Neighbors concerned after El Sobrante man displays swastika in front yard

Bay Area

EL SOBRANTE (KRON) — A man in El Sobrante says he just likes how swastikas look, so he decided to build one in his yard for all of his neighbors to see — something that’s nearby residents are deeply offended by.

It’s his property, so the homeowner can do what he wants with it, even if in this case, some people find it hurtful.

“It makes me very nervous,” said neighbor Leah Steinberg.

What this homeowner, an older Caucasian man, has chosen to do is turn his lawn in El Sobrante into a swastika display.

He tells neighbors he knows the symbol is historically tethered to Nazi Germany.

But for him, it’s more accurately associated with Tibetan Buddhism and spirituality.

“He likes the symbol. I mean, he don’t live behind it — he’s not a hater. He don’t hate people,” said Tony Todero, a friend of the man.

Steinberg lives down the street.

“My mother had some cousins that died in the Holocaust,” Steinberg said.

Steinberg is also an author who has published literature on World War II.

“I would like to get a petition, I live here in El Sobrante, and I would like to show this man that people don’t want it here,” she said.

Some of the homeowner’s friends are coming to his defense.

“I’ve known him all my life. He’s took me on his Harley when I was a little kid, and I’ve always looked up towards him. So, I know he’s not racist,” said Tony Todero, a friend of the man.

Regardless, Todero says the placement of the swastika is questionable.

“It’s kinda a little awkward. He shouldn’t have it in his front yard. I don’t believe that,” he said.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement for El Sobrante.

KRON4 reached out to that department and they say they have not received any official complaints about the swastika and that there’s nothing they can do as no laws have been broken.

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