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Sparks flew during Wednesday night’s sixth and final 4th District candidate forumbetween incumbent Councilmember Tom LaBonge, and Stephen Box andTomas O’Grady, all seeking election to serve the 4th District.
“Dude, you’re a city councilman,” O’Grady chided LaBonge for having a presssecretary on his staff.
In a packed Park La Brea Activities Center, with others sitting in a nearbyoverflow room watching onscreen, the hour-long forum followed a ballotmeasures overview courtesy of the League of Women’s Voters.As he has previously stated, Box said Los Angeles is facing a “crisis ofleadership.
”O’Grady, who described himself as a “terrible politician” but a good publicservant, followed suit and said the city has failed all but a few.
Seeking re-election, LaBonge started by giving a “shout out to rec room” andnoted he was instrumental to closing Park La Brea streets to cross traffic alongwith former Councilmember John Ferraro, and pointed out that the subway iscoming down Wilshire Boulevard.
Stressing his experience, LaBonge said he “knows how to get things done”before saying he was instrumental to the development of Pan Pacific Park,Farmers Market, and The Grove.
Topics covered during the evening consisted of rent control, getting Los Angelesoff coal by 2020, and the city budget.
All candidates noted they are in favor of rent control and Box said he is the onlyrenter among the candidates and pointed out that under the current system, ParkLa Brea tenants pay $1,500 too much annually that could be saved under rentcontrol.
During another candidate lashing, O’Grady charged that during LaBonge’swatch, money has been wasted noting that the average Department of Waterand Power employee makes $70,000 a year.
“Under LaBonge, the city was giving money away like drunken sailors,” O’Gradysaid.
The forum, sponsored by the Park La Brea Association and the Mid City WestNeighborhood Council, was the last opportunity for voters to hear all threecandidates collectively discuss their platforms before the Tuesday, March 8 election.
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