Thursday, June 7, 2007

Election tonight in 'little police state that could'

There will be an election this evening in the little police state that could. It comes after a year of assaults on democracy at Carnegie Centre through 'star chambers' hearings and secret interrogations to have bloggers barred, and even soliciting what amounts to favors from the Vancouver Police -- Constable Dave Hancock et al -- to intimidate bloggers exposing Carnegie practices.

The election for the Carnegie Board of Directors will change nothing. The same cluster of left wingers regularly get elected. Most people in this Downtown Eastside neighborhood don't show up at the election. One 35 year resident and activist who wished to remain anoymous -- you can get blacklisted from jobs and perks for expressing opinions in this 'company town' in which most people rely on government funding -- scoffed, "You can't change anything there!"

There will be no scrutineers to ensure fairness -- even though a few Downtown Eastside residents have stated that they would like to see them. Last year, when Carnegie member Bill Simpson spoke up at the Annual General Meeting and asked if there were scrutineers, Director Ethel Whitty -- who is paid $104,000 annually to enhance the life in Canada's poorest neighborhood -- completely ignored him. Then Stephen Lytton, who up until that time had been viewed by residents as the token native on the Carnegie Board, showed some backbone. He turned to Whitty and said, "The man asked a question". Whitty then curtly answered Simpson, "It's taken care of." Whatever that means.

Whitty would later be involved in 'taking care' of Simpson by barring him from computers at the Carnegie Learning Centre, accusing him -- wrongly -- of blogging.

There will be a major difference this year though. Margaret "Muggs" Sigurdson and her spouse, retired Vancouver Sun reporter Bob Sarti, will not be running. For at least a decade, Sigurdson has been either President or Vice President. Sarti, since retiring from the Sun roughly 5 years ago has regularly served on the Carnegie Board. There is a chance that these two lefties will make an appearance at the election at Carnegie though, looking relaxed and refreshed after their recent vacation in that other little police state that could, Cuba.

Despite having been a Vancouver Sun reporter for 5 years, Sarti had difficulty adjusting to the freedom the blogosphere offered Carnegie members. Within minutes, low income people arriving at the Learning Centre or other Carnegie facilities to find doors locked would be blogging, tattle taling to the taxpayer who was paying through the nose for these services. Witnesses watched Sarti on two occasions, yell at suspected blogger Bill Simpson in the hallway outside the Carnegie Learning Centre: "Tattletale Queen of the Carnegie! Tattletale Queen of the Carnegie!" It was time for Sarti to retire. And he and Sigurdson did, to Hornby Island.

If you would like to vote in the election for the Carnegie Centre Board of Directors, go to the first floor theatre in the Carnegie Centre at Main & Hastings. Register at 5 p.m. You have to have held a $1 membership for three weeks to qualify.

But if you're a blogger, watch your back.