Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Raban now threatens Dr. Allan

Am I looking for a fight? Am I looking for a lawsuit? Absolutely not!

Of course we received a letter back from Mr. Agapay. At this point, I am not posting any more letters, unless I am sued. Then the public can follow every word of this case -- every step of the way. Hopefully you will decide this is not in your best interest.

National Investment company is now threatening to sue me for derogatory and defamatory comments.

Whoa -- wait a minute. Let's back things up and let's clean the slate. Let's refocus.

This blog was not designed as a forum for bashing anyone. For proof of what I am saying here, you can visit a previous post - Clean up of blog underway. This post was in response to an inflammatory letter from Paul Fisher, attorney for World Wide Rush. I acknowledged that some comments may have went over board and I apologized and overhauled the entire blog. I went through every post and took out any item I thought was too edgy. I even told Paul publicly to call or write to me if there was anything in the blog that was upsetting.

I did this because I took him seriously and did not want to deal with getting sued. I have not heard from Paul since, so I imagine that we are okay in this department.

BTW -- The items I removed were not specific to World Wide Rush. They were any item that I thought was over the top and too edgy including numerous items concerning Frank Rahban and National Investment Company. I removed all personal items regarding Frank such as business address and phone numbers. I monitor all the comments that come in. Do I post all of them? Absolutely not. There are a lot of nasty and mean people out there. I received Frank's personal home address, cell numbers, etc. and did I post them. Absolutely not. I don't want to provide information that could harm or harass any person. If I posted all that public info, it would set fuel for people to harass Frank. That is not my intention now and was never my intention.

Just as with Paul Fisher, do I take Joe Agapay's letter to sue seriously? Absolutely.

So I am asking Joe to send a letter to my attorney referencing any derogatory or defaming comments that I've said about Frank Rahban and NIC. Yes, I mean that. I will address them and remove them or reword any item if necessary.

So for the record, in the nicest way possible, these are some honest feelings I have at this moment:
  • I feel I was singled out and "forced out" of the place I practiced in for the past 16 years. The timing is too suspect. I had two leases previously with NIC and therefore I was responsible for the rent. When I applied for those two leases, did I have to submit any financial information? No. Mind you, when you have a lease, you are responsible for that contract period. For the last 3.5 years, I've been without a lease and have been paying the doctors in the suite and the doctors were responsible for the lease payment. Now NIC is saying that they were unaware I was a subtenant until they heard it on this blog. Let's just say that is true. So what? After all these years, why now would you demand my financial information to determine if I am acceptable? If you don't have a bone to pick with me, why the formality? Isn't a perfect 16 year track record and even a recommendation letter from your wife enough to satisfy your requirements for authorization? Am I really unauthorized, or is this about retaliation? We believe it is.
  • I direct your attention to the press conference that was held at the foot of 10801. Click here to see the complete conference on video. I direct your attention to what L.A. Fire Department Chief Fry had to say: "They are looking more at profit then at safety of their residents inside". Can't you see why everyone is so upset with you? When the Los Angeles Fire Department issued fire code violations and pleaded with you to take down your sign, did you? No. In fact when the first sign contract expired, you put up another one. Then the LAFD cited you again with fire code violations and put the building on a fire watch. The only reason that sign came down (after 6 days) was becasue of all the negative press Dr. Phil received. If that's not the case, please let me know.
  • What I am stating is nothing more than what Chief Fry has said, "Frank Rahban and NIC care more about money earned vs. the welfare of the 10801 tenants. That's why I stated the blog -- "for safety and justice". If Frank Rahban and NIC are not concerned about the safety and welfare of their tenants, then I was out to start a coalition and I did. There were many of us in the building concerned about our safety and welfare. We were the ones in the building, not you.
Once again, the purpose of this blog is to be a coalition for 10801 tenant safety and justice, not a bashing site to anyone.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Signage Problems: Education the Key

photo from Ban Billboard Blight
Are these two supergraphic's the same?

In a stimulating article from Ban Billboard Blight,

Are Billboard Opponents Overwrought? Do Supergraphic Signs Make L.A. a More Interesting Place? An Architect Answers the L.A. Times’ Architectural Critic

(Click on the title)

an education takes place. It explains the phrase that comes to mind when we think about these oversized tarps that are draped over buildings and structures -- "Enough is enough".

"Enough is enough" is our inner voice telling us what is right and what is good. But how do we put words to paper as a law or ordinance? This will forever be a challenge coupled with the fact that not everyone will see the supergraphics as an ad method gone too far -- But most do. That's why they are outlawing them in the new city ordinance.

All of this attention to this issue is fantastic. Part of the problems here has to do with lack of awareness and education. That's what makes the above article so great.

Get educated. Find out the difference between the Hollywood sign and a pair of knockers that are barely covered pitching a product. There's a huge difference.

In a previous post, we refer to the beauty of architecture in London. There is an education here too! Putting up supergraphics is a sign of disrespect. You would never wrap a tarp around a piece of sculpture or your home? Well, I take that back -- for a price anything can happen. It's called selling out. If one wants to do that on a personal level -- that we can live with -- but when it effects us as a community -- "Enough is enough".

Sunday, March 29, 2009


How can Frank Rahban and the owners of 10801 National kick a doctor out of his office -- a thriving practice he has maintained in the same building for over 16 years? Let's take a closer look so you can understand.

I've given you my suggestions and now you can be the judge. I've decided to reveal a series of legal letters that will help the public understand this injustice. There is unfinished business regarding this story and the truth needs to be told and the owners need to be exposed for their unscrupulous behavior. For the record -- I refuse to play the victim and am not looking for sympathy. The owners were not right to do such a thing, and with this post I can set the record straight and reprimand and expose the folks responsible for these actions.


Retaliation is the only basis for this "eviction" (forced out) and furthermore, the wrong message was sent to the public and the tenants of 10801. The retaliation was in response to this very blog. See left side bar for more details.

Oh yes, we welcome any comments from NIC -- and we will gladly post them. We are looking for a formal apology along with reinstatement to have my office back. Right now Dr. Graff has two empty rooms on account of the owner's actions – and you know it’s not easy filling office space in this current economy.

Media outlets should contact our email address - 10801takesigndown@gmail.com -- We would greatly appreciate help in getting this story out and help direct traffic to this site.

Also you can contact my attorney Kevin P. Hall by clicking on his name. I've given him permission to speak with the media regarding this case.

Here are 7 letters with comments to help explain this unreal series of events. (A signed PDF is available for all of these letters on request)


Letter #1:

February 16, 2009; Agapay letter to Graff

Notice of Default

Via Hand Delivery

February 16, 2009

10801 National Blvd. Suite 580

Los Angeles, California 90064

YOU ARE HEREBY REQUIRED within thirty (30) days after this notice is served upon you either to:

a. Cure the breach by you of Section 10 of the January 5, 2004 Lease you have with National Investment Company ("NIC") , as amended by First Addendum date May 1, 2008, for the premises, consisting of business accommodations, said premises are known and described as 10801 National Boulevard, Suite 580, Los Angeles, California 90064, of which you hold possession. Your breach consists of the unauthorized subleasing by you of all or a portion of the premises to David Allan, D.C.; or

b. To surrender and deliver up possession of said premises to NIC.; or

c. Remove your unauthorized subtenant and his property from the premises. If you fail to do so, legal proceedings will be commenced against you to recover possession of said premises with such other damages as may be allowed by law.

THE UNDERSIGNED HEREBY DECLARES AND GIVES NOTICE that Section 10 of the aforesaid Lease has been breached in that David Allan has stated orally and in writing throughout the blog he commenced publishing and disseminating to the public on January 14, 2009, that David Allan is a subtenant in the premises. The consent or approval of such sub-tenant has never been applied for by you nor granted by NIC or any agent of NIC and David Allan is therefore an illegal subtenant. If you wish to cure this breach by seeking the consent of NIC, you must submit to NIC within thirty (30) days from the date of service of this notice, your written request for the right to sublease to David Allan with a description of the nature of the proposed subtenant's business to be conducted on the premises, a current balance sheet and profit an loss statement for and signed by David Allan together with the written consent and authorization of David Allan for NIC to obtain a credit report on him, and a copy of the proposed sublease terms under which your proposed subtenant would occupy the premises should NIC give its consent to such sublease.

Upon timely submission to NIC of your written request and the additional materials listed about, before commencing its review thereof, pursuant to Section 23 of the aforesaid Lease you will be required to pay NIC such reasonable fee as NIC establishes for reviewing or preparing documents and /or credit reports applicable thereto.

NIC is mindful of its contractual and statutory obligations to not unreasonably withhold approval of your proposed subtenant. Therefore in order to assist NIC in making a reasonable and thorough analysis of whether approval of your proposed subtenant should be granted, the greater the detail provided in his current financial statements, the more likely it will be that NIC will be able to make an informed and fair decision. Conversely if no or only sketchy financial information is provided it would be less likely that NIC will be in position to consent to your proposed subtenant as NIC, through no fault of its own, will not have been provided sufficient information to make an informed decision and would therefore have a reasonable basis for withholding its consent.

Should you fail to timely cure the breach of Section 10 of the Lease, NIC WILL DECLARE A FORFEITURE of the Lease under which you hold possession of said premises, and will proceed to commence legal action for recovery of possession of said premises and for all monies due and owing under the terms of Sections 23 and 26 of said Lease.

February 16, 2009

A Professional Corporation
10801 National Blvd., Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90064
Off 310-470-1700
FAX 310-470-2602

Comments: This letter shocked both Dr. Graff and myself and many others that have the same office sharing arrangement in the building. The biggest shock the fact that they were asking for my financial records. Mind you, I'm not even on the lease or responsible to pay the owners directly. Keep in mind that in two previous leases with the owners, I was never asked to supply them with my financial records. Now they want detailed records to prove I'm authorized? It was clear that the owners were not happy with my blog and wanted to seek retaliation and found a sly technical way to put the squeeze on Dr. Graff to force me out.

Since Dr. Graff did not want to deal with a lawsuit, we decided it would be best for me to move out and he requested a two week extension to make it easier on him so he could have more time to find another occupant. That brings us to the next letter.


Letter #2

March 12, 2009; Agapay letter to Graff

Continued Occupancy by Unauthorized Subtenant

Attorneys at Law
10801 National Boulevard, Suite 400
Los Angeles, California 90064-4184
Telephone (310) 470-1700
Fax (310) 470-2602

E-mail: jma@agapay.com

March 12, 2009


Andrew C. Graff, D.C.
10801 National Boulevard Suite 580
Los Angeles, California 90064

Re: Continued Occupancy by Unauthorized Subtenant

Dear Dr. Graff:

Please be advised that your March 9, 2009 memorandum to National Investment Company ("NIC") is not in compliance with the terms of your written lease of Suite 580 in general, nor does it constitute an authorized modification or satisfaction, partial or otherwise, of the NOTICE OF DEFAULT And THIRTY-DAY NOTICE TO CURE ("Notice") that was dated and served upon you on February 16, 2009.

Your rights and obligations concerning occupancy of Suite 580 are clearly set forth in the written lease and the application of those obligations to the unauthorized occupancy of your suite by David Allan is specifically addressed in the Notice.

You have recently made an oral request for an extension or delay of the 30-day time frame in which the Notice must be complied with in order to avoid institution of legal proceeding under the lease terms. There is no legal basis for such a request, and NIC is satisfied it has, under the Notice terms, given appropriate and adequate time for you to either cure or commence the process of curing your default relating to the unauthorized subtenancy of David Allan.

Your failure to timely cure your default under the lease will result in legal proceedings being instituted against you without further notice and at your further costs.


Joe M. Agapay, Jr.

cc: National Investment Company

Comments: This refusal not to give us a few more weeks was a pivotal point in this legal saga. I sought legal counsel and found an excellent attorney -- Kevin P. Hall. Dr. Graff sent a letter to the owners to give him permission to have Dr. Allan as a subtenant. That brings us to letter #3.


Letter #3

March 16, 2009; Graff letter to Agapay

RE: Notice of Default

Andrew C. Graff, D.C.
10801 National Blvd.
Suite 580
Los Angeles, CA 90064

March 16, 2009


Mr. Joe M. Agapay, Jr., APC
Attorney at Law
10801 National Blvd. Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Re: Notice of Default

Dear Mr. Agapay:

In response to the notice of default that I received, I would like to address some points raised by the request that Dr. Allan leave the premises.

I do not believe that the office sharing arrangement that I have had with Dr. Allan, which the landlord and building representatives have known about for months, constitutes a sublease or breach of my lease. Furthermore, my relationship with Dr. Allan is similar to office sharing arrangements enjoyed by many other occupants of the building, who also share their offices with the knowledge and acquiescence of the landlord and its representatives. In fact, I am aware that Dr. Allan shared Suite 250 with Dr. Nancy Livingstone and Dr. Nelson Santos for approximately 3 years prior to his move into my office under the same sharing arrangement, i.e. without prior written approval from the landlord.

Be that as it may, I am hereby requesting that the landlord agree to the continued office sharing relationship I have had with Dr. Allan. Dr. Allan has practiced in this building for approximately 15 years. In fact we shared Suite 607 in 1996 for some years without any issues or consequences. For the time previously and now, he has been a responsible individual and an asset to have in the office. He maintains a current business and professional license as a Doctor of Chiropractic. His practice is thriving and relocation of his practice will no doubt cause him to suffer a substantial loss of patients and business. My own financial situation remains solid and I remain fully responsible for the rent for my office space.

Although Dr. Allan's relocation will result in a significant loss of cash flow for me, the building is not in any risk of default by me in the payment of rent.

In my conversation with Dr. Allan, we are certain that Lois Agapay, the building manager, has known and has been aware of Dr. Allan's arrangements for the last several years, since his name is on our door and in the locked directories in the garage and in the main lobby. I also understand that Dr. Allan had two different leases with the owners and has demonstrated his obligations to those leases without any consequences. Since I am fully responsible for the rent, singling him out at this time is unreasonable.

Therefore, I believe the refusal of the landlord to agree to Dr. Allan's continued sharing of space in the office can really only be attributed to seeking retaliation for the unrelated disputes that the landlord has with Dr. Allan concerning his blog. As you know, I have not had any part in the blog and therefore I believe it is also unfair to penalize me for your client's own separate and unrelated dispute with Dr. Allan.

Nevertheless, if the landlord insists on disrupting my relationship with Dr. Allan and to avoid legal proceedings against me, he will be prepared to leave within the 30 day period that the landlord has already declined to extend if he is not approved. In light of the information enclosed in this letter, I anticipate that the landlord will agree to my request. Please let me know if Dr. Allan is approved by tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, 2009 or no later than Wednesday, since that is the 30th day from your initial notice.

Thank you for your consideration.

Andrew C. Graff, D.C.

cc: Dr. David Allan

Comments: From the beginning, we felt the owners were acting in bad faith and did not want and/or need to provide financial information to them. Dr. Graff and myself felt that any amount of financial documents were still going to result in a rejection. In a matter of hours we got a reply from Joe Agapay - Letter #4.


Letter #4

March 16, 2009; Agapay letter to Graff

Re: February 16, 2009 Notice of Default

Attorneys at Law
10801 National Boulevard, Suite 400
Los Angeles, California 90064-4184

Telephone (310) 470-1700
Fax (310) 470-2602

E-mail: jma@agapay.com

March 16, 2009


Andrew C. Graff, D.C.
10801 National Boulevard, Suite 580
Los Angeles, California 90064

Re: February 16, 2009 Notice of Default

Dear Dr. Graff:

We are in receipt of a letter of this date that appears to bear your signature. A copy was received mid-day via FAX and what appears to be an additional copy was hand delivered to my office by Dr. David Allan.

This letter commences with an inaccurate and an unwarranted accusatory charge. National Investment Company ("NIC") has made no "request that Dr. Allan leave the premises."
To the contrary, NIC has set out in detail the means by which you and Dr. Allan can, pursuant to the terms of your lease provide sufficient and justifiable information that would, in accordance with NIC's statutory and contractual obligations, compel NIC to not unreasonably withhold approval of Dr. Allan as a subtenant.

After setting forth numerous reasons why the author of this letter believes the "office sharing arrangement" between you and Dr. Allan does not constitute a breach of your lease with NIC the letter requests NIC to advise if Dr. Allan is approved (presumably as a subtenant). In promoting his chiropractic practice in his blog, Dr. Allan has made his subtenancy with you irrefutably clear.

No information of any nature has been received by NIC that would enable it to make a reasonably informed decision as to whether Dr. Allan is or is not an acceptable subtenant. Based on the history Dr. Allan has with NIC as a former tenant that resulted in NIC refusing to any longer enter into a lease with him, and in the absence of any current financial information on Dr. Allan, NIC must conclude Dr. Allan is an unacceptable subtenant.

If the terms of your lease and the cure provisions of the February 16, 2009 Notice of Default are not complied with as of March 18, 2009, an unlawful detainer complaint will be filed against you without any further notice.

Joe M. Agapay, Jr.
cc: National Investment Company

Comments: First, Dr. Graff did authorize the March 16, 2009 letter to Agapay and all the statements are true. The letter advised Agapay that Dr. Graff remains financially responsible and that Dr. Allan has a thriving practice. Agapay chose to ignore that info and falsely claimed that no info was provided. Furthermore, the owners have already concluded that "Dr. Allan is an unacceptable subtenant". It's clear that the owners are conducting this campaign as a way of retaliation against my blog and that no amount of additional info will persuade them otherwise.

This letter falsely claims that you made "no request that Dr. Allan leave the premises." Agapay did indeed demand the "removal" of Dr. Allan in the Notice of Default, which demanded that Graff "remove [my] unauthorized subtenant" or face a lawsuit.

Regarding the history of "Dr. Allan", I never applied for another lease with NIC -- So how did NIC refuse to lease to me? How can you possibly question my ability to respond when I have paid rent for 190 consecutive months without any problems.

Joe Agapay may not be aware that I was planning to leave the building in 2005 when my last lease expired, but His wife Lois did. When I was planning to get another place in another building, I asked Lois for a letter of recommendation. That brings us to letter #5.


Letter #5

Lois Agapay (aka Lois Forshee) to Whom it may concern

Recommendation letter for Dr. Allan

Lois Forshee, Building Manager
10801 National Blvd Suite 601
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 475-5779


To Whom It May Concern:

Dr. David Allan Orenstein has been a tenant in our AIG / Sun America building for well over 10 years. I certainly do not mind offering my name as a viable reference because he has proven to be a good tenant and has always paid his rent on time. If you have any questions regarding this issue -- please do not hesitate to call.


Lois Forshee

Comments: When I was planning to move in 2005 from the building, I got a recommendation letter from my residental landlord and one from my business landlord. In Agapay's last letter dated March 16, 2009, Joe was trying to discredit me, when in fact his wife has recommended me as a good tenant. You gotta love that one. FYI - David Allan Orenstein is my full name and my profile and contact info can be accessed on the left side bar of the home page.


Letter #6

March 18, 2009; Graff letter to Allan

Final letter from one friend and partner to another and refund

Andrew C. Graff, D.C.
10801 National Boulevard Suite 580
Los Angeles CA 90064
phone (310) xxxx-xxxx

March 18, 2009

Re: February 16, 2009 Notice of Default

Dr. David Allan
10801 National Blvd., Suite 580
Los Angeles, California 90064

Dear Dr. Allan:

As you know, I fought very hard to keep you as a subtenant in my office. In spite of my efforts, NIC has informed me that it concluded that you are not an acceptable subtenant. They have further informed me that you must vacate the office no later than close of business on March 18, 2009 or I will be in default of my lease agreement and an unlawful detainer complaint will be filed against me.

Consequently, I have no choice but to demand that you vacate the premises on March 18, 2009. Enclosed is a check in the sum of $361.29 which represents the balance of the rent for the month of March.

I certainly regret this situation but I have done all that I can do to assist you. I wish you well in your future endeavors.

Andrew C. Graff, D.C.

Comments: Although we have a strong case against the owners, Graff's lease declares that the prevailing parties in a lawsuit will recover fees from the losing side. Since I was not on the lease, in the event we lose the case, he would be on the hook for the damages. It was not the risk he was willing to take and I can understand and respect his decision. That's why I moved out -- to protect my friend.


Letter #7

March 27, 2009; Kevin P. Hall to Agapay

RE: Dr. David Allan adv. National Investment Co., etc. et al

1337 Ocean Avenue, Suite B
Santa Monica, California 90401
Tel: (310) 451-6100
Fax: (310) 451-6033

March 27, 2009

BY FAX 310.470.2602

Joe M. Agapay, Esq.
10801 National Blvd. Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Re: Dr. David Allan adv. National Investment Co., etc. et al.

Dear Mr. Agapay:

We represent Dr. David Allan in connection with his wrongful eviction from Suite 580 in the building located at 10801 National Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064 (the “Building”) and your client’s wrongful interference with his business relationship with Dr. Andrew Graff.

Dr. Allan has shared office space in the Building, with Dr. Graff and others, for approximately 15 years. Your client, the landlord National Investment Company (“landlord” or “NIC”), and your client’s agents and representatives, including you and your wife, Lois Agapay, who is an on-site manager for the landlord, have known about and consented to these office sharing arrangements during Dr. Allan’s lengthy tenure in the Building.

In January 2009, Dr. Allan started a blog about the unpermitted and unlawful supergraphic signs erected by the landlord on the sides of the Building. The signs are the subject of a 44-count criminal complaint against the landlord and its agents, including Lois Agapay, and others, in the action styled People of the State of California vs. World Wide Rush, etc., et al., Los Angeles Superior Court case no. 9CA00023A. According to the criminal complaint, the supergraphic signs were erected by your client without required permits and in violation of various municipal code provisions and a City moratorium on off-site signs (Section 91.6201.1 et seq. of the Los Angeles Municipal Code). The supergraphic signs have also been cited by the Los Angeles Fire Department for other violations and they constitute hazards and a “clear danger” to public health and safety. According to the criminal complaint, the signs also violate the Outdoor Advertising Act codified in the Business and Professions Code, §§ 5200 et seq.

Concerned about the fire and building and safety code violations and the lack of information, input, or warning to occupants and visitors to the Building, Dr. Allan also helped to organize the public into the Coalition for 10801Tenant Safety and Justice (the “Coalition”). The purpose of the Coalition is to educate the public about the hazardous and unlawful conditions at the Building and help prepare occupants and visitors to the Building to deal with the threats to their health and safety.

Within one month of Dr. Allan’s organizing of the Coalition and the posting of his blog on the internet, you served a written Notice of Default and Thirty-Day Notice to Cure to Dr. Graff, falsely accusing him of being in breach of his lease and claiming that the landlord had not consented to his office arrangement with Dr. Allan, when in fact you, your wife and the landlord have known of and consented to their current arrangement and Dr. Allan’s office sharing arrangements with other workers in the Building. Your client’s knowledge and consent are evidenced by, among other things, the placement of Dr. Allan’s name and suite number on the lobby directory and name plate on the suite’s front door.

You also threatened to sue Dr. Graff if he did not terminate his arrangements with Dr. Allan and your client subsequently changed the locks to the suite, effectively locking Dr. Allan out of his own office. Your threats to Dr. Graff unlawfully interfere with Dr. Allan’s existing and prospective economic relations with Dr. Graff and threaten both of their livelihoods. Your client’s threats and false accusations to Dr. Graff are a direct result of, and in retaliation for, Dr. Allan’s complaints about the unlawful and hazardous building and health and safety issues. Your client is also no doubt motivated to stifle public awareness, suppress organization of tenants and workers in the Building, and inhibit tenants, workers and members of the public from asserting their rights.

Dr. Allan is incurring the loss of patients, business, opportunities and other damages every day since he has been wrongfully evicted due to your client’s retaliation and interference with his office sharing arrangements with Dr. Graff. We urge you and your client to reconsider the unlawful and ill-advised eviction of Dr. Allan and demand that he be restored to his offices in Suite 580 in the Building. In the meantime, all of Dr. Allan’s rights, remedies, and claims against the landlord and all others acting in concert with the landlord are hereby reserved.

Please direct all future communications to our office and refrain from any communication with our client.

Very truly yours,

Kevin P. Hall

Comments: There you have it. Once again, no pity please for me. That's the last reason for taking this action. I refuse to play the victim and will never ever consider an emotional distress claim against the owners... Now damages for business losses, and exposing the owners for who they really are -- that's another story.

Two options to respond:

Enter a comment directly to this post or

Send an email to: 10801takesigndown@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Patient Letter to Frank Rahban and NIC

"I've been a health care professional for close to thirty years and have been a licensed doctor of chiropractic since 1991. Here is a letter from one of my dear patients" Dr. David Allan, D.C.

To the Owners of 10801 National Boulevard:
Unbelievable! Outrageous! Wrong! Those were my first reactions upon hearing that Dr. David Allan had been expelled from the building where he has practiced for so long. I have been a patient of Dr. Allan's since January of 1994, and during that time, I have visited him in three different suites in the 10801 National Boulevard building. The sudden realization that he is an "unauthorized subtenant" which happens to "coincidentally" coincide with his campaign for safety and his opinion of aesthetic (with which I happen to strongly agree) is unscrupulous and also against the right of free speech in this country.
What's wrong with you? Turning your office building into a giant freeway billboard adds to the visual pollution of the city and is low class thing to do. Ignoring fire or building codes is criminal! What motivates you to ignore the laws of the land? Knowingly compromising public safety is unconscionable. How dare you put people at risk to line your pockets?! You should be extraordinarily ashamed of your contemptuous behavior.
Would you like to look at the back side of one of these signs all day long? Would you like to feel your safety is compromised? Do you want to increase the possibility of greater damage to your income property should there be a fire? Please consider your super-graphic billboards as an experiment that didn't pan out and move on.
Donna Holden

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ms. Usher speaks at L.A. City Planning Commission

Here's another video clip from the March 18th L.A. City Planning Commission hearing.

Jane Usher had some very important points to bring to the table and that's why we are posting it.

Jane Usher presents her position
on Signage to the City Planning Commission.

Barbara Broide comments on new sign law

Barbara Broide, a staunch anti-billboard activist weighs in on the new sign law just passed by the L.A. City Planning Commission.

An email from Barbara:

Christine Pelisek's article captures fairly well the sense of the City Planning Commission meeting today. The one item that she missed and might have included was that there was the addition of some new language into the ordinance that was worked out since last week's hearing. (The CPC's subcommitte on this ordinance met yesterday.) The most important addition/change was/is the requirement that for every new ditigal or off-site sign allowed in a sign district that there be a mandatory REDUCTION in signage (within an adjacent "sign impact area" (which would be defined as part of a sign district's language). The creation of a sign impact area broadens the area where signs might be reduced from the earlier draft which would have allowed (but not mandate) a reduction inside of the sign district (where there might not be any signs or few in number) or provide for the establishment of a community betterment program to do the removal of grafitti, trash, etc. (which would have been trading one blight for another!).

We pushed very hard to have the ordinance address the need to reduce existing signage. Dennis Hathaway of Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight provided staff with language to do so recommended by the pro bono attorney with sign expertise working with CBBB from Minnesota. The LA ordinance as passed doesn't do enough reduction, but some is better than none. The ordinance did not specify the exact amount of reduction other than it be greater than 1:1 - for every one squre foot of new sign area that goes up, more than one square foot of existing sign area must come down. (We know that a digital sign is worth many times the space of a conventional billboard, so there needs to be a ratio of equivalent values kept in mind when this is applied. Whether there is any hope to expand this provision or seek additional measures when the ordinance goes to PLUM or City Council remains to be seen.

Other recommended amendments to the ordinance:

--limitations on roof signs (I don't know whether this amendment was adopted for certain)
--defining some of the notification and size requirements for Comprehensive Sign Programs. There was an added finding, "The size, illumination, height, projection, location and street orientation of proposed signs within 500 feet of a residentially zoned lot are compatible with residential uses."
--administrative civil penalties: requirement to provide more notice of the public hearings. expanded notification of the public hearing to inlcude property owners and occupants within 500 feet of the illegal sign. {However, note that they did not adopt language requiring notification of the local neighborhood council.}
--right of private action: it is being limited to the owners or occupants of real property within a 500 foot radium of the subject property. (We wanted others to be able to bring action in addition to the neighbors should the city fail to enforce the law.)
--sign districts: in addition to the sign reduction requirement, there will be language that says that only the demolition of existing, lawfully permitted off-site signs count toward the mandatory sign reduction. (This is necessary because in the past, some outdoor advertising companies, when faced with the requirement to remove signage, have taken down illegal unpermitted signs and had them "count" when they never should have been there in the first place.) A new finding was added for sign districts: "The proposed special sign regulations will further the applicable goals, objectives and policies of the urban form and neighborhood design chapter of the Framework Element of the General Plan."
Within 6 nonths of hte date of the new ordinance's adoption, staff are being instructed to adopt guidelines to review the proposed sign districts.
Only those sign districts (2) that had been heard before the CPC and approved as of today, shall be subject to the existing code (ie--grandfathered in). All other proposed sign districts will be subject to the new ordinance. (This is a significant win for our side.)

The issue as to whether or not to include a provision allowing the City to revoke the business licenses of sign companies that repeatedly violate the sign regulations or do not pay their assessed civil penalties has been referred to the City Attorney for advice.

Within one year after the ordinance goes into effect, a task force will be convened (representing diverse points of view) to review the impact of the ordinance, propsed necesasry amendments, study the feasibility of regulating digital on-site signs (now banned), and to study the feasibility of requiring billboard registration with Building and Safety (which I believe is already a power granted to B & S as part of the inspection program).

Mike Woo introduced additional language that is being added into the purpose of the ordinance (rather than as additional findings which is what Commissioner Woo had sought). He also requested language that would specify that the ordinance applies to the digital signs allowed by the billboard settlements so that new digital signs would/could not be erected outside of sign districts (that conversions would only be allowed in sign districts). He asked for language referencing the possibility that communities, within their community plans could use special use districts to create SIGN FREE DISTRICTS (off-site sign free), sending a very clear message that this is very much a possibility and tool that can be used for this purpose. Those sitting near me (and I) did not think that Commissioner Woo's amendments had been adopted but others with whom we spoke afterwards thought that they had.

Commissioners Woo, and Kezios have been the voice for good legislation at the hearings since this issue first appeared on the agenda of the CPC, under the leadership of Chairperson Usher. I have no doubt that if Ms. Usher were still the Chair of the CPC that the final product would appear significantly different on a number of important points. At the recent CPC meetings, Commissioner Cindy Montanez joined Commissioners Woo and Kezios asking very directed questions to address shortcomings in the ordinance. She joined Woo and Kezios in voting against the final product today.

One result of today's meeting may be that there be some challenge related to Brown Act compliance because the CPC did not allow testimony to be taken today at the hearing. The Chair indicated that since this was the FIFTH hearing on the topic (unprecidented) and since they had already heard a great deal from those interested, that they would not be allowing testimony. However, they introduced changes in the ordinance --changes none of us had seen or heard in advance AND copies of the language were not distributed until after the vote when the CPC had moved on to another item. Some believe this to be a breach of the Brown Act. I suspect there will be follow up on this.

I would expect that the LA Times will have a story on this in Friday's paper as one of their reporters was there today. (There was a not so well appreciated article on signage in today's paper by an architecture critic.) Also in the audience were members of a film team that is working on a documentary on signage (internationally) as well as the KCET producer for SoCal Connected who did the earlier three segments on signage and may be doing a fourth one.


I suggest that individuals write to Commissioner Mike Woo, Father /Commissioner Spencer Kezios, and Commissioner Cindy Montanez to thank them for their leadership on this issue and for their efforts on behalf of the City. If you write to them in care of the Commission's Executive Assistant James Williams, they will get your notes: james.k.williams@lacity.org. Ask him to forward your message to each of the three Commissioners.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keep those letters coming...

Here's a few more letters and the first one was also sent directly to JOE AGAPAY, ESQ.

Dear Dr. Allan,

It is outrageous that the building owners and manager have reacted so arrogantly to your exercising of your legal rights to speak out against their actions. Mr. Agapay should know better since he passed the Bar. Have these people no conscience or regard for others? Apparently they don't care about the tenants enough to listen to their concerns and they do not care enough about the law to actually follow it.

It is appalling that they have acted so illegally in 1) putting up the signage, 2) keeping it up despite legal orders to take it down, and 3) evicting you for pointing out the facts. The wheels of justice may take awhile to turn, but they will eventually turn against the unjust acts of a few greedy and self-centered individuals.

I am glad you are practicing in another space, I would not want to go the the 10801 building for any reason. It seems the owners of the building understand the power of money, so perhaps the power of others in the building leaving out of their own accord will leave the owners with empty real estate as a consequence of their actions.

A Sincere Supporter


Hi David
I'm glad that you are ok. It is very sad that the owners of the building at 10801 National consistently attempt to twist the laws of our land in their favor. Anyone with any common decency should know that a sign should not be covering up the entire side of a building's windows. It is ironic that the owners forced you to move out just because you used your First Amendment right to free speech while they erroneously claim First Amendment rights to advertise commercially.

It's a shame that these commercial property owners would chose to tie up our courts with ridiculous claims of First Amendment rights when clearly all they really care about is the money. Otherwise, why would they have forced you to move out if they were so keen on the First Amendment?
Also, David, I wanted to let you know that I have put my house up for sale. The looming supergraphic visible from my house is one of the reasons I am selling.
take care,
A Supporter

L.A. Approves New Billboard Law

From the L.A. Times Today -- see Billboard regulations would ban most digitals and restrict supergraphics.

It appears that this law leaves the door open to sign districts that will continue to plague the city with legal problems.

Owners retaliate against Dr. Allan

We are getting mail from concerned citizens about the blatant retaliation by Frank Rahban and National Investment Company. "HOW CAN THEY DO THIS AND GET AWAY WITH IT". Send us your letters -- see below for email.

A letter from someone in the coalition:

Hello David,

I feel that it is unfair to you that the Management of 10801 would evict you for your advocacy.

Your website was informative and useful to all of us and I am sure it had and effect towards getting that stupid sign removed. It is ironic that you are in fact evicted for exercising your freedom of speech rights... while the World Wide Rush... is able to steam roll over you to exercise their freedom of speech.

We are in a pivotal point of defining where rights of free speech legitimate and where they are abused in favor of the profit margin. But it may come down to the reality of what corporate America is really all about. I wonder what would have happened had we been more aggressive with the Tropicana/Pepsi People directly rather than getting caught up in the issue of fire safety. The fire safety strikes me as the tail wagging the dog.

Like the AIG Bonuses getting all the press when they were only 1/10 of 1% of the money spent. It just shows you how much things can be spun in the wrong direction if you have enough power. Of course I'm concerned with fire safety and stood out in the parking lot with the Fire Chief as they observed the building and wondered out loud if they could see anyone inside the building with the banner obscuring the windows... they decided that they probably couldn't.

But I'm sitting inside the building every day and am feeling the sensation of a "visual waterboarding"... And that is not what we paid for. Anyway, good luck in the future and again, sorry about that eviction thing... that was not nice.

Signed -- a supporter.


Our best offense now is to exercise your right to voice your opinion and concerns for this injustice.

Send us your letters and we will post them.

Send them to 10801takesigndown@gmail.com.

Also cc: Joe Agapay (attorney for the owners) jma@agapay.com and tell them you are outraged.

We will keep you anonymous unless you tell us that you don't mind having your name included in your letter. Let Frank Rahban and National Investment Company know that these actions are despicable and an outrage.


As this post is entered, the City Planning Commission is prepared to vote on the billboard and sign regulations in Los Angeles today.

In the meantime, we are playing catch up and have not posted for a week due to Dr. Allan's eviction from 10801. We will go into details and let you know what is really going on at 10801 in just a moment, but first...

Last week on Wednesday, March 18th, the City Planning Commission met at City Hall to determine the final policy regarding the regulation of signage in Los Angeles and to also hear from the public.

Anyone that wanted to speak on this topic went before the commissioners to give their pitch. Everyone was given 2 minutes and a timer was set to keep the meeting moving. We recorded a few notable speakers and we will present one today from Dennis Hathaway, President of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight.

Dennis Hathaway presents his position
on Signage to the City Planning Commission.

Now the rest of the story...

Dr. David Allan also came before the commission, but painted a completely different story. In an emotional statement, Dr. Allan described how this saga has turned ugly and dirty.

After more than 16 years of practicing at 10801 National Blvd. -- Frank Rahan and National Investment Company wrongfully had Dr. Allan "EVICTED" from the building.

Frank knew that he could not stop Dr. Allan from blogging and expressing the disgust from the coalition against their actions, but FRANK RAHBAN and National Investment Company knew that they could seek retaliation and use their power to have Dr. Allan removed from the building -- basically on a technicality. Details will be provided in due time.

What National Investment Company did is a total outrage and injustice against Dr. Allan and this is not the end of the story.

Here is the public statement by Dr. Allan that was presented to the commission:

My name is Dr. David Allan and I am a chiropractor from Los Angeles and the spokesperson for the Coalition for 10801 Tenant Safety and Justice.

10801 National Blvd. is the site where the owner, Frank Rahban, National Investment Company and World Wide Rush slapped up a hazardous supergraphic across the entire side of the building that sits up against the 10 freeway facing a prominent West Los Angeles neighborhood. The sign serves no one except the advertisers that want to throw their product pitches down our throats and pad the pockets of the disingenuous building owners and sign companies that could care less about the visual landscape of our city, and in our case -- disregard warnings from the Fire Chief putting all the occupants at 10801 at a serious safety risk.

Along with this injustice, another one is occurring today as I speak. Today is a sad day -- Since reporting the news at 10801 and exposing the disregard the owners have for the tenants and the community on the blog "www.10801TakeSignDown.blogspot.com", today is the last day I am allowed to practice in my suite.

For the sake of retaliation, Frank Rahban and National Investment Company has singled me out as a whistle blower and last month gave the doctor I share my space with -- a 30 day default notice to have me removed from the premises. After 16 years of not missing a monthly rent payment -- that's over 190 consecutive months of paying my rent on time with a thriving health care practice at this location, the owners have deemed me not qualified to practice in his building.

The message here is not to feel sorry for my predicament, but to send a message to the City that safeguards are needed to help protect every individuals right to speak up for themselves without the fear of retaliation from building owners and big business with deep pockets that would not think twice or hesitate to ruin your career or displace you from your livelihood.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Judge's ruling slaps L.A. City in the face

Here is a summary of what happened in federal court yesterday -- See L.A. TIMES ARTICLE.

Here's how we see it...

This ruling is a blow to L.A. City Officials and an injustice to the citizens of Los Angeles.

L.A. needs to get their act together and put this to the voters. We are the ones that have to live in this mess. We are the ones that are harmed by greedy building owners and sign companies that intend to pollute our landscape.

None of this takes away from the safety hazards that came along with the signs at 10801. And none of this takes away from what we know at 10801:

FRANK RAHBAN (Owner of 10801) along with National Investment Company disregards his responsibility to his tenants.


Here's the bottom line:
  • Without warning to the tenants of 10801, FRANK puts up this monstrous ad covering the entire side of the building -- COVERING THE BIG BEAUTIFUL WINDOWS AND OBSTRUCTING THE VIEW FOR ALL THE TENANTS THAT WERE AFFECTED. When the tenants signed their lease because of the beautiful view, did they think for a second that FRANK would cover up their view with a plastic tarp?
  • Without warning to the tenants of 10801, FRANK puts up this monstrous ad covering the entire side of the building -- COVERING THE WINDOWS AND CREATING A FIRE HAZARD. With the windows covered, all the occupants are at risk. This impedes fire and emergency personnel from accessing the building and rescue operations in case of evacuation. Also the tarp will trap in toxic gases in the event of a fire -- Smoke has been known to be the killer in many fires.
  • Without warning to the tenants of 10801, FRANK puts up this monstrous ad covering the entire side of the building -- POLLUTING THE LANDSCAPE AND ESCALATING THE PROLIFERATION OF THIS TRASH AROUND THE CITY. Do you think most citizens want to see ads at every turn? HEY FRANK -- WOULD YOU LIKE ONE OF THESE POSTED RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR BRENTWOOD MANSION?
  • Without warning to the tenants of 10801, FRANK puts up this monstrous ad covering the entire side of the building -- BLIGHTING THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. This ad faces a West Los Angeles residential neighborhood. HEY FRANK -- DID YOU WARN THE NEIGHBORHOOD ABOUT THE TRASH THEY WOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT EVERYDAY?
  • Without warning to the tenants of 10801, FRANK puts up this monstrous ad covering the entire side of the building -- FRANK HAS DEFACED A BEAUTIFUL BUILDING THAT HAS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE. The famous architect, Edward Durell Stone designed 10801 National and he would be rolling over in his grave if he saw what Frank has done to the building. FRANK INSTALLED FLOODLIGHTS ACROSS THE TOP OF THIS BUILDING AND THUS DEFACING IT.
  • Ask Frank when was the last time the windows were washed? These are fixed windows that cannot be opened. They are filthy and have not been washed in over 3 years.
  • Paint can be seen to be flaking off the tops and needs a good painting. Ask Frank to budget some of that cash he's making on that trashy hazardous tarp and put some much needed improvements into the building.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hearing Set in Federal Court 03/09 RE: Sign Co.

THIS COULD BE HUGE: U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins will hear an extremely important case -- Monday at 10AM. This can affect the city's control to regulate signs throughtout the City of Los Angeles.

Here are the Details:

Monday, March 16, 2009

United States Government Secret Service:
Roybal Federal Building - Courtroom 680

255 E Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 894-4830

We had a conversation today with a source at the L.A. City Attorney's office and have a small preview of this hearing...

There will be 120 plaintiffs -- WOW seems like a coalition (individuals from the various sign companies including World Wide Rush) facing the City of Los Angeles and challenging the constitutionality of the Los Angeles Sign Ordinance.

One of the components of this hearing (4 cases will be heard in all) is a contempt of court issue filed by World Wide Rush (WWR) and this directly relates to the goings on at 10801 National.

You may have wondered why it's been so quiet over at our location??

You got it -- WWR and the owner (Frank Rahban) are waiting to see how Judge Collins will rule on this issue. From our understanding, a tentative ruling will be set forth by the judge and soon after we will get an official ruling either later that day or sometime during the week.

OR... Just drive by 10801 later in the week and if you see a tarp over the building and the windows, you can be certain Judge Collins ruled in favor of the sign mongers \*^).

To access information on the ruling you can call (213)978-8120 or (213)978-8100.
Folks at these numbers should be able to provide you with information or direct you to a source that can access information on the ruling.

This could produce some interesting drama -- Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Outraged By Tree Cutting? Things You Can Do

Here's a great news story from Ban Billboard Blight

Outraged By the Cutting of Trees on Public Property to Enhance Billboard Visibility? Here Are Some Things To Do

See before and after pictures on the side bar.

On Feb. 25, the Los Angeles Times published an article, “Vandals Cut Down Nearly Two Dozen Trees That Blocked View of Billboards.” The only plausible explanation for the cutting of these trees, along the rights-of-way of the 10 and 405 freeways, was to give motorists a clear view of “supergraphic” signs draped across multiple stories of an office building and the wall of a shopping mall parking structure.

A spokesman for Caltrans, the state agency that owns the land, said he was “annoyed” by the tree cutting and that Caltrans was investigating the fact that the company that put up the sign, World Wide Rush, had not obtained the required state permit for the sign. This tepid response to criminal destruction of public property was compounded by the spokesman’s admission that Caltrans had been aware of the tree cutting for almost two months. It apparently never occurred to anyone at the agency that publicizing the fact could alert people who might have observed suspicious activity, and help lead to the apprehension of those responsible before the trail turned entirely cold.

But is this outrageous criminal act actually being investigated? And if not, why? Should we let our public servants shrug at the possibility that someone believed it was okay to trespass onto public land and destroy public property to enhance the profits of a sign company, a property owner, and a corporate advertiser?

Send a message to the Caltrans director and the state legislators who represent the areas where this crime took place. Use a descriptive subject line like “Investigate Tree Cutting for Billboards!” Ask for an immediate, vigorous investigation, with the establishment of a reward for information leading the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

To paraphrase a former president, WE CANNOT LET THIS STAND!

Caltrans Director Will Kempton:

28th District Senator Jenny Oropeza

47th District Assemblyperson Karen Bass:

42nd District Assemblyperson Mike Feuer:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

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