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James “Jimmy” Tayoun Sr. (1930 - 2017)


(Photo Left) In a city of colorful personalities, Jimmy ran the spectrum. Photo via Facebook.

Note from the Publisher. It is with great sadness that we note the passing of James “Jimmy” Tayoun - a friend, colleague, and most of all, mentor. I first met Jimmy in 1987 in the back of the Middle East Restaurant to discuss politics. Our paths crossed over the years, due to his ubiquitous coverage of the local political scene in his paper, The Public Record. Then, in 2011, we became colleagues in the neighborhood newspaper business. He showed me the ropes. I could not have launched Liberty City Press without his guidance.

He taught me much over the years but what I learned most from Jimmy is that the true richness in life can be found in the selfless desire to help someone. As you will see below, others who knew him well, felt the same way.

Darrell L. Clarke, City Council President:

“A long, lively chapter in Philadelphia politics has come to a close. Jimmy Tayoun was sharp, occasionally bruising, definitely flawed, and never boring. He certainly had a heart full of love for this City. Jimmy represented an era of politics that is probably best left in the past, but I will miss running into him — wincing and feeling warm all at once — as he slaps me on the back and says, ‘You’re doing good, Darrell.’

 Jimmy was no fool. If you screwed up, he let you know it – often with a bullhorn by way of the Public Record. But if you did something good, especially something that helped people who really needed help, he would compliment you just about every time you saw him.

 I like to joke sometimes that Council used to be less boring. When I do, I see Jimmy on the Chamber floor, mixing it up with Fran Rafferty and John Street. God forbid we ever go back to that time, but it’s an era I feel lucky to have personally witnessed.”

 

Philadelphia Daily News columnist, Stu Bykofsky:

“Jimmy deeply believed in public service and used his office to help people, but didn’t follow all the rules. A restaurant owner near the Middle East complained to Jimmy he was having trouble getting approval from L&I for a lighted outdoor sign he needed for his business.

‘Put up the sign,’ Jimmy told the businessman. The businessman responded: ‘What about L&I?’ ‘We’ll take care of that later,’ Jimmy said — and did, with a phone call to a pal at L&I. ‘The guy needed the sign, so I helped him out,’ Jimmy told me. ‘But what if everyone did that?’ I asked. Jimmy smiled patiently at me. ‘But everyone doesn’t do it,’ he said.”

U.S. Congressman Robert A. Brady:

“He was fun-loving, always ready to give advice, he loved politics, loved talking to people, loved helping people. He made some mistakes but he certainly paid his dues, and made up for it, and came back even stronger. He came back with the paper. He was always a writer.”

Chris Brennan, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist:

“James “Jimmy” Tayoun Sr. was the kind of character an author would have needed to dream up to write about Philadelphia if he didn’t already exist in a city replete with colorful personalities.”

Brennan went on to tell this famous Tayoun story:

“Even behind bars, Mr. Tayoun seemed in charge. He served as the kitchen manager at the federal minimum-security prison in Minersville, Pa., and wrote an advice book — Going to Prison? — a remarkably frank and practical guide to what for many is the most traumatic experience in their lives.

Mr. Tayoun was being interviewed during his prison term by a reporter when a well-dressed couple drove up to the facility in a sleek sports car. Mr. Tayoun interrupted the interview to bellow, ‘Leave the coat!’ to the clearly shaken man, who was walking to the front door wearing an expensive top coat.

‘He’s surrendering,’ Mr. Tayoun said of the man. ‘He’ll never see that coat again.’

Moments later, a corrections supervisor approached Mr. Tayoun, explaining that the man surrendering was having a difficult time adjusting to his circumstances. Could Mr. Tayoun speak to him? Mr. Tayoun said it was no problem.”

 

 

James “Jimmy” Tayoun Sr. (1930 - 2017)

What is Liberty City Press?

Liberty City Press is an independent weekly newspaper distributed by the Philadelphia Multi-Cultural Media Network whose members include Philadelphia Sunday Sun, The Philadelphia Gay News, Al Dia, The Metro Chinese Weekly and The Metro Viet News.

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