KPBS interview by Maureen Cavanaugh

‘Don’t Feed Our Bums’ Bumper Stickers Draw Ire

By City News Service

June 21, 2010

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

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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About iheartbums

bum- a person who avoids work and sponges on others; loafer; idler.
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