"No Shuttle," said a sign at one house. "LaBonge continues to endanger lives in our canyon."
The councilman looked at me and said, "OK, Mr. Councilman. That could say Lopez."
Hey, I've got critics as a columnist. Would it be any worse if I were a councilman?
"Pop question," LaBonge chirped. "What just closed in Pomona?"
The correct answer, which eluded me, was the L.A. County Fair. And the point? LaBonge wants to put a Ferris wheel on Hollywood Boulevard, so at the top of the arc, riders can get pictures of the Hollywood sign without driving up and bothering residents.
"I'm thinking outside the box," he said.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of Wattles Gardens Park in Hollywood, LaBonge gave me some inside advice. If you see someone with a camera, be sure to get your hand on the scissors.
"So you don't get cut out" of the picture. "That's a tip for you."
He had more sage advice as we were leaving.
"Turn around and wave at everybody," he said. "You gotta wave."
Apparently I didn't do it emphatically enough, because LaBonge grabbed my hand and waved it for me.
The councilman pushed me to the podium three times to make speeches during a 10-event, 14-hour day. I don't like those hours, but hey, the public hates both journalists and politicians, so it would be like a lateral move. And council members have up to 25 people working for them full time, which is 25 more than I have.
I found myself thinking up campaign slogans.
Believe in Steve.
I'll cut sloth, not ribbons.
But would LaBonge endorse me?
"No," he said without hesitation. He's endorsing Carolyn Ramsay, his chief of staff.
It's for the best, I think. Why try to solve problems when I've got the luxury of merely pointing them out?
I'll let you know when LaBonge turns his column in, but I'm hoping it's a snooze.
If I'm not taking his job, I don't want him taking mine.