Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do or say that will bring Donnie back.
All of us here can only work on issues that hopefully will prevent such tragedy from happening in the future in any location, especially in the Chinatown ID.
As a property owner, business owner, and a resident of the Chinatown ID, I wish to thank the City Council for giving this issue importance of how to make our community safer.
It will continue to take the efforts of many to make our community a safer, desired, prosperous community that will not attract undesirable businesses—businesses that do not cater to the local residences.
The City Council in its foresight and wisdom by ordinance did establish the Special Review Guidelines Districts in 1984, to control development in communities such as ours, catering to legitimate customers patronizing legitimate business operating under socially acceptable hours. I was on the local original committees that help craft the early guidelines for the ID.
The outline spells out that the foremost goals are to have a stable residential neighborhood with a mixture of housing types.
Second, the objective is encouraging the use of street-level spaces for pedestrian-oriented retail specialty shops with colorful and interesting displays.
As a Japanese American, I for one do not advocate stereotyping of any kind of business or people operating any business. However it is hard for me to fathom that the local Hookah lounges even come close to complying with the desired goals of the district.
As a property owner I feel it is our responsibility as landlords to rent our properties to businesses and people aware and anxious to comply with the CID Special Review Guidelines. Any help that the city can provide in these efforts would be appreciated.
In closing, may I recommend that the City review the whole Special Review Guideline Ordinance to determine how and what elements of these programs worked or did not work? It may be an appropriate time to review these ordinances—if for no other reason other than to feel that Donnie was not killed because of some flaw in the Special Review Guidelines program. (end)
— Tomio Moriguchi, Seattle International District Resident
The three recommendations International Community Health Services (ICHS) has to address the increased violence around problematical hookah lounges in the International District:
—Open a police substation in the ID. The ID currently falls in the middle of the jurisdiction of the East and West precincts. Our neighborhood literally falls through the cracks in terms of timely and effective police coverage and response. Donnie Chin’s logs at the International District Emergency Center (IDEC) showed repeated instances when the police department did not have the capacity to respond to incidences in the ID, particularly around the hookah lounges. Donnie also commented in those logs that extra police units were taken from the ID the last couple of years to go downtown.
—Fund programs for youth of color. If, as has been claimed, hookah bars are one of the only options for youth of color to congregate, this must be rectified swiftly. Without culturally and linguistically appropriate programs, Asian Pacific Islander, African, and other immigrant and refugee youth are at high risk.
—Fund programs for elderly of color. In the International District, our low income elderly of color live in isolation due to language and culture. They need support services to enable them to age in place in comfortable and familiar surroundings. Our elders deserve our respect and support for a comfortable and peaceful life in their own community.
These 3 issues — safety for the ID, the youth, and the elderly — were issues that Donnie championed, lived for and tragically died for. Please elevate yourselves above the noise of race and cultural practices. The issue is about criminal activities and the places that attract them.
Thank you for your support in ensuring that the ID continues to be a safe and viable neighborhood at all times for residents, workers, and visitors of all ages as well as the businesses and non-profit organizations located here. (end)
— Teresita Batayola, CEO, International Community Health Services