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.  alternatively,
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 should
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 really
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 people
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 because
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 valero,
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 diversity,
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 thinking
> 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 possibly
> 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 vegans
> as much as we're gonna turn "average person in america" into a 20-mile
> round trip to work everyday bike commuter.  We try to start small and
> create an environment that everyone can feel comfortable in (not just
> 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 talking
> 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 positive.
> 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 particular
>     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 kids."
>     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 presumably
>     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 the
>     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.  This
>     would
>     > be calculated in terms of amount of shop time (electric, rent),
>     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 (month/week
>     > 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
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>     > 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
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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