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VOL 38 NO 31 JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019



King County candidates AAPI candidates on the primary election ballot Compiled by Staff NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY In the upcoming primary election, King County voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on four ballot measures and 56 races for a total of 218 candidates, including those running for city and county council, mayor, school board, and in special districts across the county. Here’s a look at all the AAPI candidates on the ballot.

PORT Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position 2 PREETI SHRIDHAR Shridhar is a 27-year resident of King County and helped launch the City of Seattle’s Climate Protection Initiative, along with other recycling and conservation programs. She worked with former Vice President Al Gore to launch his movement to stop climate change, won an Emmy for promoting water conservation, and received awards from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities for inclusion and equity. (206) 452-6008 SAM CHO Cho is a lifelong Washingtonian and son of South Korean immigrants. He is the founder of an international export company that works directly with the Port of Seattle. He served under President Barack Obama as a political appointee at the U.S. General Services Administration and working as a Legislative Assistant in both Congress and the Washington State Legislature. (425) 780-7776

From top to bottom, left to right: Preetti Shridhar, Sam Cho, Janice Zahn, JD Yu, Holly Zhang, Marguerite Ye, Elizabeth Peang, Sofia Aragon, Hira Singh Bhullar, Tracy Furutani, Kshama Sawant, Ami Nguyen, Naveed Jamali, David Chen, Doris McConnell, Linhui Hao, Tam Dinh, and Jay Fathi


Seattle city elections

Woman of color leads King County’s Democrats to a better future


By Janice Nesamani NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY Destiny seems to have groomed Shasti Conrad for a political career, specifically at a time in history when women and people of color are finding their voices on the social and political stage in the United States. Conrad, the current chair of the King County Democrats and first woman of color to ever hold the position, has an impressive resume—campaigning for Barack Obama and then being a part of the Obama administration, being on the National Advance for Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, and working with Nobel Laureates Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.

Eric Liu

Shasti Conrad and President Obama

Conrad was born in Calcutta and adopted at two months by a single mother living in a small Oregon town. Her identity as a person of color raised in a predominantly white world gives her a unique perspective, allowing her to straddle two worlds and playing the role of a translator. see CONRAD on 12

Julie Wise

By Ruth Bayang NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY “Voters have a huge say in local politics.” Eric Liu, the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, said the upcoming primary election is a big opportunity for Seattle voters. A total of 55 candidates are

Markham McIntyre

running for seven district seats on the Seattle City Council, including incumbents. “This is a moment where people who live in the city can actually try to register their dissatisfaction in a concrete way. Turnout in local elections is not as high as in federal elections, so you have a see VOTE on 15

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JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019


Photo by George Liu

Seniors protest possible food bank cuts

Seniors pose for a photo before heading to City Hall

By Staff NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY Dozens of seniors from the Chinatown-International District protested at Seattle City Hall on July 22. Holding signs that read, “Don’t cut our food bank,” the seniors were demonstrating against a law—which Mayor Jenny Durkan promises to veto—that would reserve all money from Seattle’s soda tax in a special fund.

The beverage tax raised $22 million. When Durkan drew up this year’s budget, she used about $6 million in proceeds from that tax to support the general fund, which the council agreed to the arrangement at the time. Durkan said the law that the City Council passed on July 22 will open up a hole in next year’s budget and would lead to significant cuts to several community programs, including food banks, senior meals, and childcare assistance. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda called it a

“manufactured crisis.” Councilmember Mike O’Brien championed the measure—to commit to the original intent of the soda tax. The vote was 7-1, with only Councilmember Abel Pacheco opposed. Councilmember Debora Juarez was absent. “I am disappointed,” Durkan said in a statement. “Because the council has refused to ... put forward a balanced plan, I will veto this bill.” 

Remembering Donnie Chin Photo by George Liu

Nearly 200 people gathered in Canton Alley on the evening of July 23, to remember Donnie Chin. Four years after the community leader was murdered, the case still remains unsolved. The vigil was an opportunity for community members to gather and

remember Chin, to mourn, and to share their stories. Chin founded International District Emergency Center (IDEC) 51 years ago in 1968. He saved hundreds of lives over his decades of service, and was usually the first person residents and business owners called when they needed help. 

Our champion for immigrant rights for over 40 years. Larry Gossett will always fight for justice.

Re-elect our King County Councilmember Larry Gossett. Paid for by Gossett for County Council 603 Stewart St STE 819 | Seattle, WA 98101

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Carrie Yamaoka brings decay, detritus, and determinism to Henry Art Gallery Four views of a disco ball, stacked vertically. The ball itself has all the mirrored facets necessary to throw rainbow points of light around a room, but the photos are black and white, and the ball itself looks flattened, as if stepped on by a giant. And the four photos sit in various states of decay, and disrepair. This party, they comment silently, left the building long ago. No more revelry, no more motion. Only decay. Over the course of her first-ever solo museum, Carrie Yamaoka examines decay, disrepair, and entropy, over various contexts and through various philosophies. Of course, she sometimes induces the wear and tear herself, to save time of course, but also to study the line between the power of one’s own hand, and what nature chooses to work. Sometimes the appearance of decay makes for a deliberate strategy of concealment. For the “Banned” series (199091), Yamaoka took pages from various books banned in the United States, and used various strategies, including highlighting and erasure, to accentuate certain passages. The viewer can contemplate the passages, both words and the appearance of the words. But it’s also possible, through a viewer’s own devices, to Google the passages to learn how they originally read. To add, or not to add, a response to the artist’s choices. The frequent use of reflective surfaces also serves to insert the viewer into the artwork. Yamaoka likens this effect to “a film plane where the shutter is always open.” The viewer observes the self, the background of the gallery, perhaps others passing by in the background. Perhaps others stopping to look at the same piece. And the given piece’s position in the gallery matters, too, since several pieces reflect each other.

Courtesy of Carrie Yamaoka


Archival inkjet print Etched glass and mirrors

This ultimately makes each exhibition site-specific. The placing of pieces to reflect, and the number and the nature of the pieces, are never quite the same from place to place. Yamaoka sums up this cumulative effect: “Never still for long, continually in motion, where the light falls, never the same way, I am caught in the process of becoming, and in the midst of disintegrating.” She uses resin, mylar, and other substances, sometimes to render photographic effects without a camera. Some pieces stick to the wall in a finished state, others are in a state of flux, like ordinary window glass, which is technically an amorphous solid, with a rate of motion far too slow for the human eye to detect. Like glass, these Yamaoka pieces move, but they move very slowly, so we’d have to come back considerably later to notice any change. One of the large mylar sheets shook, vibrating gently in the Henry Art Gallery’s air-conditioning. I watched for some time, unable to decide whether that was intentional.

Reflective mylar and mixed media on wood

But Yamaoka, who embraces chance and transformation as crucial aspects of her work, probably wouldn’t worry much about such distinctions. Her methods can seem fanciful, but they’re grounded always, however round-aboutly, in the weight of the world. For “Archipelagoes” (1991-94), she grounded each segment in a name, and each name referred to a prison, an internment camp, or some other type of place where people aren’t free to leave. And she’s updated that series for Seattle. Because we’re not running out of such names, such places. I wonder how long she’ll keep updating that direction.  “Carrie Yamaoka: recto/verso” plays through Nov. 3 at the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington campus. For prices and other information, visit Andrew can be reached at


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CITY City of Bellevue, Council Position 1 HOLLY ZHANG Founder and CEO of Holly Zhang Pearl Gallery in Bellevue, Zhang is an immigrant who overcame poverty and adversity as a young girl in rural China. She attended Edmonds Community College and the University of Washington, and has led numerous charity events which have benefited hospitals statewide. Having had to forage for food in China, Zhang believes in a higher quality of life for women, teenagers, and families. (425) 577-7253

City of Bellevue, Council Position 5 JANICE ZAHN Zahn is a 25-year resident of Bellevue, and a first-generation immigrant from Hong Kong. She has been leading Construction Management for the Port of Seattle for over a decade, has served four years on the City of Bellevue Transportation Commission (the last year as Chair), and championed for strategic investments in public safety (Police and Fire), infrastructure, and neighborhoods (enhancement projects). (425) 200-5525 JD YU Yu is a system architect with T-Mobile and an immigrant from China. He is an appointed member of the Bellevue Diversity Advisory Network to help the city build inclusive communities. He served as a board member of Somerset Community Association and was a member of the Covenant Review Committee to support community and home improvement planning. Yu also acts as the Chinese community liaison for Overlake Medical Center. (206) 771-5577

City of Bellevue Council, Position 7 MARGUERITE YE A project manager and quality assurance expert for Fortune 500 companies and companies throughout the region, Ye said she is uniquely prepared to address Bellevue’s challenges. She serves on the Bellevue Diversity Advisory Board, helping city leadership build trust across communities, and as a faculty member for Youthlink University, helping connect Bellevue youth to community projects and promote leadership and innovation. (425) 272-5325

City of Burien Council, Position 6 SOFIA ARAGON Aragon began her career as a registered nurse and is the executive director of the Washington Center For Nursing. She also pursued a law degree to be an advocate in Olympia with the intent to improve health care for all. Aragon currently serves on the board of directors of the WA Low Income Housing Alliance and is a member of the Burien Urban Center Advisory Committee. (206) 778-2891

City of Kent Council, Position 1 ELIZABETH T. PEANG A social worker, community outreach advocate, and housing specialist, Peang earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Administration, at California State University, Stanislaus. Peang is the parent of three school aged kids and in her

view, the lack of affordable housing and the rising crime rate are barriers for the success of the community. Her priority will be to lead the council towards business strategies which provide long-term sustainable funding solutions. (425) 998-6657

City of Kent Council, Position 3 HIRA SINGH BHULLAR A senior software engineer for Starbucks, Bhullar has been a Kent resident for over 11 years. He serves as a board member for Kent Youth & Family Services, Kent YMCA, Kent Schools Foundation, Sunrise Rotary Club, and Khalsa Gurmat School. He volunteers with the youth and children on different projects related to empowerment and education. Bhullar is a leader in the Sikh community and supports immigration reform and embracing diversity. (253) 656-0012

City of Lake Forest Park Council, Position 6 TRACY FURUTANI Furutani is a small business owner and calls himself a union activist. He has been a member of the Lake Forest Park Water District Advisory Committee. Furutani has a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Washington. He is a physics instructor at North Seattle College and has taught science and climate change issues for 25 years. (206) 922-8124

City of Seattle Council, District 3 KSHAMA SAWANT Sawant helped lead the way in making Seattle the first major city to pass a $15 minimum wage. She has served for two terms on the Seattle City Council. A member of Socialist Alternative, Sawant was the first socialist to win a citywide election in Seattle since Anna Louise Strong was elected to the School Board (1916), and the first socialist on the City Council since A. W. Piper (1877). (206) 486-0099 AMI NGUYEN Nguyen is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees. A former tenants’ rights attorney, she currently works as a public defender for King County, with mentally ill people who are held under the state Involuntary Treatment Act. Nguyen is also an active member of SEIU 925 and chair of its King County Department of Public Defense social justice committee. (206) 225-4671

City of Seattle Council, District 6 JAY FATHI Raised in North Seattle by a single mom, Fathi is of Iranian descent and attended Seattle Public Schools, graduating from Roosevelt High School before entering the University of Washington. He is a practicing family physician focusing on low income individuals and families. Fathi became president and CEO of Coordinated Care, leading the Obamacare health plan startup from 34,000 members to a state-wide plan with over 250,000 members in all 39 Washington counties. (206) 473-2488

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City of Seattle Council, District 7 NAVEED JAMALI Naveed Jamali is a U.S. Navy intelligence officer, computer programmer, former MSNBC intelligence analyst, and author of the memoir ‘How to Catch a Russian Spy.’ Jamali received a commendation from former FBI Director Robert Mueller for his work with the FBI countering Russian intelligence. As a Navy officer, Naveed was awarded New York State’s Humanitarian Medal for leading rescue and response missions in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (425) 954-3286

City of Shoreline Council, Position 4 DAVID CHEN Chen is the general counsel of CRISTA Ministries, an organization serving Shoreline’s seniors and youth through housing and education. He attended Seattle University School of Law, where he worked with youth at the King County Juvenile Detention Center and educated them on how to advocate for their rights. Chen is a former member of the Parks Funding Advisory Committee and several nonprofit boards. (206) 402-7637 DORIS FUJIOKA MCCONNELL McConnell was elected to the Shoreline City Council in 2007, 2011, and 2015, and as deputy mayor in 2019. She has served in Shoreline PTA in a variety of capacities, including president, secretary, treasurer, and vice president at both the individual school and district level. McConnell has also served on numerous Shoreline School District advisory boards and is an active Richmond Beach Community Association volunteer. (206) 940-1365

SCHOOL Mercer Island School District 400, Director Position 5 LINHUI HAO Lin has a Ph.D. in Biology from Ohio State University. She worked as a senior research scientist at the University of Wisconsin and Howard Hughes Medical Institute before moving to Mercer Island with her family. Lin has served as secretary on the Mercer Island School Foundation Board, tutored students in Chinese, and coached MathCounts teams. She is the founder and a board member of the Mercer Island Chinese Association. (206) 214-5569 TAM DINH An associate professor and program director at Saint Martin’s University, Dinh got her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is also a licensed independent clinical social worker and has worked with kids struggling with educational, mental health, and addiction problems. Dinh is on the Washington State Commission for Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA)’s Education and Health and Mental Health Committees. (206) 696-1866 *Names compiled from the King County elections website. If there are any AAPI candidates we missed for the Aug. 6, 2019 primary election, please let us know at

KING COUNTY: NOTICE TO BIDDERS Sealed bids will be received for C01354C19, Earlington Bldg. 2nd Floor Structural Improvements; by the King County Procurement and Payables Section, 3rd Floor, 401 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, until 1:30 PM on 08/06/2019. Late bids will not be accepted. The work consists of structural improvements to the King County Elections Building to include; strengthen existing floor beams, floor connections and structural connections at floor ledgers and perimeter walls, and floor deck improvements. The work will be performed in an occupied public office building that shall remain in full operation during


construction; the ballot storage areas of the building will and require a King County escort for access and coordination in advance of any construction activities. Estimated contract price: $336,182 There is a 3% minimum Apprentice Utilization Requirement on this contract. Complete Invitation to Bid Documents, including all project details, specifications, and contact information are available on our web page at:

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JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019


CRAZY WOKE ASIANS’ FIRST TOUR Laughs Comedy Club, 5220 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle 8-9:30 p.m. $15-$20

26 CRAZY WOKE ASIANS’ FIRST TOUR Jai Thai Comedy, 235 Broadway E., Seattle 9-10:30 p.m. $15-$20

27 & 28 ETHNIC FEST Wright Park, 501 S. I St., Tacoma 12 p.m.

28 TCCS 2019 ANNUAL GALA: “SLASH/LIFE” EP. 1 Red Lion Hotel Bellevue, 11211 Main St., Bellevue 5-8 p.m. $55/


SUMMER COMMUNITY CELEBRATION CISC, 611 S. Lane St., Seattle 4-7 p.m.

FILM SCREENINGS: CHIUNE SUGIHARA DOCUMENTARY AND BIOPIC Broadway Performance Hall, Seattle Central College 6:30 p.m. RSVP at Free admission 206-682-9107

26, 27, 28


BELLEVUE ART FAIR 2019 Bellevue Square & Bellevue Arts Museum 9:30 a.m.

RAINIER VALLEY HIRING FAIR Rainier Community Service Office, 3600 S. Graham St., Seattle 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.



2019 WRBT BON ODORI FESTIVAL White River Buddhist Temple, 3625 Auburn Way N., Auburn 4-9:30 p.m.

IT HAPPENED HERE! STORIES IN HING HAY PARK Hing Hay Park, 423 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle 12 p.m.

FREE CINEMATIC ENTERTAINMENT, “THE PRINCESS BRIDE” Seattle Center, Mural Amphitheatre 9 p.m.





BAMBOO CIRCLE CELEBRATION Seattle Chinese Garden, 6000 16th Ave. S.W., Seattle 5 p.m. RSVP to info@ 206-934-5219 ARTIST TALK WITH DEAN WONG Wing Luke Museum, 719 S. King St., Seattle 6:30-8 p.m.

FREE CINEMATIC ENTERTAINMENT, “CRAZY RICH ASIANS” Seattle Center, Mural Amphitheatre 9 p.m.

PING PONG TOURNAMENT Hing Hay Park, 423 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle 2-5:30 p.m. 2 p.m.

CHINATOWN/ID BAR HUNT Seattle's C-ID 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

3 CID BLOCK PARTY 2019 Seattle’s C-ID 3-9 p.m.

3, 10, 17, 24 SAAFF’S C-ID SUMMER CINEMA SERIES Hing Hay Park 7:30 p.m. Full schedule at

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The only weekly English-language newspaper serving Washington’s Asian community. The NW Asian Weekly has one simple goal: “To empower the Asian community.” The Editorial Board reserves the right to reject any advertisement, letter or article. Subscriptions cost $40 for 52 weeks of the NW Asian Weekly and $30 for 52 weeks of the Seattle Chinese Post. The NW Asian Weekly owns the copyright for all its content. All rights reserved. No part of this paper may be reprinted without permission. 412 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98104 • t. 206.223.5559 • •

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“7th and Jackson” A musical meeting of minds, Sara Porkalob style Intertwining history, psychology, emotion, and the hit music of yesteryear together in an ambitious dinner theatre project might seem like a big bite to take. But Sara Porkalob, writer and dramatic director of “7th and Jackson,” playing now at Café Nordo, seemed confident enough to tackle, mentally at least, one problem at a time, starting with historical research. “I started asking questions,” said Porkalob about the early phases of the musical production, set in and around a jazz club in Seattle’s International District. “The questions that I started with were, what was happening in that neighborhood, in terms of cultural mixing? Where were people of different cultures coming to meet, to socialize, to intersect? “And I found, that was a lot of the jazz clubs, dance halls, churches. Those were the places of community gathering. And I found documentation largely through the UW library, they were a huge resource. A lot of the stuff I was quoting from, they were short articles, ’zines, photographs, newspapers…” The action follows the ups and downs of three young women, one Black, one Filipina, and one Korean Chinese, played by Sarah Russell, Corinne Magin, Anasofia Gallegos, and Corinne Magin. The action bounces back and forth between just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when the three make a solemn vow to help each other accomplish their dreams, through the 1960s. “I’ve worked with each of them in different capacities,” remarked Porkalob on her leading ladies. “What they bring to the room, they totally bring themselves and their 20th-century sensibilities. I’m a

millennial, I’m 30, we’re all in the same age range. The youngest is 25 and the oldest is 33. “The [characters], they age from 10 years old to 35. And it’s really been exciting to see these adult women, travel back in time and play these characters. I know, from my autobiographical shows, the range of the characters I am able to play, with no costume changes, and I wanted to see how [these] skills would translate to other people, not a solo show.” Porkalob shared directing responsibilities with the show’s musical director, Andrew Pang, whom she hadn’t worked with prior to “7th and Jackson,” but had been watching and admiring for a long time. She praises Pang’s ability to dovetail with her own sensibilities, especially concerning the historical aspects of her story. As for the music itself, which includes vintage hits from the Andrews Sisters, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and others, the writer/director comments that the lyrics had to intersect with the story. “The musical history is just so rich, so it was finding the right songs and it took some time, and I had to trust my intuition,” concluded Porklob. “I had to think about how this is going to translate into a three-part harmony, act as a metaphorical statement. What does this song mean, when we look at it from the perspective of this character, versus that character. I wish I could have more songs in the show!”  Photo by Ian Johnston


“7th and Jackson” plays through Aug. 11 at Nordo’s Culinarium on 109 South Main Street in Seattle. Dinner is included with the cost of tickets. For prices, showtimes, and other information, visit Andrew can be reached at

Washington employers: Report and submit premiums by August 31. Phuong Tran, Owner, Lava Java

Employers of all sizes – including small businesses – are part of the new Paid Family & Medical Leave program. Is your company ready for the August 31 deadline? Learn more at

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JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019


Goals and purposes that take us around the world

Book recommendations By Samantha Pak NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY

The Bride Test By Helen Hoang Berkley, 2019 Khai Diep doesn’t really have emotions. While he might feel little things like irritation or contentment, he doesn’t do the big ones like grief. Or love. But his family knows better. Due to his autism, he just processes emotions differently. So his mother takes it upon herself to travel to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. So when she meets Khai’s mother, who presents her with the opportunity to meet a potential husband, Esme grabs it. Through Khai and Esme, Hoang shows us how it’s possible to fall for someone you’ve known for only a short period of time. We see how their relationship develops under unusual circumstances and the obstacles they have to overcome. With Khai, Hoang does a great job of showing readers how someone on the spectrum may process things and act in a relationship. Khai is someone who loves routine and likes things done a certain way. So seeing how Esme disrupts his life is fun to watch. But as the two get to know each other better, we see Khai slowly adjust his life to make space for Esme—without realizing what he is doing. As an immigrant, Esme’s time in the United States is not easy. But instead of wallowing in her situation, she is proactive and works to change things. She may see herself as “not classy,” but she doesn’t apologize for this. Instead, she owns it and everyone else can just take her or leave her.

“Bride Test” also features strong secondary characters, including Khai’s brother Quan, who is my favorite. Seeing how well Quan understands his brother—taking Khai’s autism into consideration, but still giving him a hard time (like an older brother should)—is a great display of brotherly love. Hoang is currently working on Quan’s love story next, and I for one am eagerly waiting for it.

A House for Happy Mothers By Amulya Malladi Lake Union Publishing, 2016

husband, good career, and a beautiful home. But what she wants more than anything, and cannot have, is a child. So when she learns about Happy Mothers House, a clinic in India that specializes in surrogacy, she and her husband go for it. Asha, the woman they select to carry their baby, is from a southern Indian village, raising her two children in a tiny hut with her husband. She reluctantly rents out her womb to the couple in order to fund a better education for her gifted son. “Happy Mothers” delves into the world of surrogacy.

Living in Silicon Valley, Priya has a great life: a loving


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“Serving our community as your Councilmember is an honor. As a regional leader in transportation, construction and public policy, I bring a unique and much-needed perspective. Together, we will keep Bellevue one of America’s most innovative and vibrant cities, and address the challenges of growth. As an immigrant, I know that our diversity IS our strength. VOTE Janice for Bellevue.”

Zahn’s readiness to talk about key specifics of city infrastructure evinces a clear and analytical understanding of the fundamental priorities citizens aneed from their local government leaders. – The Seattle Times Endorsement Editorial

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Various Seafair activities in the Chinatown-International District on July 20-21. NATSU MATSURI ORGANIZED BY UWAJIMAYA, BON ODORI, CHINATOWN SEAFAIR PARADE, AND RAGIN’ VIET-CAJUN.



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JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019


Seattle City Council races reasons why you shouldn’t vote for a candidate  Involved in issues irrelevant to city council business

By Assunta Ng NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY There is a saying, “Men forget, but won’t forgive,” and “Women forgive, but won’t forget.” Unfortunately, I represent both genders’ characteristics as a voter: I don’t forget and won’t forgive what the candidates have done. The Northwest Asian Weekly does not endorse candidates in the primary election, but will endorse in the general election. I won’t recommend who to vote for in this election, but I will share with you some tips in eliminating those who do not meet my principles. You can develop your own elimination criteria. The Seattle City Council races are tough since there are over 50 candidates for seven seats. However, if you want to change the direction of the city, this will be a good time to vote. It is time-consuming to study all the candidates’ backgrounds, records, and personalities. You may not always find the best one, but you can certainly discover clues to eliminate the bad ones. If you agree with the candidate’s qualifications and issues, you may still not be able to decide as some candidates say the same thing and copy someone else’s platform. Even if you are not a Seattleite, you can apply my criteria to choose candidates for other cities, such as Bellevue, SeaTac, Redmond, Kirkland, and so on.

 Failure to listen

Listening requires politicians to have empathy and tact. They understand there is always another side to a story. You don’t make good decisions if you don’t examine all the facts and try to get valuable input from different sides. For candidates who don’t listen to his or her constituency, vote them out. We don’t need elected officials who are closedminded, egotistical, and never consider another point of view. We don’t want officials who have no time to meet with anybody, especially people who disagree with them. In this case, you can’t tell from some candidates, but some incumbents have already demonstrated that listening is in their blood if you follow the news. If you go to candidate forums or talk to people who are active in politics, they will instantly tell you who on the city council have no desire to meet with the general public, especially those with whom they do

not see eye to eye. Just because someone thinks differently doesn’t mean they are your enemies. Opponents can contribute refreshing ideas, too. After all, no one has all the answers to all the problems Seattle faces. When I interviewed candidates, a few said in their opening remarks that listening is crucial. I take note immediately. Don’t be afraid to interview candidates, you would be surprised that candidates are often eager to talk to potential voters.

 Don’t work well with people

If you are deciding between two candidates, you can talk to the candidates’ supporters and ask if she or he works well with other people. The ability to work well with people reflects the candidate’s vision, maturity, and skills. You cannot get things done if you don’t respect others or cannot get along with people. We can’t afford to elect council members who intimidate, lose their temper, and insult others. I admire politicians who apologize for their mistakes. Recognizing their own flaws is not a weakness, but shows grace and strength.

 The candidate’s knowledge of the Asian community

It is a plus when the candidate’s

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knowledge about the community is strong. Has the candidate worked with Asian community members? Is the candidate open to hiring Asian American staff when she or he gets elected? Can candidates give you names of Asian supporters? Talk to those supporters and find out what the candidate is really like. Find out why people want to endorse the candidate.

It is appalling to have two Seattle council members flying to New York to testify against Amazon when it was considering the Big Apple for its HQ 2. How would they like it if New York City council members came to Seattle to tell Seattleites who to do business with? One of them is running for re-election this year. Such grandstanding behavior is not only inappropriate, but unprofessional. Years ago, some Seattle City Council officials wanted to get involved in foreign affairs, by sanctioning the policies of certain nations. Seattle is not the federal government. Get real. The city has little impact when it comes to international politics. The job of a city council member is to take care of the city’s business first—such as resolving the homeless crisis, improving public safety, ensuring a clean environment including water and streets, fixing roads, developing a vibrant economy, a good transportation system, and other sound livable conditions. Everything s/he does has to be focused on improving our city, and the quality of life for Seattleites.

 The candidate’s voting records

When Starbucks founder Howard Schultz announced his interest in running for U.S. president, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat exposed Schultz’s poor voting record. see BLOG on 13

JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019



asianweekly northwest


Democratic Presidential debates, Round 2 Democratic presidential hopefuls will appear on stage in Detroit on two separate nights in the upcoming week. Only 20 candidates qualified for this round of debates— they were selected based on a combination of polling performance and grassroots fundraising. Here are the lineups each night: Tuesday, July 30: Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson. Wednesday, July 31: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten

Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang. Of note to Washington state Asian American voters is that Yang and our governor (Inslee) were in separate debates in the first round—but are in the same group this go-around, along with Biden, the frontrunner. The Northwest Asian Weekly learned recently that former and current elected state officials have contributed to Inslee’s campaign, as well as that of other presidential candidates. When asked why, the answer was, “I have to work with him (Inslee), so I contributed.” What may seem like divided loyalties might actually be a smart move. We are still in the initial stages of picking

a presidential candidate. And even amongst Democrats, they are variations in values with each person. It’s OK to contribute to the candidate you like, and to a candidate who you think can actually win. Often times, the two doesn’t always exist in one person. Also, there’s no excuse not to watch! The debates will air live on CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español at 5 p.m. Pacific, each night. They’ll also stream live, without requiring log-in to a cable provider, on, CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV. 

■ LETTER Op-ed in support of Seattle Public Library levy I am a Navy Veteran. I retired as an O-5, commander in the Indian Navy, having held many senior leadership roles in 23 years of distinguished service, including a couple of commands. I migrated to Seattle in 2015, after my retirement, to join my wife, who moved here in 2013. Srikanth Mukku In my first week in the United States, as a fresh-off-the-boat commander, I attended a workshop conducted by the Small Business Administration. Jay Lyman of Seattle Public Library, through a Library Business Program presentation, opened up the enormous resources that the Seattle Public Library offers to business owners — online and in print — to start and grow businesses. He encouraged me to get a library card, which was the big ticket for free access to many paid services. I have extensively used Statista, Reference USA and Statistical Abstract of USA for my market research. I also used library edition to complete 18 different certifications. I still use it to train and upgrade new skills of my employees.

I had a vision, and Seattle Public Library gave me the tools to work towards my goals. The library business program encouraged, guided, and helped me in creating my business. I used the library’s online resources to do extensive market research and create a business plan. Through the guidance  I got, I have incorporated a Delaware C-Corporation with registered offices in Seattle and a development center in Hyderabad, India. Seattle Public Library helped me to create the world’s first private media network platform It is amazing that the library provides such incredible online resources for small businesses and startups. Thank you, Seattle Public Library, in helping me pilot my business through the complex regulatory channels. The help I received from the patient and wonderful staff of the library will go a long way to build my business, and to grow it organically and sustain it over a long period of time. The libraries serve as a critical bridge between immigrant communities and opportunities too often available only to the privileged and well connected. It levels the playing field through library programs, literacy classes, computer

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workshops, homework help, and so much more. The library brings resources into traditionally underserved communities. They anchor our neighborhoods, providing job training and educational programs for all people, regardless of background, income, or language ability. The library levy is not a new tax. It represents 25 percent of the library’s budget, and failure to renew the levy would force cuts to library hours and programs. For just $3 more per month for the average homeowner, we can protect the library’s investments in small business and immigrant communities across our city. Five years ago, my company was not even a dream. Today, it’s a small business that will contribute to the economy and support the community. Without the library, I could never have found the resources to start my business and achieve my dream. Now, I urge you to maintain access to the Seattle Public Library’s critical services. Please vote “Yes” on Prop 1 by Aug. 6 for a more equitable, welcoming, and livable Seattle for all. 

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JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019

Shasti Conrad and her mother with Malala Yousofzai

Conrad served on the briefing team to Michelle Obama

CONRAD from 1

leave and go to Canada.’ And I said, ‘No, you will not chase me out of my community,’” she said. Conrad feels if the future has to be rebuilt, it will be led by women and people of color. “I wanted to stay and be a part of the party because I knew it was going to need rebuilding, people who could be evenkeeled, fair, and could understand there was a need for change. The last couple of years have just been coming in to learn and understand who the players are and what works,” she said.

“I grew up in a small town, where I was one of only two Indians at school, everyone thought we were sisters. I went on to graduate from high school and got a scholarship to Seattle University. A leadership fellowship is what brought me to the political arena,” Conrad said.

Strong foundations Conrad’s mother and grandmother played vital roles in molding her into the leader she is today. “I grew up on a farm with my mom and grandparents. My grandfather passed away when I was 5, so I was predominantly raised by my mom and grandmother—two strong women,” she said. Conrad recalls going to voting booths with her grandmother, originally from the U.K., who had to work for her citizenship in the U.S. “My mother owned a daycare center and took pride in creating an environment for kids to flourish, ensuring people from every background, in particular those from lower income communities, had a safe place to be able to leave their children,” she said. “The older I get, the more I see my mom’s social work background and my grandmother’s strong sense of civic duty pull through in the work I’m drawn to,” she said.

Journey to the White House

Conrad’s senior year sociology thesis was on political activism in the community, during the time when Barack Obama ran for office. Obama, the first person of the hip-hop generation and a viable Black candidate who spoke to the millennial generation, drew her to him. Conrad had also read Dreams From My Father, where Obama spoke about being a cultural translator, existing between the white world and people of color. “Raised by a Caucasian family in a predominantly Caucasian town, but having the experience of being a woman of color, made it so that I was walking back and forth between those different worlds. It gave me the gift of being a translator. I was able to talk about what it is like to be a person of color in the U.S. and ways in which we are treated to white audiences that didn’t understand it or didn’t have friends with those experiences,” she said. After Obama’s win, a friend who had gone to set things up at the White House told Conrad about an internship program and she applied. “I was chosen to be in the first class and that changed my whole trajectory. My plan had been to be a professor. I was going to go into a Sociology PhD. Program,” she said. However, she admits always being called to activism. “When Obama ran and won, I saw this amazing opportunity to talk about social justice issues in an environment where I could influence change and be connected to communities,” she added. The White House was an eye-opener for Conrad. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was 23 when I got to the White House. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who had gone to Princeton, Harvard, and Yale with access to a world I had never experienced,” Conrad said. “Seeing the ways in which power is maintained, protected, written, and created predominantly by white men, even under the Obama administration, was a wake-up call to being able to say, ‘Let me see if I can understand how this works, so I can try to create access for more people like myself,’” she said. After her stint at the White House, Conrad decided she needed to make sense of what she had experienced and applied to Princeton. “I needed to be able to speak the language of policy makers through my graduate school degree, while understanding how power plays in politics. This set me up well to come back to my own community to say, ‘How do I make this accessible for women, people of color, millennials, and Generation Z?’”

The homecoming

Like a lot of people, Conrad was devastated with the results of 2016, but came back and decided to run for state senate in the 37th district. “It was partially because the rhetoric at the time was, ‘Let’s

Chair of King County Democrats Conrad didn’t plan on being the county chair of the King County Democrats. “Last year, there was a need for leadership change at the county-level and I was a part of that call. I believed it needed to be led by a woman and people who understood the party. It needed to open itself up to underrepresented communities and be made relevant,” she said. As chair, I felt we needed a safe space for people to come in and get work done and feel like they can be making a difference in their communities,” she said. Conrad acknowledges she is different from previous chairs. “Just like conversations about women running for president, I got: ‘You’re not prepared. You’re not experienced enough. You really don’t know what you are doing.’ To them I say, “You know, I sat in the West Wing, you know I worked for three Nobel Laureates, you realize that I have been a part of this community for many years. I feel like I am ready for this type of leadership role.” A challenge for her is that Democrats are experiencing PTSD from 2016. “There is a lot of pain and people feel traumatized under the Trump administration’s regime. We tried to implement a code of conduct and change the culture into a space where people are oriented toward organizing real grassroots action,” she said. One of Conrad’s passion projects is demonstrating the Democratic ecosystem in the area and she spotlights partner organizations at meetings. “We have incredible organizations doing great work and full of really talented people who are toiling hard, trying to help their communities. Democrats have to be better about showing up for them and not just expecting them to vote when we tell them to,” she said. Conrad feels 2019 is a big bench-building year because of the local races. “It’s an incredible opportunity for people to go through this process. It’s the best way to get to know your community. You knock on your neighbors’ doors, you hear what they care about, what they are facing, and you learn people are people. Everybody wants to be able to feed their kids, take care of their parents, be able to get up and do their jobs. What they need is healthcare, affordable housing, and education. They need these basics and the system has to be set in place so we can actually give that to them,” she said. Conrad finds the Trump era both awful and exciting because people are pushing back on the idea that they do not want their government to be bought and paid for by the one percent. “I see my value and the experiences that I’ve had in that I can help to be a bridge for people who want to be involved and push back. I know a lot of the players and how they think because I was around them for most of my 20s. I can help by opening some doors.”

2020 Democratic election The long campaign season makes Conrad nervous. “It is exciting to hear so many people articulate why being a Democrat matters and what we care about. We are getting to articulate our vision of America and hearing that from Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren,” Conrad said. Her concern has always been that it is easier for Democrats to turn on each other than it is for them to stand united. “There is a saying: Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. My message is to remember we are in this together. We can have people we are excited about, but at the end of the day, the vision we have for America is in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s, so we have to be in alignment. Conrad loved seeing a diversity of candidates who spoke


Shasti Conrad with Gov. Jay Inslee

to a hopeful future that was positive and inclusive at the 2019 Democratic Primary debates. “It demonstrated a pull leftward, now speaking to the policies laid out primarily by Sanders in 2016. I look forward to getting to hear about Democratic values from a nuanced, sophisticated perspective from so many talented and strong candidates,” she said. Speaking about the presidential candidates, Conrad mentions Warren and Harris, but adds that Cory Booker and Julian Castro stood out on night one. “It speaks to dynamics that play out through different sectors, where people of color and women know they will be held to a different standard, and therefore do our absolute best to rise to the top. They had to be prepared, well thought out, or they would have been vilified more than a John Delaney or Eric Swalwell,” she said. “I am energized by the real possibility of a woman or woman of color being our frontrunner. We as Democrats are at our best when we are authentic and bold, both of which Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris were that night and are on the campaign trail,” she added.

Future plans

Conrad is focused on her role as chair of the King County Democrats. “I’m very excited by several of our candidates who are running. We have a full slate of very strong candidates, especially down in SeaTac, where a lot of people of color are running,” she said. Conrad mentions that people often ask her how to fight the Trump administration and focus on national politics. “I tell them there is a Trump-loving mayor in SeaTac. You want to fight Trump, let’s go to SeaTac and make sure their city council reflects that community. That is where I see real opportunities for hope,” she said. “We are trying to build up the party and bring in more people and more diversity. Party leadership is chosen from within. If it is the same people, you replicate the same things. I’m excited and nervous about 2020. The state committee decided to go with the primary instead of next year. The county level will be helping with the delegation that will go to the DNC,” she added.

Professional work Professionally, Conrad is the campaign manager for the 100 Million Campaign in the United States. It is the brainchild of Kailash Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousufzai in 2014. “I have been with the foundation for about two and a half years. Our mission is ending child labor and child trafficking and we want it to be youth-led. We believe that if young people set their mind to it, then they can end it in their lifetime. We talk about globalizing compassion, which plays into politics, too,” she said. Conrad admires Satyarthi and Yousufzai, who have a vision for a better world and are relentlessly focused on it. “They don’t care if people say it can’t happen. They build social movements by helping people see the best in themselves. I am trying to bring that ethos to my political work,” she said. “At King County Democrats, I talk a lot about a collaborative leadership model. For years, it had been built on a strong chair and was top down. I don’t need the party for me, we are building this together. In fact, I want a pipeline for other people to come and take my place,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about what it takes to really change the world, create something meaningful that people want to be a part of and make changes that can have a big impact. It comes down to being able to move past your own ego and see the endless possibilities. When you are working with people and believing in the goodness in them, that is all you need,” she said.  Janice can be reached at

JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019



asianweekly northwest


Predictions and advice for the week of July 27–August 2, 2019 By Sun Lee Chang Dragon — You are in the position of having to jump in at the last minute. Keep your wits about you as you try to get your bearings.

Monkey — A revealing conversation has given you a flavor of what you can expect. Use this newfound information to plan accordingly.

Snake — A chance encounter leads to an unusual situation. Rather than overthinking it, go with what feels most natural.

Rooster — Not all guidance, no matter how wellmeaning, is worth taking. Consider the source to determine whether you should follow it.

Tiger — Don’t waste your time on an insignificant issue. Turn your attention to much more pressing concerns.

Horse — Even when you know what most of the options are, it can be hard to make a choice. There is nothing that is stopping you from seeing what else is out there.

Dog — Before you circle back to a project you had put on hold, give yourself some time to refresh your memory on what needs to be done.

Rabbit — It might be hard for you to see what is obvious to those around you. A little distance would help to get a better perspective.

Goat — Use the benefit of hindsight to do things slightly different this time around. In a sense, practice really does make perfect.

Rat — Much to your chagrin, a less than desirable pattern is emerging. Once you are aware of what is happening, it won’t take much on your end to change it. Ox — Take advantage of the opportunity to set the record straight. The feeling of relief should be well worth the effort.

Pig — While it can be stressful to pull off a balancing act, it should eventually enable you to focus on what you actually enjoy.

WHAT’S YOUR ANIMAL SIGN? RAT 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 OX 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 TIGER 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 RABBIT 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 DRAGON 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012 SNAKE 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013 HORSE 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 GOAT 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 MONKEY 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016 ROOSTER 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 DOG 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 PIG 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

*The year ends on the first new moon of the following year. For those born in January and February, please take care when determining your sign.

BLOG from 10

can’t lie or hide your voting history.

It’s hard for many to support someone who, as a leader, can’t set the example in fulfilling the most basic civic duty—voting. Most people don’t have time to check all the candidates’ voting record. But if you can’t decide between two outstanding candidates, check who has the better voting record at the Office of King County Elections. It’s all public information. It is also a lesson for ambitious young people who are interested in political office in the future. You can give all kinds of excuses about your past misgivings, but you

 Not fulfilling their term

In District 3, one candidate, who was a former Seattle School Board member, resigned his seat so he could run for City Council, which is more powerful than a school board position. It also pays a lot more. The city council job pays over $129,000, and school board members receive only $4,800 max a year. He might deny those are his real motives in pursuing a higher office. Don’t believe him. I have a hard time accepting someone who made a commitment to kids, and then

abandoning them. He shouldn’t have run for school board two years ago. Once in awhile, I can forgive a candidate for not finishing his/her term for good reasons. In this case, it is obvious—the pasture is greener on the other side.

 Inappropriate public behavior What kind of public servant are you if you often lecture people at council meetings, including colleagues? And in press conferences, a councilmember called a Seattle police officer, a “murderer.” It is already difficult for the Seattle Police

Department to recruit new officers. Accusing them as murderers before you have all the facts won’t help. It is also unfair. All council meetings are being videotaped, and you can watch which council member frequently bullies other people. Just do a Google search and you will know what I mean. On Aug. 6, you can decide the destiny of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Redmond, Renton, and many other cities. Vote.  Assunta can be reached at

asianweekly northwest


JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019

SHELF from 8 Through the eyes of a prospective mother, as well as a surrogate, Malladi shows readers the best and worst things about India’s surrogacy industry. Both Priya and Asha struggle with the situation—questioning the ethics of their situation, whether Asha is being exploited and whether all of it is even worth it in the end. Through Priya, Malladi shows readers how struggles with infertility can affect a couple. She shows the strain it can have on them physically, emotionally, and mentally. Through Asha, we see how surrogacy can affect a woman, as her emotions range from disgust with herself, to happiness for helping a childless couple, to resignation at having to do what she must for her family. Malladi also shows the emotional toll surrogacy can have on a woman, as Asha struggles against becoming attached to the baby growing inside her. Before this, I had never really given


much thought to surrogacy. While “Happy Mothers” shows readers a very specific type of surrogacy overseas, the story opened my eyes to what people might go through in such a situation.

Patron Saints of Nothing By Randy Ribay Kokila, 2019 Jay Reguero is in his final semester of high school, and he plans to spend it playing video games until he graduates and is off to the University of Michigan. But then he learns that his cousin Jun has been murdered in the Philippines as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs. And no one in the family will talk about it. So Jay travels to the Philippines to learn what happened. But finding answers isn’t as easy as it may seem and Jay faces off with Jun’s dad, a police chief inspector who runs his household as strictly as a police department. As he learns more about his cousin, Jay begins questioning how well he really knew his cousin and struggles


to shake the guilt he feels in the part he played in the events that led to Jun’s death. “Patron Saint” is the story of a young man who goes back to his home country, initially to learn about his cousin’s death, but also to reconnect with family. And as little as he knows about them, it soon becomes clear that due to the fact that his family doesn’t really talk about anything important, they’re also in for a few surprises from each other. Like most families, the Regueros are a complicated bunch and Ribay does a great job of showing readers their complexities and flaws. Ribay also doesn’t shy away from showing readers the hard truths of the Philippines’ war on drugs, which has been happening since Duterte took office in 2016. I have to admit that I had no clue about this. And I know I won’t be the only one who is unaware. As heartbreaking as some of the facts were, I think it is necessary for readers to realize what is happening to people in other parts of the world. As big as the



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YOUR VOICE VOTE from 1 disproportionate voice when you do show up,” Liu said. The King County Elections office said it mailed ballots and voters’ pamphlets on July 17 to over 1.3 million registered voters for the Aug. 6 primary. Markham McIntyre, executive director of CASE, the political arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said, “Some of the big, scary things that are happening at the national level turn people away from thinking they can make a difference. But here locally is really where you can have a positive impact.”

So many choices “The main challenge of this primary is how to choose from the 10 different people running in my district,” said Jeff Wei, who lives in District 4. “In such a large field, it’s tough to distinguish the different candidates based on their positions. Unlike state and national Jeff Wei elections, the issues here are more likely to affect me directly. Yet it’s hard to find much information on the candidates, and most of my friends don’t even seem to care about local elections.” “When we’ve surveyed voters, over 80 percent of voters indicate that the voters’ pamphlet is their number one go-to place to learn more about issues and candidates,” said Julie Wise, King County Elections Director. It’s the easiest place to compare candidates, said Wise, as they are literally side-byside from each other. But there is one caveat. “The pamphlet is candidate-driven. It’s not something we here at the elections office are able to verify or validate (candidate statements).” Similar to the voters’ pamphlet, but in video format, is the Video Voters’ Guide, which can be accessed at seattlechannel. org/elections. “Candidates for Seattle and King County races who choose to participate … you can hear what their priorities are in their own words,” said Wise. The Video Voters’ Guide is a collaboration of Seattle Channel and King County TV. “Before the ballot arrives, I don’t hear much about the candidates except through local events like festivals and through friends who are more engaged with local politics, including one friend who volunteers with city council campaigns,” said Seattle voter Diana Hsu. Diana Hsu Both Wise and McIntyre strongly urge attending candidate forums, where you get to interact with a candidate face-to-face. “Ask candidates questions that are specific to your community—hold them accountable. They’re out there, talking about these issues that are important to your community, making promises— these forums are witnessed by many and often times captured on video,” said Wise. McIntyre suggested going a step further—by reaching out to candidates directly. “Ideally, these candidates should be very responsive to anyone who has an inquiry. Either they or their staff should be following up,” said McIntyre. “That’s a great way to get direct information if you’ve got a particular issue or particular thing you’re curious about.” You can find a complete list of all City of Seattle candidates and their contact information at elections/campaigns.aspx?cycle=2019. Many organizations like the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce release endorsement lists. The Chamber is endorsing nine candidates for the seven district seats. In Districts 6 and 7, there are dual endorsements in each. “I choose the candidate whose policy positions I think will do the greatest good for the greatest number of people,” said Seattle voter Denise Mak. “For the city council election, I prefer candidates who are for a better city, not just a better neighborhood or a better backyard.” Denise Mark “Seek out organizations that you trust to help figure out which candidates might share your similar values and vision,” said Wise.

Use your power “We need to stop treating voting like, ‘Eat your vegetables, do your duty,’ and more like, ‘This is a party—this is a social activity—let’s get some people over here,” Liu said. Voting should not be done in isolation, he said, like sitting in front of a computer and doing Google searches. “You can and should be talking to neighbors, friends, coworkers, fellow worshippers, about the issues that matter to you. [Voting] is best done in a community context.”

Liu suggested making the filling out of your ballots a fun activity. “One of the programs we do at Citizen University is the Joy of Voting. … Make it a potluck, do it over drinks. People can come with their knowledge and research, come with their own favorite candidates … talk it through as a group over food and drinks … it becomes a much more meaningful way to situate the act of voting into the life of the community.” When asked about voter apathy, Liu said there’s no such thing as not voting. “Not voting is voting,” said Liu. “It is an active choice to hand your power over to somebody else, so that they can use it against you.” Some people don’t like to talk about politics in social settings, but Liu said we need to rethink that. “It’s OK to disagree,” said Liu. “It’s not to avoid having arguments—it’s to have less stupid arguments … [it’s] to have better arguments.” The best way to begin a conversation, Liu said, is to find out another person’s values. Ask how their values are formed, why a certain topic or issue is so important to them. “Learn where people are coming from … it brings us to a greater understanding of each other even if we still disagree.”

Voter concerns “The top issues I care about and base my vote on are climate change, homelessness—I support homeless encampment sweeps in cases where residents have been offered shelter— housing density to drive down rent, increases in low and middle income housing, and better public transportation,” said Hsu. The latter three are the same top three issues uncovered by a recent telephone survey done by CASE of likely November 2019 voters in Seattle. “People are particularly frustrated about the issue of homelessness and the lack of progress they see made on that issue,” said McIntyre. “They are also frustrated about transportation and congestion and how the city is increasingly unaffordable for many.” Forty-six percent of people surveyed feel Seattle is headed in the wrong direction (40 percent for in the right direction), and 52 percent disapprove of the job the Seattle City Council is doing. The majority of survey respondents also expressed feeling less safe in their own neighborhood and in downtown Seattle. “There seems to be a governing ideology on the city council right now that’s driving a lot of that dissatisfaction. It’s important to note that this election is not about ideology, it’s about results.” McIntyre said the current city council tends to be fairly oneminded. “They listen to a narrow group of stakeholders when they’re making their decisions, and that’s not really delivering results for districts or for the entire city.” Wei said, “I look for a candidate whose beliefs align with my own. Experience matters, but so does a platform that highlights the issues that I believe are most important right now. I want someone who will improve the city and address the critical issues affecting Seattle today.” McIntyre said that aside from The Seattle Times, neighborhood blogs and periodicals are a great way to get educated on the issues affecting your community and how candidates are responding to them. Wise said the Municipal League—a nonpartisan, volunteer organization—created a Ready, Set, Vote app where you can select an organization or media outlet to see their endorsements and if it lines up with what you agree with.

Your vote does matter People are polarized, feeling helpless, and tempted to check out because they feel like the whole game is rigged, said Liu. “The only way the game gets unrigged and our democracy gets renewed in the United States is from the bottom up. From

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the local level, outward and upward,” said Liu. “All citizenship is local. All politics is local.” Mak voiced frustration with the current voting system. “Wouldn’t it be better if voters could choose all the candidates that agree with them on the issues they care about, and then the winner is the candidate with the most approval votes? I also think that a voting system that may make voters suppress their true preference in favor of electability is broken. In the future, I hope we will have election reform that allows voters to choose all the candidates that they approve of, instead of just one,” she said. “People get disillusioned with the political process and feel like it’s a foregone conclusion and somebody else has already made the decision, so they think, ‘Why would I choose to participate?’” said McIntyre. In 2015, McIntyre said a candidate needed just under 9,000 votes to win a primary election. And in that same year in the general election, the District 1 race was decided by only 39 votes (Lisa Herbold versus Shannon Braddock). Your voice and your vote really does matter, stressed McIntyre. “District elections are a better opportunity for representation, particularly on district-specific issues,” McIntyre said. “If you vote, we can get a better city council, and we can solve some of these problems together.”


This Aug. 6 primary will mark the first election in which people will be able to register to vote at any one of five voting centers (locations: You will be issued a ballot in that same visit, so you can vote right then and there. If you still haven’t received your ballot, contact the elections office at 206-296-VOTE (8683). You can choose your language preference and be connected immediately to a live operator. If you are returning your ballot by mail, Wise urges that you do so before Aug. 2—the Friday before Election Day. No stamp is needed. After Aug. 2, Wise said you can drop off your ballot at any of the 68 ballot drop boxes, which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Ninety-five percent of voters have a drop box within a three-mile radius of their home,” said Wise.

Voter engagement

When Wise ran for office five years ago, she attended a candidate forum specifically for the Vietnamese community. There were between 200 to 300 people there. “I asked by a show of hands who knew that we have election materials in Vietnamese. Only one hand went up,” said Wise. Since then came the creation of the Voter Education Fund, a partnership between King County Elections and Seattle Foundation to reach and inform underrepresented and limited-English speaking voters. “We are putting half a million dollars each year into community-based organizations for civic engagement, groups such as APACE, ACRS, OneAmerica, etc.,” said Wise. “In our first year, we really wanted to make sure that voters were aware that we provide materials in four different languages (Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish).” Wise said there was a 62 percent increase that year in requests for in-language materials. From 2016 through 2018, there was more than a 2,000 percent increase in requests for Korean materials. “The Korean community turned out more than any other language community in King County for the last presidential election, at 83 percent.” In the November 2018 general election, a midterm election which generally sees lower voter turnout, Wise said the turnout for English-speaking voters was 76 percent, Chinese 51 percent, Vietnamese 61 percent, Korean 64 percent, and Spanish 60 percent. Liu said that it’s especially important for young people and people of color not to throw away their vote. “With what’s going on in the country and the fact that we’re having so much anxiety, anger, hate, and politics around race and generational differences … this is the time for young people and people of color to make a commitment to organize, to get our voices heard, and to vote. Don’t throw away your voice, your vote, or your power.”  Ruth can be reached at

asianweekly northwest


JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2019


Profile for Northwest Asian Weekly

VOL 38 NO 31 | JULY 27 - AUGUST 2, 2019  

VOL 38 NO 31 | JULY 27 - AUGUST 2, 2019