Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Not the right place for a kindness meter

Why not at a corner of Nanaimo and Main Street where there is much more foot traffic?

A couple of thoughts on meter items.

First, Coun. Andre Martin said children pay to use the community swimming pool. So by his logic he is suggesting people that park along the lakeside should also pay to clean the beach and water our grass through parking meter returns. Is this man’s brain tracking OK? Somehow, by that ‘illogical’ logic beach users should pay a beach tax and if you enjoy walking on grass, a grass fee, not a parking fee. Ho Hum! Next.

Second, the kindness meter. Why put the meter by the 200 block breezeway if not to put the honest panhandler, Paul Braun, out of business?

I would like to put in a word for Paul Braun, a man who bleeds red blood and simply wants a wee bit more than basic survival as do the rest of us. He is a well-known and liked street person who is found many hours on most days as a ‘panhandler’ at the 200 block breezeway. This man who is unemployable due to his health can be found there rain, shine, snow or damn cold days. Perhaps he gets government assistance, but he spends long uncomfortable hours most every day trying to add a little bit of joy to an otherwise dull life on the edge of society. He sits at his post passively and certainly does not exert any pressure on passers-by. Biking and skateboarding down city sidewalks are far more intimidating and dangerous.

Once when short of change for the spitter in the back parking lot I asked him to exchange a small bill. He gave me a couple quarters but did not take the bill. Another time while talking to a very young boy he told the boy that it was very cloudy. The little boy replied, “no, it is very sunny, it’s just that the clouds are covering the sun.” Paul relayed to me, “What an insightful little boy. Sure opened my eyes.”

I have heard many otherwise Paul’isms from him. Does this sound like an aggressive panhandler?

So if we are thinking kindness meter why not at a corner of Nanaimo and Main Street where there is much more foot traffic? I simply do not want council or anyone else to cause Paul to get the boot from his location to justify such a meter. Folks, engage with Paul and you may well agree with me that he would make a good replacement for Coun. Martin.

Sheldon Hansen


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