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Kosugi's House Called Refreshing

October 10, 1985

Arcadia is my hometown and since I have friends and family there and shop in its stores, I read with interest your article of Sept. 19 concerning the city's reaction to the recent influx of Asians.

I am surprised by the outburst of hatred directed at Mr. Kosugi's house. I've seen it and it is crisp and refreshing with its spectacular blue roof. Since an exuberant mix of architectural styles is one of Southern California's most famous charms (we natives think nothing of driving by a Victorian next to a Mediterranean next to a Craftsman next to an imitation Frank Lloyd Wright), I can't see how anyone could maintain that Mr. Kosugi has disturbed our stylistic harmony. At least his home has a defined architectural vision, which cannot be said for the depressingly ugly stucco boxes that dot the city.

I was also interested to read that the City Council has approved a sign ordinance regulating the use of Asian characters. I wish instead it would spend its time on what has been needed for decades: a sign ordinance controlling the ugly jumble seen on all the commercial streets. Our neighboring cities, Monrovia and Pasadena, have made enormous strides toward beautification with stunning results, while Arcadia's shopping areas look shabby and depressing.

The City Council could also direct its attention to the recent burst of house building on our once soft and wild hills. All Arcadia can see the ruined hills, but no civic outcry. Why?

And last, I would like to comment on the feeling in Arcadia that Asians must become Americanized. The Asians, as residents, have no responsibilities other than to conform to the laws and pay their taxes. Beyond that, what they do is their own business. One of our American freedoms is the freedom to be left alone.

However, I do agree with Arcadians in feeling that the Asians should have their signs in Roman characters, though not for motives of enforcing Americanization. It is simply in reluctant recognition of a flaw in all human beings, not just our local specimens, that they fear what they cannot understand and hate what they fear. So using the Roman characters can serve as a friendly beginning toward mutual understanding. I only hope the Arcadians can respond in kind.


Sierra Madre

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