NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Candidates running for Seattle mayor have been invited to speak about issues that affect the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community.
Gary Bose, Tiniell Cato, Jenny Durkan, Jessyn Farrell, Bob Hasegawa, Mike McGinn, Cary Moon, James Norton, Larry Oberto, and Nikkita Oliver have confirmed they will be present at the June 22 event at Nagomi Tea House.
The candidates were asked in advance to fill out a questionnaire. This is their response to the question:
Name the top three issues that are of concern to the API community in Seattle.
Gary Brose: Traffic and infrastructure in the Chinatown/International District (CID) area, the effect of Seattle legislation on API small businesses, and citizen safety.
Tiniell Cato: The need for social, economic, and political equity.
Jenny Durkan: Homelessness and affordable housing, public safety and police reform, and education.
Jessyn Farrell: Equal, multilingual, and culturally sensitive access to education and social services, civil and human rights, and economic opportunities for small business owners.
Bob Hasegawa: (Lack of) communication with the mayor’s office including the Navigation Center surprise, immigration and sanctuary cities, and public health and safety.
Mike McGinn: Preserving communities in the face of rising housing prices and higher taxes, public safety, and education.
Cary Moon: Engagement, voice, and representation in the political process, investments in infrastructure, economic development, and public safety, and social justice and racial equity.
James Norton: Homelessness and how it impacts the API community, the need for the API community to have a voice in city government, and housing concerns.
Larry Oberto: Safety, affordability, and opportunity.
Nikkita Oliver: Safety with the unsolved murder of My-Linh Nguyen and Donnie Chin, drugs and cleanliness, and affordable housing and elderly care facilities.
Name one thing the City of Seattle has done to the API community that you are happy or unhappy with, and tell us why.
Gary Brose: Seattle’s attempt to micromanage business in the form of minimum wage controls, sick leave, sugar taxes, and other issues, affects all businesses in Seattle, but primarily impacts small businesses. The API community is very innovative and entrepreneurial, and all these steps taken by the city add an extra layer of complexity to small businesses and I don’t believe that is right. Add what I perceive to be the lack of support for business promotion in the District and I believe what we see is a Mayor’s Office and City Council that has turned a deaf ear to the API Community.
Tiniell Cato: Until the clerical errors that violate human and civil rights are evaluated, rewritten, or removed, I am not happy with anything the city has done. The process and procedures that do not uphold the law is discriminating against all people’s civil rights, especially in the 37th district, which consist of the Central District, Seattle District, Renton, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Burien, etc.
This is “an evolution” for all people. United we stand. Divided we fall.
Jenny Durkan: I am happy that the City of Seattle has made good progress on the consent decree, which will ensure that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has the needed training in order to respect the civil rights of all communities of color, including the API community. As U.S. Attorney, I worked extensively with community leaders from throughout Seattle, including leaders in the API community to hear how SPD can better engage the community. I know that the progress could not have been made without hard, collaborative work of community members, police officers and their leadership, city leaders, the Monitor, and the DOJ. I know first-hand that the API community leaders were key to this work and am grateful for it.
Jessyn Farrell: Declaring Seattle a Sanctuary City is one of the most important things our city has done, as it affects residents across our city. As mayor, I will ensure we remain a Sanctuary City and protect against national cuts to services and resources, threats to the safety and opportunity of residents, and stand up for all who come to make Seattle home. But our city has a long way to go. Our affordability, housing, and homelessness crisis affects the API community and API-owned businesses, and we must take action now. Similarly, Seattle Schools have an unacceptable opportunity that is leaving students behind. We can and must do better.
Bob Hasegawa: I am not happy with how the city decided to drop the Navigation Center into the ID without any input from the community. This is symbolic of the larger problem in how the city leadership makes top-down decisions and imposes them onto the neighborhoods. The decision-making process needs to change to reflect the involvement and will of the people.
Mike McGinn: I am concerned that the city is not doing enough to respond to concerns about public safety. CID has expressed specific concerns — which require hands-on management to ensure the city responds. Gang disputes and shooting appear to be increasing, which will require renewed attention to youth violence prevention and gang intervention.
Cary Moon: I am frustrated with the city’s apparent lack of communication with, and indifference to the Little Saigon community regarding the siting of the “Navigation Center” shelter. The city should have done more advance outreach and communication directly with the community about the process and proposal. I am impressed with the work SCIDpda is doing to assist the API community with business development in CID, partially funded by the City’s Office of Economic Development. Recruiting and retaining businesses that are a good fit, and working hands on with building owners and tenant businesses to help them get or stay on their feet is a good example of how the city can ensure community-based businesses can thrive in place. I would like to expand this program, and use it as a model for other API communities facing the threat of gentrification.
James Norton: I am unhappy with the way the ID is losing its community, culture, and history so quickly with our recent local officials.
Larry Oberto: My focus and method if I am to be your mayor is to understand what has worked and has not worked to affect the challenges the API faces. My methods feel it is more important to serve than to tell others what I may think. Usually the people most involved have the most useful information and cost effective ideas to solve problems.
Nikkita Oliver: Unhappy. The city continues to put the CID communities and API communities against other marginalized or disenfranchised communities in Seattle. This sort of posturing only creates tension between already struggling communities and allows the city to act unaccountably. Examples of this includes the Hookah Lounges, the Navigation Center imposed onto CID/Little Saigon without proper discussion, and hotels/zoning issues in the CID.
The forum begins at 7 p.m. Please arrive by 6:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information, go to facebook.com/APIcandidatesforum.
Staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.