Monday, October 29, 2007

Fraudulent Evidence Found In United Way Police Complaint

A Vancouver woman feels upset every time she sees United Way Campaign commercials claiming that donations will be used to promote “respect” in the community. If United Way values respect, she says, why haven’t they helped get fake evidence attached to her name in police files expunged. The fake evidence, she says, appears in a Vancouver Police report dated Dec. 18, 2002, written after Ron Dumouchelle, then Executive Director of United Way of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland lodged a police complaint against her.

Dumouchelle wanted police to pressure the Vancouver woman -- we'll call her “the whistleblower” -- to suppress a Report on United Way to which she and others had contributed and were making available to major donors. Dumouchelle stated in an internal document dated the week police were called that if donors got even a “whiff” of this report, donations to United Way could be affected.

Even after Constable J.P. St. Amant admitted in his police report that he and Dumouchelle were aware that this case was “not a criminal matter” but a civil matter, the police report reveals that Dumouchelle continued to pressure police to make contact with the whistleblower.

The whistleblower believes that the VPD, who fundraise for United Way and appear in their newspaper advertisements, were performing a favor for United Way. Certainly it was acknowledged in the police report that Dumouchelle had recruited police to visit the whistleblower because civil court wouldn’t be quick enough for him. And police did not follow the usual procedure of entering, at the top of the police report, the alleged “OFFENCE” being investigated; that section was left blank.

The first visit by police to the whistleblower's home occurred on Dec. 18, 2002, the day police reported taking "oral statements" from Dumouchelle and "witnesses" guaranteed anonymity at United Way Campaign headquarters on Dunsmuir St. in Vancouver. When Constables Lee Patterson [PC 2125] and J.P. St. Amant [PC 2010] arrived at the apartment of the whistleblower, she says, they pounded on her apartment door until the entire wood-framed building shook. "They scared my neighbors and damaged my reputation," she says. Const. St. Amant later left the woman a voice mail, which she has preserved, denying that he and Patterson had acted aggressively at her home.

After this visit, Dumouchelle told Const. St. Amant, according to the Dec. 19 police report, that he was “satisfied with police attention to date” – yet the police report shows that he continued to lean on police for over a week to have further contact with the whistleblower.

The report that United Way wanted suppressed contained information about alleged practices in United Way member groups that several women and men wanted funders to put a stop to. The report focused primarily on allegations against a battered women’s organization, allegations such as unfair labour practices and course entry requirements that differed for different applicants.

Dumouchelle was feeling the heat. He revealed in an internal document dated Dec. 2002 that he had been contacted by the Canadian Labour Congress and a few corporate donors about the Report on UW. It was then that he asked police to press the whistleblower to take out of circulation a form letter which offered the Report on UW to major donors. Dumouchelle noted in an internal document that he wanted this material out of circulation as United Way was facing a Campaign shortfall of $600,000 and was asking corporate donors for a top up.

Evidence Fabrication and Misrepresentation
After reviewing the police report, the whistleblower lodged a written complaint in 2003 to the Board of Directors of United Way in which she outlined evidence that had been fabricated. Shortly afterwards, Dumouchelle resigned as Executive Director – no reason given publicly. But United Way “has done nothing in five years”, says the whistleblower, to have the libelous material attached to her name expunged from police files.

Following is a sampling of falsified or misrepresented evidence:

paranoid in nature
In his Dec. 18th report written after his briefing by Dumouchelle and anonymous witnesses, Const. Patterson claimed that the Report on UW was "paranoid in nature". The DTES Enquirer reviewed the report and found nothing that could be considered paranoid. As evidence of paranoid content, Patterson claimed that the whistleblower had discussed lesbian "couch-trip" practices, "cult-like practices", and "comparisons" with the case of serial killing accomplice Karla Homolka. These claims are examined below as part of a sampling of evidence in the police report that the whistleblower alleges is "clearly fabricated or misleading".

lesbian “couch-trip” practices
Const. Patterson wrote that the whistleblower had written about lesbian “couch-trip” practices in the UW Report. "Outright fraud", says the whistleblower. The term “couch trip” had appeared nowhere in the Report on UW. Yet the term “couch trip” was presented in quotation marks in the police report and identified as a direct quote from the UW Report. The whistleblower has no idea what a “couch trip” is.

“cult-like practices”
The whistleblower was presented in the police report as having gone on in the Report on UW about “cult-like practices” at the battered women’s organization. Perfect for portraying her as a nut. What was conveniently concealed in the police report, though, was the fact that it was clearly stated in the Report on UW that it was an anthropologist from Simon Fraser University who had identified a few practices at the battered women’s organization as being typical of cults – not the whistleblower.

The anthropologist had been particularly concerned about rules in support groups which restricted the flow of information, rules enforced through an explicit threat of being ostracized from the group – literally being asked to leave – for non-compliance. The rules tended to maximize the number of women and non-violent men labeled “battered women” and “batterer”.
The issue of “cult-like practices” actually occupied a small sector of the 16-page report. The fact that this quote was excerpted and magnified in importance was typical, says the whistleblower, of the “tabloid" nature of the police report.

“mentions Homolka case and comparisons”
Another deceptive claim inserted in Patterson's police report on the day he met with Dumouchelle was the following: "mentions Homolka case and comparisons." A review of the Report on UW reveals no "comparisons" whatsoever with the case of Homolka, who was convicted of being an accomplice to her husband in serial killings.

Although the claim of “comparisons” was a complete fabrication, the whistleblower points out that the Homolka case was actually mentioned in the Report on UW. But in the police report, it was stripped of it’s original context, she says, “conveniently making me look like some kind of nut fixated on the Homolka case.” The context was this: An administrator at a battered women’s organization funded by United Way had appeared on BCTV prime time News Hour and performed an assessment of Karla Homolka, clearing her of all wrongdoing. The conduct of this administrator so outraged British Columbians that BCTV announced that their switchboard had been jammed with complaints, prompting them to re-play a segment of the interview on the next evening’s News Hour. The taped BCTV appearance was mentioned in the Report on UW as a tangible illustration of an issue raised in the report – the issue of this administrator consistently presenting herself “in the guise of a psychological professional” when in fact she had no such credentialing.

Neither this administrator or her United Way funders would answer questions about what this administrator’s credentials actually were. In an internal United Way document dated Dec. 2002, though, this administrator was referred to as a “library technician”.

“sexual under tones of lesbian controlled supervisors"
Despite the fact that the bulk of the Report on UW focused on unfair labor practices and fluctuating course entry requirements, it was summarized by Const. Patterson in the police report as having "sexual under tones."

At another point, the report was identified as containing "sexual under tones of lesbian controlled supervisors". The whistleblower insists there was no claim made in the Report on UW that supervisors at the battered women's organization were "controlled" by lesbians. She says there was a segment of the Report on UW which outlined allegations of discrimination against heterosexual women, primarily in hiring, by the lesbian administration of the battered women's organization. United Way never discussed accounts of discrimination with witnesses who were in a position to corroborate them.

The whistleblower says that the salacious entry about "sexual under tones of lesbian controlled supervisors" was typical of the "tabloid journalism" that passed for evidence-documenting in this case.

“requesting $525 compensation for her 16 page report.”
Even the content of a form letter announcing that the Report on UW was available to major donors was blatantly falsified in the police report. An announcement in the form letter that the report was available for a fee of “$25 to cover labour costs” was misrepresented in the police report as “requesting $525 compensation for her 16 page report.” (The date on the form letter was correctly identified in the police report.) The inflation by $500 of this fee on a page of the police report in which the Report on UW was being portrayed as “paranoid in nature” served to enhance the portrayal of the whistleblower as a crackpot.

“paranoid letters” to “undisclosed workers”
Patterson also wrote in his report that the whistleblower had been writing “paranoid letters” to “undisclosed workers”. The whistleblower alleges that this claim is fraudulent. Certainly no such letters were filed in the VPD Property Office. "That’s because they don’t exist", says the whistleblower. No "undisclosed workers" were ever identified either. The whistleblower had one contact person at United Way, Zena Simces, who answered to Dumouchelle. Simces had assured the whistleblower via voice mail that she did not view her communication as harassing and that United Way welcomed her feedback. Simces was conspicuously absent from the police report.

“concerned for the safety of employees” (a claim which was retracted the same day)
On Dec. 18th, Cst. Patterson claimed in his report the reason for the police visit to United Way was, “DUMOUCHELLE…is concerned for safety of Employees.” Yet this claim was retracted just hours later. During follow-up questioning the same day, Const. Patterson got Dumouchelle to acknowledge that safety “is not perceived as an issue.” Dumouchelle further admitted, according to Patterson’s report, that there had been “no threat (direct or indirect) involving physical harm or property damage.” In fact, in the police report which was absurdly redundant, Dumouchelle admitted on 15 separate occasions during questioning either in person or over the telephone that the whistleblower posed “no physical risk”.

Not only is it clear from Const. Patterson’s report that Dumouchelle had not been “concerned for safety of Employees”, it is evident as well from the report of Const. St. Amant. Just as he had admitted to Patterson, Dumouchelle admitted to St. Amant, who often spoke to him separately on the telephone, that he had no safety concerns. On the day after police met with Dumouchelle and showed up on the whistleblower’s doorstep, Const. St. Amant wrote:
“PC 2010 contacted DUMOUCHELLE via telephone and informed of contacting [whistleblower] ….Dumouchelle satisfied with police attention to date… PC 2010 was informed that no employee has been threatened, observed or met [whistleblower] ….”

The fact that the story about being “concerned for the safety of employees” was bogus is supported by a voice mail message that the whistleblower preserved from Dumouchelle’s assistant Zena Simces. Simces, whom Dumouchelle had assigned to be the contact person on issues of concern regarding the battered women’s organization, encouraged the whistleblower to continue to have contact with United Way.

“no improprieties found”
United Way had, at one point, invited a mediator to resolve complaints against the battered women’s organization. Following a conversation with Dumouchelle on Dec. 21, 2002, Const. St. Amant claimed in the police report that mediation had resulted in “no improprieties found.”

The whistleblower says that's not the story she got from the mediator. The mediator had telephoned the whistleblower and said that the battered women’s organization was not co-operating with mediation. The mediator reported that the battered women’s organization had been making excuses, over a period of months, not to meet with her and would not comply with the terms of mediation. One of the terms was that each side would send just one representative to mediation; the battered women’s organization insisted on having up to 7 people in the room, including a lawyer.

The whistleblower found United Way cagey after the mediator dropped the case. The whistleblower asked Zena Simces for a copy of anything written by the mediator. Despite two promises, Simces was not forthcoming with the material.

"acknowledges being in an abusive relationship"
The entry "acknowledges being in an abusive relationship", unlike the others listed above, was not false, but United Way had breached confidentiality by linking the whistleblower's name to this information. "I was shocked to see this being used against me in a police report," says the whistleblower.

The whistleblower had attended confidential support groups at the battered women's organization years earlier when she was leaving an abusive relationship. But her name, like the names of other women who had attended support groups and were witnesses to activities at the battered women's organization were withheld in the Report on UW, other than "Cindi" who did not have a problem with her given name being used. A Collective, not an individual, was identified on the cover of the Report on UW as having authored it.

Request for Criminal Investigation into United Way and Several Major Donors
The whistleblower has never been told the names of anonymous witnesses who, according to Constable Patterson's Dec. 18 report, met with police at United Way Campaign headquarters: "PC's 2010/2125 met with witnesses and complainant at 777 Dunsmuir..." Later on the same page of the police report, though, Patterson entered the names of several major United Way donors as witnesses in the case:

· Canadian Red Cross
· Revenue Canada
· Canada Post
· Toronto Dominion Bank
· Westminster Savings
· Canada Safeway

In requesting a public mischief investigation into this case, the whistleblower named the above-listed donors along with United Way and Dumouchelle. These donors were presented in the police report as witnesses based on the fact that they had obtained copies of circulating documents — a Report on UW or a form letter making the report available. Documents collected from them were later turned over to the VPD “harassment unit”, as indicated by the Dec. 29 police report. [This process may have been interrupted by a ‘Cease & Desist” letter sent to St. Amant’s supervisor, Sgt. Hatchman, as the Dec. 29th page would be the final one in the police report.]

In addition to an investigation into donors, the whistleblower had wanted an investigation into the role, if any, of the national United Way of Canada in the lodging of the “mischievous” police complaint . A letter exists to support the whistleblower’s claim that Executive Director, David Armour, became aware of this case shortly before the police complaint was lodged.

Despite Inspector John De Haas of the VPD having telling the whistleblower that she was entitled to request a public mischief investigation if a police complaint lodged against her had been unfounded and involved fabricated evidence, no investigation took place. When she requested the investigation, she got a call from Sergeant Warren Lemecke making excuses to stall it (an issue to be covered in a separate article).

PART II: United Way and VPD face allegations of further retaliation against the whistleblower based on the ordering of a VPD "Car 87" visit to her home after she put on record her intent to seek a criminal “Public Mischief” investigation.
Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry have labelled this alleged retaliation, “political psychiatry”. The whistleblower has documented evidence to support her claim that the Car 87 visit was ordered under “fraudulent pretenses”. For Part II, see United Way Implicated in Political Psychiatry

Saturday, October 27, 2007

CUPE Continues to Lock Poor Out of Services at Carnegie -- as Mayor Sullivan Cowers

Canadian Union of Public Employees has been back to work at Carnegie Center on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside for some time, but they continue to lock the poor out of services.

These povertarians got themselves a 20% raise -- that's what their 17.5% raise works out to with compounding -- which means that after a period of five years, they will have pocketed an extra full year's pay. So why are the services that they are being paid to provide still not being consistently provided at Carnegie Center. This problem began long before the strike and led at one point for calls for a forensic audit.

Striking Vancouver Public Library workers, the last to settle, returned to work at the Carnegie Center branch on Wednesday. But they took the morning off, along with other CUPE members in the building. It was Welfare Day and that is a day when CUPE members and City management refuse to consistently keep services open for the poor. Every Welfare Wednesday, the Carnegie Center closes down for the entire morning until noon; neighborhood residents showing up to use computers or the library stand on the steps. The staff congregate in the theatre for what Carnegie members call a schmoozefest; staff call it a meeting. One woman who has lived on the Downtown Eastside for 35 years and has sat on numerous Boards sees through this. "They just want time off." There are people on welfare all over Vancouver, yet no other community center uses welfare day as an excuse to leave members standing on the front steps.

Not only does Carnegie staff lock the poor out of taxpayer-funded services at the Carnegie Community Centre for the entire morning on Welfare Day, they repeatedly lock them out during "welfare week". A woman went to Carnegie on Saturday, three days after Welfare Day, only to find the Learning Center locked up tight. CUPE members are responsible for keeping it open on Saturdays; on weekdays CUPE members share that responsibility with two teachers paid by Capilano College.

On Thursday, the day after Welfare Day, a woman went to Carnegie to use the 3rd floor computer room which houses nine much-in-demand Vancouver Public Library computers. She found it locked tight and in darkness, in the middle of the afternoon! There were numerous staff persons on the 3rd floor, just meters from the Computer Room at the time. But the excuse is always the same for locking doors: "A volunteer didn't show up." Carnegie has roughly a million dollar wage bill, yet whether services remain open depends on whether some volunteer has gone on a drunk on welfare week.

Even if a volunteer is not drinking, they often have better things to do during welfare week than volunteer for 80 cents an hour in food vouchers at Carnegie. Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty who is paid $104,000 and Assistant Director Dan Tetrault, a CUPE member, have been reminded in the past that they should have contingency plans in place. In a pinch, they could sit in the computer room themselves and keep it open. Or CUPE member and Volunteer Co-ordinator Colleen Gorrie and her assistant Sindi, could sit in there for a few hours. They could use the computer reserved for the monitor. (Sindi could show off her new diamond ring to the people in there, just as she does in her office.) But they never do.

As the poor looking for jobs, or wanting to check e-mail, do course work, or just spend time on the information highway are frustrated by locked doors at Carnegie, Ethel Whitty is at times attending plays performed during the Heart of the City Festival. But her own performance back at Carnegie is what she should be focusing on.

It's not that Whitty and CUPE members such as Colleen Gorrie lack initiative. They started a virtual witch hunt at Carnegie for bloggers who were whistleblowing about locked doors last year. This witch hunt resulted in the barring of homeless man and elected Board member, Bill Simpson, for allegedly being involved in a blog. Whitty has persistently slandered bloggers at public meetings, of course never once providing examples to support her false claims. The police were even called to intimidate bloggers as an apparent favor to a CUPE member, but police admitted in the end that what bloggers were writing was accurate. So much taxpayer funded labour time expended on a 'kill the messenger' strategy, but the poor continue to find doors of services at Carnegie locked in mid-day.

Mayor Sam Sullivan has known about the great taxpayer rip-off at Carnegie since last year and has done nothing. Nada. Sullivan now says that the CUPE strike will not be over until the 2008 Civic Election when he intends to challenge CUPE's attempts to run rough shot over City Hall. But Sullivan is going to have to explain why he has been essentially covering for CUPE at Carnegie.

Related articles:
Carnegie Director Accused of Failing to Deliver Services to the Poor

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Food Poisoning: Burger King or Carnegie Center?

Have you eaten at Carnegie Center or Burger King recently and ended up with these symptoms: vomiting, diarrehea which may contain blood or mucus, cramps, achy joints and muscles? If you have, head to a doctor. You may have shigella, a rare food borne bacteria -- in other words, food poisoning -- for which Carnegie and Burger King have been pinpointed as possible sources.

Why is Carnegie suspect? Because a Downtown Eastside resident who got the rare food poisoning had been eating there regularly before coming down with it the Saturday before last. This person's case of shigella has been confirmed by lab tests.

A volunteer who regularly bought soup at Carnegie had the same symptoms, only much milder. And this volunteer, long before learning of the confirmed food poisoning case, mentioned that there was talk at Carnegie about people there having "the runs". Whether any of these people had food poisoning was never confirmed. Their symptoms are easy to brush off as the flu, but they may not be the flu.

Why is Burger King suspect? Because the night before vomiting, the person with the confirmed case of food poisoning had eaten a small burger at Burger King on Main St. near Terminal. The burger was eaten about 8:30 p.m. and the next morning at 8:30 a.m., the person was vomiting. The person says the burger had been made fresh; it hadn't been sitting under the heat lamp. The victim of food poisoning had been feeling dragged out, though, "like I was fighting something off" for several days before eating at Burger King. (The victim did come down with a cough too, so maybe that's what they were fighting off.)

About a week before getting sick, the person confirmed to have food poisoning had also eaten some pre-cooked barbeque salmon purchased from the cooler at Metrotown Superstore. The person also ate some fresh kale purchased at Superstore.

The DTES resident confirmed to have the food poisoning says that in the past they have not had a problem eating at Carnegie. In fact, in 20 years they have heard of only one person getting sick there; a woman vomited after eating a greasy soup there. [Update: Since this post was published, a Carnegie staff person gave a few people photocopies about shigella. She said there was an outbreak in the neighborhood. According to the handout, shigella often has a 2-3 day incubation period but it can be as long as 7 days or as little as 1 day.

One doctor who discovered that the patient had shigella or "shigellosis" said she has not seen a case of this in a decade. But shigella has recently been turning up in clusters around Vancouver, she said, so Public Health officials are attempting to track it. Public Health officials have not yet had a chance to speak to the Downtown Eastside resident whose case of shigella has been confirmed. But the doctor said they will want to know where this person has eaten.

The person with the confirmed case of shigella is still weak and sleeping every few hours through the day. The doctor prescribed antibiotics to be taken three times a day. She assured the patient, "You'll get better."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Campbell's Chicken Noodle: The Flu Soup

I've had that wicked flu. After vomiting three times the first day and having diarrhea for six days and six nights -- and periods in between when I felt like I was getting better -- I ventured out into the rain storm on Thursday and got to a doctor.

Guess what the doctor ordered? Chicken noodle soup. I told her that I had actually been eating Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup. She said, "Great", "Perfect." I'd had a craving for it and asked my neighbor to pick some up for me. I specified Campbell's because I had tried an even cheaper brander once and it tasted cheaper. "Chicken noodle soup is an easy food to digest," the doctor told me.

Generally, I try not to eat too much canned soup because the salt level in it is not healthy. But it's the salt that makes it good for you when you have diarrhea. "You want salty", the doctor said.

Don't eat vegetables, fruits, or fruit juice, the doctor told me, except apple juice. That made me perk up as I had been craving apple juice on the first day I was sick. My neighbor said he'd pick me up some and I was disappointed when he got orange by mistake. So he went back and got Sunripe Apple which I sipped on for hours. It was nice.

The doctor prescribed me Ipprobrium (sp?) too. And when my tests come back next week, she may prescribe antibiotics, depending on what she discovers.

So along with guzzling large bottles of water, I have been living on apple juice and chicken noodle soup. By the time I'm well again, I may have enough cans to build one of those stacks like Andy Warhol.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Federal Gov't Povertarian Threatens Downtown Eastside Resident

Carol Madsen brings her kids to work. Madsen is the Manager of Pathways, an "Information Center" operated by Industry Canada in the Downtown Eastside poverty industry. Her kids come every day after school and after that point, Madsen does very little work. In fact, the tall, thirty-something woman with dyed blond coiled curls, is often seen taking off out the door well before most government workers get off.

Job searchers who are on the computers writing resumes or other material that requires concentration have been getting peeved by Madsen bringing her children to work. The kids run from one side of the room to the other screeching. Nobody is mad at the kids. But it is disruptive.

Yesterday the situation about Madsen bringing her kids to work came to a head. A woman needed to talk to Madsen about the fact that Madsen had earlier threatened her twice in the computer room. There had been a room full of witnesses, many of whom know each other from the Carnegie Center. The woman had been trying to get her resume finished when a young man came in to wait for a computer and began jokingly yelling at his pal, “Heh, get off that fucking computer!” The resume-typer eventually said “Ssssshh”. The young man said, “Who shooshed me?” She said, “I did.” He got angry, yelling across the room at her that she had no business telling him to shoosh, that this “isn’t a fucking library!”. He called her a “bitch” and made other names – he didn’t have a computer so he had nothing else to do. The resume-typer responded in a loud and clear voice, loud enough that Madsen came into the room, “I don’t have to take abuse from any man here. I’m getting security.” The resume-typer got up but Madsen was there by then.

Madsen told the resume-typer that if she spoke up again, she would be expelled from the facility. She said the same thing to the young man. The resume-typer pointed out that she had the right to speak up when a man was yelling abusive comments at her in a federal government facility. Madson issued the threat a second time, both times, looking directly at the resume-typer. The resume-typer asked Madson for her name. Madsen gave her a card, but was not friendly about it.

Madsen was stepping on a landmine by issuing threats.

Downtown Eastside residents have lost patience with povertarians who get huge government grants claiming they have the ‘skill set’ necessary to work with Downtown Eastside residents, and then take the short cut of expelling people from government-funded facilities instead of working with them. And too often the povertarian executes an expulsion without adequate evidence – in many cases with no evidence – of wrongdoing. “I was so upset about the threats,” says the resumer-typer, “I couldn’t even finish my resume.”

The resume-typer immediately e-mailed a friend and told him what had happened. He passed her e-mail on to the DTES Enquirer, knowing that bloggers have been taking the povertarians to task on these expulsions and threats of expulsions.

This chronic form of civil liberties abuse in the poverty industry has been brought to international attention through coverage of the barring of a homeless man, William Simpson, from the Carnegie Center, across the street from Pathways. Simpson was told in writing that he was barred for operating a website which “features links” to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog (which has exposed Carnegie povertarians for too often locking doors to educational and computer services in mid-day.)

Madsen, the resume-typer believes, issued a threat because it was quick and expedient and didn't require any real negotiation -- another lazy nanny in the Downtown Eastside nanny state. It wasn't as if Madsen was busy with other tasks at the time she resorted to threats of expelling a taxpayer from a service they pay for; she was lounging with her co-workers in a glass-encased office near the computer room, something she and the other povertarians do every afternoon. (I’ve seen it myself.) They would of course claim that they are having a meeting, but people who use the computer room everyday say these bureaucrats look more like they are laying back, shootin' the shit. In fact, the resume-typer points out, while they sat with one another in their little glass bubble, "I was doing their job." It was their job to tell this disruptive guy to shooosh, not hers, she notes.

The resume-typer was pissed off at the way she was treated. Later the same day, she tried to talk to Madsen about it. A male accompanied her when she confronted Madsen – without raising her voice, he says -- but Madsen was passive-aggressive. Madson just said, “Have a nice day” and smiled a mannequin-type smile. Then Madsen said, “Have a nice day” again. What kind of communication skills are those for a government bureaucrat to be using? Shortly afterward, Madson skittered away, into a room she and her children use. This is typical of how casually povertarians take their threats; they act like they are not even obligated to discuss them.

Before she skittered away, Madsen was also given the opportunity to give her side of this story to the blog. She has not done so.

The resume-typer believes that a second reason why Madson wouldn’t address the issue was that she was busy being “Mom” at work. She was holding one kid in her arms and the other was standing beside her. She may not have wanted to be criticized in front of her kids. She was supposed to be available to deal with adults in the workplace, the resume-typer explains, "It was only 3:40 p.m." As Madsen walked away, the resume-typer was exasperated and blurted out, “Maybe you should stop bringing your kids to work”. Madsen responded, “Ooooooooooooooooooooh.” This is the type of communication the public gets from Madson who is paid a salary large enough to leave taxpayers saying, “Oooooooooooooooooooh.”

Madsen’s conduct is typical of the contempt shown for Downtown Eastsiders by povertarians. Once the grant cheque is cashed [Madsen was reportedly involved in getting Pathways off the ground], they often create what Simpson calls a “residential school culture”. Pathways is not as close to that culture as some poverty industry organizations – presumably because they are a new organization in the poverty industry. That culture is more deeply entrenched at the Carnegie Center, where low income people have been barred without cause for 25 years. But the fact that Madsen resorted in such a knee-jerk fashion to threatening to expel a taxpayer for speaking up, suggests that this is not the first time she has used this tactic.

The resume-writer noted that although Madsen skittered away with her kids instead of speaking to her, she did take the time to ask her one question, "What is your name?" The resume-writer wondered if she asked for that information so that she could get her barred.

Industry Canada had better monitor Madsen.

In fact, there are many things that have to be monitored before Pathways has their funding renewed. Why can’t these jokers keep computers running? The computers frequently either go off-line completely or slow to a crawl. There is supposed to be a computer man there. Would that be him lounging in the glass room? Industry Canada must be pumping a million dollars a year or more into that place and the basic service they provide is public-access computers. So why aren't they working optimally?

And why doesn't Pathways give clients washroom access? If you ask to go to the washroom while using a computer, you are told that you will have to go across the street to Carnegie Center. Yet staff -- and their children -- don't seem to be putting on their coats and trotting across a busy intersection to have a tinkle. The building in which Pathways is located at Main & Hastings has housed two banks, first the Bank of Montreal and then the Four Corners Community Bank which went belly up, so obviously it would be equipped with washrooms for staff. So what's the problem? Do they not want to place their precious povertarian bums on the same toilet seat as the poor?

It used to be that people like the resume-typer had little recourse when threatened with expulsion from a poverty industry organizations. Blogging has changed that. Bloggers are blogging on the Downtown Eastside. And povertarian, we are blogging about you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

CUPE's Back: Blocks Poor From Computers at Carnegie

CUPE came back. The inside CUPE 15 workers returned to work today at Carnegie Center in Vancouver. But they are not allowing the poor to return to work. CUPE members are blocking the poor from the public access computers inside Carnegie.

There are public access computers in Carnegie in the following locations: three in the basement Seniors Lounge, eight in the third floor computer room, 6 in the third floor Learning Center, and two in the Vancouver Public Libary branch on the first floor (although those inside the library branch are primarily for looking up titles of books and other library materials.) Of course the doors of the small Carnegie branch of the Vancouver Public Library remain locked since the VPL workers voted not to accept this week's contract offer by mediator, Brian Foley -- so nobody expected to get into the library to use those computers. But what about the computers elsewhere in the building? The poor who want to use them have been told to take a hike.

The poor have been told that the reason the computers in the building are off limits to them is that they are run by the Vancouver Public Library. Indeed, the VPL logo is on the desk tops on the screens of these computers.

Only three computers are accessible to the public in the Carnegie building. They are three of the six in the 3rd floor Learning Center. That's because those three are operated by the Vancouver Community Net, not the VPL.

So what are well-paid CUPE members who have returned to work going to be doing with their time. A primary job of Colleen Gorrie is to work to keep volunteers in the areas in the building where there are computers. The volunteers keep an eye on the computers and get people to sign-in before using them. So what is she doing now? Twiddling her thumbs?

Maybe she could use her free time to answer questions about the WCB/WorkSafe claim she made. She claimed that a blog about Carnegie was making her feel "unsafe". A man who doesn't even blog, Bill Simpson, got scapegoated and barred from the Carnegie Center as a result of this claim. (Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty revealed this reason after the barring, although the official written reason given to Simpson in a letter on City letterhead was that he "links" to the blog in question.) Now that Gorrie and some other CUPE members, like Assistant Director Dan Tetrault who delivered the barring letter to Simpson along with Whitty, will have time on their hands, it would be a perfect time to launch an investigation into the legitimacy of this WCB claim. As Carnegie Board member Grant Chancey, a pro-union guy, pointed out, there was nothing threatening whatsoever on the blog in question. "And I've looked and I've looked and I've looked." When it comes to this claim, the opinion of several bloggers is that WCB, CUPE, and a few individuals in the City legal department have some splainin' to do.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Vancouver Rookie Cop Enters Women's Washroom With Gun Pulled

Over the weekend, a guy got stabbed in the leg in front of Carnegie Center, where a swarm of people sell drugs or just hang out. The guy appeared to have been stabbed in a major artery.

A Carnegie Security guard, a tall guy with white hair, was helping the paramedic by holding the torque on the injured man’s leg.

Then a rookie Vancouver Police officer comes along. He tells the plain clothes security guard to back off. But the Security guard was preventing the guy from bleeding to death, so he tells the cop that he works on security.

The cop asks where the guy was stabbed. The security guard told him that it was by the women’s washroom, although the trail of blood made it obvious where he had been stabbed. There is an underground women’s washroom near the Carnegie front steps; women say it’s a clean washroom and a City worker sits down there to make certain nobody shoots up or causes trouble.

"The cop pulls out his gun," said a Carnegie regular in amazement,"and goes down to the women’s washroom." As if anybody would get away with hiding in the women's washroom with so many people standing around, he added.

Another guy from the neighborhood said, “That cop has been watching too much tv.”

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Power of Carnegie Newsletter Editor Curbed

There has been a shake-up at the Carnegie newsletter, a left-wing, newsletter that has been published on a shoestring in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside for over 20 years. For 21 years, Paul Taylor (photo above), a Downtown Eastside resident and American ex-patriot in his fifties, has been editing the newsletter. Many Carnegie members at tonight's meeting wanted his power curbed.

The Carnegie newsletter gets read. And it plays a role in keeping the majority of poor people on the Downtwon Eastside, Canada's poorest postal code, leaning to the left. The newsletter (masthead pictured below) accepts submissions from readers, many of whom are on welfare. There are persistent themes in the plain-english Carnegie newsletter: raise welfare rates by 50%, the 2010 Winter Olympics are a curse on the poor and an engine of gentrification, left-wing politicians like Libby Davies (who personally donates money to the newsletter) deserve to be re-elected. The best of the newsletter has been turned into a book, "The Heart of the City".

The Carnegie Board had to decide at tonight's meeting whether to accept a recommendation to set up an Editorial Board to oversee the newsletter and take some of the power out of the hands of Taylor.

A key issue that prompted the campaign to have an Editorial Board set up to oversee the newsletter was “libelous commentary” Taylor acknowledged writing in the newsletter about a homeless man, William Simpson. Simpson was barred from the Carnegie Learning Center after being suspected of contributing to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog which has been critical of Carnegie and accused it of being part of a poverty industry which disempowers the poor on the Downtown Eastside. After Simpson fought back by getting himself elected to the Carnegie Board of Directors, Carnegie Executive Director Ethel Whitty delivered him a letter on Vancouver City Hall letterhead barring him from the entire Center. Whitty told him that he was also stripped of his ability to attend Board meetings inside the Center. Members who had voted for Simpson were outraged. Tonight, Board member and aboriginal activist, Stephen Lytton, echoed their feelings when he said, "We can't continue with this Bill Simpson situation as he hasn't been proven guilty or otherwise.” Lytton was told he was off topic. "This is the topic," he responded.

In response to outrage about Simpson’s barring, Taylor wrote a column in the newsletter this summer claiming that Simpson had gotten elected essentially through fraud, lying specifically, and that Simpson had been writing “sadistic” commentary on the blog. Taylor later retracted these and other statements he had published about Simpson, acknowledging in writing that this was “libelous commentary”. Taylor also retracted commentary he had published about another new Board member, Rachel Davis, who had fallen out of favor with the Carnegie establishment after speaking out against the barring of Simpson.

Davis, a thin woman in her late 30’s with blond-brown, shoulder-length hair, has been a prime mover in the effort to have Taylor’s power curbed through the setting up of an Editorial Board. She told the crowd tonight that this is “nothing personal” against Taylor, but simply an effort to have policy respected. She argued that Taylor was using the Carnegie Newsletter as “his own personal, political newsletter.” She echoed criticisms of him that have been commonly heard at Carnegie over the years: people making submissions to the Carnegie newsletter sometimes find them rejected outright, not even looked at, or edited without their consent. “There are policies being violated,” Davis said, “and they are being violated over and over again despite the editor being asked [by the Board] to stop violating them.”

Sophia Friegang, who resigned as a Carnegie Board member last month over the Simpson barring, echoed Davis in saying that "there are certain policy guidelines that have been violated" here," so an oversight body was needed. "Nobody has the right to sole power as the editor for 20 years and it's ridiculous that anybody would have that right for 20 years." Friegang said that Taylor had "done some great work obviously" and that she wasn't suggesting that he no longer be involved in the newsletter. But she did not think the paper would fall apart under an Editorial Board. "Things need to be done by democracy. . . ."

Wilf Reimer, a tall, thin, man with short hair and glasses in his forties who has recently become a member of Carnegie, stated that he had been tagged with an “enemy” label at Carnegie after speaking up against the barring of William Simpson. Reimer claimed that he had received written notification from Taylor that his submission to the newsletter had been rejected “considering the source”. He asked how many people may have had similar experiences "and have just not bothered to contribute anymore because they just can't deal with the power that's there, that's in Paul's hands, and he's supported by Security, and the rest of the Board, and Ethel...." Reimer raised his voice at one point, walked up to Chair Gena Thompson who was flanked by two male Board members, and told them he did not like the way they treated people.

Doug, a tall, thin, forty-something man, with shoulder length brown wavy hair, said he has been a journalist for 30 years. He said he told Taylor that he "would have been fired" if he'd conducted himself as he had. [Taylor is a volunteer editor.] Doug said he had been involved in shaping the recommendation of an Editorial Board, a recommendation that he now heard being misrepresented. "I never talked about a Board that was in on every decision; I talked about a working Board that would meet once a month and help and support the editor ...It is not there to edit; it is there to talk about the direction...." He added, "This man has really brought shame on my profession as a journalist."

"Out of order!", Michael Read, the Secretary, called out. These were "personal attacks" on Taylor said Read, who had been the first at the meeting to announce that he supported the establishment of an Editorial Board.

But there were members at tonight's meeting who opposed setting up an Editorial Board to share power with Taylor, believing that it could ultimately kill the newsletter. John Dunnings, a Carnegie Security guard and CUPE member, said he thought this "bureaucratic mechanism" would ultimately "strangle the paper." He pointed out that the Gathering Place, a downtown community center where Carnegie security guards also work, has an Editorial Board and has managed to publish only two newsletters in 2 years.

Lisa, a Downtown Eastside resident, said of the Carnegie Newsletter, "We can not afford to lose it." She went on to say,"There are many developers and politicians who would love to see the end of the Carnegie newsletter because it has proven to be such an effective tool for spreading the word about what is really happening in the Downtown Eastside." Then she let the critics have it: "Based on what I have seen and heard, there is a small group of people who are in a big snit over something Paul Taylor reported in the Carnegie newsletter. This group has decided to actively seek revenge by launching a personal attack against Paul." She left out one thing: she is Paul's wife.

Tom, a retired man with grey hair and a 40 yr. background in the union movement, volunteers collating, stapling, and delivering the newsletter. He noted that at a recent work bee only two people showed up and one was Taylor. "To think that you're going to have something like an editorial board that's going to oversee and do the job of getting this thing out, this news letter out, is just not going to happen." Tom said that with a 40-yr. history in the union movement, he had seen all this before. "[T]he game plan here is not people's bruised sensibilities not being addressed properly, it's, I can tell by the verbiage that's being used in this meeting, it's being couched in pious platitudes about democracy and all this other stuff, fair play; what is being played out here is to try and destroy the Carnegie newsletter so that it will never be published again."

Delaney, a thin, middle-aged poet with neck-length, light brown, curly hair, emphasized that she was “suspicious” of the efforts to have an Editorial Committee curb Taylor’s power. “Somebody wants the Carnegie newsletter shut down”, was what she suspected. Delaney admitted having “huge fights” with Taylor when he altered material she submitted but gave him credit for the fact that every two weeks, "the newsletter comes out." The Carnegie Newsletter gets read on the Downtown Eastside, Delaney said, because it is the only publication worth reading. "There's no news in the Sun, there's no news in the Province, there's no news in the Georgia Straight or the West Ender."

After hearing roughly ten passionate speakers and some yelling, the Board voted to accept the recommendation to have an Editorial Committee oversee the publication of the Carnegie newsletter.

Taylor was not present for the verdict but his wife, Lisa, was. She cried.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Insite Report: the one that disappeared

This week the Harper government did not give Insite, the supervised drug injection site, the 3 yr. extension they had asked for. They gave them 6 months, claiming that more research needed to be done.

The cash-addicts who operate Insite had been doing some 11th hour parading in front of media cameras, talking about how Insite must be saved. When I see them, I think, "What about that report?" That long awaited report produced by Insite based on statistics collected by its own staff during the first year of operation. I remember Larry Campbell, the Mayor of Vancouver at the time, repeatedly telling reporters to wait for that report in response to questions about whether Insite was saving lives.

The report came out. I recall Campbell telling the media that he was disappointed that the results weren't more dramatic. The report revealed that Insite staff had saved just one life. And Campbell admitted to reporters that there is a possibility that even that one person may have survived without intervention.

So now we hear the povertarians in the media sounding alarms that people will be dying in droves if Insite isn't saved. What drug are they on?

"Soup Nazi" Returns to Sally Ann Soup Truck

Last week, a BCTF member who teaches at the Downtown East Learning Center stopped at the nearby Sally Ann Soup Truck for the poor and had a bowl of soup. This raised questions about whether a working person should be using the free soup truck as a convenience. An article about this teacher standing in the charity soup line was reported on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

Last night she came back! On Tues. Oct. 2, the teacher once again lined up for a free bowl of soup. Since this unionized worker is taking soup meant for the poor and hungry on the Downtown Eastside, residents jokingly call her the "Soup Nazi".

Pedestrian Struck in School Crosswalk at 41st and Fraser

"Dad, you hit him." That's what a pedestrian who was struck yesterday afternoon in the crosswalk in the school zone near 41st and Fraser, recalls a teenager girl saying to her father as they gazed down at him. He was lying on the street in front of their car.

There were many witnesses to the accident which occurred around 3:30 or 4 p.m., just after school had gotten out, on Tues, Oct. 2.

The pedestrian says he had the right of way; his light was green.

The driver, with his teenager daughter in the car, had turned the corner into the crosswalk and run into the pedestrian. The pedestrian says, "I can still see the grate coming at me." Upon impact, the pedestrian flew up onto the hood of the car and his hand rammed into the windshield wiper area below the window, leaving him with a serious gash on the palm of his hand. His blood was on the windshield. The impact also injured his knee and left him banged up over other parts of his body. He is walking stiffly and limping badly. His friends have been coming to his aid.

[On the weekend after the accident, the pedestrian told his friend, Tom, that when he woke up one morning, he couldn't see for a few minutes. "Everything was fuzzy." He was lying on his bed looking toward the kitchen and even the fridge was a blur. That's a sign of a concussion, Tom told him.]

The pedestrian is a 53 yr. old caucasian man. The driver of the red car which struck him looked like an Indo-Canadian man in his 40's. The driver "didn't seem like a bad guy", the pedestrian recalls. He speculated that the guy had just picked up his teenager daughter at school and was preoccupied talking to her when he turned the corner into the crosswalk.

Four lanes of traffic were interrupted by the accident. Several people helped the pedestrian. One man pressed on the gash on his hand, which helped stem the bleeding. Another man rolled up a coat and put it under his head, keeping it off the pavement which was wet from an earlier rainfall. Two other people brought blankets to put over him.

The ambulance and firemen arrived at the scene and cut off the pedestrian's clothes as he lay on the street. Then he was whisked to Vancouver General Hospital. There he was given numerous x-rays and scans. They were concerned that he might have broken his neck, but he hadn't. He was in the hospital for about 6 hours. He has no complaints about the treatment he got at VGH Emergency. The supervising physician, Dr. Rubacher, seemed really "on top of things".

Two police officers, one being Constable Peter Campbell, visited the pedestrian at the hospital. They pointed out that he had an umbrella and wanted to know if he'd had it open, if it had been raining. He said there was moisture in the air but it had not been raining at the time so his umbrella had been closed.The pedestrian told the cops that if the driver had killed him, it would have at least been a convenient spot. Why?, one cop asked. "It was next to the cemetery."

Other school-related news:
International Boycott of Vancouver High School Diplomas Concealed By School Board
Vancouver Teachers Demand Recycling in Schools

Monday, October 1, 2007

Insite is Part of Medical-Industrial Complex Eroding Civil Liberties on Downtown Eastside

The following post appeared on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer in April 2006. It is being re-printed because it remains relevant as we await the announcement by the Harper government this week of their new drug strategy, one that is not expected to grant Insite the 3 year extension requested.

I live a couple of blocks from Insite, the Safe Injection Site on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I welcome Prime Minister Harper's announcement that his government is not committed to it and will subject it to a review.

I would like Harper to review Insite in the context of the monstrous Medical-Industrial complex of which it is an integral part on the DTES. This complex consists of a myriad of medical organizations interfaced with a burgeoning poverty industry. It constitutes virtually the entire economy in this neighbourhood which is often referred to as a socialist experiment. Those profiting from this medical-industrial complex -- most of whom live outside the DTES and are referred to by residents as “poverty pimps” -- must constantly manufacture case files to attract public funding. The result is a case file economy.

Everyone is a potential case file. First they case-filed welfare recipients, a population prone to accepting dubious diagnoses that could be exchanged at the welfare office for a higher rate. Then they case-filed the junkies. And now they are case-filing you, Joe and Jane average Canadian. Freedom of expression by average people is now routinely medicalized in the DTES, viewed by poverty pimps as yet another case-file opportunity. Try speaking up or writing a letter on a political issue, criticizing a non-profit organization, or even querying a health professional about the side-effects of blood pressure medication. You may find a nurse on your doorstep announcing that you have been targeted for “assessment”, psychiatric or otherwise. Even after you are “cleared”, your new case file remains permanent.

Try complaining about this gratuitous case-filing and a nurse may arrange for a police constable to show up at your home to deter such “harassment”. And you may find that the swarm of street workers dispensing needles to injection drug users have been briefed on your file and encouraged to monitor you.

Show me a spokesperson touting the success of Insite and I will show you someone economically invested in the medical-industrial complex. A regular media spokesperson is Mark Townsend who, along with his nurse wife Liz Evans, is Co-Executive Director of the Portland Hotel Society. In addition to operating Insite, the Portland Hotel Society operates or has tentacles into so many other organizations that the DTES is virtually a company town. Public accountability is not Townsend's strong point though; he has refused to release a special audit by BC Housing on the Portland Hotel Society.

Maybe it is this uncomfortable refusal by Townsend that makes it expedient for Gillian Maxwell to now act as media spokesperson for Insite -- as indicated from her quoted comments in a recent Metro News article -- during the run-up to Harper's decision on whether to shut it down. Maxwell receives a hefty pay cheque in the medical-industrial complex. She has never displayed much interest in the majority of residents in the neighbourhood who saw ourselves in Harper's election promise to start rewarding “people who play by the rules”.

Maxwell's spiel, like Townsend's, is that research into Insite favours preserving it. But how neutral are the numbers? Hopefully, they haven't been influenced by MP Libby Davies' son, Leif Erikson, who was parachuted into the facility to work.

Watching the medical-industrial complex in action has cured myself and several other long term residents of the DTES of one thing, our socialist leanings. I’d like Harper to give civil liberties a shot in the arm and dismantle it.