She Backs Bernardi : Hall Mailer Photo Angers Widow of Councilman Finn

Times Staff Writer

Anne Finn, widow of Los Angeles Councilman Howard Finn and co-chairman of Councilman Ernani Bernardi’s reelection campaign against Lyle Hall, Tuesday angrily denounced a campaign mailer, which she said implies that she backs Hall.

The flyer, mailed last week to voters throughout the 7th Council District, pictures the Finns shaking hands with Hall and states that they “were good friends and worked together to make the northeast Valley a better place. . . .”

“I am highly resentful of Lyle Hall’s misuse of Howard’s and my name--and picture--in a deceitful campaign mailer,” Finn said. “Shame on Lyle Hall for sending out something so completely misleading.”

Small print below the caption states that the “use of the photograph is not meant to be an endorsement.”


Finn said she was offended by the mailer because the photograph implied that she supports Hall. She said she told Hall more than a month ago that she supports Bernardi.

‘Rotten Thing to Do’

“I know political races sometimes cause candidates to stretch the truth,” Finn said. “But the fact remains--even in a political race--this was a rotten thing to do.”

The flyer is one of about 20 mailers that Hall planned to send during his runoff campaign to unseat Bernardi, 77, who has served on the City Council for 28 years. Hall, 49, is on leave from his job as a Los Angeles Fire Department captain and is a former president of the firefighters’ union. The runoff will be Tuesday.


Hall said the picture was not intended to be an endorsement, but rather a reminder that “the last time we had a representative that cared was when Howard Finn was there.” Hall first met and became friends with the Finns in the early 1980s and often sat with them during social functions, he said.

He said he does not think that the flyer should damage his friendship with Anne Finn because his “feelings of affection and caring” for her “were not damaged by her endorsement of Ernie.”

The mailer criticized Bernardi’s unsuccessful drive in 1986 to repeal the City Council’s decision to eliminate the northeast Valley’s 1st Council District, previously represented by Howard Finn until his death in August, 1986. The plan divided the territory between Bernardi and Councilman Joel Wachs.

Bernardi and Wachs fought the plan by filing a lawsuit, which was dismissed. Then Bernardi initiated a referendum drive to repeal the change in district lines, but failed to gather enough signatures.

Bernardi said the mailer is an “example of the flood and torrent of mailers with lies and distortions. I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I think it will hit a new low.”

Bernardi also has criticized Hall for emphasizing endorsements from political leaders outside the district, such as state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles). He said such a tactic shows that Hall has failed to gain local grass-roots support.

Endorsement Slate

But about six hours after Anne Finn’s news conference, Hall announced a slate of endorsements that he said proves Bernardi wrong.


“All of them are local people, across the board,” he said of a group of black community leaders who gathered at the Pacoima Community Center. “But we felt our earlier endorsements were a good mix too.”

The leaders who endorsed Hall Tuesday included Richard Packard, chairman of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Black Americans Political Assn. of California; Jake Flukers, an executive board member of the NAACP; community activist Gwen Gatson, and the Rev. Braxton Berkley, associate pastor of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church.

Times staff writer Amy Pyle contributed to this story.