A harassment campaign at Carnegie Center continues against a woman who challenged the use of the Carnegie Security database to compile fraudulent information about members who speak up.
On two recent Saturdays, she was denied access to Vancouver Public Library computers in the Carnegie Learning Center. A witness has confirmed that recently the computer monitor was hostile to her the minute she walked into the Learning Center. The monitor said he was not going to allow her to use a computer. She left without saying anything but she was upset.
The same thing happened last Saturday. The monitor allowed men to use the computers who were not students -- one was a guy who uses the computer to monitor the stock market -- explaining, "It's Saturday. It's my choice." She was not one of the chosen few.
She says the monitor "tried to pick a fight" the instant she walked in the door last Saturday. He barked, "Sign in". She returned the same treatment, barking "Can I put my tray down first!" [She was carrying a tray with soup on it from the cafeteria.] The monitor then called over the young Asian volunteer at the reception desk and told him to watch her...and call Security on her. Part of the conversation was inaudible to her but "He said 'Call Security' loud; he wanted me to hear".
I asked her if she reported this incident to Security and she said, "No, they would write me up." But she wanted this latest round of harassment to be on record, so she asked me to publish a report.
She said that over the past ten days or so, she has also been twice driven out of the Seniors Center when she attempted to use a Public Library computer. The first time, when she sat down the coffee seller, Devor, turned on a war movie with a lot of shooting and noise. He didn't turn it on at the beginning of the movie, she explains, he turned it on in the middle of a gun battle scene. And he turned up the sound on the surround-sound tv. She got up and left. But before leaving she crossed her name off the list of people who had used a computer so that she could have her turn later. Devor got angry and told her not to cross it off. "They don't want me in there," she says.
This weekend, she went to the Seniors Center again to use a computer. The hockey game wrap-up was on, she says. "It wasn't loud." Devor saw her and changed the station to the middle of another show, which she thinks was a sit com. He cranked up the sound loud. She left.
She is not the only Carngie member who has told me this goes on. When I recently bumped into a union tradesman who frequented Carnegie after work until he retired, he was chatting about Carnegie and mentioned Devor. He didn't know his name but he called him the 'goof' in the basement or something like that -- I can't recall the exact word he used-- but he echoed almost exactly what the woman had said, "He turns the tv up loud to get you to leave." He said it had never actually happened to him -- he had stopped going into the Seniors Center out of fear of bed bugs -- but had heard others at Carnegie talking about Devor doing this.
Another Carnegie member, Jim, also finds noise a problem when he's using a computer in the Seniors Center. But he believes that if Devor wasn't there to man the Seniors Center, it would be worse; management would often just lock the doors. On the issue of noise, Jim shakes his head. "You're trying to concentrate," he says laughing, "and there's huge explosions going off."
Whitty ackowledged during a taped conversation that having the Public Library computers in the same room as the tv was a constant source of conflict. She mused about moving them. She has been musing for years.
Ethel Whitty and her City Hall supervisor David McLellan have lost control of Carnegie.