LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A plaque honoring the late Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge was unveiled today in the Memorial Court of Honor in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum's Peristyle. LaBonge died Jan. 7, 2021 at his Silver Lake home at age 67.
``Tom was a cheerleader for Los Angeles,'' said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. ``He loved everything about this city. It is fitting that generations to come will walk around the legends of the Court of Honor, see this plaque, and learn about the one and only Mr. Los Angeles.'' Hahn, who served with LaBonge on the City Council, nominated him to the Court of Honor.
LaBonge was a longtime supporter of the Coliseum, where had he worked for many years as a sideline cameraman for NFL Films. He attended Coliseum Commission meetings after he left the City Council because of term limits and raised funds for plaques in the Memorial Court of Honor.
The Memorial Court of Honor honors individuals with connections to the Coliseum and the since-demolished Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The ceremony Thursday included Hahn, as well as Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission President George Pla, former Raiders players Mike Haynes and Shelby Jordan, and LaBonge's wife Brigid LaBonge. Others honored with plaques in the past include Jackie Robinson, Vin Scully, the late USC football coach John McKay, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and Hahn's late father, Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, who was instrumental in the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn.
``Today's induction is fitting for a man who truly gave his life to public service. I met Tom when he started his career as a staff member for the city of L.A. Ever since then, I was impressed by his passion and commitment. Tom had his finger on the pulse of the constituents he represented. He truly embodied the City of Los Angeles, and took community pride to a whole new level,'' Barger said. LaBonge represented the council's Fourth District from 2001-15, overseeing an area that included 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. Following his death, the City Council rushed to honor LaBonge in several ways, including by renaming the Mount Hollywood Summit in Griffith Park ``Tom LaBonge Summit.'' The Los Angeles County 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.