Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Province Dupes Readers with Ethel Whitty "Interview"

Carnegie Centre executive director  Ethel Whitty.

This is an example of why the mainstream media is going bankrupt.  Media outlets involved in "Operation Pheonix" promised to ask "uncomfortable questions" of those running things on the Downtown Eastside. Instead they have published what amounts to a press release from Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty, with no mention of the fact that she has been accused of everything from slander to fraud. 

Yesterday, Carnegie member Wilf Reimer drew Whitty's interview with the Province newspaper to the attention of the DTES Enquirer.  It's actually not an interview at all.  There is no reporter named in the byline, just "STAFF REPORTER".  There is a formal, 'canned', quality to Whitty's responses which makes it virtually certain that she obtained the questions in advance and was allowed to produce written responses.  A press release.   Perhaps Whitty can no longer risk agreeing to a face-to-face interview where uncomfortable questions could actually be asked.  

In Whitty's press release, she used the buzzword "dignity" when discussing the homeless. Province readers were taken for suckers with this.  

Here's the real story:  Whitty's idea of "dignity" for homeless William Simpson was to deliver him a letter barring him from Carnegie Center after he got elected to the Board last year.  As Simpson stood on the sidewalk outside Carnegie during Board meetings, Whitty wouldn't even allow this elected official the dignity of having input via a cell phone that had been loaned to him.  Then Whitty appeared on CBC to slander this homeless man, but wouldn't appear along with him to allow him the dignity of being able to respond to her accusations.  

In the CBC interview, Whitty attempted to strip this homeless man of his dignity and reputation by announcing that he had been barred from Carnegie for posing a "WorkSafe" risk.  That was the first Simpson had heard of any WorkSafe risk.  No WorkSafe risk was mentioned in the letter Whitty had personally delivered to him, a letter in which he was informed that he was officially barred from Carnegie for operating a website which "features links" to the DTES Enquirer blog. (The blog had reported that Whitty was taking educational and computer funding, while the poor were too often finding the doors to these services locked.) Whitty has never to this day provided Simpson with evidence that he posed a WorkSaferisk, but that didn't stop her from breaching confidentiality by telling the world via CBC.  So much for "dignity".  

Whitty's willingness to falsely present Carnegie members as a risk is not restricted to homeless people.  Any garden variety poor person can become a target.  Like the woman who challenged the fact that she had been barred from a Carnegie facility and a slanderous report written on her for the City Security database, without her version of events being sought.  After challenging the barring, the woman alleges that "15 witnesses" were manufactured against her and entered into the City Security database.  Whitty has not been able to name even one of these witenesses.   

Allegations of fraud against Whitty extend to funding as well.  Whitty has been repeatedly accused of obtaining funding on the condition that it will be used to hire Downtown Eastside residents.  Truth is, it has been used to hire people as far away as Vancouver Island.  The person hired from Vancouver Island was even paid $500 in travel expenses, according to former Carnegie Board member Rachel Davis.

Whitty has a Masters in Social Work.  But the breaches of confidentiality in the CBC interview alone should be enough to get her license to practice social work suspended.  And the Province newspaper should stop passing her off to their readers as a credible commentator on the poor and homeless.     


Dag said...

Great snap-shot.

How about a title?

"Her Royal Descent."

"Druid Descending a Staircase."

"Down the Upperclass Staircase."

"Carnegie's Eternal Debutante."

reliable sources said...

I like, "Her royal descent."

I got that photo from the Province. The photographer made good use of the staircase.

When it comes to photography inside Carnegie, it'll be interesting to see if Whitty inflicts a double standard on Carnegie members: one standard for the middle class and another for the underclass. There was a visiting photographer on the staircase at Carnegie three or four days ago and members were getting irritated that their photos were being taken as they went up and down. Security was asked to enforce policy but reportedly did nothing.

Now a Carnegie member has taken a photo of Phil W. (from the back) in the Carnegie Learning Center for the DTES Enquirer and if Whitty finds out who took that photo, she could bar that person. But since the policy of 'no photography inside the Centre' is being inconsistently applied, it would be difficult to argue that they deserved to be barred.

Rachel Davis said...

The Province piece reminded me of a machine with the dial set to "Warm Human Emotion"
As per usual.

Dag said...

Theres a lady who's sure
All that her glitter is gold
And shes spinning a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows
If the computer-rooms are closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she's spinning a stairway to heaven.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
reliable sources said...


Thanks for your comment on Liz Evans and Mark Townsend of the Portland Hotel Society. You obviously have a lot of inside information about their past; you knew that Christa was from Atlantic Canada (apparently Prince Edward Island.) We will put the information you provide in our files for now; we would need to do more verification before publishing all of it. Some of it we can publish now though.

You write,
"The Portland Housing Society began as a leftist political cult ** with Mark Townsend as it’s polygamous leader and was based at 837 Keefer St. Chirsta, a friend of Fairfield's from Atlantic Canada, was seen as a potential recruit but proved too strong willed. Townsend ordered her removed from 837 Keefer.

"Townsend married then number one wife Pamela Fairfield (public records search) to legally remain in Canada. Fairfield was eventually appointed curator of the Inter Urban Gallery."

The fact that Townsend's first wife was appointed head of the Inter Urban Galley is further evidence that the Portland Hotel Society is an incestuous group. Not only is the PHS run by Executive Directors Evans and Townsend who are spouses, Townsend's ex-spouse Pamela has been hired to run it's gallery; Liz' sister Sarah works for Insite; Jenny Kwan's [NDP MLA] husband Dan Small was a Director at the Portland the last time I looked; and Libby Davies' [NDP MP] son Lief Erikson was hired at Insite.

Even when they hire outside their inner circle, they are still helping their own. When Carol Madsen of the Pathways Employment Center at Main & Hastings was interviewed by a newspaper last year (I can't recall if it was the Sun or the Province), one of the success stories she trotted out was that she had helped a reformed addict land a job at Insite. Evans and Townsend must consider Madsen an ally if they're helping her keep her funding by giving an Insite job to one of her clients.

I didn't know until you mentioned it that Liz Evans was once a staffer at DERA. I also didn't know that Kim Kerr worked as manager of the Portland before being driven out and moving to DERA. I had been told that there was bad blood between DERA and Jim Green who helped found the Portland.

You write, "The PHS's latest plan to build a horse farm outside of the city is another scheme to hide away 'undesirables'."

The Courier newspaper accused the PHS of 'empire building' but I hadn't yet heard that they were interested in starting a horse farm in addition to an art gallery, housing, a shooting gallery....

Thanks again for taking the time to add to the background information we have on Evans and Townsend. It may prove useful.

Anonymous said...

friend, glad you can use the intel.
for clarity:
Jim Green was director of DERA
Portland Hotel was initiative of Green's
Green hired Evans
Townsend essentially staged a coup and broke off from DERA to form Portland Hotel Society which became Portland Housing Society
the 'bad blood' is between Green and Townsend – my intuition says blackmail but i have no hard evidence at this point
good luck in with your investigation – I urge you to meditate over my intel – there is a lot in there – really try to understand the mentality of these people!

your friend in the IC

Anonymous said...

Reliable sources.
Why the interest in PHS?
I am told they are doing great stuff on the DTES and do things others can't.
What is the purpose of your investigation?
Do you have anything that would lead to the dismantling of this not for profit?

Dag said...

Why the interest? Why not. Especially why not for someone covering issues and events on the downtown east side of Vancouver. Your question seems defensive and strange to me. I probably misunderstand. Care to follow up?

Anonymous said...

I am of the information that Jim Green's "children" work or worked for the Portland as well.

Anonymous said...

"not for profit" / non profit, how can anyone be sure they really are a non profit society at all, when they refuse to allow their accounting numbers to see the light of day, right there, that has my intense interest, seeing as their power base and real estate holdings are expanding faster than the universe, and almost as extensive.

I think the PHS are very interesting indeed. How did all this happen? It's gotta be more than Mark Townsends formerly pink braided mohawk giving a street cred providing photo-op for hugs with former mayor, Philip Owen.
I'm not saying that means that this explosive expansion has to be somehow illicit. I'm just saying that it sure has the potential to look that way to the average person when there is this utter lack of financial transparency in a "non profit" society.
Non profit societies should be financially transparent, if anyone should be.