SAN CLEMENTE - Rick Collins said his children were shunned at the beach and the word "abortion" was splattered on his house when he added a second story.
Mayor Murphy said 10 gallons of human feces and rotting animal parts were thrown into his yard after he began circulating a petition to ban the addition of second stories in the Shorecliffs neighborhood.
The two are on opposite sides of a festering dispute in Shorecliffs that has pitted neighbor against neighbor, disrupted city government and spilled over into county Republican politics.
In many ways the Shorecliffs dispute, which may be headed for the ballot, is similar to view-protection and "mansionization" controversies in numerous California cities. Laguna Beach has protected the ocean views of residents for decades. Fountain Valley limited home expansion in April to halt mansionization and allay residents' fears that their homes would be dwarfed by massive reconstructions.
Both Collins and Murphy point the finger at their neighbors.
"They present us as greedy, but it's not true," said Collins, a leader of the faction favoring second-story additions. "I work with my neighbors, but we don't have to be nice. It's not the government's job to regulate this kind of dispute."
Murphy said a neighbor yelled at him in the street complaining about his opposition to second-story construction.
"It was right after they dumped in my yard," he said.
The second-story controversy brings out issues of ocean views, property values, property rights and respect for one's neighbors.
Shorecliffs was built in the early 1960s with remodeling restrictions.
In 1991, the community found that the restrictions were unenforceable. About 17 homes now have second stories erected that block neighbors' ocean views. The fight began in earnest about three years ago when one-story-home supporters started a petition drive to enlist help from City Hall.To add fuel to the fire, certain Council Members have swayed back and forth on the issue.
The way things are now more homes go two story before the situation is resolved.