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Letters to the Editor 

Week of July 2, 2003

Of Pimps and Politics

Words from the man himself: Gentle people, I bid you greetings and salutations:

I am James Robinson; last week I was a vice president of the most powerful transit union in the state of California. However, and most unfortunate for myself, this esteemed position of which I fought so hard to attain has been manipulatively and deceitfully stripped away. Today this laureled position has been extended to another, who undoubtedly is pro the status quo and meticulously handpicked by the questionably outraged powers that be. Before this brief scenario unfolds, I would have you know that I am a creative man, with a jaded past.

As a young man, during the 1970s and '80s, I embraced the infamous title of pimp, sampled cocaine, as did many people during that era; I experienced the illicit lifestyle known as the "Game," in the persona of a black underworld diplomat. I traveled across America and Canada, back [and] forth and back again .... In the mid-1980s I wearied of this illicit lifestyle, and at Hilltop Apostolic Church, in Clear Lake, Calif., I embraced Christ, denounced Satan, and was washed in the blood of the lamb, born again, becoming a new man. It was at this crucial point in 1987 that in point of fact I pulled myself out of the bowels of hell, walked away from the lifestyle known as the Game, and placed my life in [the] creator's hands, and my feet on the path of productivity, and prosperity in the mainstream of American society.

Without doubt an omnificent and omnipresent creator has bountifully blessed me, beyond belief. During the course of my illicit career I was never convicted of a felonious crime. That was 16 years ago, and for the past 11 years I have been in the employ of Municipal Railway, diligently fighting for the rights of workers, through perseverance, and by the divine grace of a forgiving creator, ultimately rising to the esteemed position of vice president of the executive board of TWU250A, the most powerful transit union in the state of California.

In January 2002, I was inspired to write the memoirs of my infamous past, thereby adding needed clarity and making sense out of the lifestyle known as the Game, and what society considers nonsense, in doing so adding psychological and social clarity to the unknown, and in addition to the personal gratification of leaving a personal legacy. It was at this point that I sat down and ardently put pen to paper. During this time, I also wrote the overview of a documentary, and a musical score, all titled Gospel of the Game. The contents of my memoir were written from the fly-on-the-wall perspective, giving a bird's-eye view of the Game from the inside out, and were meant in no means to glorify the lifestyle known as the Game but on the contrary, my writings were meant to vilify the lifestyle known as the Game so that some unsuspecting youth might not follow the jaded path in life that I had so foolishly pursued; to that end my writings were intended to be a warning sign on the road map of this thing that man calls life, directing those who had gone astray to safety.

This novice writer would have the reader know that I am not ashamed of my past today, nor have I ever been. However, I am not sad about it, nor do I believe that I should be. I believe it is my life's experiences that have ultimately made me the changed man that I am today.

My current nightmare began on Dec. 18, 2002. I met with the persistent SF Weekly reporter Lessley Anderson, whom I finally submitted to giving an interview after my inauguration. Ms. Anderson's schoolgirl face and charming smile had ultimately worn me down, and I concurred to her undaunting request. Later I was to find out that Ms. Anderson had a schoolgirl face and a malicious heart. Ms. Anderson's cover article "Muni's Mack Daddy" depicted me as a slicked-out cartoon buffoon, complete with purple suit, leopard skin hat, and toting a cane. Damn, I wasn't doing it like that when I was pimping! Ms. Anderson is a skilled and creative writer, and in my opinion she should be applauded for her humorous, yet malicious spin of a rags-to-riches story, i.e., a pimp turned politician, novelist, filmmaker, and record producer. In my opinion, a story like this is reflective of what the true American dream is all about. No matter where you come from in life, and/or where you've been, if you have God and determination, without doubt you can persevere.

However, the article was riddled with stereotypes and negative connotations, in my opinion, suggesting to the reader that I might currently be involved in underworld activity, and juggling a parallel existence, as a husband, father, novelist, filmmaker, and music producer. All that I am is a God-fearing ambitious black man, politician, and entrepreneur.

On Wednesday, June 4, 2003, well-orchestrated red flags went up and the alarm was sounded at Municipal Railway and a crusading "women's committee" was organized under the leadership and with the blessings of TWU250A over-bosses. On Monday, June 9, 2003, TWU250A's standing powers that be mobilized that "women's committee" to complete petitions to have me removed from office. Of this occurrence there is proof positive.

A forgotten but harsh reality is that all labor unions exist to protect the workers' rights. Someone has forgotten that I am a worker, with those same rights. Under the First Amendment of the Constitution of these United States, all citizens are guaranteed the freedom of speech and/or expression. Somewhere and somehow, TWU250A over-bosses have lost their focus, if they ever had it at all.

Meanwhile, the orchestrated "women's committee" circulated the petition, as well as vicious fabrications defaming my character, throughout all seven divisions of Municipal Railway. TWU250A was on an unwarranted pimp hunt, determined to get their pound of flesh. Unfortunately I was the former pimp that they were hunting. Throughout the membership, the "women's committee" utilized boogeyman terror tactics in the name of 250A, defaming my character, and terrifying a befuddled membership. An emergency session of the transit union's executive board was called, where I was systematically and methodically interrogated by the standing powers that be, as to my role in the article, and undoubtedly my past. One week later, on Friday the 13, 2003, I was unjustly suspended, without ever being charged for any wrongdoing, from my position as vice president of TWU250A's executive board, pending scheduling for a hearing and my permanent removal from office. It is rumored by well-rooted insiders that the executive director of the Municipal Transit Agency (MTA), Michael Burns, and company are also in the process of doing some headhunting of their own.

My suspension and removal from office are illegal, violating my rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of these United States, the freedom of speech and expression, and it goes without saying blatant violations of Title 7 "Civil Rights Amendments," i.e., discrimination based on opinion, and past. The article printed in SF Weekly reflects as far back as 1967. There is no way that a rational and/or literate person could possibly believe that these goings-on were in point of fact ongoing and/or current.

Like most black men, I have had a host of occupations over my 53 years of existence: a ditch digger, construction worker, roofer, security guard, and driver, you name it I've done it. I was inspired to attend Aenon Bible College, completing that course with a certificate in evangelism. I later attended and graduated the police academy in San Mateo.

In January 1993, I was mercifully blessed by the creator and landed a job with Municipal Railway as a transit operator. During this time, because of the political climate in San Francisco and the railway, I became a political activist, and studied the political ideology and philosophy of Karl Marx, and later wrote left-wing literature under the pseudonym Forever Redd. Am I a communist? No, I am not. Am I a unionist with socialist leanings? For a surety, yes I am.

Progressively, for the last 11 years of my life, I have unselfishly fought for the rights of workers at Municipal Railway.

In December 2002, I was elected to a union post of a major transit union ... after being viciously ripped by another article of controversy dated October 2002, and titled "Pimp Hustling for Union Post," written by Susan Andrews of the San Francisco Examiner.

TWU250A's unscrupulous union bosses have illegally uprooted the innocent and wrongfully ousted me from my duly elected and laureled heights in hypocritical fashion. However, I'm going to take it like a soldier, simply because that's what I am. I've been fighting some form of oppression and assorted totalitarians all my life; I have no problem addressing this issue, and taking my hypocritical accusers to another level.

Everything that was positive in my life that I had built over a 16-year period, and in addition to my 11 years at the railway, was ended by orchestrated hypocrisy on June 13, 2003. My brief political career has been effectively nipped in the blooming bud; it is over. However, with or without elected union recognition my personal struggle continues ....

In closing, there is a song, which I wrote, that is included on my CD titled "Heaven for P's and G's." In this song, I am questioning the reality of paradise for former pimps, gangsters, and assorted sinners who wanted to go straight and do the right thing in life. In retrospect, this question has now been answered in crystal-clear clarity. No, there is no forgiveness, and no paradise to be found in mainstream America for former participants of the lifestyle known as the Game. This writer can tell you for a surety: If you are minority and upwardly mobile in America, and the hypocritical moral majority get wind that you have a hint of a past, "All Roads Lead to Hell."

James Robinson


In last week's Eat review ("The Church of Trillin"), we incorrectly quoted Mr. Trillin. The line should have read, "I am on record as saying that in Kansas City going to a white barbecue joint is like going to a gentile internist: everything might turn out all right, but you're not playing the percentages."


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