Blog: Tom LaBonge Responds To Runyon Canyon's Missing High Bench

"I don't remember where I come from but I think it was a kinder place..." Celine - Shorty & Morty: Hollywood @ Steak

I think what I love about my city most is that citizens can make differences by contacting their elected officials. The outcome may not be exactly as one would like but I am extremely grateful for the phone call I got this morning from L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, himself.

Last week I wrote about the concerns many local hikers had in regard to the removal of the beautiful bench - 'High Bench' - which is considered a landmark by most of us having traversed these hills for many moons. The tourists that come from around the world have sat on this same treasure - dangling their feet while meeting locals. To the readers who contacted the Councilman - your emails and calls got some answers.

Although, our beloved bench will not be returning due to an assessment by Recreation and Parks risk management - benches will be reinstalled within two to three weeks.

I know that LaBonge loves the history of this city and tries to preserve it whenever he can because I know Tom and his wife Brigid. Nothing could be done to stop the removal. Perhaps hikers - aka as the people - weren't clued in by Park and Recreation because we can make a difference in decisions. We've lost a lot of our history in Los Angeles and continue to do so.

Yes, it's wonderful news that we're getting new benches in place but did we need to remove them in the first place? Risky business? Hikers have sat there for decades and gleefully climbed onto 'High Bench' - which was seated in cement. Don't stop signs take longer to be errected or replaced? Perhaps the kid in me allows the feelings the movie Big gives us as the aged - but youthfully spirited viewpoint - is permanently removed. It appears that our stop signs or signals take years to be considered a risk matter - usually many deaths later - before being erected or replaced. The cost of replacing those benches might have been better spent on potholes. I love priorities.

We will always have photos of what was and even a short film: Shorty & Morty: Hollywood @ Steak to preserve memories of 'High Bench' - it's not the same.

The back end of Fryman off of Mulholland has a trail that has been damaged and affects the animals as much as it does the hikers. Parks and Recreations is its own little town - maybe it needs a new sheriff. 

I thank Tom LaBonge and staff for both writing and calling. Tom assured me he understood the loss we feel and I believe him. 

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E.M. Fredric January 11, 2013 at 08:10 PM
From Wendy Cutler: Wendy Cutler - Thank you Eva-Marie for posting this. But do we know exactly why the high bench was removed, and whose decision that was, how it went down, which meeting? Love to know that. I agree with you, benches up there are important, but really, you are right when you say that the high bench was so amazing because it did transport you back to being a little kid. The angle was perfect, the height just so, and the magical wood and green color retro and cool!n They'll probably put those plastic benches up Such a shame.
Lissette Cruess January 31, 2013 at 04:03 AM
I couldn't believe it when I saw it missing today. Sharing my sadness with some friends led me to creating this community page in hopes that we could enjoy it just a little bit longer. Please post your own story or pictures, it would be so nice to give it life, for others to see how amazing it truly was... https://www.facebook.com/OneGiantGreenBench
Lissette Cruess January 31, 2013 at 04:05 AM
It was indeed magical! I absolutely loved it how our feet would dangle as we stared out into the beauty of our city. Please like our little page and share it with the world. Any of your pictures or stories are welcome!! https://www.facebook.com/OneGiantGreenBench
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