Chance meeting – the bicyclist’s councilman

labonge.jpgWe often get jaded about the daily grind of running this city. Sure, grand plans and Machiavellian politics rule the day, supported by an inordinate amount of paper-pushing.

But sometimes it comes down to simple things like reaching people face to face.

You gotta admire a councilman who’s out cruising the streets just after dawn, canvassing constituents at random.

Tom LaBonge pulled up next to me at a stop light this morning  in his city car as I was biking down from Griffith Observatory. He’s in jogger togs – a gray sweatshirt – with an aide riding shotgun.

“G’morning,” he says. “You just come up over the hill?”

“No, I’m coming down from the Observatory.”

“Hunh. We’ve been trying to get that back road down the other side reopened. The road’s still damaged.” …

“That’d be great – but honestly, it’s nice just to have the roads on this side reopened. It was a drag when they were closed for so long after the fire.”

“Where do you live?”

“Silver Lake.”

“What street?”

I tell him.

“You’re Tom LaBonge, right?”


“Mack Reed, we’ve met.”

“Oh, yeah, hi, how are ya. So, you think we need bigger bike racks around the neighborhood? Maybe in front of Gelson’s?”

“I’m sure there are a lot of riders who’d appreciate it, definitely. Me, I’m happy just locking mine to a post.”

“What else do you need, you need anything else?”

The signal has blown through a cycle without giving us a green because my bike doesn’t have enough mass to trip the sensor, and the councilman’s car is off to the side.

“Well, it’d be nice to get more green lights.”

We joke about that a bit until someone pulls atop the sensor across Los Feliz and trips the light.

“Yeah, and we gotta get that road reopened. Cyclists like to have loops.”

“Yeah, that’d definitely be great, thanks.”

The light goes green.

“All right then, you take care.”

“You too,” I say. “Thanks.”

And he speeds off toward downtown as I turn for home.

2 thoughts on “Chance meeting – the bicyclist’s councilman”

  1. That’s cool. I saw him at the Blessing of the Bikes at Good Sam Hospital this morning. He rode up on a bike — probably from just around the corner, but gawd bless him he do mean well.

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