A group of Holocaust survivors, Councilmember LaBonge and other government officials assembled at Pan Pacific Park to open the new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. The museum, the oldest of its kind in the nation, had previously rented space for its educational exhibits. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Paul Koretz, Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky, Assemblymember Mike Feuer and other government officials also welcomed the new, permanent space, which was partially built underground to avoid obstructing park space.
"We have to encourage people to come to learn and remember the story of the 6 million Jews who murdered because of hate," Councilmember LaBonge said. "This place is not just about mourning, but about inspiration. People can be inspired by the stories of survival. Children can become inspired to move the world past unreasonable hate."
Fifty years ago, Holocaust survivors sought to create a place in which the Holocaust narrative could be shared. The opening of its permanent space ends a five-year process to establish the museum's new home. Museum of the Holocaust Board Members applauded Councilmember LaBonge's effort to rally support around finding a permanent home for the historic exhibits.
The high-tech structure was created by award-winning architect, Hagy Belzberg. The building boasts one of the largest green roofs in the nation and mixes technologically-advanced exhibits and authentic artifacts, including a concentration camp uniform. Admission to the 27,000 square-foot museum is free, and attendance is expected to soar to 50,000 per year from the 13,000 average of years prior.
For more information, please visit LAMotH.org.
Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and Councilmember Tom LaBonge assembled the final meter to complete the installation of the 10,000 new coin and card, solar-powered parking meters on Thursday. Not just a move towards a more energy-efficient City, the new parking meters will provide more convenient, reliable service for drivers and more revenue for the City.
“I’m a huge proponent for easy parking in the City and the coin and card meters simply make parking easier,” Councilmember LaBonge said. “The easier the meter is to use, the better it is for motorists and the better it is for the City. I’m interested in having more of these meters throughout Los Angeles.”
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) found the new meters generated $230,000 in one month. That places the meters on target for garnering nearly $3 million in funds--nearly triple the initial LADOT projections.
Nearly 37% of the City's meters have been upgraded to accept credit cards. Aging coin meters were subjected to vandalism and failure. Also, old coin meters used 40,000 AA batteries per year.
The Consul General of Israel and Councilmember LaBonge welcomed the new Consul General of Egypt on Friday in Council. The event came after President Hosni Mubarak signed a presidential decree moving the Egyptian Consulate to Los Angeles. Members of the Los Angeles Sister Cities organization, of which Tom is the President, also attended. Tom joined Consuls General Jacob Dayan and Dr. Hesham Elnakib to speak in City Council about this historic day.
"It's an honor and a privilege to welcome the Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Los Angeles," Councilmember LaBonge said. "I'm very happy that today's tremendous celebration was joined by Consul General Jacob Dayan of Israel. I think today's welcome was as warm as our famous Los Angeles sun, and I hope Dr. Hesham Elnakib enjoys his new post."
Though the event was lighthearted, the Consuls General remarked about the gravity of the meeting between representatives from Israel and Egypt. "A small amount of sacrifice from both sides could mean a double victory for both," Elnakib said of the Israel-Egypt relationship.
Both countries have cities that are Sister Cities of Los Angeles: Eilat has been a member since 1959 and Giza has been a sister city since 1989.
Members of the LA Fire Department, Police Department and California Highway Patrol lit up Hollywood for Tom's annual 10-4 Day Parade on Monday. The group caravaned up Hollywood Boulevard in vintage police cars to salute Los Angeles public safety personnel. Special guests included radio host KRTH’s Shotgun Tom Kelly and actor Larry Wilcox, co-star of the late 70s TV show, "CHiPs."
“The parade is intended to be fun, but it does carry a serious message. Let’s appreciate our public safety officers and all they do to protect and serve the public,” said Councilmember LaBonge.
The group paid homage to beloved television cop, Broderick Crawford, with a brief ceremony at his Walk of Fame star. The actor played CHP Chief Dan Mathews in the popular series Highway Patrol from 1955-59.
This year’s event was dedicated to Art Gilmore who was the narrator of all 156 episodes of Highway Patrol. He passed away Saturday, September 25, at the age of 98. Gilmore was a broadcast professional and actor since the 1930’s and became known as Hollywood’s number one pitchman. He was remembered as a great Angeleno who will be deeply missed by his fans worldwide.
The search for Omar Armando Loera, the sole suspect in the murder of Valley Village resident Cheree Osmanhodzic, intensified this week when Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Tom LaBonge unveiled a digital media billboard donated by Clear Channel that displays a wanted poster for Loera.
“I urge the community to be watchful,” Councilmember LaBonge said. “Omar Armando Loera has been known to frequent Studio City, East Los Angeles and Harbor City. Be aware and if you see this man, call the LAPD North Hollywood Station.”
On July 24, Osmanhodzic’s fiancee, Adam Culvey, saw the suspect leaving the couple's home and chased him for blocks before giving up. Upon his return, the couple’s house on the 11500 block of West Riverside Drive was on fire. Osmanhodzic’s body was found inside. The 34-year-old had been brutally stabbed.
Omar Armando Lorea, also known to use the aliases “Taz” and “Arturo Benitez,” was released on early parole from state prison prior to the murder. He is described as a 5-foot-9-inch Hispanic male with large tattoos of Aztec women on both shoulders. To view photos of Loera and the wanted poster, click here.
Tom urges the community to help bring justice for Osmanhodzic’s family and peace to the Valley Village community. Anyone with information related to the case is urged to call detectives at the LAPD North Hollywood Station at (818) 623-4016. A $50,000 reward will be offered for information leading to the suspect's arrest and conviction.
For more information, visit America’s Most Wanted in-depth report at amw.com
Tom is pleased to announce the launch of the 2010 Get to Know (Your Wild Neighbors) contest. The Get to Know program teaches youth about animals and nature through art. Contest winners are featured in the Get to Know annual calendar and are celebrated throughout the year.
"The Get to Know program is so important in the City of Los Angeles. I hike Mt. Hollywood every morning, and there's nothing like connecting with nature to instill a sense of pride in our green spaces and to appreciate the beauty of our 'wild neighbors,'" Councilmember LaBonge said. "There's no time like the present to encourage our children to consider their 'wild neighbors' so they can begin to make wise decisions today that will protect our earth tomorrow."
Artist Robert Batemen began the Get to Know program in Canada, collaborating with zoos and schools to engage Canadian youth in environmental issues. This year marks the second year the contest will be held in the U.S., promoted by California's own wildlife artist, Wyland.
"I'd like to encourage teachers to use the free teaching resources on the Get to Know website," Tom added. Get to Know's website has creative tools to teach children about the environment.
For more information, please go to Get to Know's US site.