El Sobrante man says giant swastika in his yard isn’t the Nazi kind

In El Sobrante, a town apparently free of HOA covenants, a homeowner has redecorated his front yard in what appears to be early Third Reich.

According to reports from ABC7 and NBC Bay Area, Steven Johnson landscaped a giant swastika, the symbol of Nazi Germany, in front of his home on Lindell Drive.

The neighbors are not pleased.

Johnson insists the swastika, which is large enough to be visible from a low-altitude airliner, is not the same symbol embraced by Adolf Hitler’s fascist regime and some white supremacist groups.

“It’s a Tibetan sign that’s way back before swastikas were invented,” he told ABC7 reporters, who then asked him, “Are you Tibetan?”

Johnson reportedly answered, “I could be.”

About that Tibetan swastika, a symbol of spirituality known as a sauwastika in Buddhist traditions — it faces the left rather than right-facing Hindu swastika, which was appropriated by the Nazis. Johnson’s swastika faces right.

Maybe he just got his swastikas crossed up.

Regardless of his intentions, most of Johnson’s neighbors reportedly find the symbol, which replaced a dirt yard, offensive and provocative.

Not to mention a disaster for real estate values.

“It’s stupid. It kills the retail value of the house, kills the value of everyone on the street,” neighbor Vince Poehnelt told ABC7 on Tuesday.

Read Mike Moffitt’s latest stories and send him news tips at moffitt@sfgate.com

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/El-Sobrante-man-giant-swastika-sauwastika-Tibetan-13939583.php.

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