Your reporter, Mahlon Meyer, truly botched up the reporting of last month’s kick-off event for the proposed Chinatown Surveillance Project.
Over the past decade, the Seniors in Action Foundation (SIAF), led by founder Nora Chan, has been the driving force in implementing effective and proven measures to improve public safety in Chinatown. Once again, SIAF has taken the initiative while all other organizations in the community have sat silently on the side. As Chan repeatedly states, “If I don’t do it, then nobody will.” Time after time, Chan, highly respected by the community, brought our leaders together in an effort to raise awareness for public safety and to discuss the value of an improved surveillance system for the community. Upon the completion of the presentations conducted by Mr. Donny Kwan, Professional Engineer (P.Eng) and Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) and technical specialists from vendor Avigilon (a Motorola company), the overriding support for the proposed project was evidenced by the flood of generous donations for the project from the attendees.
Rather than the writer taking the opportunity to praise the efforts of the community in assisting local law enforcement, this reporter who knows next to little about the community, chose to write a biased report based on the personal opinion of a social activist who has no roots in the community. I find this not only disingenuous, but highly disrespectful, offensive, and unsupportive of our community. Public safety is essential for the residents, business owners, tourists, and the hundreds of customers and patrons who come to Chinatown on a daily basis. Although the proposed system implementation is only for the Chinatown area, it is a model for the rest of the Chinatown-International District.
Aside from the glaringly inaccurate facts that were reported in last month’s article, the reporter totally missed the key message conveyed at the event.
The proposed surveillance system needs a service provider who will assume ownership and has the skills to effectively operate and maintain the system on behalf of the community. A few years ago, the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA), which has had responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the system, was no longer able to maintain the initial surveillance system of 14 cameras. In spite of the concerns voiced largely by the dozens of small business owners in Chinatown, the CIDBIA executive director has stated that there is no budget for the maintenance of the surveillance system. With public safety being at the top of the priorities for the community, clearly there is a disconnect between the CIDBIA Advisory Board and the community.
The Northwest Asian Weekly needs to do a more thorough job of vetting the reporters to ensure that facts are reported accurately and are unbiased.
Reckless journalism does nothing positive towards building the community. The next time you decide to report on a major community event in the Chinatown-International District, find someone who has roots in the community so you can provide a perspective that is sorely missing and needed in today’s journalism. Fortunately, the readership among the longstanding families of Seattle’s community has waned significantly over the years. Disingenuous and biased journalism does nothing toward fostering community or readership. There are still many of us who have strong roots in Chinatown and think and act selflessly for the community.
It’s unfortunate that the reporter chose to take issue with the proposed system instead of taking the opportunity to highlight how selfless individuals come together to engage in the community for the betterment of all.
— Steve Locke