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San Marino mayor resigns over tossing dog poop into neighbor's yard

San Marino mayor resigns after dog poop-tossing incident
Poop-tossing incident caused embarrassment to the city of San Marino, mayor says in resignation letter

The mayor of San Marino resigned Tuesday after a town uproar over his being caught on surveillance video tossing a small bag of dog poop into a neighbor's yard.

Dennis Kneier announced his resignation in a letter addressed to fellow City Council members, saying that the June 7 incident was “a lapse in judgment” and has caused embarrassment.

“I can understand why this matter has some questioning my ability to lead the council,” he wrote. “I want to assure you that something like this will not happen again.

"At the same time, these events continue to be embarrassing to me, and to the city. Because of this, I have decided to step down as mayor.”

Kneier will, however, remain on the council; his term ends in November 2015.

“Be assured that my love for the city of San Marino is not diminished, and I will continue to do my best as a council member to fulfill the duties for which I was elected, and at the same time, restore the public’s confidence in me,” Kneier said in his letter.

Vice Mayor Eugene Sun will take over Kneier's duties until the June 27 City Council meeting, when council members will select a new mayor, according to a city statement.

“This has been a challenging few days for our city and we’re hopeful that with Mr. Kneier’s decision, and with his public and private expressions of regret for the incident, we can move forward,’’ Sun said in the statement.

About 100 community members attended a June 11 council meeting, where some residents called for Kneier's resignation, citing what they have dubbed the “poopgate” incident.

San Marino police even cited Kneier for littering that same day.

The controversy began after Kneier’s neighbor Philip Lao discovered the small bag outside his home. He reviewed video from his home’s surveillance cameras, which showed Kneier tossing the bag. Soon after the incident, the video, which Lao shared publicly, went viral.

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 City Council meeting last week, Lao said he had spoken to an attorney and planned to sue the city and Kneier.

Lao could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Kneier said he has apologized to Lao and plans to pay the littering fine.

“It was insensitive, disrespectful and wrong,” he said in his letter.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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