Here goes with another attempt to post to think tank...

Weed and Seed in Philly is quite community based, and funds things such as a youth court at a local high school.  I think this is groovy because it keeps kids out the real court...

Of course, if you have a 100% anti-authoritarian leaning it won't fly with you. 

NBW has done and will continue to attempt to work with West Philly Weed and Seed.  The individuals involved are definitely focussed on the "seed" side of the equation.  Also, cops involved in W&S are those with the more community policing model in their minds. 

I would add to the factors listed about W&S that it allows NBW to network with other agencies, which has joys and pitfalls.  It raises our credibility in the African American community of West Philly to be part of this kind of collaborative.  If you are an agency largely founded by white activists and you want to work in communities of color, this can be a definite plus.  Of course, we have our differences with some of the other agencies in W&S, too, so we have had to figure out what collaboration is worth regarding those issues.  For my part "health" agencies that promote "abstinence only" programs and homophobic churches are all composed of people who can benefit from there being more bikes.  It is not NBW's mission to change these aspects of their outlook, and it would, in my opinion, damage our work to take people on regarding these issues.  Better that direct challenges be done by activists in those specific areas.  For our part, youth at a Christian camp that uses our space will see that Philadelphia Gay News is available in our lobby, and that many of the people working for us are somewhat different to the norm... and that we are caring and attentive, not scary.  So we represent our our values without demanding that everyone in the collaborative share them.  If anyone cares, getting to this point was not easy for me personally since I like to have a holistic view of politics.  It's a matter of picking battles. 

As for the guy arrested for not having a bell...  clearly harassment.  But if you don't like what cops are doing, being in W&S might give you more credibility with them than if you are just someone outside the loop, and even if you don't get credibility you'll get time at a meeting to raise issues with the police if something like that happened in your community.



Macho Philipovich wrote:
I've already shot my mouth off enough about this, so I'll listen for a 
while to what others have to say.  There must be more shops with 
opinions out there.  I know BICAS has a program through W&S.  One of 
their mechanics vaguely expressed to me that he was pretty uneasy with 
it at this year's Bike!Bike!, but I didn't get to talk with him in any 

As far as critical resources, this publication, "*A Call to Reject the 
Federal Weed and Seed Program", might be interesting, though I haven't 
read it:

Other than that and the audio segment you linked to, I didn't turn up 
anything much aside from passing references to criminalization of black 
people, including **a man in Miami** arrested for riding a bicycle 
without a bell, and broad sweeps of poor neigbourhoods in Chicago.


Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, Inc. wrote:

Let's keep it on-list. As Stuart said, this can lay some groundwork 
and help others decide about similar funding in the future.

I am in total agreement that CSB's need to be in complete control of 
how funding is spent and not let a donor pressure us into something 
that feels uncomfortable or compromises our mission/beliefs.  Yes, 
advocating for bikes is a political statement and in that sense we do 
have an agenda.  That said, I believe there is a limit to what we can 
or should do politically.  For instance: would your organization 
publicly support something that, as a direct effect, would hamper your 
abilities to build bikes and promote bikes positively?  Something for 
us all to think about, but back to the Weed & Seed....

General information about Weed & Seed:

"The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement 
agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" violent criminals 
and drug abusers and public agencies and community-based private 
organizations collaborate to "seed" much-needed human services, 
including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood 
restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges 
the weeding and seeding elements."

Weed & Seed in PGH (i skimmed the page, did not listen to the full 
audio segment): 

"Weed and Seed has been a controversial program since its inception. 
In Seattle in the early 90's a coalition of 55 community organizations 
banded together to fight Weed and Seed. While the program was still 
implemented in Seattle, the organizations were successful in forcing 
limitations on police street tactics."

It's very hard to organize my thoughts on this issue.  The Google 
search "weed and seed criticism" did not turn up what I had hoped 
for.  I wonder are there data available that link Weed & Seed to 
gentrification?  Have the traditional human rights watchdogs latched 
on to Weed & Seed as particularly bad?  From what I gather, the W & S 
dollars are there and it's up to the organizations/communities 
receiving them to decide how they're used.  Perhaps it's better (more 
humanely) used in some areas than in others.

Why I feel we should accept funding:
1.  We do not, at this time, have the volume of people coming in to 
donate or buy parts/bikes to support this program on our own.
2.  We have never run something like this before. The money allows us 
an opportunity to develop the program, work out the kinks and get a 
reference point (in terms of cost, time involved, curricula) for 
future programs.  All paid for by the grant.
3.  The grant is only one year. We can choose to decline Weed & Seed 
money next year if we can solely support the program or for other 
reasons.  Yes, it would look bad if we had a great thing going and 
pulled the plug when money was available, but if our program is that 
successful I don't believe it would be hard to find another benefactor.

Some questions I have for the group:
Does accepting Weed & Seed money make CBS's complicit in a form of 
social injustice?
If we receive 3,500 do local police receive 3,500 for additional 
enforcement? (i'll try to find this one out today)
Are there CBS's on this list that have in the past or are currently 
receiving Weed & Seed funds?  What are your feelings (even if they 
don't pertain to the social justice side of things)?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts,


Urban Bike Project of Wilmington
1908 N. Market Street (entrance is in the parking lot behind the building)
Wilmington, DE 19801

Phone - 302-654-5304
Visit online at <>

On Dec 17, 2007 2:18 PM, Macho Philipovich < 
<>> wrote:

    hey brian.  i'm open to taking the discussion off-list.
    people who don't care could just not read anything that has the
    "weed &
    seed" subject line, or get their email program to filter it out
    for them.

    there is always a debate that happens around this stuff, with some
    people saying "don't legitimize horrible organizations " and others
    saying "take the fuckers for all the money and resources they're
    worth."  i tend to fall into the former mindset, but have respect for
    the latter.  i mostly think the debate needs to happen so people are
    conscious of why they make the decisions they do.

    on the other hand, when it gets to the point where the donor
    organization has any kind of control over the bike shop, even over how
    the money they gave gets used, i get wary and uncompromising really
    quickly.  i think it ties in with the earlier discussion about
    hierarchy/non-hierarchy: i like to think we as grassroots groups
    be able to meet our communities' needs without "necessary" evils like
    compromising our democratic structure or falling in with regressive
    forces in the community.  other people may have experience that says
    otherwise, and of course all shops should be organized according to
    their particular situations.  that said, as far as evils go, it's
    important not to confuse "necessary" with "convenient", and it's even
    more important not to forget the fact that they are evils in the first

    you'd certainly be welcome at our shop.  our volunteers, like the
    we serve, include university students, middle-aged suburbanites,
    and the
    odd racer, alongside homeless people and bike couriers, though the
    racers usually find it a lot harder to find parts they'd actually want
    on their bikes.

    no one wants to come into a shop and be told they're an asshole
    they also drive a car sometimes, or they're wearing the wrong clothes,
    or they have the wrong diet, or whatever.  on the other hand, it's
    important to be careful with positive sounding ideas like having no
    moral/political agenda.  if we try to be apolitical, we end up
    supporting the politics that are already dominant (like those of
    for example). wanting to get more bikes on the road is already a
    political agenda, and bike shop volunteers need to have discussions
    around what kind of politics they want to represent.  not to exclude
    people, even if they stubbornly refuse to cuff their pants, but to
    consciously promote values we might think are important like
    democracy, ecology, and communities free of gentrification.

    take care,

    Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, Inc. wrote:
    > I am beginning to understand a little better, thank you.  It
    calls to
    > mind a local bike racing team which is sponsored by Valero (formerly
    > Motiva) which has the distinction of being the past, present and
    > probably future "biggest air polluter in DE".... the irony is
    > fantastic here and I don't think anyone is really fooled into
    > Valero has changed its ways.
    > This also brings to mind a huge debate we had when we were talking
    > about starting a community bike shop. Do we accept donations from
    > corporations who are merely trying to look good (PR baby) and
    > cover up past or present transgressions?  We never truly decided
    > anything and honestly it's never even come up, until now I
    guess.  I'm
    > inclined to accept the Weed And Seed grant.  Should a community turn
    > down a PAL (Police Athletic League) center as a broader statement
    > against policing practices??  What good would that achieve?  It only
    > equates to one less opportunity for youth to better themselves
    in mind
    > and body.  I'd rather see these kids in our shop in a supportive
    > environment, learning mechanical skills, which so many of them lack,
    > and coming away with a greater sense of mobility and pride in their
    > own accomplishment.
    > We differ from many of the groups represented here in that we
    have no
    > moral agenda to proselytize.  We're not gonna turn people into
    > as much as we're gonna turn "average person in america" into a
    > round trip to work everyday bike commuter.  We try to start
    small and
    > create an environment that everyone can feel comfortable in (not
    > people who think like us or live like us).  I personally admit to
    > wearing spandex on rides of 10 or more miles, I eat meat, I usually
    > vote Democrat (sometimes Republican), I admit to riding and racing a
    > bike that could be (or was a few years ago) valued at over $1,000..a
    > number that was scoffed at with disdain on a recent post.  Would
    I be
    > welcome in your shop to wrench alongside fixies, cuffed pants and
    > helmet-less riders?
    > We try to do the right thing but we are about bikes first. Don't get
    > me wrong, we're not accepting money from Valero as they truly are a
    > horrible company with things to hide/cover up but when you're
    > about money that is available for use to help kids in our city with
    > nothing else I'm inclined to take it and turn it into something
    > Macho/Andrew/Others....would you like to continue this discussion
    > elsewhere?  We could set up a forum or at least a private list so we
    > won't be filling up inboxes across the country(ies).  Or if this an
    > interest of the list as a whole I'm all for it.
    > I know I'm very opinionated...If there is one thing we can agree on
    > it's that most of us here are, thank you again,
    > Brian
    > On Dec 17, 2007 11:46 AM, Macho Philipovich <
    > < <>>> wrote:
    >     I'm sorry if the way I'm talking about this is unclear.
     I'll try to
    >     explain better.
    >     It's similar to the idea of "greenwashing" in the environmental
    >     movement.  Big industrial polluters will throw token grants at
    >     progressive environmental initiatives to give themselves a
    nice clean
    >     image and to deflect criticism of their broader business
    practices, so
    >     that they can continue as usual, only more smoothly.
    >     I'd look at "weed and seed" in the same way, though that
    >     program doesn't exist in Canada.  In what are considered "bad"
    >     neighbourhoods, which usually means ones with lots of people
    who have
    >     found themselves at the wrong end of systemic racism, economic
    >     exploitation, etc., the police's main role (through things like
    >     "weeding") is to keep those folks pacified, marginalized,
    and out of
    >     sight.  When the police then get accused of racial
    profiling, using
    >     "excessive" violence, or other misconduct (as they do all
    the time in
    >     Canada, and I can't imagine it's much different in the
    U.S.), they can
    >     then turn around say "No, you have it all wrong!  We care
    about the
    >     community.  Look how we're giving bikes to underprivileged
    >     In that way the bike shop is complicit in the broader process of
    >     neighbourhood social cleansing, usually called gentrification.
    >     I hope that explanation works better.  Let me know.
    >     macho
    >     Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, Inc. wrote:
    >     > "presumably this project will be part of the "seeding"
    side of
    >     things.
    >     > one thing i would look into is what is done on the
    "weeding" side."
    >     > "legitimizing this kind of police action"
    >     >
    >     > Macho, I'd like to hear more about this, not sure what
    kind of
    >     police
    >     > action would be legitimized by our accepting 3,500 and
    using it to
    >     > help at-risk kids.  He's a police officer who patrols
    >     bad
    >     > neighborhoods already and would like to give kids another
    option in
    >     > addition to PAL or Boy's/Girl's Club centers.  I am try to
    see all
    >     > sides of the picture.
    >     >
    >     > Andrew, 3,500 doesn't seem like much but consider that all
    >     bikes
    >     > are donated and many are in perfect shape to begin with.
     I am still
    >     > concerned but I spoke with David Hoffman of Free Ride/Bike
    PGH the
    >     > other day and he took me through how we can still manage it.
    >     >
    >     > We project the approximate cost of giving one kid a bike.
    >     would
    >     > be calculated in terms of amount of shop time (electric,
    >     amount
    >     > of staff time (we may pay a stipend to a coordinator),
    and, on
    >     > average, dollar amount of parts needed.  Using that number we
    >     will set
    >     > a maximum amount of participants in a given time frame
    >     > whatever), adjusting for more volume in the summer, less
    in the
    >     cold
    >     > months.  That way we don't find ourselves in the unfortunate
    >     situation
    >     > of having to scramble to raise funds, draining our savings or
    >     risking
    >     > cancellation of the program.
    >     >
    >     > We are meeting with him (his name is Brian too, it's wierd)
    >     tomorrow
    >     > to come up with concrete plan and make everything less vague.
    >     >
    >     > Sincere thanks to both you guys for weighing in,
    >     >
    >     > Brian Windle
    >     > UBP
    >     >
    >     >
    >     >
    >     >
    >     > On Dec 15, 2007 5:44 PM, Andrew Bushaw <
    >     < <>>
    >     > <mailto: <>
    < <>>>> wrote:
    >     >
    >     >     In addition to what macho brought up, what happens
    when the
    >     police
    >     >     money
    >     >     for the program dries up and you can't afford to fund it
    >     anymore?
    >     >     If you
    >     >     keep it, you are doing the police a service without
    >     compensation,
    >     >     and if
    >     >     you end the program, people will point the finger at your
    >     shop for
    >     >     pulling the program rather than the funding source. 3,500
    >     seems like a
    >     >     pretty meager amount of funding for what they want,
    >     especially since
    >     >     what they want seems pretty vaguely defined.
    >     >     Andrew
    >     >     FM Community Bicycle Workshop
    >     >     _______________________________________________
    >     >     Thethinktank mailing list
    >     >
    >     <
    >     >     <mailto:
    >     <
    >     >
    >     >
    >     >
    >     >
    >     >
    >     > --
    >     > Urban Bike Project of Wilmington
    >     > 1908 N. Market Street (entrance is in the parking lot
    behind the
    >     building)
    >     > Wilmington, DE 19801
    >     >
    >     > Phone - 302-654-5304
    >     > Visit online at
    >     >
    >     >
    >     > _______________________________________________
    >     > Thethinktank mailing list
    >     >
    >     <mailto:
    >     >
    >     >
    >     _______________________________________________
    >     Thethinktank mailing list
    >     <
    > --
    > Urban Bike Project of Wilmington
    > 1908 N. Market Street (entrance is in the parking lot behind the
    > building)
    > Wilmington, DE 19801
    > Phone - 302-654-5304
    > Visit online at

    > _______________________________________________
    > Thethinktank mailing list

    Thethinktank mailing list

Urban Bike Project of Wilmington
1908 N. Market Street (entrance is in the parking lot behind the building)
Wilmington, DE 19801

Phone - 302-654-5304
Visit online at

Thethinktank mailing list

Thethinktank mailing list