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A John McCain sign? Permission denied. Twice.

October 20, 2008 |  3:55 pm

Before_2 All Lloyd Greif wanted when he hung a John McCain banner from the wall around his Hollywood Hills home was a father-son project to show his teenager how democracy works. What he got instead was a tussle with the local bureaucracy and a spate of vandalism that led to a darker corner of the democratic process.

It began when Greif, an investment banker, and his son, Ben, then 14, hung a large McCain banner just before Super Tuesday. Within days, someone tried -- and failed -- to tear it down. Next came a notice  from L.A.'s Department of Building and Safety saying the sign violated the local zoning ordinance.

Fixed_now Even as Greif appealed, a process that cost $404 in filing fees, vandals threw paint and eggs at the sign, then sliced it apart.

"It was a very distressing and disturbing sign of the times," Greif said. "This guy is a hero, which is rare out there. To see this kind of disapproval is very sad."

Though Greif's zoning appeal was denied, he hasn't removed the banner. Instead, he and his son spent the weekend working on repairs.

"Mission accomplished," Greif wrote in an e-mail. "Or, to put it another way, I guess you could say we're beaten but not bowed."

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo credits: Lloyd Greif