Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 14, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 11

Mountain View News Saturday, May 14, 2022 


[Nyerges is a teacher and author. 
He has written “Self-Sufficient 
Home,” “Extreme Simplicity: 
Homesteading in the City,” 
“Urban Wilderness,” and other 
books on self-reliance and survival. 
He posts blogs at www.] 

As populations inevitably increase, and urban 
centers grow more crowded, how should we think 
about the public spaces that everyone uses? 

The public spaces in our cities can define how 
we feel, and what we do. It can define the very 
nature of our existence, much in the way that geography 
nearly always defines the character and 
the activities of the people who live there. While 
it is probably not possible to create public spaces 
for large numbers of people which please all the 
people all the time, we can still attempt to define 
the ideal public spaces in terms of human scale, 
sustainability, ecologic principles, healthful, and 
even enjoyable. 

As Los Angeles Count continues to evolve and 
experience many changes in demographics and 
businesses, it is inevitable that those who use these 
areas desire to see, and to create, city spaces that 
are livable, pleasant, and uplifting. 

I decided to live in Mexico some years ago for the 
express purpose of learning Spanish. 

Like the town square of every American small 
town, every Mexican town had at least one zocalo. 
The Zocalo is the large square where there 
is typically a raised platform for speakers and music. 
There are large paved areas for walking, or 
dancing. The zocalo is often arranged with rows 
of trees throughout, and nearly always with a perimeter 
of trees. Many of the Mexican zocalos had 
rows of stores on all four sides. The zocalo is the 
place to meet people. You felt safe and comfortable 

I realized that the zocalo was not so much the 
product of a city engineer as it was the organic 
manifestation of a society that likes to meet together, 
and insists on having that place to do so. 
Every town and city needs its zocalo – perhaps 
with some tweaks – as the most ecological way 
to let our building practices support a healthy 

When urban planners examine great public spaces, 
certain aspects are most commonly cited for 
that “greatness” which we all want to experience. 
As the Los Angeles County continues to evolve, 
it might be worthwhile to examine some of these 
basic principles. 

The space need not be prohibitively large. A good 
public space feels good, and looks good, and 
smells good (food and flowering trees) People 
want to be there. 

Lawns are not essential, but “green spaces” are 
necessary. If absolutely not possible to have pockets 
or lines of fragrant and beautiful vegetation, 
there should at least be as many trees as possible. 

CHAIRS/BENCHESPeople stand and people walk, and in the places 
where we gather, we sit. A great public 

space really needs chairs and tables, ideally built 
locally of cement so it lasts forever, or built from 
local wood by local craftspeople. 

An art work is not essential to a public space, 
though the buildings and infrastructure can so 
easily contain art in the form of sculpture or murals. 
Planners of public spaces should always think 
long-term, and avoid current fads or movements. 
Avoid political or religious themes in public art, 
and avoid extreme abstracts which invites derision 
or confusion. 

Remember, “public space” is not simply the pub-


lic square. Public space is any space that is not 
privately owned, and which the local jurisdiction 
can exercise some control. In some cases, what 
we call “public space” can also be applied to the 
private space that we see, referring to such cases 
where billboards on private land can still mar 
an otherwise beautiful view that you experience 
while walking or driving on public land. In our 
case, local citizens and councilmen reacted when a 
developer wanted to buy the land under the Eagle 
Rock several years ago. He wanted to build a tall 
apartment building that would block the view of 
the famous landmark. We all said “no,” and the 
land was purchased and is now a mini-park. 

It is also worth looking at the Japanese model. 

What is loosely called the “design code” in Manazuru, 
Kanagawa, Japan gradually developed because 
the residents loved the quality of their city. 
Because those special qualities attracted evermore 
people to want to reside there, business interests 
were also attracted. The local people created 
a series of concepts to maintain the character 
of the city, the character that attracted everyone 
there in the first place. 

The Design Code is not like the Building and 
Safety codes of major cities, but rather a series of 
overall guidelines. Builders would meet with local 
legislators and other citizens to make sure their 
project can meet the Design Code. In some cases, 
the project is disallowed. In some cases, the project 
will be modified so that the spirit of the Design 
Code is maintained. 

In many cities, such as Los Angeles, land rights 
are regarded as vertical, and land owners are often 
allowed whatever meets building guidelines and 
height guidelines. But blocking your neighbor’s 
view is typically not regarded. However, in Manazuru, 
everyone’s view is regarded as important. 
The view of the ocean is so special to everyone 
that new buildings and additions must not obscure 
your neighbors’ view. 

PASSAGEWAYS / ALLEYS BETWEEN HOUSESOne of the quaint features of Manazuru and surrounding 
areas is the alleyways that run between 
the houses. These are narrow paths, not full 
streets, and they allow walkers to get around, and 
often meet their neighbors. Maintaining these 
walkways is an integral part of the Design Code. 
It also means that houses can not be built right 
atop each other, as you see done in parts of San 
Francisco, and other big cities in the U.S. 

Citrus trees were once widely planted throughout 
Kanagawa and they are regarded as a local treasure. 
Thus, residents are urged to not cut any of 
them down, and even to plant more. They are regarded 
not just as a source of food for the body, 
but as a source of food for the soul as well. Just 
think if fruit trees were widely planted as street 
trees in the Northeast. 

Where possible, the Design Code encourages 
builders and home owners to use local timber and 
stone and other local building materials. Not only 
does this provide somewhat of a consistent appearance, 
but it is also beneficial in that it seeks to 
continually support local craftspeople. 

One of the key elements of the Design Code is that 
it requires builders to not hide what they are planning, 
but to openly discuss it with those whom 
the project may affect. This takes time, and is not 
always easy. However, when both “sides” meet together, 
face to face, and share their concerns, most 
of the obstacles and challenges can be resolved 

Of course, the Design Code is not a panacea, and 
may not be as easy to institute in countries that do 
not have the group ethic that you find in Japan. 
Still, I think that forward-thinking engineers and 
architects who care about the future could lessons 
from Manazuru, and begin building for the health 
and sanity of the people who reside here. 

The Chef Knows By Peter Dills 

Are you a propane griller or do use Charcoal? For me it’s charcoals 
all the way!! This month , May, we celebrate National BBQ 
Month, before we get into it do you know the difference between 
grilling and barbeque? Most times when we are invited to a backyard 
BBQ it’s really just grilling, which is great!! Though the art of 
BBQ is one step above grilling, you see BBQ ‘s definition as a noun 
is the pieces of meat, that are roasted over a flame and basted with 
sauce. The verb to roast a large piece of meat over an open flame. 
Ok enough of the verbs and nouns, my definition of a true barbeque 
is to cook meat low and slow.
Here a couple of fun facts to celebrate National BBQ month. 

1. Grilling is no longer considered a male dominated activity. 
While 51 percent of males cha-cha with the charcoal, 49 percent 
of women flamenco with the flames. 
2. 263,000 moist towelettes will wipe up BBQ sauce covering fingers and faces. 
3. The most common ingredient added to barbecue sauce is garlic, followed by brown 
4. The original barbecue sauce, dating back hundreds of years, consisted of vinegar and 
5. Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, hosted the first barbecue at 
the White House that featured Texas-style barbecue 
My favorite meat to BBQ is steak, making a steak is so much better than at a restaurant, you 
can control the temperature. Pete’s Tip. Look for the steak with the most marble/fat, and don’t 
be scared away from your markets discounted meat section I’ll often find a great steak that is 
ready to eat in the discount area. 

Pet of the Week 
These two are brothers, only 2 yrs. 
old, and you won't find a more 
friendly, mellow duo than them. 
These handsome boys are very 
sweet and playful. They will come 
right up to you, even if they don't 
know you. They love to be pet-
ted, too, and will lean right in. We 
can’t under-stand why they’ve had 
to wait so long for a loving, forever 
home be-cause they are purr-fect cats! Bobby is a tuxedo, Billy 
is all black. They'll be adopted together, because they are besties 
and always have each other to play with if you're not around. See 
more pictures and videos of them on our website’s Teens page. 
Please consider adopting this purr-fect pair! Just submit your application at Lifeline for Pets: https 
Two-year-old Honey Bee is an active dog who lovesplaytime and walks, but she also enjoys lazing around thehouse with her favorite people. Honey Bee is super sweetand is great with kids. She loves snuggling and giving lotsof kisses, and has such a gentle spirit! 
The adoption fee for dogs is $150. All dog adoptionsinclude spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriatevaccines. 
New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-
wellness exam from VCA Animal Hospitals, as well as agoody bag filled with information about how to care for 
your pet. 
View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoptionappointment at Adoptions are byappointment only, and new adoption appointments are 
available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. 
Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters byphone calls or email. 
Sierra Madre Playhouse resumes indoor presentation of a 
full-length play with King of the Yees. 
For nearly 20 years, playwright Lauren Yee’s father 
Larry has been a driving force in the Yee Family Asso-
ciation, a seemingly obsolescent Chinese American men’s 
club formed 150 years ago in the wake of the Gold Rush. 
But when her father goes missing, Lauren must plunge 
into the rabbit hole of San Francisco Chinatown and con-
front a world both foreign and familiar. At once bitingly 
hilarious and heartbreakingly honest, King of the Yees is 
an epic joyride across cultural, national and familial bor-
ders that explores what it means to truly be a Yee. 
Tim Dang directs. Previously at Sierra Madre Playhouse, 
he directed The Joy Luck Club and Nothing Is the Same. 
Mr. Dang is Producing Artistic Director Emeritus, of East 
West Players, guiding that group from 1993 through 2016, 
making himself and his company among the most highly 
regarded in the Los Angeles theatrical community. He is the recipient of Ovation Awards for di-
recting Pacific Overtures and for directing and producing Sweeney Todd. He received numerous 
awards for direction, production and performance from Backstage West and Drama-Logue. He 
has directed dozens of shows in an astonishingly prolific career. He has also been a playwright and 
lyricist (co-writing Nisei Widows Club, Canton Jazz Club, Beijing Spring). His numerous honors 
include Tim Dang Day (L.A. City Council); Local Hero of the Year (KCET/Union Bank); Top 100 
Asian Americans of the Decade (A. Magazine); Leadership Award (James Irvine Foundation); 
Zelda Fichandler Award (Society of Directors and Choreographers); many, many more. Tim will 
continue to initiate and innovate diversity and inclusion across the American theatre. 
Tim’s cast for King of the Yees includes Christopher Chen, Tom Dang, Dennis Dun, Miley Yama-
moto and Harmony Zhang. 
Lauren Yee is the playwright. Her plays include Cambodian Rock Band; Ching Chong Chinaman; 
The Great Leap; Hookman; The Hatmaker’s Wife;; The Tiger Among Us; and more. For television, 
she wrote episodes of the Netflix series Soundtrack. 
King of the Yees is the winner of the Ashland New Play Festival Award (2016). The play had its 
World Premiere in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada in 2016. 
For Sierra Madre Playhouse- Production Stage Manager: Jeanne Marie Valleroy. Set and projec-
tion designer: Yi-Chien Lee. Costume designer: Jojo Siu. Lighting designer and projection engi-
neer: Derek Jones. Coreographer: Tom Tsai. Scenic artist: Orlando de la Paz. Scenic builder: Steve 
Barr. Sound designer: Dennis Yen. Technical director: Todd McCraw. Interim Artistic Director: 
Gary Lamb. 
“An absolute masterpiece.”----Baltimore Outloud“In case you weren’t aware, this play is kind of a big deal.”---DC Metro Theater Arts 
This show is experiencing strong advance sales. Please reserve early to get your date of choice. 
King of the Yees. A play. A production of Sierra Madre Playhouse. At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 
W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Previews May 20 at 8:00. Opens Saturday, May 
21, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. Runs through June 12, with performances Fri. at 8:00, Sat. at 2:30 and 8:00, 
and Sun. at 2:30. Admission: $45.00. Seniors (65+) $40.00. Youth (21 and under) $25.00. Preview 
(May 20) $20.00. 
Reservations: (626) 355-4318 or go to http://sierramadreplayhouse.orgConsumer Advisory: A few instances of strong language. All current county COVID-19 safety 
protocols in place at the time of the event will be followed 
Lauren Fortune Cookie (Harmony 
Zhang) Photo by Bernie Tsang 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
Email: Website: