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ELECTIONS / L.A. CITY COUNCIL : Hall Touts GOP Backers to Win Votes


Los Angeles City Council candidate Lyle Hall--a Democrat and self-described social liberal--is casting himself as a friend of conservative Republicans in the final days of his increasingly heated race against Richard Alarcon.

In mail brochures delivered Friday to several thousand GOP voters in the northeast San Fernando Valley, Hall touts endorsements from well-known conservative Republican political figures including Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and City Councilman Hal Bernson.

"It just shows that politics makes strange bedfellows," Bernson said.

But a spokesman for Alarcon--also a Democrat--attacked Hall as a hypocrite, noting that he once was endorsed by former Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., a liberal Democrat, and was for years a labor union leader--twin anathemas to many conservatives.

City Council races are officially nonpartisan. Although nearly two-thirds of the voters in the 7th District are Democrats, a hefty 25% are Republicans--a group that both Hall and Alarcon have courted.

But only Hall has sent out mailers pitching himself to GOP voters as he battles Alarcon in Tuesday's election to succeed Councilman Ernani Bernardi, who is retiring.

Citing plugs from Antonovich, Bernson and Assemblywoman Paula Boland (R-Granada Hills), the brochures say: "These Republican leaders and organizations know that Lyle is fiscally responsible and courageous enough to cut 'fat' from the city's budget."

The brochures, which include endorsements from the Los Angeles police union and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., go on to say that Hall supports boosting the size of the police force.

Bernson and Boland both said they have known Hall for years and worked with him in community activities. Despite his party affiliation, they said, Hall is the better of the two candidates.

But Boland said she was somewhat wary of his history as president of the city firefighters union from 1976 to 1984.

As president, Hall lobbied for better pay and benefits for firefighters. After voters approved a 1982 City Charter amendment to limit annual cost-of-living hikes for firefighters and police officers, Hall's union went to court and had the limits overturned.

Boland said voters "need to monitor closely" to see if Hall's union background leads him to favor city employee unions if he is elected.

Joel Fox, head of the Jarvis group, said he backs Hall because the firefighters union was one of the few unions that supported Jarvis' property-tax-slashing Proposition 13 in 1978.

"They took a lot of heat for that," Fox said. "Jarvis even mentioned that in his book, 'Mad as Hell.' "

But Leo Briones, Alarcon's press secretary, assailed Hall for hypocrisy, noting that ex-Gov. Brown endorsed Hall in his losing 1989 battle against Bernardi. Briones said that in the same campaign, Hall was the target of a complaint by the state GOP over a campaign flyer sent to Republican voters depicting him as a Reagan Republican.

Hall said he did not ask Brown for his endorsement at a campaign rally at the carpenters union hall. He said the ex-governor was invited by the union and endorsed Hall spontaneously.

Hall said his name was included on a GOP slate mailer without his advance knowledge or permission by a private entrepreneur seeking to profit from it. The state Fair Political Practices Commission, he said, took no action against him in connection with the GOP complaint.

In other developments, campaign finance statements filed Friday with the city Ethics Commission showed that Hall and Alarcon have spent roughly the same amount on their runoff campaigns, although Hall has far more available cash on hand.

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