Seattle Pays a Pimp $150k to Serve as Street Czar
Print Friendly and PDF

From the New York Post:

Seattle pays ex-pimp $150,000 to offer ‘alternatives to policing’
By Lee Brown September 22, 2020 | 8:28am | Updated

Seattle now has a convicted pimp who once vowed to “go to war” with the city on its payroll — a $150,000 “Street Czar,” whose mission is to come up with “alternatives to policing,” reports said.

Andre Taylor — who appeared in the documentary “American Pimp” about his life as “Gorgeous Dre” — is getting $12,500 per month for a year, along with an office in Seattle’s Municipal Tower, according to the contract published by PubliCola.

It comes just a year after his organization, Not This Time, was paid $100,000 to sponsor a speaker series that was called “Conversations with the Streets.”

Taylor led one of the first rallies in Seattle after the police-custody death of George Floyd, the Seattle Times said.

He was later accused of trying to get millions from the city for militants who set up the controversial police-free Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone, the Seattle Times said.

“Don’t just leave. Leave with something,” he told activists in a meeting caught in a recording, telling them to demand $2 million to exit the hub of much of the city’s worst violence this year, the report said. They ignored his advice, the paper said, with one saying the money grab felt “off.”

Those same militants then accused him of betraying the, too, when he appeared at a press conference with the mayor to tell them to shut-down CHOP — the same day he was given his six-figure contract, the paper said.

The new Street Czar justified the contract to KOMO News as payment for his “particular genius in a particular area” — saying he can talk to “gang members, pimps and prostitutes” who “won’t sit down with anybody else.”

“Black people as a whole have not been in a place to be compensated for their genius or their work for a very very long time,” he said.

“Not too many people can go talk to gangbangers in their territory, and then go talk to the government in their territory,” Taylor also told the Seattle Times.

From Tom Wolfe’s 1970 book Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers:

Whites were still in the dark about the ghettos. They had been studying the “urban Negro” in every way they could think of for fifteen years, but they found out they didn’t know any more about the ghettos than when they started. Every time there was a riot, whites would call on “Negro leaders” to try to cool it, only to find out that the Negro leaders didn’t have any followers. They sent Martin Luther King into Chicago and the people ignored him. They sent Dick Gregory into Watts and the people hooted at him and threw beer cans. During the riot in Hunters Point, the mayor of San Francsco, John Shelley, went into Hunters Point with the only black member of the Board of Supervisors, and the brothers threw rocks at both of them. They sent in the middle-class black members of the Human Rights Commission, and the brothers laughed at them and called them Toms.

Then they figured the leadership of the riot was “the gangs,” so they went in the “ex-gang leaders” from groups like Youth for Service to make a “liaison with the key gang leaders.” What they didn’t know was that Hunters Point and a lot of ghettos were so disorganized, there weren’t even any “key gangs,” much less “key gang leaders,” in there. That riot finally just burnt itself out after five days, that was all.

But the idea that the real leadership in the ghetto might be the gangs hung on with the poverty-youth-welfare establishment. It was considered a very sophisticated insight. The youth gangs weren’t petty criminals … there were “social bandits,” primitive revolutionaries … Of course, they were hidden from public view. That was why the true nature of ghetto leadership had eluded everyone for so long … So the poverty professionals were always on the lookout for the bad-acting dudes who were the “real leaders,” the “natural leaders,” the “charismatic figures” in the ghetto jungle. These were the kind of people the social-welfare professionals in the Kennedy Administration had in mind when they planned the poverty program in the first place. It was a truly adventurous and experimental approach they had. Instead of handing out alms, which never seemed to change anything, they would encourage the people in the ghettos to organize. They would help them become powerful enough to force the Establishment to give them what they needed. From the beginning the poverty program was aimed at helping ghetto people rise up against their oppressors. It was a scene in which the federal government came into the ghetto and said, “Here is some money and some field advisors. Now you organize your own pressure groups.” It was no accident that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale drew up the ten-point program of the Black Panther Party one night in the offices of the North Oakland Poverty Center. …

And how could they find out the identity of these leaders of the people? Simple. In their righteous wrath they would rise up and confront you. It was a beautiful piece of circular reasoning. The real leaders of the ghetto will rise up and confront you … Therefore, when somebody rises up in the ghetto and confronts you, then you know he’s a leader of the people. So the poverty program not only encouraged mau-mauing, it practically demanded it. Subconsciously, for administrators in the poverty establishment, public and private, confrontations became a ritual. That was the way the system worked. By 1968 it was standard operating procedure. To get a job in the post office, you filled out forms and took the civil-service exam. To get into the poverty scene, you did some mau-mauing. If you could make the flak catchers lose control of the muscles around their mouths, if you could bring fear into their faces, your application was approved.

Back to the Post in 2020:

As Street Czar, his contract tasks him to “provide recommendations to the City on de-escalation, community engagement, and alternatives to policing.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan’s spokesperson Kelsey Nyland told the Seattle Times the contract was offered because of an “existing working partnership.”

Taylor’s group was chosen because of its “lived experience with the criminal legal system, and their history of successful advocacy and activism on issues of policing and dismantling systemic racism,” Nyland added, noting that the city is spending millions this year on similar contracts with various groups.

From Mau-Mauing:

Sometimes a group of buddies who ran together, who were “stone pimp,” as the phrase went, would move straight into the poverty program. They would do some fabulous, awesome, inspired mau-mauing, and the first thing you knew, they would be hanging out in the poverty scene. The middle-class bureaucrats, black and white, would never know what do make of an organization like this. They couldn’t figure them out. There was one organization in a city just outside of San Francisco, in the kind of section that catches the bums, the winos, the prostitutes with the biscuits & gravy skin, the gay boys, the flaming lulus, the bike riders, the porno shops, peep shows, $8-a-week hotels with the ripped window shades flapping out. This area had everything you needed for a successful application for a poverty-program grant except for the one thing you need the most, namely, the militant youth. So that was when a remarkable ace known as Dudley showed up with a couple of dozen bonafide spurious aristocrats … his Ethnic Catering Service for skid row … There wasn’t one of them that looked much under thirty, and nobody had ever heard of any black youth in that area before anyway, but they could mau-mau as if they had been trained by the great Chaser himself … They got a grant of nearly $100,000.

Every now and then the poverty bureaucrats from the Economic Opportunity Council or from City Hall would hold an area executive board meeting or some other kind of session at their clubhouse, and it was always a bear.

There would be Dudley and his boys … Dudley, with his Fuzzy-Wuzzy natural and his welts. Dudley was a powerful man with big slabs of muscle like Sonny Liston and these long welts, like the welted seams on top of a pair of moccasins, on his cheeks, his neck, on the backs of his fists. These welts were like a historical map of fifteen years of Saturday night knife-fighting in the Bay Area. …

Dudley was the fiercest looking man in the Bay Area, but there would be him and all his boys sitting around like a covey of secretary birds.

That was the pimp look, the look of hip and supercool and so fine. The white bureaucrats, and the black ones, too, walked in trying to look as earthy and rugged as they could, in order to be “with the people.” They tried to walk in like football players, like they had a keg of beer between their legs. They rounded their shoulders over so it made their necks look bigger. … But the pimp-style aristocrats had taken the manhood thing through so many numbers that it was beginning to come out through the other side. To them, by now, being hip was striking poses that were so cool, so languid, they were almost feminine. It was like saying, “We’ve got masculinity to spare.” We’ve been through so much shit, we’re so confident of our manhood, we’re so hip and so suave and wise in the ways of the street, that we can afford to be refined and not sit around here trying to look like a bunch of stud brawlers. So they would not only cross their legs, they’d cross them further than a woman would. They would cross them so far, it looked like one leg was wrapped around the other one three or four times. One leg would seem to wrap around the other one and disappear in the back of the knee socket. And they’d be leaning forward in the chair with their heads cocked to one side and their chins hooked over their collarbones and their shades riding low on their noses, and they’d be peering out over the upper rim of the shades. And they’d have one hand cocked in front of their chins, hanging limp at the wrist with the forefinger sticking out like like some kind of curved beak.

 They would look like one of those supercool secretary birds that stand around on one long A-1 racer leg with everything else drawn up into a beautiful supercool little bunch of fluffy feathers at the top.

… Anyway, the dude comes lollygagging in, as cool as you please, and walks over to where Dudley is sitting like a secretary bird and leans over and whispers something to him. …

“Say what, man?” says Dudley. “Don’t you see I’m trying to hold a con-fer-ence in here?”

“But like man,” says the Dude, “this is ve-ry im-por-tant.”

“What the hell you into that’s so im-por-tant, sucker?”

“Well, man, just wait a min-ute and let me tell you. You know that wino, Half and Half, that hangs out in the alley?”

“Yeah, I know him.”

“Well, man, he’s out there in the alley trying to burn down the buil-ding.”

Dudley doesn’t even move at first. He just peers out over his shades at his boys and at all the bureaucrats from downtown, and then he cocks his head and cocks his index finger in front of his chin and says, “We gonna have a tem-po-rary re-cess. The brother ask me to take care some business.”

Then Dudley unwinds very casually and stands up, and he and the brother start walking toward the back door, but so cool and so slow, with the whole rolling gait, that it looks like Marcel Marceau doing one of those walks where he doesn’t actually move off the spot he started on. They open the door like they’re going out to check out the weather, but once they’re on the other side–whoosh!–it’s like somebody lit their after-burners. They’re up those stairs like a rocket and out into the alley and on top of the wino, Half and Half, in just under one half a second.

… The old crock hates these black studs who have turned up down on his skid-row cul-de-sac, and he keeps trying to burn up the building. He has a big pile of paper and excelsior and other stuff shoved up against the wall and he has it smoldering in a kind of fogged-in wino way, trying to in-cin-e-rate the mother.

All of that is going on outside in the alley. From inside the clubhouse at first there’s nothing: silence. Then you start to hear a sound that sounds like there is a paddlewheel from off a Mississippi steamboat out there in the alley, and to every paddle is attached a size 12E motorcycle boot, and as the wheel goes around every one of these boots hits the wino … thunk … thunk … whop … whump … thunk … thunk … whop … whump …

And then the white bureaucrats look at the black bureaucrats and the black bureaucrats look at the white bureaucrats, and one of the bureaucrats who is dressed in the Roos-Atkins Ivy League clothes and the cordovan shoes starts going “Unh, unh, unh.” The thing is, the man thinks he doesn’t have any more middle-class Uncle Tom mannerisms and attributes, but he just can’t help going into that old preachery “Unh, unh, unh.”

thunk … thunk … whop … whump …

“Unh, unh, unh.”

thunk … thunk … whop … whump …

“Unh, unh, unh.”

Then it stops and the door opens again, and Dudley and the Dude come walking back in even slower and more cool except for the fact that they’re breathing hard, and they take their seats and cross their legs and get wound back up and cocked and perched, and Dudley peers out over his shades and says, “The meeting is resumed.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

[Comment at]

Print Friendly and PDF