Allow me to address the egregious lies spread by Hilary Stern in her noxious editorial of October 27, 2017. Stern suggests her positions as facts and lacks specificity in her recollections. The plain truth is the following:
Stern fails to provide names, dates, addresses, evidence of any kind, anything resembling a fact, in the base lies and vague aspersions she casts on my work as a volunteer and community activist 13 years ago. She paints a false picture of me as some Svengali-like white woman who misled all of these gullible and mostly African-American Rainier Valley resident “dupes” into thwarting Latino day laborers of success.
Several individuals and organizations raised questions and concerns about the proposed siting of CASA Latina's day laborer program to the former Chubby & Tubby Garden Center at Rainier Avenue S. and S. Walden Street. In his December 8, 2004 letter to Stern, as then-President of the Rainier Chamber of Commerce, Darryl Smith clearly wrote, “After much discussion with various community groups such as Mount Baker Community Club, Genesee Merchants, Lakewood/Seward Park Organization, Powerful Schools, SouthEast Effective Development (SEED), South East [sic] Crime Prevention Council, and principals of both Franklin High School and John Muir Elementary School, we agreed to join our voices to ask that you find a site better suited to your program."
Pastor John Heflin and his wife, First Lady Boneva Heflin, of the Berean Church of God in Christ, immediate neighbors to the south of the Chubby & Tubby site, state in their March 14, 2005 letter to then-Mayor Nickels and the City Council that they, "thought it was CASA Latina's job to do the community outreach." The Heflins received a letter on March 12, 2005, dated February 22, 2005, about a February 15, 2005 meeting to discuss CASA Latina's siting plans next door to their church. Why did Pastor and First Lady Heflin not receive CASA Latina’s “outreach letter” in a timely fashion? CASA Latina had previously been cited as a model for community outreach regarding their day laborer program in the Belltown neighborhood.
The Heflins’ letter continues, “Unfortunately, although we will be the most seriously impacted by CASA Latina moving here, were [sic] not able to speak or made [sic] our concerns known at the February 15th meeting.” They were simply not informed the meeting was even going to occur. The Heflins’ conclude, “Please, please, please think of the impact of the people and business owners who have lived in this community for years. We should matter too.”
Stern alleges that the few times she ultimately did meet with concerned community members, I was there. That is true. I was there because community members asked me to attend. Pastor and First Lady Heflin asked me to join them and stand with their congregation and I did. Pastor Heflin asked me to join and stand with the United Black Christian Clergy and I did. Community members asked me to join and stand with them and I did. I did so because I care about communities, and that’s what a concerned, caring community member does; when you are asked to join people to get their reasonable questions answered, you do it.
Stern insinuates that anyone who raised questions about the siting of Chubby & Tubby as a day laborer site is a racist. Does this hold for the neighborhoods of blacks, whites, and southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders who raised questions? Or is the slur “racist” reserved specifically for me because I am a white woman challenging a Latina woman for elected office? Stern fails to provide backup information—specific instances, dates, quotes, and letters—about my so-called, “racist and classist fears about Latino immigrant day laborers.”
I’ve provided details to set the record straight. Unlike me, Stern provides none.
And with that, I will continue my campaign for Seattle City Council, Position 9 the way I began it; telling the truth about the work I’ve done in the City I’ve loved for over 30 years. The work and volunteering I’ve done for individuals, small businesses, organizations, and neighborhoods. The work I’ve done that speaks for itself.
Pat Murakami is a businesswoman running for City Council Position 9.