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.