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Gov. Jay Inslee meets with Hindu leaders, including Nit Niranja and Mani Vadari of the  Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell. (Photo by CAIR-WA via Facebook.)

Gov. Jay Inslee meets with Hindu leaders, including Nit Niranjan and Mani Vadari of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell. (Photo by CAIR-WA via Facebook.)

Gov. Jay Inslee spoke out against acts of intolerance last week after the recent vandalism incidents at two Hindu temples in the Seattle area.

On Feb. 15, members of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell discovered the words “get out” and a swastika spray-painted on an outside wall. Two weeks later, members of the Sanatan Dharma Temple in Kent found their windows broken and the word “FEAR” written on the wall.

“There are still elements that act as agents of intolerance and hate and we have got to stand up against them every day,” Inslee said in prepared remarks on Thursday.

Along with his public remarks, Inslee also set aside time last week to meet with the leaders of the Hindu temples that were targeted and also with local Muslim leaders.

Bothell temple chairman Nit Niranjan and vice chairman Mani Vadari said the governor’s response was encouraging, and said it was important for elected leaders to criticize acts of intolerance publicly.

Vadari said the temple had never been targeted by such a blatant display of hate before, and the messages that were scrawled on the walls still affect the members.

“Those kinds of statements are hurtful,” he said.

Katrina Pestano (far left) talks to a United Steel Workers Tesoro striker along March Point Road in front of the Anacortes Tesoro oil refinery responsible for the deaths of seven workers in 2010.

Katrina Pestano (far left) talks to a United Steel Workers Tesoro striker along March Point Road in front of the Anacortes Tesoro oil refinery responsible for the deaths of seven workers in 2010. (Photo courtesy of J.M. Wong)

Five years ago, seven workers were killed in an explosion at the Tesoro oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash., triggered by a faulty heat exchanger.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has since determined that the incident was preventable, caused by “a deficient refinery safety culture, weak industry standards for safeguarding equipment, and a regulatory that too often emphasizes activities rather than outcomes.” For its role in jeopardizing the workers’ lives, Tesoro was fined a mere $685,000.

The vivid memory of this incident is partly what drives workers to a strike picket line outside the refinery on a sunny February Sunday morning. Pierce Hoover, who has worked at the Tesoro plant for nine years, remembers the deceased: Daniel Aldridge, Matt Bowen, Matt Gumbel, Darrin Hoines, Lew Janz, Kathryn Powell and Donna Van Dreumel.

“Those were our friends, just like how we are friends here,” he said. 

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The Hindu temple in Kent reported broken windows and graffiti scrawled on the wall in the past week — the second vandalism at a Hindu temple in the Seattle area in the past few weeks.

Staff at the Sanatan Dharma Temple discovered that overnight Thursday, someone had broken windows at the temple and scrawled the word “FEAR” on the wall.

The Kent Police Department told KOMO TV on Sunday that preliminary information doesn’t show that most recent vandalism in Kent had a racial or religious motivation.

The Feb. 26 incident followed two weeks after the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell was targeted by graffiti.

In the Feb. 15 incident in Bothell, someone had written “GET OUT” on the exterior wall of the temple on the exterior wall of the temple. At nearby Skyview High School someone had scrawled the words “Muslims get out,” sparking concerns that some communities, including Hindus, are being attacked for being perceived to be Muslim.

Last week, Hindu and Muslim leaders gathered together, calling for an FBI investigation of the Bothell vandalism as a hate crime.

This year, the FBI expanded its collection of information about religious hate crimes to include hate crimes targeting Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons, Buddhists, Jehova’s Witnesses and Orthodox Christians. FBI officials also said the bureau will collect information on anti-Arab bias as motivation of crimes.

The media descend upon the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell, after it was vandalized. (Photo by Ayesh Photography via CAIR-WA.)

The media at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell where local Hindu and Muslim leaders gathered to call for an FBI investigation of the recent vandalism there as a hate crime. (Photo by Ayesh Photography via CAIR-WA.)

The Capitol Hill club uses their name against Bruce Lee's image to promote their venue. (Photo from Chop Suey Facebook page)

The Capitol Hill club uses their name against Bruce Lee’s image to promote their venue. (Photo from Chop Suey Facebook page)

It’s hard to believe that an alternative music club known for its diverse acts in politically correct Seattle has been called the Chop Suey for 13 years. It’s even more surprising to me that no one has made a big fuss about it until this year.

Andy Allen, an elementary school teacher and bassist for all people of color dance band My Parade, saw an opportunity to challenge the venue’s name when he heard new club owners, Brian Houck, Erin Carnes, and Brianna Rettig from Chicago, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles, respectively, would be taking over and making renovations to the club. On Jan. 27, he sent and published an open letter asking Rettig to consider renaming the venue.

Though he wants to have a conversation with the new owners about this before its soft reopening on March 6, the likelihood that this will happen seems to be waning every day. To this day, Allen has not heard back from them.