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Apr 26, 2013 9:16 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Panhandling not a problem in Grover Beach, issue for some drivers

Panhandlers can be seen in many cities along the Central Coast. KSBY News wanted to find out what the laws are surrounding them sitting on the street, or at the end of an offramp.

We received a phone call from a viewer who said there is a panhandler in Grover Beach who holds up a sign saying he has cancer or other reasons for needing money, but Grover Beach Police said he is not doing anything illegal.

Brian Brewer said he is homeless because he is unable to work.

"With Crohn's disease, and bleeding ulcers, and one good kidney, and three heart attacks [it's hard to work]," said Brewer.

Brewer said his cardboard sign, which reads "ME & DOG HUNGRY. ANYTHING HELPS." does the work for him, with hopes that someone will give him money or food to help him and his daughter get through the day. Brewer said he chooses to sit at the 101 South Oak Park Boulevard exit with his daughter, a long way from his home in the San Joaquin Valley.

Brewer said, "It's either go out and commit crimes like other people do, or sit and panhandle, which I think is the better of it. If I was healthy enough to work, I would."

Grover Beach Police Chief Jim Copsey said Brewer is not doing anything illegal, despite phone calls from passersby who may find his actions offensive. Copsey said Brewer sitting at the end of the offramp can cause a hazard though, because cars could slow down or stop for him, causing traffic on the road. The Chief said according to their records, Brewer does not have a criminal record, and it will be drivers' prerogative to give him money.

"We all are humans, and we have feelings. And, I think we all need compassion," said Brewer.

Brewer said he understands that there may be other transients that urinate in public or litter, but he claims he is not one of them. He said not all transients should be lumped or judged together.

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