San Marino Residents Divided Over Dog Waste Controversy

Citizens of the affluent San Marino community are at odds about mayor who tossed dog poo on neighbor's yard

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Surveillance video showing San Marino mayor Dennis Kneier tossing dog feces onto a neighbor's yard may have at first seemed amusing to some, but now the so-called "Poopgate" incident could cost Kneier his job. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 12, 2014. (Published Thursday, Jun 12, 2014)

    Some residents of the small affluent community of San Marino rallied behind their mayor Thursday, despite calls for his resignation over a dog poo controversy that drew a capacity crowd to a city council meeting last night.

    Mayor Dennis Kneier was seen on surveillance footage leaving a plastic bag of dog feces on neighbor Philip Lao’s walkway last week, prompting criticism and a earning the mayor threats of a lawsuit and a fine issued by the city.

    But many locals say the issue has been overblown.

    "I would say only in San Marino, I mean it's such a safe beautiful place to live and thank god these are our crises in the city, right?” Andrea Patzakis said.

    Others said a simple fine should suffice.

    "Just ask the mayor to pay a big fine to the victim because throwing poop away is not very legal, it's not very moral," San Marino resident Mary Chen said.

    Kneier apologized for the incident and said that it was a moment of bad judgment on his part.

    "I have apologized to the property owner on which the bag ended up. It was with great regret that I did that and I apologize for that, and I have made it clear that it would never happen again," Kneier said at Wednesday night’s meeting.

    The mayor said he has received a littering citation from the city and he plans to pay the $1000 fine.

    "I know the mayor, he's a great citizen, a great champion of San Marino so I think it's all about nothing,” Bill Farley said. "These are things we all live with - they're minor things in the community so I don't think there's any reason for him to step down."

    But, the neighbor whose lawn was targeted with the poo said he isn't convinced and may pursue a lawsuit against the mayor.

    Lao, the homeowner, feels Kneier targeted his lawn because Lao opposed the mayor’s proposal to build a nearby dog park.

    "I have spoken to a lawyer, and because you are acting as the mayor, OK, I will be suing the city and you personally, you know, for harassment," Lao told Kneier at Wednesday night's meeting.

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