By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods just announced that it has rejected InterIm’s challenge of last month’s International Special Review District (ISRD) election.
The news release, emailed to the Northwest Asian Weekly at 4:59 p.m. on Dec. 18 said, “The 2019 ISRD Board election results are final.”
Matt Chan, M. Faye Hong, and Russ Williams — the three elected board members — will be joining Stephanie Hsie (chair), Sergio Legon-Talamoni, and Andy Yip (vice-chair) beginning January of 2020. There is one vacancy on the board awaiting mayoral appointment.
Four of the six people named in a letter by InterIm, accusing a fellow community member of influencing voters in the election, have come forward and said InterIm’s claims are untrue.
Pei Lan Wu is one of the people named, along with Zhu Hua Huang, Hui Lan Huang, Cui Ping Zhong, Winly Tang, and Eliza Guan. The community member accused of telling people who to vote on election day, which violates ISRD rules, is Beth Ku.
When asked if anyone interviewed or questioned her in the last two weeks about the ISRD election issue, Wu said, “Not at all.”
Wu, 80, has lived in the Chinatown-International District (ID) for 20 years. She told the Northwest Asian Weekly that on the morning of Nov. 19, the day of the ISRD election, she had foot pain.
“[The polling station] was very crowded and had long lines. There were many voters and the scene was chaotic,” said Wu. Some people, aware of her pain, tried to look for a place for her to sit, but couldn’t find a chair. Later, when she saw Beth Ku, she told her about the foot pain.
“Ku immediately asked other seniors if they could let me vote first, so I didn’t have to stand and wait in line. There was nothing she said about the candidates,” said Wu.
When asked who she voted for, Wu said she doesn’t know and doesn’t remember.
“It’s (the ballot) in English. I couldn’t tell who is who.”
When asked if she signed any documents in regards to Ku, “That’s another thing,” she said. “People asked me to sign different forms all the time. I never know what I am signing.”
Wu told the Northwest Asian Weekly she doesn’t even know what InterIm is. When informed that her name had been listed as one of Ku’s accusers, Wu became very upset.
“Whoever accuses Ms. Ku is wrong. I have to defend her because this is unjust. I have to fight for the weak. You (the Asian Weekly) have to find out who did this and get to the bottom of this.”
Another alleged accuser, Cui Ping Zhong, told Nora Chan she didn’t even see Beth Ku that day.
Chan is the founder of Seniors in Action Foundation and has frequent interactions with the senior population in the ID.
Chan also said that Zhu Hua Huang, the grandmother of InterIm employee Henry Liu who ran against Faye Hong, said she never talked to Ku. Hui Lan Huang said she went to the polling station twice on Nov. 19. She left the first time because the lines were too long and she didn’t see Ku. Huang said she did see Ku when she returned the second time, and noticed that Ku was helping other seniors, but Huang herself did not speak to Ku.
When asked to respond to these questions, InterIm policy analyst Derek Lum, who wrote the challenge letter, said it was fellow InterIm staffers who reported what the seniors allegedly saw Ku doing.
None of the staffers were available for comment, Lum said, as they were all on vacation and would not return until January 2020.