Local homeless man Paul Braun says he has been served a subpoena from city hall to appear in court over eight unpaid tickets for blocking the Main Street breezeway. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

City of Penticton taking homeless man to court

City hall claims Paul Braun is obstructing a breezeway, he says there is plenty of room

A well-known Penticton homeless man is being taken to court by city hall over eight violations of the city’s Good Neighbour Bylaw.

Paul Braun is known downtown for his regular perch at the corner of a breezeway between Main Street and the alleyway and parking lots just east of the street in the 200 block. It’s that particular spot that has created the contention between the two.

“I think city hall wants to give me silver bracelets for Christmas,” Braun said. “I’m sitting here and they come here and they hand me the subpoena and right behind them is a meter they installed that’s doing the same thing.

“Yes, that chokes me up.”

Related: Kindness meter in operation

Braun’s subpoena cites eight counts of contraventions of the City of Penticton’s Bylaw 2012-5030, which says “No person shall panhandle in a manner to cause an obstruction.”

Obstruction, according to the bylaw, includes panhandling within 10 metres of an entrance to a bank or trust company, an ATM, a bus stop or shelter; the entrance to a liquor store, movie theatre, place of worship or sidewalk cafe; a payphone, a public washroom or, in this case, an enclosed or covered pedestrian walkway.

“They come around the corner here, and hand me a ticket all folded up, premade, turned around and went back to city hall,” Braun said. “And then they say they’re not targeting me while there’s people out there. They don’t bother going to see them. But yet they tell me, ‘why don’t you go and sit in Nanaimo Square?’ What, it’s legal there, but not here?”

The issue from the city’s perspective is the breezeway, which they claim Braun is obstructing, according to the bylaw. But Braun said he isn’t obstructing anyone from his point of view.

Related: Homeless Penticton man receives multiple tickets

“I know I’ve got to lose some weight because they say I’m an obstruction, so I’ve got to get skinnier,” he joked, pointing out that two people or a scooter could easily pass by him in the breezeway.

Part of the reason Braun is sour over the ticket is the “kindness meter” the city put up next to his spot over the summer, which he feels is targeted at him.

In an email statement, Siebert said the city has handed Braun eight tickets over the Good Neighbour Bylaw between July 18 and Oct. 29 this year.

“The evidence will show that Mr. Braun feels so entitled to ‘his spot,’ that he intimidated and scared off another person who wanted to sit on ‘his spot,’” Siebert said, adding the city has handed him 19 tickets over three years.

“The only way for the City of Penticton to obtain compliance with its bylaw is to move from ticket enforcement, which the city has repeatedly done, to an information prosecution where the court can make an order preventing further breaches.”

Related: LETTER: Not the right place for a kindness meter

The offence incurs a fine of over $100, which Braun said he had no way of paying.

“Where am I supposed to get $110 bucks from?” he asked. “It’s pretty stupid giving me a $110 ticket. It’s even dumber if they expect to get paid.”

Braun said he has seen plenty of others sitting in the spot without issue, including people in groups of two or three, along with dogs and backpacks.

“I don’t sit here with my blankets all spread out, three dogs, a cat and a chicken,” he said.

“I don’t say nothing to sh*t to nobody other than ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye,’ and ‘thank you.’ I’m doing about the same thing as that meter’s doing.”

Related: Council investigating fencing Gyro Park Bandshell

Nearby business operator Roz Campigotto said she has no issue with Braun where he is.

“We’ve been in business here, in this area for about 42 years, in this location for 30-something. And we’ve seen a lot of panhandlers, and he’s the most gentle of the lot,” she said.

“He sits there, he doesn’t ask you for money. He has a little sign, and if you give it to him, he’s very thankful, very polite. And he doesn’t litter.”

Campigotto, too, feels the city is targeting one person in particular, when others who are more obstructive take up the same spot.

“He comes in and uses the washroom here, and if he needed some towels, so we just give him what we have,” she said.

“We have to help each other. This is ridiculous. Honestly, why the city is doing this, I don’t know, because they must have bigger issues than Paul sitting in the breezeway.”


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Over 60 cats and kittens rescued by South Okanagan-Similkameen SPCA

The rescue had to close its doors for the day on Sept. 18 to assess, vaccinate, and feed the animals

COLUMN: From pot to policing

I am sure the cannabis legalization on Oct 17 will be the number one issue on everyone’s minds

South Okanagan Indo-Canadian pledge for hospital expansion recieves large boost

Jaswinder Garib has donated $30,000 to the $500,000 pledge

B.C. man facing first-degree murder charge in death of Belgian tourist

Amelie Sakkalis’ body was found on Aug. 22 near Boston Bar

Preparing for growth tops councillor’s agenda

Ensuring Princeton is ready to seize opportunity and provide homes and services… Continue reading

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

High spirits after first week of classes at Shuswap’s outdoor school

South Canoe School is taking student learning into the great outdoors

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

B.C. marijuana workers may face U.S. border scrutiny

Cannabis still illegal federally south of the border

Symphony giants launch 59th Okanagan Symphony Orchestra season

Concerts in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon Sept. 21-23

New political party holds an informational session in Vernon

Maxime Bernier’s The People’s Party of Canada draws about 2o interested patrons to Vernon pub.

B.C. MLAs reminded of rural school struggles

Finance committee hears of falling enrolment, staff shortages

B.C. VIEWS: ’Not photo radar’ coming soon to high-crash areas

ICBC deficit now largely due to reckless and distracted driving

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Most Read