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City of Los Angeles sued over bid to bar patriotic mural
The Associated Press ^ | 10/23/2001 | The Associated Press

Posted on 10/23/2001 7:16:04 PM PDT by grimalkin

LOS ANGELES (AP) The city of Los Angeles was sued Tuesday for allegedly violating an artist's free speech rights by ordering him to take down a giant patriotic mural displayed on an office building after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Artist Mike McNeilly put up the nearly 10-story-tall banner on the Westwood Medical Building, with the owner's permission.

Entitled "9-11," the flameproof canvas had images of a New York City firefighter, an American flag, the Statue of Liberty's face, the World Trade Center and the words "God Bless America."

But on Sept. 21, the city ordered him to remove the mural, alleging he had violated 24 ordinances related to commercial signs.

"They combed through the statute book and then threw it at Mr. McNeilly," said Dan Tokaji, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which filed the suit. "If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that our most basic values are most at risk in times of crisis ... they are especially important now."

However, the city attorney's office said McNeilly is anything but an abused patriot.

"It is a beautiful piece of art," spokesman Ben Austin said. "We support his right to display this art, just not illegally."

Austin said McNeilly "took advantage of the national tragedy to further his financial interests by putting up this mural."

McNeilly recently replaced the mural with one that includes the face of a woman Marine, the Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center and the words "Liberty and Justice 9-11."

Still, he remains accused of violating a citywide anti-blight ban on new billboards. The ACLU suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, calls on a judge to order the city to allow the mural to remain and to strike down the blanket prohibition on new signs.

It isn't the first time McNeilly has clashed with officials. He was charged with misdemeanor counts in 1999 after partially painting a 120-foot-high mural of the Statue of Liberty on the same building. When authorities stopped him from completing it, he added the word "CENSORED" to the sign.

The case was dismissed earlier this year. McNeilly has a lawsuit against the city pending in federal court.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/23/2001 7:16:04 PM PDT by grimalkin
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To: grimalkin
Glad I live in LA. (/sarcasm)
2 posted on 10/23/2001 7:23:17 PM PDT by X-Servative
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To: grimalkin; Clinton's a liar
Can someone post a picture of this? It sounds great. Also, a great opportunity for freeping LA!
3 posted on 10/23/2001 7:25:23 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: grimalkin
"They combed through the statute book and then threw it at Mr. McNeilly," said Dan Tokaji, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which filed the suit. "If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that our most basic values are most at risk in times of crisis ... they are especially important now."

What, are they trying to get some brownie points after their "God Bless America" school sign dispute? I'm not buying.....

4 posted on 10/23/2001 7:28:30 PM PDT by dubyagee
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To: grimalkin
billboard? Man, Oh man! They treat this like it is some sort of advertisement. What is so different from this form of artwork vs. the paintings celebrating the Olympics that were all over the freeways? This is yet another good reason for me to bail this disgustingly whacked out state! I only thank God I am not living in LA, but the creepy crawlers are out there and might attack my small town at any moment! YIKES!
5 posted on 10/23/2001 7:28:43 PM PDT by MistyCA
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To: dubyagee
My thoughts exactly..... I ain't no fan of Los Angeles city, but if the ACLU is against them, then maybe I'm not!
6 posted on 10/23/2001 7:30:23 PM PDT by AgThorn
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To: WIMom
Here is his website
7 posted on 10/23/2001 7:31:15 PM PDT by StayoutdaBushesWay
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To: WIMom

8 posted on 10/23/2001 7:33:10 PM PDT by StayoutdaBushesWay
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To: grimalkin
just saw it. didn't like it. those of you who know me, know why.
9 posted on 10/23/2001 7:33:24 PM PDT by goodieD
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To: StayoutdaBushesWay
Not much as art, but lovely as propaganda. What IS the city's problem? Can't they find some gangbangers to prosecute? Leave this guy alone. Sheesh!
10 posted on 10/23/2001 7:34:14 PM PDT by ArcLight
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To: StayoutdaBushesWay


11 posted on 10/23/2001 7:37:36 PM PDT by ArcLight
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To: ArcLight
Oops...those came out a little on the large side...sorry.
12 posted on 10/23/2001 7:38:41 PM PDT by ArcLight
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To: StayoutdaBushesWay
This needs big time freeping! We got Madison, WI (aka, Berkley Midwest) to reverse it's decision on banning the pledge in public schools and now the recall effort is underway. Come on LA! If we in WI can do it, you can too!
13 posted on 10/23/2001 7:42:20 PM PDT by WIMom
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To: X-Servative
Now you know why the terrs never target L.A. Most of the residents are card carrying communists in sheeple's clothing.
14 posted on 10/23/2001 7:42:46 PM PDT by Nuke'm Glowing
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To: broomhilda
**PING**
15 posted on 10/23/2001 7:46:49 PM PDT by TwoStep
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To: ArcLight
Please don't apologize. It helps to see the beautiful detail on the art. I used to wonder how some prints could have so much detail until I saw the original painting. It was twelve FEET by nine FEET.
16 posted on 10/23/2001 7:48:58 PM PDT by Shooter 2.5
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To: grimalkin
bump. Sue em unto the ends of the earth.

Sue the decision-makers personally!

17 posted on 10/23/2001 7:50:55 PM PDT by FReethesheeples
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To: grimalkin
Just drove past there about an hour ago, and the female soldier mural is now up on the same building. Same size as well, about 10 stories, I'd guess.

Bootyist

18 posted on 10/23/2001 7:50:58 PM PDT by bootyist-monk
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To: Nuke'm Glowing
Easy. More conservatives in LA and the valley than the media would like you to believe.

The liberals just happen to be a lot louder.

19 posted on 10/23/2001 7:53:27 PM PDT by bootyist-monk
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To: ArcLight
Would someone please let said artist know that there are 50 Stars on the flag of the United States of America.

Playingwith font sizes... cool!!! I'm an artist too!

20 posted on 10/23/2001 7:53:40 PM PDT by 69ConvertibleFirebird
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To: grimalkin
Sorry folks, this guy is a fraud, with several strikes against him.

The wall is on a building in the Westwood district, on Wilshire Blvd. facing the Federal Building. Three or four years ago he put up an advertisement for a movie. He had no permit, and tried to get none. It was taken down after weeks of hassle, notably when the movie left the theater circuit.

A few years ago he tried it again. And Again. He was charged, and while charges pending he put up a patriotic, uncommercial poster regarding veterans (you can see it from the VA cemetery), wrapped himself in the flag, and screamed 1st Amendment. He was convicted, appealed, and some deal was made to allow this non-commercial poster to remain.

But then he put up a poster for the movie "Pearl Harbor", which he was paid for. Complaints came, he cried patriotism.

About five months ago he, again without permits, put up an ad for a kiddie tv show on Disney or something. Again complaints came, and the local govt. made noise about lawsuits.

Since 911, while under pressure by the govt. he put up the two posters shown currently on his website. However, if you drive by the site, you can still see that the bright pink poster for the kiddie show is behind the patriotic one, peeking around the edges, ready for its future exposure. Here's an article recounting much (but not all) of the story:

McNeilly Link.

This link has a picture of the cheesy kiddie show ad of which I am speaking.

I like his patriotic, and I'm sorry if this info lets you down, but I'm a local and this guy has ticked me and a lot of other people off.

21 posted on 10/23/2001 8:00:38 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird
Perhaps it's a WWII era flag.
22 posted on 10/23/2001 8:01:02 PM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: dubyagee
ACLU: you can carry a sign and especially artsy things that say G-d Bless America, but if you say it a public building that is a controlled setting like a football game or a court trial, or kids in school that's a nono. So all kids need artful signs that say GBA.
23 posted on 10/23/2001 8:16:26 PM PDT by rebdov
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To: Constantine XIII
Yes, he could have used a 55 year old flag with all of the rest being current events. Not knocking the picture. It's very nice. I would hope that he wold be accurate too.

Now that I think about it, another post said that he did a huge poster of the movie Pearl Harbor. It's probably a flag from that movie. Still, though, it's not our current flag and everythig else in the picture is from current events.

24 posted on 10/23/2001 8:16:53 PM PDT by 69ConvertibleFirebird
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To: grimalkin
Here is a little known secret!!

Those earthquakes are just Mother Earth trying to brush all those freaks off her back!!

25 posted on 10/23/2001 9:34:52 PM PDT by Nitro
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird
Good eye, I thought I was one of the few who noticed stuff like that!

I am especially aware of the 48 star flag as that was the "Official US Flag" at my birth!!

26 posted on 10/23/2001 9:37:59 PM PDT by Nitro
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To: Constantine XIII
Perhaps?

It was the flag up until 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union!!

Get "The History Channel!!!"

27 posted on 10/23/2001 9:40:12 PM PDT by Nitro
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To: mystomachisturning
McNeily has been putting up this mural for years...it is definitely NOT a billboard - after 40 years in L.A I know what a billboard is. it is art on private property, privated-financed and beautiful.
28 posted on 10/23/2001 9:47:47 PM PDT by Republicus2001
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To: Republicus2001
Well...I say the freepers ought to get busy and freep the mayor and the city council.
29 posted on 10/24/2001 12:04:29 AM PDT by MistyCA
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To: grimalkin
WTG McNeilly! Win one for the victims!
30 posted on 10/24/2001 12:14:30 AM PDT by brat
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To: brat
Los Angeles is *covered* with pro-Mexican graffiti art of all kinds, and no one does a thing about it. What the heck, they're already part of Mexico as it is.
31 posted on 10/24/2001 7:45:41 AM PDT by ikanakattara
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To: grimalkin
But on Sept. 21, the city ordered him to remove the mural, alleging he had violated 24 ordinances related to commercial signs.

Some Los Angeles ordinance violations committed by Mr. McNeilly:

* Failure to pay "administrative fees" to local DemocRats.
* Failure to include beatific representation of Hillary! smiling down upon the peasants.
* Failure to include a full ethnic mix in artistic represntation.
* Failure to properly describe the plight of the exploited workers.

32 posted on 10/24/2001 8:03:05 AM PDT by steve-b
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