To the editor: Agree with him or not, outgoing Councilman Tom LaBonge, rightly called "L.A.'s biggest fan," has comported himself with dignity during his long career serving Los Angeles as a top aide to Councilman John Ferraro and Mayor Richard Riordan, and the councilman representing the 4th District. ("Tom LaBonge: 40 years of memories from L.A.'s biggest fan," op-ed, June 24)
Sure, he's been the city's biggest cheerleader. But at times during his tenure, L.A. needed an avuncular leader to enthusiastically market the city, especially to Angelenos. Moreover, he has correctly understood the relationship between Nederlander and the residents in the hills whose lives are directly impacted by concerts and which company is best equipped to manage the Greek Theatre (in addition to being the best financial option for the city of Los Angeles).
LaBonge is also the last bridge to all the legendary, historic figures who sat around the horseshoe when L.A. began to be recognized as a first-class city.
Somewhere up there, through the thick haze of cigar smoke, Ferraro is giving his former right-hand man the touchdown signal.
Howard P. Cohen, North Hills
To the editor: Opposition to a baseball field in Griffith Park, contrary to what LaBonge says, may have nothing to do with disliking baseball. In fact, those opposed may also like apple pie, their moms and the American flag.
What they may oppose is the increasing encroachment upon virgin land used by wildlife and native vegetation to be replaced by a water-wasting grass field to be maintained by his taxpaying constituents.
Conservation is also an American value.
Michael Kohn, Los Angeles
To the editor: I note with sadness LaBonge's retirement from the City Council. LaBonge, like his friends and fellow Angelenos Tom Bradley, Ray Bradbury and Huell Howser, has become a legend in his own time.
One of the practitioners of "retail politics," LaBonge knew that fixing potholes is a big issue if those potholes are in front of your home. He loves Los Angeles Union Station and is a supporter of my society's efforts to obtain, protect and share its historic artifacts.
Now, whenever I look up at the Hollywood sign, I see LaBonge's broad smile.
Tom Savio, Pasadena
The writer is executive director of the Los Angeles Union Station Historical Society.