Tom Labonge to close Griffith Observatory?

This comes from an anonymously witness too lazy to find a bigger blog:

Tom Labonge, my LA city council member and sometime “Mayor of Griffith Park” threatened to close down Griffith Observatory earlier today during a somewhat violent confrontation with observatory staff.

The conflict started when Labonge brought a child cancer victim and their family to the Observatory in a sort of poor man’s “Make a Wish” trip, surprising personnel who had not been notified about the excursion. The party had been chauffeured up the mountain by a firetruck, which parked on the lawn (who needs a valet!), and intended to go to the Planetarium.

But the Observatory has this rule:

* The planetarium show is not appropriate for children under five years of age. The content, visuals, and sound of the program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium are likely to be disorienting and/or disturbing for children under five. Children under five will ONLY be admitted to the first show of the day (12:45 p.m. on weekdays, 10:45 a.m. on weekends). This is to ensure a satisfying experience for all visitors. There will be NO exceptions.

Of course, the cancer kid (or sibling?) was under five, and the first show was over. Rather than enjoying Griffith’s other attractions, Labonge argued for an exception, becoming increasingly angry and hostile. Suddenly, he grabbed one supervisor’s recently heal arm, as if to shake some sense into the woman.  She was so upset/pained she began to cry. Then Labonge threatened to wield his oh-so-awesome power as council member to close the facility (right after it’s $93 million renovation, no less!).

Intimidated by (or just weary of) Labonge, the staff relented and allowed the group into the Planetarium show. No word yet on whether Labonge plans to seek vengeance on those who dared treat him as a regular person, rather than a household name.

Just to be clear, what I want people to take away from this: Labonge is an asshole, with corrupt inclinations. So when he runs to replace Villaraigosa as mayor, vote for someone else.

7 comments to Tom Labonge to close Griffith Observatory?

  • jay

    LaBonge does this all the time according to a friend who used to work G.O. I understand that this most recent incident happened in full view of the public and staff. And the Observatory has cameras all over. I wonder if security reviewed those? It’d be ashame if that ended up on YouTube or in the L.A. Times’ hands…

  • Marilyn

    I hope that the employee who had her arm grabbed by the councilman realizes that he committed battery against her. Touching an employee is a huge “no-no” and she probably has grounds to sue him and the city. At the very least she should talk to her union rep and file a complaint.

    The sad thing is that LaBonge abuses his power by using city resources so frivolously.

  • First we take Griffith Observatory, then we take Berlin. If you try to get in our way, I’ll break your arm too. I don’t care how many cancer kids I have to use along the way.

  • Anonymous

    Let me correct you the way he id”s himself is “Tom Do you know who I am La bonge “former Rec &Parks employee he does this crap all the time

  • moi

    “Corrupt inclinations” no kidding! Also he appears to be under the influence at times….
    flushed skin, anxious, ok to be honest sometimes he seems to be drunk! I saw him at some event dancing with anyone he could grab including several who did not seem to want to be there. He has the beady dead shark eyes of a sociopath upon closer observation. I am glad someone is putting this info out there, he looks ready to pounce, and now I see that DOES pounce, how dare him grab some woman’s arm.

  • In this fight, the people are the most affected.

  • april june

    he squeezes small business persons, wielding the enforcement power of his cronies at building and safety, the city attorney’s office, water and power, parking enforcement, and yes, the police department. thinks he’ll be the mayor one day, supports his thieving fellow council members, as they support him. there should be a federal investigation into all of them, la bonge probably the worst. if you want to do anything people, call eric holder in washington dc and tell him we also have a mafia in los angeles – it’s called the city council.

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