Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rock in the New Year with a Civil Liberties Abuser

Carnegie members thought they were done dancing to the tune of John Ferguson when he retired as head of Carnegie Security. But now they are expected to ring in the new year dancing to his band, the Rockingguys.

Despite his record of involvement in abusing the civil liberties of low income Downtown Eastsiders who couldn't afford lawyers, Ferguson and his band the Rockingguys have been invited to play the New Years dance tonight at Carnegie. The poster at Carnegie advertises the Rockingguys as offering "lots of sax..." and "party favours (and after party favours)". Ferguson also played the Christmas Volunteer dance at Carnegie.

First things first: the guys who play with Ferguson in the band, most or all of them being Downtown Eastsiders, are not involved in human rights abuses. Forget them.

The complaining is about Ferguson. One musician is asking: Why is Ferguson taking money that is supposed to be available to be earned by low income musicians in the Carnegie Music Program? This musician says that Carnegie used to pay bands $500 for dances on Special occasions, but he believes it is now $750. That money is split amongst the band members. Ferguson has been known to donate his share to the Carnegie Newsletter, but that doesn't make it right, according to the musician. Musicians who frequent Carnegie -- virtually all of them are living on welfare or less -- want the opportunity to earn that money. Carnegie funders are told afterall that the Music Program is to help Downtown Eastsiders develop skills.

Ferguson has rarely been seen at Carnegie since he retired. He is not part of what the povertarians like to call the "community". Where was he when his former fellow CUPE members were disenfranchising the poor by barring homeless William Simpson from the building after they had elected him to the Board? What did he do? He showed up on the picket line to support the very people who had been involved in the barring. He stood on a picket line with Dan Tetrault, Rika Uto, and Colleen Gorrie. When Board member and musician Rachel Davis was defending the right of Simpson to sit at the Board table, Ferguson, if I remember correctly, refused to talk to her when she approached him.

The musician believes that the reason Ferguson is being hired for dances on special occasions that pay well -- the regular monthly dances pay $250 (about $50 per band member) and they are often assigned to low income Downtown Eastsiders -- is that it relieves Carnegie staff of the responsibility of having to stick around until after the dance ends to pay the musicians. "The New Years dance doesn't end until 12:30," he said. "They can leave the money with Ferguson and he'll pay the musicians." Staff trust Ferguson. He is one of them.

This is not the first time I've heard grievances aired about Carnegie staff or retired staff siphoning money off the Carnegie Music Program. I heard a different musician complain a year and a half or two years ago that the Carnegie Music Program was becoming a "staff perk". He named "Peggy and Sue", two women employed as street workers in the Carnegie Street Program, who were being hired to play and sing at Special events. Like the other complainant, this musician didn't mind people from outside the neighborhood showing up to contribute to the music program, he just didn't want current or ex CUPE members being given priority over local people in earning what little money the Music Program had available.

Complaints about the Music Program remind me of what Nathan, a guy who used to run a Philosopher's Cafe on the third floor of Carnegie said, when asked why Governor General Michaelle Jean would give former Carnegie Director Michael Clague the Order of Canada for his work with the poor ...without asking the poor what they thought of him. Clague was Director while Ferguson was head of Security, a period when civil liberties abuses were rampant at Carnegie. Nathan's response was this: The middle class talk to one another, not to the poor. That's the way the world works.

Happy New Year.

(The above photo was taken on the Carnegie outdoor smoking patio on Main St. on Dec. 22 or 23, 2008)


Anonymous said...

corrections: the dances are not related to the music program as has been put in writing by ethel, whether agreed upon or not, such is the case

-sue does not work for carnegie, she is asked to play with people because she is respectful and capable, not asked by staff, but by other musicians who are doing gigs and like to play with her

reliable sources said...


Ethel may have now stipulated in writing that the dances are not related to the Music Program, but why did she have to do that? She must have known about complaints. Certainly the mandate of Carnegie is to enhance the lives and develop the skills of Downtown Eastsiders. There are people who wouldn't be caught dead with a Downtown Eastside address who come to the neighborhood for a pay cheque, schmooze with Whitty and her associates and scoop up paid entertainment jobs. (Incidentally, the last play that was put on by Carnegie paid $500 to each participating 'voice' of the Downtown Eastside, some of whom wouldn't be caught dead with a Downtown Eastside address.)

Every month, a member of the Carnegie Music Program is assigned the monthly dance for which the band they put together is paid $50. So it's natural for these musicians to assume that when the higher paying Special Occasion dances come up, they deserve a crack at them before an outsider with a good pension like John Ferguson. But I hear what you're saying anonymous, Ethel may have put something to the contrary in writing. Technically, her ass is probably covered.

You say "sue does not work for carnegie." Carnegie members don't see her around now, but she was, from what I have been told, an employee of the Carnegie Street Program while she was being paid to play dances. So was Peggy. (Sue and Peggy may have had something to do with the Health Contact Centre as well; I was told that Peggy ran a jam session there.) That led a musician to complain that the Carnegie Music Program was being treated like a "staff perk" for CUPE members.

You may be correct that musicians (other than the ones I've spoken to), asked Sue to play because they like playing with her. I don't think the problem was that Sue was playing per se; it was that she was a staff person who was double-dipping by getting two pay cheques, while low income musicians, a few of whom weren't even getting a welfare cheque, could have used a pay cheque from that gig.

You claim that Sue is "respectful and capable". Another opinion is that at Carnegie, Sue is respectful to people to whom it is in her interests to be respectful. When Downtown Eastsiders began blogging to expose corruption (such as the barring of an elected Board member and a gross breach of confidentiality by the Street workers/nurses to harass a local resident who was challenging the use of Car 87 to intimidate politically vocal people), Sue made a face at one of them. Sue didn't say anything, she just made a face. [John Ferguson was head of Carnegie Security when such activities were occurring, although we have no evidence that he was an instigator.) Sue was aware that the poor were being stripped of human rights at Carnegie, but she knew which side her bread was buttered on. Sue is "capable" of looking out for herself.

Sue is a politically correct woman who makes a loud statement with her unshaven armpits, but when the poor were disenfranchised and their elected representative barred at the door of Carnegie, Sue didn't make a peep.

"Respectful" is your word. "Cowardly" is my word.

Rachel Davis said...

The scene: John Furguson's office back in the days when he was Head of Security and I ran the music program

Worker, (not unionized. Not "Staff", as the person who runs the music program is never paid a union wage unless they happen to be Earle Peach!) :

"John, you know that woman who punched me out in the sound booth for no reason, you know, the one that you said you'd let me know before you let her in again, but then forgot to let me know?"

John: "Oh... yeah..., what about her?"

Worker: "Well, she was in the other day, and staring at me through the theatre doors, and then she started harassing me by doing lewd gestures toward me and sticking out her tongue in this bizarre sexual manner...."

John: "Darn! She never does that to me!" (!!!!)

Yes, it sounds like a joke, but it's a real exchange and just one of many times I've seen John ignore dangerous situations and an promote unhealthy atmosphere.
Should he be getting the highest paid gig that the Carnegie has? ($750 per night, as opposed to the $250 that the monthly dances pay) Well, certainly not over and over, as has been happening.

John offered to write me a reference so I could get my job back at Carnegie, then he saw that Peggy and Ken didn't want me there and refused to live up to his promise. That was pretty devestating at the time. I already had a lot of references, some by Carnegie staff, and also former director, but his would have been key....But no.
"Sorry" he said, years later.

Then Peggy had Carnegie Security search my bag in front of other patrons for allegedly taking photos of her, (!?!?)--Guard: "Sorry about this but she's my co-workers girlfriend so I sort of have to do it..", John promised to look into it, but then a month later claimed "conflict of interest" because she was in the RockingGuys with him. That didn't stop DanTetrault from accepting his written report on the matter, over my protestations, though John wasn't even there!!
John also excluded me and Sophia Freigang (another Carnegie Board member who protested the barring of William Simpson), from the Photo Show representing the "Carnegie Opera" on the third floor Gallery at Carnegie. Out of 30 folks, we were the only absent characters. If you looked closely you could see shots where we were actually cropped out! Staff tried to pretend the show was only the private work of a patron, but you could see John's signature on about half the shots. When I pointed that out to Ethel, she said that he was just at our rehearsal as a private person and that this was a private show, even though the photo paper was paid for by Carnegie, the photo's were in Carnegie's gallery and the subject matter was a "Community Play" paid for by Carnegie. When I asked how it is, then, that she allowed some "Private Person" in to take pictures of us without our consent to do anything he liked with the pictures....Well, no answer, of course.

We were barred from that photo show for supporting William Simpson, that's what happened. I asked over and over to have the pictures of me and Sophia included in that display. Bharb G. had pictures of us, so did John, even a paid staff person had pictures that were in the original program, but no, they refused, the show went up without us, you'd never have known we were ever there, though we were main characters in 2 of the 3 productions! That's the Extreme Soviet Carnegie style.
I guess those funders paid for having our DTES "Voices Heard" but not our "Images Seen", at least if we protested abuses of human rights such as the barring of duly elected board members.

I was even barred from Peggy's music program at the Contact Centre. Was it for the same reason, my views on human rights? Your guess is as good as mine:
I showed up, walked in the room sat down said hello to my friends sang a few songs....didn't see Peggy at all, and yet, suddenly, a staff person is coming and telling me I have to leave because Peggy says my being there is a "conflict of interest" situation for her. Various meetings with her bosses didn't help me to understand how that could possibly be. I was told she was "too uncomfortable to work with me there". That seemed strange as she seemed to have no problem playing music with me there when we were in the opera together.....and she joined the opera again the second time too...it was only after Sophia and I had been excluded by her band mate, John Furguson, that she couldn't work with me around, apparently.

Yes, watch out people, it's true, if you or your political viewpoints make a CUPE worker "uncomfortable" they can take that to their boss and they won't have to explain why they are uncomfortable...you, the tax paying public, are just out of there with no accountability at all!

Isn't it strange.........?
CUPE workers can withhold their services from anyone they feel like, and they don't have to say why, this is what I was told by her bosses at Coastal Health, between profuse apologies for "the way things are".

Of course, they did say that if I were addicted to drugs or a mental health consumer, then the case would be different, but they didn't say how it would be different.....I did wonder...Like, maybe I wouldn't be able to get those meetings with her bosses in the first place? I will never know. They all apologized for her lack of professionalism, but my bar still stood.
Too bad, I would like to be able to check in with the musicians that are barred from Carnegie, but I can't.

I think this is what happened when an elected homeless board member of Carnegie, William Simpson, was barred. I don't think it was a "WorkSafe" situation, but more of an "Work-is-not-quite-as-comfortable-as-I'd-like-to-be" situation for a particular CUPE worker. Bingo Bango, board member or no...He's outta' there!! ( Well, yes, especially because he's a board member, that's true too!) But in that case, unlike mine, he was never was apologized too by Ethel, or anyone, of course.........Although he's told me Colleen did say hello to him once on the street. Cold comfort. Literally.

Anonymous said...

boy, this website is way more entertaining than the Rocking guys.
i went to the dance and they gave me an expired panettone to take home. i really enjoy the references to coast to coast late night radio, i also subscribe to every conceivable conspiracy theory, i also believe there isn't enough petty griping in the world, keep up the good work
also anonymous

reliable sources said...


I assume you are a current or former Carnegie staff person [CUPE] or management. What gives you away? Your dismissal of the content of the Downtown Eastside Enquirer, which is persistently about human rights violations and tax payer rip-offs at Carnegie, as "petty". Nobody dismisses human rights violations as "petty" quicker than Carnegie staff and management.

The issues covered on the blog are far from petty though. People who voted for William Simpson remain amazed that Carnegie, a City of Vancouver institution, would bar him from the Carnegie Board meetings after he was elected. Elections within the City of Vancouver are not free, and that is not petty.

The taxpayer rip-off issue raised on the blog, and witch hunt at Carnegie to nab and bar anyone exposing the rip-off by blogging about it, are also not petty. Ask the people who travel across the City by bus or on foot to get access to a VPL public computer at Carnegie on a Sunday night to check for temp work the next day, only to find the doors locked because a CUPE member wasn't fulfilling their job requirements.

Another thing that gives you away is your reliance on misrepresenting the facts, a routine tactic of Carnegie staff and management. You suggest that because there are references on the Enquirer blog to Coast to Coast radio, we subscribe to "every conceivable conspiracy theory". Coast to Coast radio covers a wide variety of topics including politics, the economy, scientific innovations, and even nutrition. Never has a DTES Enquirer blogger mentioned anything in relation to Coast to Coast that could be construed as a conspiracy theory. We reported on widowed host Art Bell getting remarried and on the birth of his daughter. Millions of people are interested in what's happening with Art Bell. It's a human interest story.

You sign "also anonymous". Bloggers wouldn't have to be anonymous if there wasn't a witch hunt at Carnegie to track down and bar suspected bloggers. What protection will bloggers have if Carnegie staff get hold of their names? Human rights?

reliable sources said...


Thanks for the information about how you were treated by Carnegie Security and other staff. At Carnegie, quite some time ago, a member of the Music Program was talking about seeing you assaulted by a woman whom he described as “very butch”. He said he saw the woman grab you by the hair and he was amazed that Carnegie security hadn’t done more. That was when John Ferguson was security boss.

Carnegie Security are too often dispatched for political ends rather than to prevent violence in the building. What you say about the failure to take your case seriously is consistent with what a woman told me the other day at Waves coffee shop next to Carnegie. She said on Friday night at Carnegie, she reported that a woman in the building had threatened to beat her up outside if she “ratted” about what had happened to her in the washroom. She said that crack addicted sex trade workers are using the third floor washroom as a dressing room. That’s not the problem for her; it’s that they wouldn’t let her wash her hands. One of them told her she hadn’t waited her turn and was therefore “rude”, but she says they had been camping in there for an hour with their clothes and make up all over the floor. She said she just squeezed in beside one to get some soap from the dispenser. She got called a “bitch”, a “cunt”, and other names which she couldn’t remember. She left the washroom with soap on her hands and went to the downstairs washroom – the second floor was locked by this time – to wash it off. That washroom was occupied by a woman injecting drugs; she had dropped her needle on the floor and it had rolled under the door for all to see. (Two longtime female Carnegie members have told me about how the women’s washrooms “didn’t used to be like that.”

The woman told security guard Ken Tanake(sp?) that she had been threatened with being beaten up. He told her that security were headed up to the third floor anyway to do their rounds. Ken wasn’t rude, she told me, more disinterested; he didn’t write a security report even though there had been an explicit threat to beat her up by a person who could possibly have a record of violence (this forty-something hooker has been a fixture on the streets for years.) He did not ask for a name or a description of the person so that they could be intercepted and told that threats of violence aren’t going to be tolerated in the building. No witnesses who would have heard the commotion were spoken to.

This tepid response to a threat of violence has to be compared to the drastic response Security staff take to political issue of women’s voices. Security boss Skip Everall is on record with his willingness to bar a woman for talking back to a man – even though Ethel Whitty admitted on tape that this woman posed no threat of violence -- or being assertive enough to ask Everall his name. She was expected to show up at meetings – all at taxpayer expense – about her “behaviour”. An extensive report was written on her and the woman now has a “security” file on the City computer. All because she had a voice. But if a woman’s head is about to be bashed in? Not serious.

I’ve heard that Ethel Whitty has been asking female Carnegie members how to encourage more women to use the Center. She has been asking women who are part of a group doing needlework projects and displaying them on the third floor. I’ve had no reports that she’s asking women who have outstanding complaints of violence, sexual harassment, or being harassed for having a voice. One could get the impression that Whitty prefers women who stick to their knitting.

Anonymous said...

(un)reliable sources:

hate is all i can see here.if you actually want to resolve some of the issues you're bringing up then you might try not TRASHING the people you need to be talking to??!I think you will find people to be much more receptive to your ideas and willing to work on solutions when they're not being repeatedly vilified...Also checking facts before you publish is generally considered a good idea...(libel anyone?).. that is if you actually want resolutions which seems unlikely given the incredible amount of bitching and complaining and distorted conclusions arrived at with a wierd mix of bits of truth bits of fiction and assumptions erroneously presented as facts and the lack of any positive action on your own part. Obviously you have some skills; why not work to make things better instead of churning out the hate propaganda?

Rachel Davis said...

Really? Hate is all you see here? You don't see the sadness, frustration and rightful indignation at the human rights abuses? That is too bad.

I, too, once thought as you did, I thought that Staff at Carnegie would be fair if they were only informed of the patrons concerns. I tried to have meetings and "talk" to staff. I "worked within the system". R.S. has seen what has happened to me and other people. We have been variously barred for "linking" to this site, written up in the security book for talking to security about their abuses, threatened with write ups for asking questions, searched in front of patrons for phantasmagorical items, shouted down and called names at meetings, and all the things you charge R.S. with were committed against us by Paul Taylor, editor of the Carnegie Newsletter.libel, vilification etc. all printed for patrons and staff and the rest of B.C. to see. All this and more were our only return for incredibly earnest ( and now I'm thinking, naive) effort.

When one has tried ad infinitum to "work within the system" to protect themselves and other's basic rights and failed, the only thing left is to publish the truth. That's why I went to the Vancouver Sun and got an article published, ( "No Home For The Holidays Here") and went on the CBC with William Simpson. It's easy to write anonymously and say all this is hate literature and lies, but I notice you don't say exactly WHAT those lies are. Why don't you provide the other side if you know of it?

I know it sounds hard to believe, I don't blame you for doubting it. I would have a hard time believing it too if I hadn't lived through it. But do us all a favor, and, since you talk about checking the facts before you publish, talk to me, I'll provide proof. You know my name, though you significantly didn't provide yours, and I'll be happy to talk to you without rancor. If you are a Carnegie Staff person, all the better, I am always ready to start fresh, and believe people can change. Let us know you are ready to listen.

R.S., remains anonymous for their own reasons, perhaps they need the resources of the Carnegie more than I do, and they saw what happened to William Simpson just for linking to this site. I don't know what your reasons are, certainly R.S. cannot bar you from the Carnegie Centre. I guess you are scared too. Well, don't be afraid. Check out the facts. I am not as scary as Paul Taylor would have you believe.

reliable sources said...


You write, "Also checking facts before you publish is generally considered a good idea...(libel anyone?)"

The DTES Enquirer does not publish libel. Ethel Whitty could not point to one libelous claim on the DTES Enquirer after being involved in barring William Simpson from a City building for supposedly linking to this "defamatory" blog.

If you want to discourage libel on the Downtown Eastside, ask the City not to renew Ethel Whitty's contract. Ask them to listen to a tape of the shockingly libelous interview she gave to CBC Radio about William Simpson. There is no question that Simpson would win a libel suit, if he had the resources to pursue one. (Lawyer anyone?)

Anonymous said...

The title of this post is incorrect. It should be "The Real Or Imagined Victimization Of Rachel And William"

Anonymous said...

Just because Ethel 'could not point to one libelous claim' doesn't mean they don't exist. That was quite a while ago, and a lot has been written since then, no?
I heard the cbc interview and nothing libelous was said by Ethel; you simply don't have a case-it has nothing to do with being able to afford a lawyer.

I did some research on human rights and civil liberties in canada and I have to say I don't think you have a case there either.Just because you don't like some of the decisions that have been made does not make it a human rights or civil liberties issue. I think you use those words and phrases to try to legitimize your own atrocious behaviour and insatiable need to criticize and blame.
Nothing good can come from this.

reliable sources said...


You write, "The title of this post is incorrect. It should be 'The Real Or Imagined Victimization Of Rachel And William'"

Ad hominem attacks are generally relied upon by people who don't have the facts on their side.

By going public with their cases, William and Rachel simply put faces to the hundreds of people who have accounts of civil liberties abuses and/or fraud at Carnegie. They are not imagining the abuse. There is documentation in multiple cases to support claims that abuse is occurring.

In future, if you post on this site, please address the specifics of cases. The specifics -- which are suported by letters, emails, audiotapes, witness testimony -- are readily available in posts on this blog and other news sites.

Future ad hominem attacks will be deleted.

reliable sources said...


You write, "Just because Ethel 'could not point to one libelous claim' doesn't mean they don't exist."

The fact that Whitty and other City staff arranged for City lawyers and even the Vancouver Police to comb the blog for libel and have identified nothing libelous -- a police detective stated that nothing libelous had been found during an investigation of the blog -- supports our claim that the blog is not libelous.

Carnegie Board member Sophia Friegang, who I've been told is also a Pivot Legal Society Board member, announced at a Carnegie meeting that she had "poured over" the blog and found it to be within the boundaries of legitimate free speech, although she said she did not agree with everything on it. Freigang stated that a "terrible mistake" had been made and human rights disregarded in the barring of Simpson for linking to this blog. She resigned from the Board because human rights talk falls on deaf ears at Carnegie.

Whitty and her City associates had an obligation to identify any libel when they sent William Simpson a letter informing him that he was barred from Carnegie because he operated a website which "features links" to a blog which was allegedly defamatory. Simpson specifically asked Whitty for examples of false material when she delivered the letter barring him. She didn't give him an answer. At the very least, this is not a woman of integrity.

You write, "I heard the cbc interview and nothing libelous was said by Ethel; you simply don't have a case-it has nothing to do with being able to afford a lawyer."

You're being conveniently vague. I get the impression that you are not familiar with the specifics of the Simpson case. Why is it that Ethel Whitty told CBC that Simpson had been barred because he posed a "Work Safe" risk, when in the letter she delivered to him, the official reason given for the barring was that he operated a website which "features links" to the DTES Enquirer blogspot which had criticized Carnegie staff. Why has Simpson never been told he posed a Work Safe risk?

Whitty's lying during the CBC interview has been covered in a blog post called, "Whitty Blows Hot Air on CBC Radio?" I suggest you read it.

Please familiarize yourself with the specifics of the case before you comment again.