Residents of a Southern California city that has been making national headlines after the mayor was seen leaving a bag of dog waste on his neighbor’s property say they are embarrassed and some have even asked the city leader to resign.
San Marino mayor Dennis Kneier was caught by security cameras tossing a bag of what appeared to be dog feces on neighbor Philip Lao’s private walkway on the 1400 block of Charlton Road Saturday.
"Maybe you would like to do the gentlemanly thing and step down? Because many in this town think you're a disgrace to this community," San Marino resident Charlotte Johnson said at a city council meeting Wednesday night.
Lao believes Kneier was seeking revenge for his activism against city tree maintenance and the mayor’s dog park proposal. Lao’s home has "no dog poop zone" signs in his yard in close proximity to where the bag of dog waste was left.
"I've decided to ask the chief of police to cite you for littering and vandalism," Philip Lao said at Wednesday night’s city council meeting. "I have spoken to a lawyer, and because you are acting as the mayor, okay, I will be suing the city and you personally, you know, for harassment."
Kneier had said that he found the bag near Lao’s home, but Lao claims that Kneier lied based on what he observed in surveillance footage.
Kneier issued a written apology earlier in the week and addressed the overflow crowd that was in attendance at the city council meeting.
"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.
San Marino is an affluent community of approximately 13,000 people. Some feel the media attention has tarnished the town’s image.
"I feel that we've had dog poop thrown over this whole community by (Philip Lao) by taking this all over this whole country," a resident said.
Though many residents voiced their opinion, no action was taken Wednesday night as the issue did not appear on the official city council meeting agenda.
Mayor Kneier confirms that he received a littering citation from the city and said he plans to pay the fine.
A recall election would cost $50,000, according to the city attorney.