'He Set a Standard' : Bradley, Members of Council Eulogize Finn

Times Staff Writer

At a memorial service in a packed City Council chamber, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley on Thursday eulogized Councilman Howard Finn, who died this week, as "a symbol for the kind of people who ought to aspire for public office."

"Howard Finn was all about achieving the result, ignoring the bombast or the claim for credit," Bradley said. "He simply wanted to get the job done."

About 450 people filled the chamber as Bradley, Council President Pat Russell and Councilman Joel Wachs paid tribute to Finn. Many others heard the remarks over speakers in City Hall offices

The 45-minute service in the council chambers was followed later by a private burial at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills.

Stricken With Pain

Finn, a 68-year-old councilman who had represented the northeast San Fernando Valley's 1st District since 1981, died Tuesday from a ruptured aorta, a few hours after being stricken with chest pains while chairing the council's Planning and Environment Committee.

Thursday, as Finn's wife, Anne, and other family members sat in the front row of the chamber, Bradley praised Finn as "a shining symbol in his lifetime of what all of us aspire to when we take up the task of elective office."

Wachs, with emotion in his voice, said that "Howard Finn gave politics a good name. He set a standard of personal conduct by which all of us should be judged."

Russell eulogized Finn as "a man who was deeply interested and highly committed . . . to both the sweep and detail of what makes a city work for its people."

'A Man of Balance'

"Howard Finn was a man of balance, a man who in a quiet and calm way took his position, and then led with a strength based on high intellect, reasoned facts, compassion and a strength of conviction that commanded respect from all he touched."

The ceremony, conducted by Rabbi Stephen Robbins of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, was attended by a number of current and former city officials, including Finn's predecessors on the council, Louis Nowell and Bob Ronka, and a number of other dignitaries, including industrialist Armand Hammer and labor leader William Robertson.

Also present were many of the developers and homeowners whose land-use disputes Finn sought to mediate each week as chairman of the council's Planning and Environment Committee, as were many of Finn's Valley constituents.

The council's Charter and Elections Committee will meet Wednesday to discuss whether to fill Finn's seat by appointment or by special election. Among those mentioned as possible successors are Anne Finn, Ronka and Al Avila, a former Finn aide who now works for Councilman Richard Alatorre.

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