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Don’t Feed Our Bums’ Bumper Stickers Draw Ire

A bumper sticker that targets aggressive panhandlers has pitted a head shop against a local blogger in Ocean Beach.

Dozens of people protest for and against a controversial bumper sticker readi...
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Above: Dozens of people protest for and against a controversial bumper sticker reading "Welcome to Ocean Beach/Please don't feed our bums," on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach on June 23, 2010.

Stickers reading "Welcome to Ocean Beach/Please don't feed our bums" are being sold for $2.50 at The Black, alongside pot paraphernalia.

Store employee Ken Anderson, 42, had the stickers printed a few weeks ago because he says he's tired of rude young transients who demand spare change rather than ask for it. He also sells hats and T-shirts with the slogan for $16.

"They have no respect for O.B. or for the people who live here," the 19-year-resident told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The sticker is a riff on a sticker from Mammoth Mountain that warns people not to feed bears, but depicts the silhouette of a hobo carrying a bindle on a stick while walking a dog.

Store doorways in the area have been turned into toilets, and friends have been threatened by machete-wielding street people, Anderson said.

Frank Gormlie, who runs the "OB Rag" blog, says the stickers send the wrong message about Ocean Beach, which he describes as a "place of laid-back tolerance."

"The stickers carry a message of hate," Gormlie told the newspaper.

The 62-year-old is encouraging a boycott of The Black, and offering a free T-shirt to the person who removed the most stickers from public signs around town.

San Diego Police Department community relations officer David Surwilo says the transients in Ocean Beach often travel in groups, and some have credit cards and cell phones.

"People in Ocean Beach are getting frustrated," he told the Union-Tribune. "The sticker is their way of saying, Let's stop these people from parasiting off the community."

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | June 21, 2010 at 11:06 a.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

If the slogan is the same as the one for Mammoth Mountain's bears it seems difficult to label it as a "message of hate" without also claiming that the original is also a message of hate directed against bears, which seems ridiculous. Is it possible that Mr. Gormlie is reading something into the slogan that isn't there and overreacting?

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Avatar for user 'SDLocalsOnly'

SDLocalsOnly | June 21, 2010 at 9:54 p.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

Wow, just saw this on the news... nothing but a few silly arguments against it; "it's hateful"- I don't see any hate involved, just local folks trying to peacefully address a problem; "you don't kick people when they're down"- not enabling and having some expectation are far from "kicking"; or "it's not the kind of thing we do in OB"- meanwhile the guy sold over 2,000 stickers in just one hour to locals!? Then there's the video interview with the two bums talking about how they're not a threat to anybody, while their pitbull is threatening every person that walks by!? Sorry, just can't get behind the protest against the stickers.

Note that I am a fan of bums though; they are majority local folks who could not keep up with the yuppies/foreigners taking over SD. I also recognize the beneficial effect that bums have on the absurdly manipulated real estate values that drive up the cost of everything in my town. Homes for locals, homes for living- F investors and real estate manipulators.

On another note, I do recognize that a proper welfare state is not necessarily bad- Japan created a massive welfare state post WWII and it grew their tiny country into one of the largest economies in the world (#2 in the 80's right?) Random dollars given on the street is not proper welfare.

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Avatar for user 'KelvinJeuneauSD'

KelvinJeuneauSD | June 22, 2010 at 8:23 a.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

While the word bum may be a little derogatory, the message is justified. Homeless people are destroying San Diego with human waste, drug use and their constant harassment of people on the streets.

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Avatar for user 'bereKPBS'

bereKPBS | June 22, 2010 at 2:23 p.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

I understand the frustration of the OB residents with so many homeless people being around their area, but I don't think these stickers are a good response. Life is hard for everybody these days, and when you least expect it, you can easily end up living in the streets yourself, then you wouldn't like anybody calling you a "bum". I think the stickers are disrespectful to homeless people. And I think the OB residents and the stores owners need to find a better solution than printing cheap stickers for the homeless people. Maybe they can hire the "bums" for a couple of dollars and ask them to clean their store-fronts? their side-walks? If the homeless people would have more support from the residents, then, probably, they would be less of a nuisance and could be even helpful. We all live together in this city and attacking each other is never the answer! We need to find pro-active solutions, not stickers that look-down on the ones that already have a harsh life.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 22, 2010 at 2:55 p.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

"The stickers carry a message of hate," - Frank Gormlie

Hilarious! Is that guy a comedian? He probably considers a shirt with a smiley face that says "Have a Nice Day" as discrimination towards people who aren't having one.

I think the best thing we can do now is view the blog OB Rag for what it is, a smelly, filthy rag laying in the gutter of OB.

Stand up OB residents and take back your neighborhood!

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Avatar for user 'Ed1'

Ed1 | June 22, 2010 at 4:10 p.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

The bumper stickers get attention, true. But it is unkind. Very Un-OB.

Panhandling is passive. It's a request. It can be annoying, even rude. Aggressive? Not often, if at all.

I don't endorse it. But if a bumper sticker must be used, how about "Be cool. Don't panhandle."?

And here's an idea: How about The Black send the profits they make from the bumper stickers to a homeless shelter?

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Avatar for user 'BEEn_S'

BEEn_S | June 24, 2010 at 9:58 a.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

A communist gathering in front of the Black to protest "making fun of the recent plague of violent homeless". The non-violent homeless and long-term OBtians are furious with the attention: The Black caters to people who enjoy celebrating individual (and controversial) freedoms. Anyone standing in the way is just another square.

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Avatar for user 'rccp'

rccp | June 24, 2010 at 11:02 a.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

Seriously, people who are agains the sticker but don't live in OB should really stay out of it. You have no idea what you are talking about.

These stupid kids don't want a job. That's their whole point. No, we can't just have a "let's help the homeless and hire them at our stores" attitude. They think people who work are "sell outs" who give into "the man". They don't want to help themselves, they believe they have the right to panhandle and deserve our money.

And most importantly: To "Ed1": You have no clue about panhadling in OB if you truly think it's just "passive and annoying". They are absolutely aggressive. They will get in people's faces, curse them out, follow them, and I have heard of them getting violent with friends. They truly think we have to give them money and will try to force. I'm a small woman and I do get scared, I don't feel safe in my neighborhood.

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