Homeowners in an upscale California beachfront community are demanding their city council take action after a neighbor painted giant emoji on her house, in what may or may not have been an act of retaliation for an earlier neighborhood dispute.
It’s unclear when the dispute began, but what is clear is why it began. Kathryn Kidd purchased a house in Manhattan Beach, where, according to Zillow, home prices routinely reach well into the millions. Kidd then rented the house on a short-term rental basis, which is against the law in the Southern California city.
Kidd says, via Los Angeles’ KABC-TV, that she didn’t realize at the time that she was violating the law. She owned up to her mistake, saying, “I take full responsibility for my actions.”
One or more neighbors reported her, however, and she was hit with a $4,000 fine from the city.
Not long afterwards, her house sported a new paint job: bright pink on two large swaths of one side — and on each swath, an emoji. One featured a smiling face with crossed eyes and a tongue hanging out. Another featured the same crossed eyes, but with a zipper where the mouth would otherwise be.
Manhattan Beach emoji war: Kathryn Kidd was reported by her neighbors for illegally using her home for short-term rentals. Then her house was painted pink with emojis. She said it wasn't retaliation but some residents say the emoji war is not over https://t.co/xRTkC0uO6k pic.twitter.com/WsWVCRwqic
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) August 3, 2019
Neighbors think the paint job is retaliation for snitching. One unidentified neighbor said as much at a city council meeting this week, according to a companion KABC-TV report. “This was solely about retaliation and meant as a personal attack on my wife, me and our neighbors.”
Similarly, neighbor Diana Doll, who had earlier called the paint job an affront to “common decency,” said that she still fears retaliation.
“This all got started because a neighbor was trying to help the city enforce the rules. Again, people have come up to me to say, ‘I’ve been afraid of retaliation as well if I report my neighbor.’ Do you want a chilling effect here?”
The city council’s hands are tied, however. There are no rules regulating paint jobs, so the neighbors are just going to have to live with it for now. The council promised to look into a residential mural ordinance later this month.
California seems to be the source of a fair share of neighborhood decorating disputes. For example, in June, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, neighbors in El Sobrante took exception to a homeowner who installed a giant swastika in his yard. And in March, as reported by The Inquisitr, officials in Hillsborough sued the owners of a domed house, built of stone and given the nickname “The Flintstones House,” after neighbors complained that it was an eyesore.