Thursday, November 4, 2010

Man Banned from City Services Without Evidence

One would think that while the 'Fraud Foursome' -- Mayor Gregor Robertson, Penny Ballem, Ethel Whitty, and Skip Everall -- face a criminal complaint for knowingly allowing the City “Security” database to be chronically used to make fraudulent entries about Downtown Eastside residents, they could resist recidivism. But last week another Downtown Eastsider became the target of security fraud.

"J" was barred from all City services at Carnegie Centre last Friday, including the Vancouver Public Library and Capilano College Learning Centre housed in the building. "J" who unloads trucks on call and depends on Carnegie for food services as he lives in a room where the mice eat his food and even chewed the pocket out of his coat, was sitting with his pal "L" on the outdoor patio of Carnegie having a smoke and a coffee. "It was a cold morning", he told one of our contributors.

John, a Carnegie security guard with a British accent marched onto the balcony and asked J if he had a mickey of alcohol on him. "What makes you think that?", J asked. John didn't give him an answer. As usual, the security guard appeared to be relying on hearsay evidence: somebody thought they saw something and ran to security. This policy of informing on one another is encouraged by City security staff as part of the make-work for CUPE culture at Carnegie.

Witnesses will confirm that John made no attempt to actually determine whether J had a mickey. He didn't ask him if he would mind if he checked his bag. He didn't lean over and sniff his coffee to see if it was spiked. J's breath did not smell of alcohol, according to a witness. Instead of attempting to obtain evidence, John leaped to the next step: sentencing. He banned J from City services at Carnegie Centre. J was not allowed to so much as enter the front door of the building. He told J he could return in one day.

J returned the next day and was stopped by receptionist Dan Feeny, and told that he was not allowed in the building, that he remained barred. That would indicate that a formal security report had been typed into the City Security database where it will remain for a minimum of two years but probably much longer (one woman discovered a false report filed ten years ago being used against her recently); Feeney is one of the receptionists who types the reports into the Security database. Feeney told J that it was against "policy" to allow him to re-enter the building without the approval of head of security Skip Everall.

But Everall was not available to meet with him. Everall is only on premises four days a week and is often difficult to locate.

These barrings are upsetting to people in the neighborhood. A witness dropped by J's room unannounced yesterday, saying, "Are you barred from Carnegie?!" and complaining that Everall was abusing power. "He used to be an orderly at Riverview," the witness told J. The witness said he wished the previous security boss, John Ferguson had remained at Carnegie (If you ask me, Ferguson was not much better. But the rumour that he resigned because he didn’t get along with Ethel Whitty, would suggest he was better.)

J remained barred until yesterday, almost a week. He returned to Carnegie looking for Everall, and was at the front desk when Everall came down the stairs. Everall was preoccupied with something, a meeting he had just been to, and he told J his sentence was up. J was once again allowed to access City services that he had been paying for. Everall was dressed in black when he made this ruling. “Thank you, your honor”, J said. Another security guard overheard him and laughed.

A review of the numbers: Six days without City services. Two years with a report in the City database that he posed a “security” risk at Carnegie. Three employees contributing labour time to this case. Zero evidence.