Tom LaBonge kicked my ass thought I’d been getting well back into shape as I’ve made my every-other-day hikes through Runyon Canyon with ease. So when I decided to join my neighbors from around Council District 4 for Tom LaBonge’s annual Fall Equinox hike, I thought it would be breeze. Boy was I wrong.

Councilman LaBonge’s invitation to constituents reads, “Our hike will be lead by park rangers up the trail to Mount Hollywood, a gentle 1.5-mile hike.”

As Griffith Park’s highest peak (1,640′), thats not “gentle hike”. Sure, I was passed by a couple dozen elderly residents, but I’m guessing they were on steroids.

Apparently Sol Shankman (pictured) makes this hike every day, even at the age of 92, which has rightfully earned him the title “King of the Mountain”. (LA Weekly recently covered the City’s recognition of his birthday at the Observatory)

When I finally arrived at the peak, at least 75 others had congregated, including park rangers, “hot shot” fire firefighters, and infants. One guy cheated and drove a Segway all the way to the top (yep, I was jealous).

This also marked the first time I’d hiked in Griffith since the fires devastated it. Maybe it was because of the downpour earlier in the weekend, but the soil wasn’t as charred black as I’d expected. Of course, this same rain had left the sky clearer than it had been in months, allowing for a panoramic view of all of Los Angeles, including the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.

This is the view from where I first pooped out. By the time I’d caught my breath, all these people were past me.

I think this is Tom LaBonge’s signature pose, as he always tries to get to the highest vantage point to get a snapshot of the constituents at his events. (I’m starting a rumor that right after this pic was taken, Sol Shankman knocked Tom over and took the perch, proclaiming himself once again, “King of the Mountain”.

6 thoughts on “Tom LaBonge kicked my ass”

  1. I was at the FoLAR award dinner last year and I have to say it was pretty funny to watch Antonio and Tom try to out smile each other.

    And people say actors are narcissists.

    That being said I don’t have an issue with LaBonge I just think his permagrin is funny. I’ve never seen him out of political character. Though you know when I ran into Gil Garcetti in shorts talking about his book. It was weird. He was so happy to not be a politician anymore he told me to paraphrase, I’m never wearing a suit again. Weird isn’t it?

    Gil is a great photographer to go to go completely off topic.


  2. If you ever watch the city council meetings on cable, he’s a hoot there as well. I remember back last spring as he was grilling some LADOT person on Los Angeles bridge trivia. I can’t speak for his effectiveness as a councilman, but I’d love to have him be at any party that I’m at.

  3. Did Tom LaBonge actually hike to the summit this year? I recall that last year some folks were miffed because he was dropped off at the top (instead of actually walking the walk as it were).

  4. Y’know, I didn’t actually see Tom hiking up.
    But, to be fair, whenever I did see him he was busy wrangling people to get things going – so, it may have been a cheat, but the dude wasn’t sitting around eating a hotdog.

    As for his effectiveness as a Councilman – I’m not savvy enough to know if he gets things done, and I’ve heard very mixed opinions on the subject, but I do appreciate his effectiveness at making his part of Los Angeles feel like more like a community than just a segment of a large city.

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