Friday, March 16, 2007

Povertarian: a new word on the Downtown Eastside

Ethel Whitty, Povertarian

For decades, "poverty pimps" has been a term used by Downtown Eastsiders to describe the flock of poverty industry workers who descend on the Downtown Eastside everyday. But “povertarians” works better. Dag at Covenant Zone began using it recently and it’s catching on.

Dag’s description of a povertarian brings to mind Ethel Whitty, Director of the Carnegie Centre. According to Dag, the povertarian frequently has the word “community” on their lips. When Whitty got hired as the $104,000 a year Director of the Carnegie Centre, here’s what she told the Courier newspaper:
"I wanted to be director of the Carnegie because I had a real urge to be closer to community, and to be in the middle of community, and this is a real opportunity to do that."

But what Whitty seemed to prefer when she arrived at Carnegie was a gated community. She rarely ventures outside her third floor executive office to mix with the underclass. She does make an appearance in the cafeteria on veggie burger Tuesdays, sitting at a table surrounded by Carnegie members more carefully vetted than the front row at a Republican convention.

Ethel Whitty. Povertarian.


Anonymous said...

I would like you to give your opinion about the "church lady" Wendy Pedersen.

reliable sources said...


Why do you call Pederson the church lady? I'd like to hear your opinion of her.

dag said...

People who live the lives of povertarians are living in a pretend world where they are the heroes of their own lives, doing great and important things for the homeless, the helpless, the starving orphans of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Whatever. They not only make a splendid good living as baby-sitters, they get to be missionaries and moralists and scolders all at once. They make tonnes of money, not from the poor, but from the dupes in the better parts of town, those who willingly pay a lot of money in taxes to have someone else baby-sit those who are too dirty, too scary, too weird for the suburbanites to want to cope with.

The povertarians act like Gandhi when they think others are watching, and like Caracalla when they think they're alone. Community? Forget it. The "community" the povertarians want is a collection of hideous looking beggars they can say they protect the tax-payers from. Pay off the povertarians or, god help us, the poor will go rioting and looting in British Properties. It's a joke. The povertarians are scamming everyone.

reliable sources said...


You write: "[Povertarians] make tonnes of money, not from the poor, but from the dupes in the better parts of town, those who willingly pay alot of money in taxes to have someone baby-sit those who are too dirty, too scary, too weird for the suburbanites to want to cope with."

There is one case in which I believe the dupes in the better parts of town have woken up to the fact that their tax dollars have created a monster that they are left to cope with in their neigbourhoods. That is in the case in which the povertarians, most notably Ken Lyotier, actually used tax and charitable dollars from the middle class dupes to create an incentive to underclass people to turn up in more affluent neighbourhoods to wake working people up night after night, rooting through their garbage. And leaving garbage strewn all over their alleys.

United We Can Bottle Depot was started primarily by Lyotier who rounded up a few binners and made an argument to the government and charities that the poor would be empowered by having a huge factory-like depot where they would not be discriminated against when they took huge mounds of bottles and cans in to exchange for cash. It streamlined binning and created an entire binner culture.

In the last ten years, the number of empowered poor travelling through your back alley with shopping carts every night picking cans and bottles has escalated, regardless of what neighbourhood you live in. It is driving people beserk. Some people say they get wakened up every night.

What the povertarians didn't tell the taxpayers paying to get United We Can off the ground, was that most binners will not care if you are tired when you have to get up for work. They won't care if they wake you up. (There are a few exceptions; I do know one binner who believes that this noise-making in the middle of the night is ignorant.) And they don't care if they leave garbage strewn all over the alley behind your apartment or home.

Vancouver residents are so fed up with the monster the povertarians have created in the form of United We Can, there has been enormous pressure put on City Council to lock down garbage cans and eventually even get rid of garbage cans altogether. "

[United We Can was actually so successful that it now only requires about 10% of it's funding from the government. Ken Lyotier, I have to say, is not as bad as some povertarians in that he can be seen working hard every day. And he lives in an apartment so he's probably not making an obscene salary like Ethel Whitty over at Carnegie. But they both have the same patter about "community". And Lyotier is a quintessential povertarian in the way he acts as though people pushing a shopping cart are more noble than the hopelessly bourgeois who aren't.

Anonymous said...


dag said...

In response to Anon.: "It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it."

Yes, those people arre city employees who clean up the city on a daily basis, and those working in private industries doing the same. The freelances of garbage are the ones making the mess the professionals have to reclean and reclaim. Whhen they don't, given it's not the job of the "sanitary engineers" of the city to sweep up the trash strewn around by dumpster divers, it's the resident whho has to do the job again.

Aside from the noise, the mess, the aggravation of people roaming dark alleyways in the night outside ones abode, if it ain't your garbage, it ain't your property. The garbage is thrown out, and it's thrown out not to any fool who cares to ripe through it in search of cash or goods, it's thrown out to be collected by those who have a rightful job in collecting it for proper disposal. It ain't your garbage. You got no right to my garbage. Filthy handss off my stuff, even if it's garbage. My garbage. Not your garbage. It's for the professional garbage collectors. Not your garbage. Mine! Hands off.