Saturday, January 9, 2021

R.I.P., LA Icons Tom LaBonge and Tommy Lasorda

Sad to hear about the passing of former councilman Tom LaBonge. He showed up to the Great Los Angeles Walk 2010 unannounced, excited to see what we were doing. And I'll never forget seeing him, alone on a rainy Easter morning, clearing out a clogged street drain across from St. Casimir Church. I wrote about it for the blog, also in 2010:
Los Angeles City Council member Tom LaBonge is known for taking his love of L.A. to extreme measures. And we saw first hand on Easter Sunday how far he'll go.

As we were walking up the steps to Los Feliz's St. Casimir Catholic Church, one of the church's top volunteers yelled, "Hey! It's Tom LaBonge."

We turned and saw a man with a large trash bag, picking up garbage from the gutter in front of the church. He looked up and seemed genuinely embarrassed at being caught.

Yep, there was Councilman LaBonge, in sweats, randomly picking up trash in the neighborhood.

"I'm doing this for the church!" he told the St. Casimir volunteer before loading the trash bag in his trunk.

I asked LaBonge if he had any pumpkin bread in his trunk -- as he's well-know for passing out the treat, as baked and sold by the nuns inside Hollywood's Monastery of the Angeles.

He smiled, said yes, pointed to his car, and then drove off. Wait, where's my bread?
No one loved Los Angeles like Tom LaBonge.

Quite the sad coincidence that another iconic Los Angeles Tom — Dodgers icon Tommy Lasorda — also passed away today. Jon Weisman has a great tribute here.

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