Councilman Tom LaBonge may be leaving office but you may not notice

Councilman Tom LaBonge speaking at the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council meeting | Matt Sanderson

Councilman Tom LaBonge speaking at the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council meeting | Matt Sanderson


SILVER LAKE — After representing Council District 4 since 2001, Tom LaBonge is termed out of office and is preparing to step down next year. So what is LaBonge, a Silver Lake native, going to do once he leaves public office? Apparently he plans to stick around.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, LaBonge emphasized that he wants to remain active in civic affairs after leaving office. The 61-year-old LaBonge, who has been a fixture in city government since the 1970s,  said his plans include volunteering with the Special Olympics and touting Los Angeles’ attempt to host the 2024 Olympics.

LaBonge touched on numerous subjects during his remarks, ranging from his preferred vision for the Silver Lake Reservoir to become a “natural lake” once it’s disconnected from the city water supply to increased traffic congestion on narrow, hillside streets and the importance of neighborhood councils.

“I want a strong focus between the Los Angeles City Council and the neighborhood councils,” he told the audience at Micheltorena Elementary School. “Information is … power to make determinations, and how many steps you take.”

More than a dozen candidates, including LaBonge’s chief of staff, have announced plans to run in next year’s election to represent the Fourth Council District, which stretches from Los Feliz and Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks.

Matt Sanderson has been a journalist, photographer and digital media producer for nearly eight years. A native of Rhode Island, he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Los Angeles in 2012 through a job transfer with Patch.com/AOL.


  1. Carsmakepeoplestupid

    Out of one side of his mouth he advocated for the Council office to work with and listen to Neighborhood Councils. And out of the other he repeated that the Hyperion Bridge must stay a dangerous and unsafe place for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Yet, the majority of neighborhood councils affected by this bridge have all voted UNANIMOUSLY for Option 3 as well as both Silver Lake and Los Feliz submitting Community Impact Statements. Not to mention a 24 page document from the research firm Psomas that spent 6 months on the Hyperion Bridge and determined that Option 3 was a viable alternative. Really Tom?? What a farce!

  2. LaBonge would be an EXCELLENT envoy for the City of LA to greet people at city hall and hand over symbolic gifts. He is such an entertaining politician. I completely disagree with just about every policy stance he’s taken over the years but I have always been entertained by his public talks and performances on the council. He’d make a great oil company spokesman.

  3. For the record: I played high school football against Tom LaBonge back in 19-and-71, he for Marshall High, me for good old Belmont High. Both teams were short of talent and fairly horrible (though Marshall had Mike Haynes who would go on to the NFL Hall of Fame). Haynes got me in the 10th grade, I got him back with two interceps in this game I discuss. Back to the play-by-play.

    Belmont and Marshall were so bad we were fighting it out for the cellar — or to get out of the cellar. It was a see-saw battle, a pretty good game as I recall. Guys seemed to be playing over their heads, coming up with big plays. I made a few myself, though I missed a swift halfback that plagues me to this day. Haynes broke away from a tackle and scorched us up the middle, I had an angle but it was useless, he was a 4.4 man. Marshall’s score (near the end of the game) made it 20 — 19. They lined up for the extra point.

    I’m screaming ‘Watch the fake! Watch the fake!’ thinking Marshall had to be going for two points, they had to be going for the win. The snap, the placement. The kicker kicked the damn ball, it sailed over our heads. It cleared the crossbar on the western end of the field and it was like the sound came back on all around me. And reality wasn’t pretty, it face it was sucky. It was 20 — 20. They went for the tie. And the game ended.

    I will never forgive Marshall. We tied for the damn cellar of the Northern League.

  4. “…in fact it was sucky.”

  5. What is all the Tom bashing here. I have followed his career , heard him speak with passion and charisma and thought he did a great job. David who took his seat is also a man to be appreciated I believe.

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