Protesting local landlord Frank Rahban’s use of supergraphics at numerous buildings around the city, about 30 homeowners---mostly from West LA---demonstrated outside Rahban’s Brentwood home yesterday morning. And in quite a brilliant move, they brought a miniature Tropicana supergraphic with them, plastering it on the side of a truck and parking the vehicle outside Rahban’s home. A Tropicana supergraphic, of course, was at one point on Rahban’s building at 10801 National Blvd. One protester’s sign said it all: “Today, we bring to you & your street what you have brought to our neighborhood 24/7.” Given the early morning hour, the event drew attention in this affluent neighborhood: Joggers stopped to ask what was going on, drivers slowed down to gawk. Whatever your feelings about billboards and signs, the craftiness and shenanigans on the part of both the pro-billboard crew (SkyTag owner Mike McNeilly fudging the number of his supergraphic buildings) and the anti-billboard group (this crew showing up in Brentwood with a Tropicana ad) are pretty incredible to witness.
More information from the event:
---The protest was held in front of 251 North Bristol Ave. According to the group, Frank Rahban lives at this residence (he also may have other homes in the city). Overall, it was a pretty quiet and peaceful event. Demonstrators marched in front of Rahban's home for about an hour, carrying signs.
---Short video sets the scene. At this point, people were just setting up. About 30-35 people showed up.
--Most of the protesters were local homeowners, many of whom live near one of Rahban’s buildings. Joseph Mehrez, one of the protesters, talked about living across the street from a supergraphic at a Rahban building at Pico and Overland. “We have to see it every day,” he says. Here's another example: The photo below shows a local residential street with a view of the Tropicana supergraphic: (This photo was taken at another billboard event.) UPDATE: This is Glendon Street, in the 2800 block, looking south.
--The event was organized by Barbara Broide, President of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners, and a Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight board member. "We are here to tell Frank Rahban that it’s not ok to change the character of our neighborhoods and our homes [with the supergraphics]."
--Dr. David Allan, the guy who started that blog chronicling the supergraphic at 10801 National, was also at the protest. He’s no longer a tenant in the building, but that’s a whole other story (you can read his side of the events that led to his departure on his blog). A lawyer for Rahban tells us that Allan didn’t want to submit financial information that would have helped qualify him as a subtenant, and that Allen wasn’t unfairly targeted, as he alleges. Allan continues to maintain that he was targeted because of his blog.
--At 8:45, Rahban exited his residence, driving out in his Mercedes. You can see video here (third video down). "Shame, shame," yelled protesters. Rahban pulled out a document-- a letter from his attorney that had to do with Dr. David Allan’s departure from the building—and handed it to Karen Foshay, a KCET reporter. UPDATE: KCET is doing another documentary on billboards and signage in the city.
---Given that it was Sunday morning, there were numerous joggers, dog walkers, and residents out on the street. Protesters told many of the passerby that Rahban was under indictment, referencing that 23-count criminal complaint filed against Rahban.