Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Arrives And Homeless Bill Simpson Remains Barred From Carnegie

And so this is Christmas. And what have you done. . . .

Sam Sullivan, Vancouver's "do nothing" Mayor, and Vancouver City Council have just approved a huge Christmas gift to 600 City managers. These managers, many of whom already make between $100,000-$200,000, will receive an almost 25 per cent wage increase over the next five years.

But they have done nothing for Bill Simpson.

Low income people who frequent the Carnegie Center had hoped that by Christmas, the barring of William "Bill" Simpson from the City-operated Carnegie Center at Main and Hastings would have been lifted. In January 2007, the homeless man was barred from the Learning Center on the third floor of Carnegie Community Center. He was told that he was barred for daring to blog on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

One problem: he wasn't the blogger.

In June 2007, two weeks after Simpson was elected by low income people to the Carnegie Board of Directors, he was barred again -- this time from the entire Carnegie Center. Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty and Assistant Director Dan Tetrault -- both richly paid by the City of Vancouver -- delivered him a letter in person barring him indefinitely. Simpson asked Whitty if he could at least enter the building to attend Board meetings and she said no. The letter Simpson received was on City of Vancouver letterhead and was signed by the even more richly paid City General Manager, Jacquie Forbes-Roberts. Forbes-Roberts accused Simpson of operating a website which "features links" to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

Wait a minute. When a man is elected in Canada, City managers can't say, We don't like you and you can't come into the building for Board meetings. That denies representation to voters. That's not Canada. That's China. If Santa manoeuvering his clumsy sleigh can figure out where Canada ends and China begins, why can't Mayor Sullivan and his City managers.

As Mayor Sullivan and his henchwomen, Forbes-Roberts and Whitty, wind up a year of blog burning, and of preventing Simpson from setting foot in the well heated Carnegie Center over Christmas, all Downtown Eastside residents can do is go to sleep on Christmas eve with images dancing in our heads of Sullivan facing the electorate next year. Maybe we'll get the last laugh. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Related stories:
City of Vancouver Bars Elected Blogger From Board Meetings

City on "weak, weak ground" in Barring Elected Blogger