By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
The evil award
Never in the last four decades have I seen the most destructive city council member in my publishing career. Kshama Sawant led protests against the city and former Mayor Jenny Durkan in front of her home.
She encouraged protests of all kinds. She told people to go to CHOP and opened the City Hall’s entrance for protesters during COVID. Yet, she got away with all her bad actions, including the recall campaign for her removal.
The most sneaky award
Seattle City Council member Andrew Lewis sneaked in a bill “to extend council power over the city attorney’s office.” The bill got passed before City Attorney Ann Davison began her term in office.
Going behind someone’s back under the guise to create more transparency was a sneaky and misogynistic move.
Rarely does Seattle see a snowstorm twice in a year. 2021 gave Seattle two big snowstorms in February and December. Climate change has impacted Seattle with double snowstorms and extreme summer heat with temperatures as high as 106º.
The championship award
Bruce Harrell, of Japanese and African descent, won his election as the first Asian American and second Black mayor in 152 years of Seattle history. He beat all 14 candidates and won big eventually with 59% of the votes.
The frontline CEO award
Uwajimaya CEO Denise Moriguchi bagged groceries on Dec. 31 when the store was packed with lines of customers. What an example she made! This was not the first time she worked with her hands at the store as she had grown up with the family business. So did other Moriguchi family members.
The biggest loser
Lorena Gonzalez ran for mayor, but got beaten badly even with over $900,000 in donations from the unions, and misleading attack advertisements about Bruce Harrell. But voters were much smarter, and saw through the fake messages.
City Attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Seattle City Council candidate Nikkita Oliver were promoted heavily by progressives during the election. Although they both won big in the primary election, they lost quite a chunk of votes in the general election.
Unexpected winner award
Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Steve Hobbs to be the new Secretary of State last November. out of six candidates. A former senator, Hobbs of Japanese descent, is the first person of color to serve as Secretary of State in Washington state. He was surprised that he got picked.
Welcome back organizers award
Nora Chan, Benjamin Lee, and David Leong had organized two Welcome Back events in Chinatown-International District. Those two different events brought back lots of families and visitors to the neighborhood.
Savvy political fundraisers
Tony Au single-handedly organized as many as eight fundraising events for several candidates, including Dow Constantine, Bruce Harrell, Toshiko Hasegawa, Jimmy Matta, Ann Davison, Sara Nelson, and more.
James Wong and his team were the lead organizers for Mayor Bruce Harrell’s fundraising dinners, bringing in over $20,000 for his campaign.
The rising star award
Nella Kwan recently won a two-year term at the International District Special Review Board. A graduate of the University of Washington business school, Kwan is a board member of Kin On and a volunteer with the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Active for many years.
Kwan is also a popular emcee for community events, including political, senior, and kids’ events.
Most political savvy award
A leader and activist, Elaine I Ko is one of the most politically sophisticated organizers in the Asian community. She knows the connections and the nuts and bolts of both Asian and non-Asian politicians. She has earned the respect of many as she gets things done without making a lot of noise.
The dedicated patrol groups
CID Night Watch and Susan Lee Woo’s Chinatown Block Watch volunteered their time to keep the community safe. It’s not a fun voluntary experience as the groups have to deal with the homeless, potential criminals, and challenges during the patrol.
Seniors contributors award
Nora Chan, founder of Seniors in Action Foundation, and its current president, Anna Hou, worked tirelessly for seniors in the Chinatown-International District. Chan drove seniors to vaccine sites. Hou organized Mid-Autumn Festivals delivering about 500 boxes of mooncakes to senior residents.
Best newly created role award
Matt Chan has been appointed to be the Special Advisor for Public Engagement by Mayor Bruce Harrell. Chan’s job is to deal with the media. These days, fake news has stirred up quite a bit of trouble for government officials. He is going to have his hands full.
Kendee Yamaguchi was chosen to be the new Deputy Mayor of Mayor Bruce Harrell. Yamaguchi has a lustrous career including being executive director of Commission on Asian American Affairs, a stint for Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and the executive director for Snohomish County. She was very excited for this new job.
Nation’s Pride award
Asian American stamps with Chien-Shiung Wu, one of the most influential nuclear physicists of the 20th century, and Go for Broke, about Japanese American Soldiers of World War II, are now for sale.
Actress Anna May Wong’s star will be the face of a U.S. mint quarter in 2022. She would be the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood to carry the honor. Her film career spanned in both America and Europe.
Best cross-cultural female athlete award
Emma Raducanu won her first U.S. Open Tennis at the age of 18. Of Chinese and Romanian descent, she was born in Canada and her family immigrated to England. Her fame has generated pride in all those countries and continents.
Best new Asian Hollywood star award
Simu Liu, who starred in the blockbuster “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” has been hailed as the first Marvel Asian superhero.
The movie grossed $432 million worldwide, making it the eighth-highest grossing film of 2021.
The worst neighborhood corner
Abandoned by government officials, 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street, has been on the decline for such a long time. An eyesore in the CID, infested with crimes and sanitation problems, why is this allowed in our backyard?
The most resilient neighborhood
The Chinatown-International District has suffered during the pandemic and even pre-COVID. Prior to this unfortunate virus, CID has endured the Wah Mee Massacre in 1983, Amazon exodus from the neighborhood, and Black Lives Matter’s splinter groups, increasing car prowls, theft, and destruction since 2020, leaving businesses struggling.
Several businesses didn’t make it through COVID, but the majority of them remain strong. Its remarkable resilience is incomparable to many other neighborhoods.
The best community event
The AAPI Unity Dinner for Bruce Harrell was held on Dec. 10 at the Joyale Restaurant. Over 400 AAPI of many different Asian ethnic groups joined in the celebration.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.