Inglewood City Clerk Yvonne Horton on Friday denounced a campaign "hit" mailer that falsely used her name to castigate one of the candidates in next week's special election for the District 4 City Council seat.
"This is the very thing I ran for office to prevent," Horton said in a press release. "Nothing positive can happen with this type of negative campaign literature."
The mailer, sent to all registered voters in the district by a group calling itself the Political Committee for Future PAC, berates former Councilwoman Lorraine M. Johnson for suing to overturn the results of last spring's elections.
As a result of her successful suit, a judge found one of the contestants, community activist Mike Stevens, was not legally on the ballot and ordered a new election.
The mailer, labeled "City of Inglewood Voter Handbook," features a note purporting to be from City Clerk Horton, along with a positive analysis of Johnson opponent Ralph Franklin and a negative one of Johnson.
The Franklin campaign said it had not sent the mailer and knew nothing about it until it began showing up in mailboxes on Thursday.
Horton acknowledged that she has endorsed Franklin, a labor leader supported by several of Inglewood's elected officials.
But she denounced the mailer as an underhanded way of campaigning and urged voters to "ignore and give no credence to" it. She also issued an apology to Johnson.
"I am not involved, nor would I ever be involved in this type of campaigning," Horton said.
Johnson said the deceptive mailer underscored her reason for running. "We need to change the way politics is done in this city," she said.
Johnson also said she plans to file a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission and to ask the Los Angeles County district attorney's office to investigate.