground, with a deficit despite near-record-high revenues, and unemployment and crime rates much, much higher than those in surrounding jurisdictions.
    I think this essay may inspire more support for LaBonge than for his opponents. Heck, it even made me of all people come to his defense.

  13. Walter Moore says:

    Bob –
    Outstanding point, and one I wish I had recognized: the City is actually selling parking lots to raise money to build a parking lot. How frikkin’ insane is that?!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Tom, it’s time for you to retire. I keep hearing accusations of an alcohol problem too. Does anyone know if that is why Tom sometimes rambles on at City Council meetings? I do not know if this a confirmed by knowledgeable sources in City Hall.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous. Blogs shouldn’t spread rumors. Tom doesn’t even drink light beer.

  16. Scott Zwartz says:

    While everyone acknowledges LaBonge’s love for LA, sometimes love is not enough. It has nothing to do with his actual age. Tom is “old” only in the sense that he clings to the old ways.
    Tom could have spoken up and told everyone that the City had a surplus and not a deficit due to the $488 M in its CRA account, but he remained silent for every year he was in council. Make means Tom is one of the causes of our being broke. While LaBonge was councilman, CRA skipped overt $1.2 Billion in property taxes into its own coffers. The Hill People thinks that the CRA’s projects are OK because they are all in the Flats, but they do not realize that all those high rises pay ZERO incremental property taxes making Los Feliz, The Oaks, Silverlake, Hancock Park, Whitley Heights, etc bear the extra burden.
    And LaBonge is without understanding. He still supports the CRA 100% in every fiasco. LaBonge voted to bring Kelo eminent domain to all of the Los Angeles. Kelo eminent domain is where the city council takes your property to give it to some developer crony so he can make a fortune developing it with tax payer dollars. That’s right, LaBonge voted to bring Kelp eminent domain to every single parcel of land in the City.
    If elected, this will be Tom’s last term which mean voters mean nothing to him. Since he will be termed out, the only thing important to him will be developers — who will finance his move to another political office.
    While Tom’s heart may be in the right place, his political ambitions are not. We need a clean sweep of all these politicos who have brought LA to bankruptcy while giving over $1.2 B to billionaires like Eli Broad.

  17. Bob says:

    Walter, your “ouch” is met with sympathetic ears here. I met an 82-year old lady activist in Boyle Heights that can run circles around most of the current crop of elected officials in LA.
    And she knows the details and like any sane person can see the blatant corruption and waste.

  18. James McCuen says:

    The beauty of using “Kelo eminent domain” is that if you forgot what that meant (it goes back to 2005), just Google it – “Kelo eminent domain”
    The Kelo decision allows Eminent Domain abuse and corruption (Private to Private use), but it doesn’t mandate it. You need to thank Mr. La Bonge and his collegues for enabling Eminent Domain and the CRA against the people of Los Angeles.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Walter, the same could be said about the Mayor that he “is a likeable, affable guy. His problem isn’t a lack of intellect, or wit, or personality”. The only part I’d delete would be the “intellect”, but if you are calling Labonge an intellect, the Mayor matches him.

  20. Anonymous says:

    In the CD 4 election, Stephen Box opposes Kelo Emiment Domain.
    Both Tommies – O’Grady and LaBonge support Kelo and the CRA.
    VOTE FOR BOX.

  21. Jim Fox says:

    One of my biggest complaints about LaBonge is that he lied to the public about the finiancial viability of Hollywood as a city when it was up for a vote. Both he and Garcetti told the public that it wasn’t finacially viable after 17 accountants and CPAs said the it was. All they cared about was keeping their little fifedoms.
    I don’t know if either Box or O’Grady can do anything about it but something should be done about the gerrymandering of council districts. Currently Hollywood is divided between 3 council districts, 4, 5 and 13.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I think you’re completely wrong about Tom LaBonge. He is one of the most attentive, responsive, and hard-working councilmembers. He and his staff work hard to give quick responses to their constituents and help them when they need it. He goes out into the community and talks with people and genuinely cares about their problems and does whatever he can to help. On an overall basis, he makes the City of LA look great by promoting it and having a love for LA and it’s history. He’s very young in spirit and is always willing to go the extra mile for someone. I’m so happy to have him as my councilman. I think everyone should vote for him on March 8th to keep your excellent constituent services and a face that’s always happy to see you.

  23. J T says:

    I’m so happy Ron that you were able to find a true grassroots candidate in Stephen Box. What an honest, smart, quality man. Oh wait, whoops, you forgot to do your homework and check his background. Your chosen candidate hasn’t paid his taxes for years. Doesn’t look so good.

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