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LaBonge Outlines Vision at Ceremony

Politics: Los Angeles' new councilman is publicly sworn in at Griffith Observatory.

November 02, 2001|PATRICK McGREEVY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Newly elected Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge took the oath of office in a public ceremony at the Griffith Park Observatory on Thursday, promising to make public safety a priority.

LaBonge, who joined the council Tuesday after a private swearing-in, told more than 500 supporters and city leaders at Thursday's ceremony that he will work hard to protect the quality of life in city neighborhoods.

"Los Angeles is a great city, and a city of great people, great neighborhoods," he said, calling his beloved Griffith Park, where he hikes almost daily, "the crossroads of Los Angeles."

LaBonge said he will work to expand Griffith Park to the west.

The ceremony, presided over by television host Huell Howser, was attended by several elected officials, including Mayor James K. Hahn. The mayor praised LaBonge for working tirelessly for the district when LaBonge was chief field deputy to Councilman John Ferraro, whose death in April forced last week's special election.

"I can't think of anyone who has paid more dues over the years and served the constituents," Hahn said of LaBonge.

A Silver Lake resident, LaBonge received 62% of the vote in last week's election, easily defeating former Los Angeles Community College Board President Beth Garfield.

The 4th District includes parts of North Hollywood, Toluca Lake, Studio City, the Cahuenga Pass area, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Los Feliz, the Mid-Wilshire area, Silver Lake and Koreatown.

The grandson of a Los Angeles police officer, LaBonge was elected with the support of the police and fire unions.

Many officers and firefighters were in the audience for Thursday's ceremony, which also included flyovers by police and fire helicopters.

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