The mainstream media, first the Vancouver Sun and then CBC Radio, have picked up a story that the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog has been posting on Blogger News Network and NowPublic over the past year.It is the story of the barring of William “Bill” Simpson, a homeless man, from the Carnegie Center. Simpson was barred from the Carnegie Learning Center on the third floor of the Carnegie Center in Jan. 2007, told by Co-ordinator Lucy Alderson that it was because he was “blogging” on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.  The DTES Enquirer blog had been criticizing Alderson and Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty for repeatedly locking doors to services they were funded to provide to the poor.  But Simpson wasn’t the blogger.Six months after being barred from the Carnegie Learning Center, Whitty delivered Simpson a letter barring him from the entire Carnegie Center.  The letter was delivered to Simpson in June 2007, just two weeks after he had been elected to the Carnegie Board of Directors.  In the letter, Simpson was informed that he was being barred because he operates a website which “features links” to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog.  Simpson asked Whitty if he could continue to attend Board meetings inside the building and she said no.Then something happened in September at the Vancouver Sun.  Miro Cernetig got a job as a columnist there and spotted the Simpson story.  In the Dec. 24/07 edition of the Vancouver Sun, Cernetig wrote a lengthy column on the barring of this elected official from Carnegie Center Board meetings due to his association with a blog.Within days, CBC Radio asked Simpson for an interview.  Stephen Quinn interviewed him on Jan. 2/08 on Early Edition.  Whitty was invited to appear as well but she declined, so Carnegie Board member, Rachel Davis, was invited instead.When asked by Quinn why he was “banned” from Carnegie, Simpson said, “…I’m banned because I’m one of the voices that wants to hold management accountable and I think accountability is something they don’t want to face.” Simpson went on to explain that he wanted more accountability for abuse at Carnegie, including “management abuse or staff abuse.” Complaining at Carnegie, he said, tends to get members nowhere.Simpson said that a “solution” found by a blogger to the issue of accountability on the part of management and staff was to act “as a reporter on events going on at the Carnegie.” He added, “I applauded the blogger’s work…and I stood up for the blogger, and they didn’t like that very much.””They do have a history of coming down pretty hard on whistleblowers at the Carnegie,” said Rachel Davis, a Carnegie Board member who was interviewed this morning along with Simpson.Davis said the banning of Simpson was an “entirely politically motivated act.”Davis added that many letters have been sent to City officials, “all the way up to the Mayor”, about the banning of a duly elected Board member but nothing has been done.Read more on the CBC interview at Downtown Eastside Enquirer

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