East Bay community tells owner of Nazi swastika landscape: Get rid of it


EL SOBRANTE — A community offended by a homeowner’s decision to landscape his front yard with a cement design of a Nazi swastika is ignoring his suggestion that people “get over it.”

An online petition started by a group called “Not In Our Town – El Sobrante” calls for Steven Johnson to remove the 10 foot-by-10 foot cement design from his front yard and gathered 2,700 votes by Wednesday morning.

“The presence of a swastika in our community makes many people feel unsafe to live in a community that tolerates visible expressions of hate and bigotry,” a statement from the group accompanying the petition said. “Therefore, we are calling on this person to remove the swastika.”

According to the petition, many businesses and homes have posted a “Not in Our Town: El Sobrante” sign.

“We are speaking out now to show our neighbors that we want to keep El Sobrante as a welcoming community, free of intolerance and hate,” the statement read.

Aerial footage from local news stations captured the swastika on June 4. It sits adjacent to the walkway of Johnson’s home, taking up half of the front yard of the modest one-story house

Its presence caused an uproar, especially because its existence came to light two days before the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France during World War II. That battle is generally considered one of the major turning points in the war.

Johnson defended his decision in an interview with this paper last week and said he had no plans to get rid of it. He said he interpreted the symbol as representing peace and love, even if it is tied to Nazi Germany and the killing of 17 million people, including 6 million of the Jewish faith.

“That Nazi (stuff) happened like 80 years ago,” Johnson told this paper last week. “Get over it, I guess.”

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East Bay man with giant yard swastika: Nazis were 80 years ago, so ‘get over it’

Attempts to reach Johnson on Wednesday morning were not successful immediately.

Check back for updates.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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