It appears Jon Mueller is at it again. Los Angeles city officials confirmed that they were investigating the appearance of a new supergraphic on the surface of Mueller's Westwood Medical Plaza. The building has been ground zero for the city's battle over billboards and supergraphics, mural-size ads for movies and other products.

Dave Keim, the city's chief of code enforcement, said that complaints had been filed with the city regarding the appearance of a "supergraphic-sized" advertisement for the movie "Pearl Harbor." The city is trying to determine whether Mueller had a permit for the advertisement.

The latest ordeal might have nothing to do with Hollywood mural artist Mike McNeilly, whose Liberty mural a painting of the Statue of Liberty, a jet fighter, a veteran's cemetery and the Declaration of Independence is gone. McNeilly couldn't be reached for comment, but a version of his Liberty mural has appeared on the western face of 8899 Beverly Blvd.

The whole building brouhaha started in 1996 when Mueller allowed the installation of a supergraphic for the Touchstone Pictures release "The Rock." ("Pearl Harbor" also is a Touchstone Pictures film.)

Laura Lake, president of Friends of Westwood and a candidate for City Council, said that many area residents think Mueller is in cahoots with The Walt Disney Co., Touchstone Pictures's parent.

"I think it's the same thing it's always been, which is a movie billboard contract," Lake said. "If there was any ambiguity before, it's gone now. This is an outlaw billboard."

Mueller declined to comment when reached at his Orange County office.

David Keim, chief of code enforcement for the city's Building & Safety Department, said Mueller does not have a permit for the supergraphic and that the city will issue him an order to comply.

Disney officials said they had secured the proper permits for the advertisement. Keim disputed that claim and said an order to comply dated March 2 would be delivered to Mueller. Mueller would then have five days from the date of the order to comply or face misdemeanor charges. Keim said the offense carries penalties of a $1,000 fine and/or 60 days in jail.

Digging the Grove

Even as Nordstrom is pulling back on expansion plans around the country and as the Nordstrom family considers selling its chain the company seems fully committed to its 28th California store at The Grove at Farmers Market.


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