Callers to Los Angeles’ 311 information line will soon hear the late Councilman Tom LaBonge’s voice following a City Council vote to add a clip of “Mr. Los Angeles” to the system.
“Hi, my name is Tom LaBonge and I’m honored to serve the city of Los Angeles … the great San Fernando Valley backed by the great San Gabriel Mountains, the beautiful Pacific Ocean, down to San Pedro, the gateway to Los Angeles … the city of Los Angeles is a tremendous place for all of us,” LaBonge says in the message.
A female voice then cuts into the clip to say, “that was a memory from Tom LaBonge, also known as Mr. Los Angeles for his larger than life personality. Tom served the city for almost 40 years, including as the council member for the Fourth District from 2001 to 2015. `Let’s continue to enjoy and love Los Angeles’ was his motto that continues to guide services like MyLA311, that keeps L.A. neighborhoods clean and safe.”
The clip ends with LaBonge himself saying, “Let’s continue to enjoy and love Los Angeles.”
The motion was introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and seconded by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who represents the district that LaBonge represented from 2001 to 2015. It was not immediately known when callers would begin hearing LaBonge’s voice on the system.
“This is the message that Angelenos will be hearing in the city of Los Angeles as they’re holding for a 311 operator, and to me, it’s the tragedy that we have to honor people posthumously. Tom was take from us far too soon, but his legacy endures and we are grateful for his life lived,” Rodriguez said.
“He adored every corner of this city, there wasn’t a part of this city that he didn’t know and revere in such high regard, and wanting to make sure that every neighborhood has the kind of respect it deserves.”
She noted that LaBonge had a sense of personal obligation for taking care of Los Angeles and exemplified this by picking up trash when he saw it on the street.
“It was so good to hear Tom’s voice, I know he’s smiling and dancing from heaven. This is so cool,” Council President Nury Martinez said after council members heard the clip of LaBonge’s voice before voting.
They were joined by LaBonge’s widow, Brigid LaBonge, who thanked the City Council for helping people remember him “whether it’s a hot dog or a plaque or a mountaintop or to hear his voice on the phone.”
LaBonge died Jan. 7 at his Silver Lake home at age 67. Following his death, Los Angeles rushed to honor him in several ways. The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority dedicated the future Wilshire/La Brea station on the Purple Line extension to him.
L.A. also renamed the Mount Hollywood Summit in Griffith Park, where LaBonge frequently hiked, “Tom LaBonge Summit.”
Pink’s Hot Dogs debuted a “Mr. Los Angeles” hot dog for LaBonge and on the new hot dog’s first day donated 100% of the proceeds to the Tom LaBonge Griffith Park Memorial Fund.
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