Former Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who died Thursday at age 67, was an enthusiastic supporter of Little Tokyo and the sister-city programs, including the L.A.-Nagoya Sister City Affiliation. In 2008, he joined Teruko Weinberg of LANSCA in presenting a proclamation to Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura.
Known as Mr. Los Angeles for his knowledge and love of the city, LaBonge represented the 4th Council District — which includes Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire, the Miracle Mile, Fairfax District and much of Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Griffith Park — from 2001 to 2015.
LaBonge was a city employee or councilman for nearly 40 years. He went to work for Councilmember Peggy Stevenson of the 13th District in 1976, then joined Council President John Ferraro’s 4th Council District office in 1978. LaBonge was also chief of field operations for Mayor Richard Riordan.
On June 30, 2015, his final day on the City Council because of term limits, his colleagues designated the intersection of Tracy and St. George streets in front of John Marshall High School in Los Feliz as Tom LaBonge Square for his contributions to his alma mater.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, who represented the neighboring 13th District as a councilman, tweeted, “We often said that while we shared a border, there was no dividing line between us, our work, and our districts.
“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.”