The current fashionable word when elections roll around these days is “change.” The empty phrase of “we need new ideas,” might make a nice bumper sticker or sound bite, but other than that, it says nothing. Lots of people voted that way during the last presidential election and they are regretting it now. Voting for “change” in and of itself is always a gamble. Chances are things can “change” for the worst just as easily as for the better.
Councilman Tom LaBonge is running against two men whose main railing cry is, “it’s time for new ideas.” Well, that’s something you say when you have no experience. LaBonge not only has the experience, he has the ability to get things done. Just recently he helped install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Talofa Avenue & Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake. If you think that sounds silly, remember, its stuff like that, the non-glamorous, nuts and bolts things that keep a community going. Toluca Lake needed that signal and LaBonge saw to it that it happened.
Tom Labonge is an Angelino who loves his city and the people in it. He knows more about Los Angeles history than most teachers in LAUSD. Born and raised in the Silver Lake area, he spent much of his City Hall life working for former Council President John Ferraro before he won election as councilman himself in 2001. He is now seeking his third term.
As to the question of what he would do going forward to help LA balance its budget, he has said that he would put into place a full-scale consolidation of functions among all city departments, including implementation of a 32-hour work week for workers providing non-essential services. He would also require a higher contribution for health care coverage and pension programs among public workers. I say it’s about time that city workers paid their fair share into their own benefits, just as the rest of us in the private sector do.
Tom LaBonge has always worked from the ground up. Working with individual communities to improve the lives of all in his district has been his hallmark. The improvements in the NoHo arts district would be a good case in point. And, oh yeah, did I mention that new traffic light in Toluca Lake?