William “Bill” Simpson, a homeless man who was barred from Carnegie Centre for allegedly blogging and was elected to the Board of Directors this month by low income members of the Centre, has now been barred again. This time because his site “links” to a blog which criticizes Carnegie.

The barring was executed on the morning of Friday, June 22nd, just hours after the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog and Blogger News Network reported that old guard Carnegie Board member, Margaret Prevost, had instructed Security guard Ted Chaing to rip up leaflets Simpson was using to invite supporters to a meeting.

The barring, Simpson points out, comes “on the eve” of the Election of Officers — President, Vice President, etc. — to be held on Monday, June 25th at Carnegie. Having been elected to the Board, Simpson was planning to attend that meeting to vote for officers. But when he arrived at Carnegie Friday  morning, he learned that his plans had been changed for him.

Trey, a Security guard, met Simpson at the front entrance of Carnegie and told him he was required to hold him there until Director, Ethel Whitty, came downstairs. Simpson emphasizes that Trey, a black American whom he says is one of two decent security guards at Carnegie, had nothing to do with instigating the barring. “Trey was following orders; he could have lost his job if he’d refused.” When Whitty arrived in the front reception area with Assistant Director Dan Tetrault, she gave Simpson a letter on City of Vancouver letterhead announcing that he was barred from the Carnegie Centre building.

The letter dated June 21, 2007, on City of Vancouver letterhead, was signed by Jacquie Forbes-Roberts, General Manager, Community Services, City of Vancouver. Forbes-Roberts works at City Hall, not specifically at Carnegie. At the bottom of the letter was the notation: “cc: Ethel Whitty, David Hill.”

Despite giving Simpson this letter announcing a fresh barring, the City of Vancouver and Whitty continued their six months of stalling in regards to his request for a written reason for the first barring which was executed in Dec. 2006.  He would like to appeal that barring which was from the Carnegie Learning Centre (on the 3rd floor) and it’s public access computers. Shortly after that barring, Simpson submitted a letter to Whitty and Learning Centre coordinator/teacher Lucy Alderson requesting that the reasons for the barring be put in writing. Carnegie receptionist, Donna, refused to sign for the letter,though she did put a copy in Whitty’s mailbox. The letter was then ignored by Whitty and Alderson, despite a verbal reminder by Simpson to Alderson that he was awaiting a response.

At the time of the first barring, Alderson told Simpson that it was due to the fact that he had been blogging on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog. Alderson, an out-dyke who promotes herself on the internet and elsewhere as a friend of the marginalized, met Simpson at the door of the Carnegie Learning Centre and escorted him to the office of the Head of Security, “Skip”, where she gave him this news. There was never any evidence against Simpson of wrongdoing, or in fact even of being a blogger.
Simpson says he has never posted on the DTES Enquirer blog, although he supports the content of the site. (He has since opened his own site with a similar name, DES Enquirer.ca., from which he provides a link tothe blog.) Carnegie Board member Gena Simpson admitted in a comment on NowPublic.com news site earlier this year that Simpson was barred the first time for merely being a “suspected” blogger.

The fact that Simpson had not been blogging on the DTES Enquirer blog, despite being barred for that, seems to now be conceded by the City of Vancouver. In the letter on City of Vancouver letterhead delivered to Simpson Friday, Forbes-Roberts stated that Simpson was being barred for having a site which “links” to a blog which she claimed contains “numerous inaccuracies and allegations of misconduct, and unwarranted invasions of privacy of other patrons and staff at the Centre. ” Forbes-Roberts did not identify any inaccuracies. Downtown Eastside Enquirer contributors maintain that this is because she knows that everything on that blog can be supported with documentation or witness testimony.

When Simpson asked Whitty on Friday, after she barred him, to provide examples of “inaccuracies” on the blog, she declined. Simpson pointed out to Whitty that if there were any inaccuracies or “corrections” to be made, they could have been noted on the blog which allows that sort of feedback. The blog is more open than Carnegie, he reminded Whitty, which too often directs people to the Freedom of Information Act rather than discussing issues with them. “She can respond to charges and we can’t,” Simpson points out.  “We can’t even find out what we’re charged with.”

Another reason provided for the barring by Forbes-Roberts in her letter was, “…you have used the Centre’s address and a Centre phone number for Internet purposes….” Forbes-Roberts lied by omission. She is well aware that all Downtown Eastside residents, even transients passing through, are authorized to use the Carnegie address and telephone as their personal contact information. This service has been offered for two decades because many Downtown Eastside residents do not have phones or stable addresses. Thousands of people over the years have taken advantage of this well-known service; Bill Simpson is not unique. Kim, Dan, and other front desk receptionists at Carnegie take phone messages on a daily basis for residents who have given out the Carnegie telephone number as their own; one need only walk into the Carnegie reception area to see the lists of telephone messages and mail for residents. People give out the address of Carnegie, which the City bills as the “living room” of the community, all over B.C., Canada, and anywhere else transients end up.

Now with mail expanding to the internet, Carnegie’s address is being used there too. One volunteer uses the Carnegie phone number as his contact for collecting computers, etc. from a Recycling Depot — but he is in the left-wing in-crowd at Carnegie and is unlikely to be challenged. James and others working in the Carnegie Learning Centre have allowed members to use Carnegie contact information on the left wing Homeless Nation website, which hosts individual blogs that tend to trash the Conservative Harper government. (Simpson has incidentally never used the Carnegie contact information for commercial purposes.)

Simpson specifically asked Whitty when she gave him the letter from Forbes-Roberts, if he would be allowed to enter the Carnegie Centre to attend future Board meetings. She told him that he would not be allowed to enter.

It is not surprising that Forbes-Roberts signed the letter barring Bill Simpson. Forbes-Roberts has a documented record of allowing illegitimate use of Carnegie’s barring policy that now dates back several years. There is a paper trail in another case . . . .

To read the rest of this article, see Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog.

Be Sociable, Share!