Swastika symbol in California man's front yard has some neighbors upset

Lisa Amin Gulezian Image
ByLisa Amin Gulezian KGO logo
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. -- A massive swastika is in one California homeowner's front yard and his neighbors don't like it.

"I own this house I'll put what I want. It ain't none of your guys' business."

Steve Johnson owns the home in El Sobrante, where a newly made swastika symbol is now embedded in his front yard.

Johnson said, "I like those signs I think they look cool. I like them."

The signs are on Johnson's handrail and around his doorbell too, but he insists they're not a symbol of Nazi Germany during World War II.

"It's a Tibetan sign that's way back before swastikas were invented."

ABC7 Chicago's sister station KGO asked Johnson, "Are you Tibetan?" Johnson answered, "I could be."

Many eastern religions used what's known as a Swastik, with arms which faced counterclockwise. The third Reich changed the symbol to face clockwise, like Johnson's.

Renee Schultz is Johnson's neighbor who is also Jewish. We asked her if she found the symbol offensive.

"Yes! On behalf of Jews that died with that-- yes, absolutely!"

Many living in the neighborhood are quite simply speechless.

Neighbor Vince Poehnelt said, "It's stupid. It kills the retail value of the house, kills the value of everyone on the street."

The swastika replaced a dirt lot in Johnson's yard.

Neighbor Mary Salinas is defending Johnson.

"I look at his behavior and attitude towards us-- we've never had a problem with him. He's always nice to us that's what I can say."

Law enforcement meantime says they're not investigating.