Councilmember LaBonge joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Council President Eric Garcetti today in announcing the city's new curbside Christmas tree recycling program.
There are several options for disposing of your tree after the holidays. You can cut it into pieces and place it in your green bin. If your Christmas tree is too big for that, simply place the tree next to your green waste bin on collection day.
You can also drop your tree at designated parks and fire stations. For more information on those locations, please click here. After collecting the trees, the city turns them into bark chips that are then available for residents to use in their gardens.
Scores of hikers, community members and astronomy buffs joined Councilmember LaBonge at the Griffith Observatory last night to view a spectacular sunset on the Winter Solstice.
Dr. Laura Danly of the Observatory explained that, during the recent $93 million observatory restoration project, the planners placed seven stone and bronze rays on the lower West Observation Terrace. Each line points toward a notable sunset or moonset position on the horizon, including the point where the sun sets on the winter solstice.
Councilmember LaBonge lined the crowd up around that line after her brief presentation.
December 21st is the shortest day of the year. From this day forward, the hours of sunlight each day begin to increase again.
Councilmember Tom LaBonge, USC oncologist Dr. Christy Russell and City Controller Wendy Greuel voiced their opposition to new federal guidelines on breast cancer screening at a press conference on the 1st Street steps of City Hall this morning.
The new guidelines, released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), recommend cancer screenings every two years beginning at age 50 for women at average risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS), however, recommends annual mammograms for women aged 40 and over. Councilmember LaBonge, chair of the City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee, is calling for the city to review the new guidelines and report on the impact that the new guidelines could have on the health of women in Los Angeles.
This issue is very close to the Councilmember’s heart because his wife Brigid, a breast cancer survivor, learned of the illness through a mammogram when she was in her 40s.
“A mammogram saved my wife Brigid, the mother of my children,” Councilmember LaBonge said. “It is absolutely imperative that women get annual screenings.”
Dr. Russell, oncologist at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, said that studies consistently show that mammograms reduce cancer deaths among 40- to 50-year-old women by 15%. “Mammograms are the only screening tests that prevent deaths from breast cancer,” Dr. Russell said. “The cost to California will be much greater to treat women with advanced cancer than to screen them and find cancer in its pre-invasive stage.”
Brigid LaBonge recounted her story. At age 43, she was told she did not need a mammogram until age 45. Her gut instinct told her to request a mammogram the following year, regardless. The mammogram detected stage 3 breast cancer.
"I think about the pain that my family could have avoided if I had been given a mammogram when I was 43," she said.
Controller Greuel commended Councilmember LaBonge for raising the issue: "The facts are clear, the more women who get mammograms at a younger age, the fewer deaths there are from breast cancer. Regardless of the recommendations from the federal Preventive Services Task Force, it is critical for all women over the age of 40 to get annual mammograms."
Added Kellie Hawkins, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women: "Far too many women are suffering from breast cancer and we want to encourage women to continue following the current guidelines while working with their doctors to evaluate what is best for them."
Also on hand at the press conference were Brigid LaBonge, Added Kellie Hawkins, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women.
The Council District 4 staff was out in the district over the weekend opening stuck storm drains to relieve street flooding. More than an inch of rain fell on Los Angeles over the weekend, causing traffic snarls and minor flooding in the district.
Councilmembers LaBonge and José Huizar celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between Los Angeles and Mexico City today in a ceremony at El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Park. The Councilmembers were joined by Juan Marcos Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico, and Octavio Pescador, Mexico City Sister City President and Chair. In honor of the anniversary the officials re-dedicated a sign commemorating the long and lasting relationship between the two cities, which share a common bond of culture in two of the world’s major metropolitan areas. “So much flows between the cities of Los Angeles and Mexico City – both culturally and commercially – that it’s important to celebrate the very human connections between us,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who is also President of Los Angeles Sister Cities, Inc. “I look forward to another 40 – or 400 years – of close ties between our cities.” Added Councilmember Huizar: “Throughout our history as Sister Cities, we have celebrated the things we share in common – art, language and culture – and during that time Los Angeles has learned as much from Mexico City as Mexico City has learned from us. We are in essence, familia, and this re-dedication tells me that those familial ties will continue for years to come.”
Councilmember Tom LaBonge and chainsaw artist Casey McCaughn unveiled a new sculpture today of legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones at the Travel Town Transportation Museum in Griffith Park.
Ms. McCaughn who carved the sculpture from the trunk of a single redwood tree, worked the entire piece on site over a period of three months during the summer and autumn. The five-foot-two-inch local artist carved the two-story-high statue using a chain saw. She also bore all costs of the creation and donated the statue to the city. The Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioner accepted the donation of the statue on Dec. 9. “It has been an amazing process to watch this sculpture evolve from the trunk of a huge tree over the past several months,” Councilmember LaBonge said. “Casey has done a wonderful job and made a significant contribution to the Travel Town Museum.” The statue is the newest addition to the Travel Town Transportation Museum, which strives to preserve and celebrate the railroad heritage of the American West. Casey Jones became an American legend when he died saving a trainload of passengers and crew from a train crash in 1900. Joining Councilmember LaBonge were Ms. McCaughn and students from Our Mother of Good Counsel School in Los Feliz.
Councilmembers Jan Perry and Tom LaBonge reminded Los Angeles parents today that letters to Santa will be answered this year.
During a visit to Operation Santa Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, the Councilmembers met with and thanked U.S. Postal Service employees who have volunteered to reply to children who send letters to Santa Claus, via the North Pole. The replies include sending the requested gifts for needy children.
“Because you are volunteering to give your time to the children of Los Angeles, you are saying, ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,’” Councilmember LaBonge said, quoting the classic holiday film, “Miracle on 34th Street.” “The work you’re doing is in the true holiday spirit of giving.”
The U.S. Postal Service had announced changes earlier this year to its Operation Santa program, which answers children’s letters to Santa. It was reported in some places that the letters would go unanswered. The Councilmembers and postal service want to assure the public that in Los Angeles, postal employees have indeed volunteered to answer the letters on their own time.
"I applaud the commitment of our local Postal workers. They are embracing the spirit of giving back this holiday season and offering joy to the young people who write to Santa each year," said Councilwoman Jan Perry.
Besides the many postal service employees who answer letters to Santa, District Manager Ed Ruiz, Senior Plant Manager Daryl West, and Los Angeles Postmaster Mark Anderson were also on hand.
"We are very proud of our employees, who care about the communities they serve," said Los Angeles District Manager Ed Ruiz. "As they have been doing for nearly 100 years, postal employees will once again be volunteering their own time to reply to letters addressed to Santa."
More than 1,000 revelers celebrated the holiday season on Friday night at Council District 4's Annual open house. Pink's Hot Dogs dished up free franks for hours from the parking lot of Councilmember LaBonge's field office on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.
"This event gets bigger and bigger each year," Councilmember LaBonge said. "It's a beautiful community event for Toluca Lake, and draws folks from all over the Valley into this great shopping village." In keeping with tradition, Channel 4 weathercaster Fritz Coleman broadcast the lighting of the neighborhood Christmas tree live. The Chamber of Commerce choir sang Christmas carols and Santa - flanked by his elves - rode up and down the streets in a horse-drawn sleigh. There was even a little bit of snow, even in Southern California.