The Who’s Who of business and property owners on Larchmont Blvd gathered Thursday evening to honor Councilman Tom LaBonge for his 39 years of service to the street at the Wilshire Country Club. The room was filled with members and guests of the Larchmont Blvd Association and the Larchmont Village Business Improvement District many who have known LaBonge since he was a staff member for Councilman John Ferraro, his predecessor. Former LaBonge staff members Carolyn Ramsay and Shelia Irani were also there; both are running for LaBonge’s seat.
Well wishers applauded LaBonge for his hands-on engagement in the district. Joane Pickett, owner of Pickett Fences clothing store, presented LaBonge with a proclamation from Mayor Eric Garcetti. Pickett told the story of how LaBonge actually planted a tree on Larchmont Blvd, not just attended the ceremony. She also presented Brigid LaBonge, with an orchid thanking her for all the support she has given the neighborhood over the years as well.
Jane Gilman, publisher of the Larchmont Chronicle got the biggest laugh when she said “Tom’s family didn’t come over on the Mayflower, they came over on the June flower,” chiding LaBonge for often arriving late to events.
When asked what he was planning to do next, LaBonge said he wasn’t thinking that far ahead yet.
“I want to finish strong,” said LaBonge. He wants to prepare a good transition and noted it was hard to replace a legend like Ferraro and his predecessors. Only six council members have represented CD 4, the smallest number of any council district in the city. The longest serving were just four, Robert L. Burns (1929-45), Harold Henry (1945-65), John Ferraro (1965-2001) and LaBonge (2001-present).
“There are deep roots in this district and I hope that continues with someone like Carolyn Ramsay. I hope the fourth district would elect a responsive candidate like Carolyn,” said LaBonge.
“Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, these are great neighborhoods and they make a great district,” said LaBonge.