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San Marino mayor cited for dog poop-tossing incident

San Marino mayor is cited for littering after tossing a small bag of dog poop on a neighbor's yard
Resident says he plans to sue city of San Marino and mayor for dog poop-tossing incident caught on film

The mayor of San Marino has been cited for littering, days after surveillance video footage of him tossing a small bag of dog poop on his neighbor’s yard went viral.

Mayor Dennis Kneier received the citation Wednesday after investigators determined he was responsible for tossing the bag of feces onto Philip Lao's front yard, San Marino police Lt. Paula Byrd said.

The fine could range from $250 to $1,000.

“It’s in the court’s hands at this point,” she said.

Kneier said he has every intention to pay the citation for the “mistake” he made and plans on “plowing forward” with his duties as mayor.

But some residents would rather he step down, and they called for his resignation at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, citing what they have dubbed the “poopgate” incident.

“Maybe you would like to do the gentlemanly thing and step down because many in this town think you are disgrace to this community,” resident Charlene Johnson said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Richard Haserot presented a letter to the City Council, writing that the incident “has caused terrible embarrassment” the city.

“The incident seems, by rather a large group of residents, to be only the latest in a series of questionable behaviors, actions and judgments you have made about issues affecting San Marino,” he wrote.

Haserot called on council members to take a stand.

A mostly blank website calling for the mayor to be recalled was also created.

The controversy began after Lao discovered the small bag outside his home Saturday before going on a walk with his wife. Lao believed the mayor intentionally tossed the bag in retribution for putting a “No poop zone” sign outside his home and publicly opposing a proposed dog park.

At the council meeting, Lao said he has spoken to an attorney.

“I will be suing the city and you personally,” he told Kneier.

Kneier has insisted his actions were not premeditated.

Still, Kneier said he deserves to be criticized for his actions, apologizing publicly for the incident.

“It was with great regret that I did that and I apologize for that and I made it clear that would never happen again,” he said.

A costly recall effort, he added, wouldn't be best for the city.

The negative attention “hurts a little,” Kneier said, but he added that he believes he still has supporters.

“Everybody is going to have times in their lives that there is going to be stress,” he said.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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