‘Boycott the Black’ Organizers Gear Up as Store Now Sells T-shirts With Anti-homeless Image

by on June 18, 2010 · 53 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, Popular

anti-homeless sticker br 03The battle and controversy raging in Ocean Beach over a hateful sticker against the community’s homeless has just intensified.

On one side, The Black – the source of the stickers of intolerance – has just now begun selling T-shirts with the well-known image carrying the the message “don’t feed our bums.”

On the other side, organizers of the Boycott The Black effort are gearing up with a petition and plans to picket the old-time head shop on Newport.

Ken Anderson, co-manager of The Black told me on Monday, June 14, that he would consider taking the stickers off the shelf if he was presented with a petition with a hundred names asking him to do that.  However, apparently in a new move to cash in – literally – with this anti-homeless sentiment, Anderson is now selling shirts with the hate logo.

If The Black is upping the ante, so shall the organizers of the boycott.  The petition drive will start in the next few days.  Anyone wishing one will be able to download a copy from this blog – once we post it. The petition will request the The Black remove the stickers. Plus organizers are meeting today to discuss a picket line in front of The Black.

Other folks are talking about a community forum on the homeless and homelessness.  This blog continues to offer a free T-shirt to the person who rips down the most of the stickers.

Stay tuned for future events.

avatar Ernie McCray June 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

I agree with the truth in Jack Hamlin’s piece: “The Black, however you feel about it as a business is not counter-culture. It has been in the business of cashing in on the counter-culture for forty years. So get all the romantic “hippiness” out of your mind in discussing The Black. There is a reason it has managed to survive for forty years, and that is because it serves a commercial purpose to the community. But they have made a statement, albeit one of intolerance.”
But it’s so sad that The Black chooses to crush the romantic “hippiness” feeling it has instilled in so many by doing something so downright hurtful and hateful as exposing a group of people, the homeless, to such overwhelming derision, making them even more vulnerable in our society.
What The Black has done to the homeless is so like what my home state has done to immigrants and that shatters any positive feeling I have ever had towards the business. Very disturbing.

avatar Debbie June 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

Well said, other than being a commercial enterprise….what does the Black do for OB? As for the “homeless” that are on our streets, I find it sad that young peopley don’t have enough will, energy, self-respect to make it on their own and would rather beg, be dirty, subject themselves to dangerous conditions living outdoors…I can’t understand how that would be “cool”.

avatar Helena Devi June 19, 2010 at 10:12 am

It is important to keep in mind that this is referring to a very specific subset of the young, homeless population. In my view, the issue is not living outdoors or the decision not to subscribe to traditional lifestyles (9-5 job, apartment, car, etc.): it’s people not taking care of themselves, it’s the aggression some people are exhibiting. Some people that happen to be homeless. But this exists in all subsets of the overall population! People ARE angry. They’re losing their jobs. They’re losing the material wealth they worked so hard to accumulate. Parents can’t afford to send their kids to college – they’re upset; kids are upset they can’t afford school. People’s dreams are getting crushed left and right.

Sure, there is a “cool” aspect of being a hippie street kid, being independent, anti-system, etc. There’s an image. But for many young homeless people, that is far from the motivation. Where are the days of Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, the erudite bum? I don’t know, I’m nineteen, perhaps they never existed: point is, living outside should be an expansive experience. Sleeping under the stars. I’m an idealist, I’m a romantic – but really, most people have been camping. Living outside, for some of us, is on par with camping (but more permanently). It’s braving the elements. It’s not that easy sleeping outside; it’s a meditation. It’s a meditation adjusting to the elements, in direct sunlight all day, always on the move. Sometimes it is a lifestyle choice, but it is often to learn more about ourselves, our capabilities, our strengths, our weaknesses.

And Debby, about sacrificing “will, energy, and self-respect” – that’s not what some of these kids feel like they’re doing. To some, working a job you dislike to scrap together some money to live inside (which for many people is the only alternative to the great outdoors) is denigrating oneself, siphoning off one’s will to that another, and certainly losing self respect.

About the stickers: when I was first exposed to them, I thought it was an ironic statement. I mean, sure, there are some homeless kids who don’t understand the concept of personal hygiene, who expect others to take care of their asses, and who really do fit the description of any number of complaints – but I always saw another side of the homeless community: the artists, the intellectuals, the musicians, the poets, the idealists, the romantics. Our society needs these people! When I first saw it, I thought the sticker was poking fun at the intolerance that has been around for as long as any of us can remember. But I guesss that’s not Ken Anderson’s message.

Anyway, I firmly believe that more direct communication between the “street” community and “indoor” community can and needs to happen. And I don’t even mean to pose the false dichotomy of street vs. indoor; when it really is a lifestyle choice, many of us drift in and out. I cannot stress, however, the importance of dialogue and discourse.

avatar lane tobias June 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Personally, I am less offended now that I see The Black is clearly in it for the few extra bucks they can make off the anti-homeless sentiment in OB and not so much for the actual message.


avatar lane tobias June 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

let me rephrase: i’m equally as offended, but not for the same reason.

avatar Abby June 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Maybe we should shut up and stop giving them free publicity.

avatar Ernie McCray June 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Okay. Ssshh.

avatar lane tobias June 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm

thats kinda the vibe im getting. Concerned OBecians use the Rag as a discussion forum, in good faith and in solidarity, to discuss an intolerant and offensive sticker, and as a group ask for it to be pulled from shelves and off street signs…..The Black, with little regard for the impact of the statement on the sticker but seeing it instead as parody, realize they are sitting on something bigger than originally envisioned….and then decide to print up t-shirts to make money while they can. In no way am I condoning the store for what its doing…but in this economy, you have to believe they see a couple dollar signs and thats all.

avatar Gene June 18, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Story going national….

avatar OBJefe June 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I rip down the most anti-hobo stickers and I get an anti-hobo shirt?

avatar Goatskull June 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I’ve said this before. Controversy sells. The very fact that so many are offended and expressing their offnededness (is that a word?) makes it that much sweeter. People will go and buy these stickers and t-shirts just because they know it will agitate others, at least that’s what I beleve.

avatar Goatskull June 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm

let me add, I’m not saying it’s right, but there are many people who like to offend others and DO make money off of it. Us all arguing over this proves the point.

avatar Helena Devi June 19, 2010 at 10:54 am

It’s a real issue though. It needs to be discussed. I don’t even mean the sticker in particular, but the anti-homeless sentiment and public misunderstandings of homelessness in general – both voluntary and involuntary.

avatar hmmm June 18, 2010 at 6:35 pm

…how do i say this?
…it’s kinda funny…
…even some of the homeless think so…of course some do not…and that’s where the controversy comes in…
to add another little spin to the topic…i find it ironic that the local headshop may be the perpetrator of the offense to a population that is partly fueled by the illicit substances the headshop promotes…so they make money off them twice so to speak…
…i am not for heaping hate on anyone and have an idea of the mental, emotional and physical state many of the homeless are in…but accepting and tolerating them should extend to trying to get them some assistance out of their situation…

avatar Helena Devi June 19, 2010 at 10:58 am

I think making it acceptable to sleep outside but having some sort of enforced etiquette would be the best remedy to the situation. Then people could spend more time looking for places to get hot showers, church feeds, etc.

There are shelters, certainly, but some people want to live OUTSIDE. And that should not be a crime so long as people clean after themselves, respect the environment, and respect people around them – that goes for everyone: homeless and housed!

If the homeless population weren’t so angry at the adversarial relationship that’s grown over the years, maybe there wouldn’t be all this controversy. Maybe they’d take better care of their surroundings and be more respectful of passers-by. It’s a two-way street and COMMUNICATION is key.

avatar Frank Gormlie June 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

It’s likely that The Black would not have begun selling T-shirts with this image if the OB Rag had not publicized the sticker. So, it’s real tempting to say okay, let’s be quiet about this little instance of intolerance and maybe it’ll go away real soon.

Yet, on the other hand, we’ve been highlighting a little pimple of intolerance in a community who has a reputation of being laid-back, care-free and tolerant. We are exposing a bit of hypocrisy in OB. Sure there’s a problem, but this sticker is not the way to resolve it or the way to go. Shame on The Black! Shame on them for doing this and being a small-bit capitalist and making money off the frustration.

avatar Goatskull June 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm

if we all keep posting and arguing then maybe coozies will be next.

avatar lani mulholland June 18, 2010 at 7:21 pm

this is bad

avatar Sunshine June 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

since red paint has already been used to spoil fur coats, what shall we throw on anyone wearing a “don’t feed” shirt? perhaps some ocean water 1 day after a rain storm…that stuffs pretty nasty.

avatar Tracy June 18, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I am in full support of what The Black is doing. As a business owner in OB you guys have no idea what we go through every day. In this economy, we are trying to build up business any way we can yet when we get the odd tourists down here, they get scared off because of all the homeless. I don’t mind the older homeless who are basically fixtures in our community, and I’m the first one to feed them, but it’s the young punks who abuse you if you don’t give them money or food.

Most of these young kids have a home to go to but CHOOSE not to. They openly admit on Runaways: Ocean beach that the only reason they don’t go to the shelter downtown is because there are too many “rules” to follow. When asked what the rules were they replied with, “No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the shelter”. So does that mean OB is tolerant of drunks and drug addicts? Is that what we’re trying to advertise here? I love OB and the hippiness feel we have but the young homeless either need to go back home, or if that’s not an option, go down to the shelter where they will be looked after.


avatar lane tobias June 19, 2010 at 10:11 am

i think you’re overestimating the Black’s intentions.

avatar Chris Moore June 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I think their intention is to draw attention to the image and make some money, which seems to be succeeding.

I am honestly not sure a boycott will negate the “free advertising” factor.

It’s a bit of a conundrum.

avatar Helena Devi June 19, 2010 at 11:05 am

So deal with the “young punks” how you deal with any young punks! So they’re outside longer than other young punks, their mommies and daddies can’t ground them. But don’t lump all young homeless kids in the category of “young punks.” Please don’t overgeneralize.

Otherwise, I appreciate and empathize with your situation. Completely. Have you opened up to any of these kids at all? I mean, some might be rude punk-ass kids, but from experience I know it’s a few select loudmouths.

The choice to live outside is not the problem. The choice to treat it like a squat and a dump is.

avatar San June 19, 2010 at 7:31 am

I used to feel the same way you did about the homeless in OB. After living here for 20 years, I and many other locals have known many of the homeless folks in our community but this new breed is not like the ones of old. These are hooligans that have no respect for our citizens or community. I was supportive until one threatened my 11 year old with a wine bottle at 8 in the morning after coming out of Old Town House for breakfast. And two months ago, my friends kids were accosted by a homeless person while walking 3 blocks home from Sacred Heart school. I guess we should just pay the outrageous taxes to live in this beautiful place and shut up! Our citizens don’t need to be safe as long as their rights are in tact? I guess that’s fair for you. Also, I LIVE in OB right now! From what I understand, you don’t even live here. How can you have an opinion? We deal with it every day and my family supports local businesses on a regular basis. My kids go to school here. My friends’ homes and cars are broken into and their businesses are vandalized. Go ahead and boycott the Black or Starbucks or whatever. They are not the problem.

avatar Amy Urtiaga June 19, 2010 at 8:15 am

The Black is merely stating the feelings of the majority of people who have been bothered by these transits, they are not homeless they choose to be on the street. They are young and are able to work but choose to travel all over with no money. the real OB homeless have always been polite. These individuals are as the article states are agressive and foul mouthed. There are some that stand apart from the above mentioned I give them water and food for their dog. What I am trying to say is the numbers are increasing. If they are truly homeless there are various organizations that will feed them and shelter them. However, you have to abide by the rules and curfew.
Yes, they are human beings so I say act like one I am 45 and have lived in Ocean Beach for 45 years.

avatar lane tobias June 19, 2010 at 10:20 am

generally, and i am saying generally because most of the comments on this blog are generalized blanket statements, “their” numbers are increasing because of the economic situation and the lack of social services in san diego. maybe there’s a handful of people who actually have a choice and could go home, or live with friends, or work, who have a debit card (which means “they’re” spending money in this community)….but generally, as in, for the most part, these are people who live with some kind of challenge be emotional, chemical, whatever. does that eliminate”their” responsibility to be respectful? NO. but again, numbers are increasing because the unemployment rate is high and California is and always will be a final destination for transient folks throughout the country.

if someone took a dump on my stoop I would be pissed. but so far in my time living in OB, I’ve been blessed, I guess, to be treated the same way I’ve treated folks….which is, with respect, with very little hassle, and with no feces or urine. i also have handed very little money on the streets of OB. I don’t have close to enough to be passing around….but i will buy someone a bag of chips or a burrito and a drink every once in awhile. people should follow that lead and not assume that all someone wants is some cash to go buy who knows what with.

Just sayin.

avatar Jerri Brown June 19, 2010 at 8:32 am

I am one of your uppity OBsian women. I belong to the club across from Dream Street and have been a member continuously for 15 years. I believe that the sticker is wrong because we do want to give food whenever possible to a hungry, homeless person. We do not want to give them cash, however, because that enables drug and alcohol abuse. Carry a couple granola bars or tangerines and offer one to a street person. You’ll know immediately if they are hungry or just collecting enough score. You can skip over the people with the sign “Why lie, I need a beer”. Although I thought that was funny the first time, now I just feel sad for the beggar and all those he gets money from. It’s okay to give food, not cash. Lastly, say a prayer for all involved.

avatar oBak June 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

Exactly. Food, not cash. Don’t feed our bums should say “Don’t give our bums money” and it’d be fine. The sticker is straight out saying “Don’t feed these people, they are beneath you.” To come out and say it’s satire is a lazy cop out.

avatar OB Stevie June 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

Frank Gormlie,

Where did you say you live?? The UT states you do not live in OB and that is very obvious. Living a couple blocks from Newport it has become very obvious of the recent change in the types of bums there. I would advise you to walk around the boardwalk and Newport more than once in a while, and write this kind of blog. Old OB bums fine, but these new young career Bums: Get a job or go away.

avatar Frank Gormlie June 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

OB Stevie (not to be confused with OBSteven) – I’ve lived in OB 30 out of past 40 years, dude, probably more than your hours on this shaky planet. I walk around OB plenty. I walked around Newport yesterday for 3-4 hours – NOT ONCE was I hassled or stopped for change nor did I have to step over anyone blocking the sidewalk. I’ll tell you who was blocking the sidewalk though, all those people lined up outside Hodad’s.

avatar RB June 19, 2010 at 11:18 am

Too bad you didn’t use the dictionary at the OB library during your walk.
Bum is not a synonym for homeless.

avatar Greg Sullivan June 19, 2010 at 10:29 am

This is classic scapegoating–plain and simple.

As Frank Gormlie states in the UT article I noticed this morning, this is a “continuation of “an underground campaign” against the homeless that began months ago.”

As a homeless person, I can attest to that.

Withn the last 6 to 8 months or so I’ve noticed a serious increase in harrassment from the cops as well as a corresponding increase in abuse from everyday citizens.

I suspect as the local economy grows worse due to the greed on Wall Street, City Hall and with city developers etc., its in the interests of those same people and organizations to create distractions t0 focus the blame and anger somewhere else.

So although I live downtown and don’t spend much time in OB, its in my interests–in terms of safety etc., not to mention just plain dignity–to ride my bike on over to The Black this afternoon and speak out against this kind of hate and scapegoating.

avatar jon quate June 19, 2010 at 10:57 am

While following this story on the Rag, it seems to me that a boycott was called to quickly and it has escalated a local community issue to now a nationwide news story that doesn’t make OB seem such an ideal place. The sticker and it’s intentions are disgusting, but like any good capitalist the Black is taking advantage of the controversy, and expanding the offensive materials to make profits off the extended coverage. I think when this started I posted something about making mountains out of molehills, well now that that’s done, what’s next? Seems a boycott will only give the Black more ammo for their disgusting anti-homeless products. Be careful, and more thoughtful this time before jumping in with both feet without knowing how deep the water might be.

avatar OBT June 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

Simple question.. How many of the homeless are currently or will be involved in the anit-sticker movement?

And OB Stevie, if you are questioning Frank’s OB quotient you are barking up the wrong tree. Frank rules!

avatar lane tobias June 19, 2010 at 11:58 am

agreed. questioning frank’s obecianism is like a birther asking for obama’s proof of Americanism.

avatar Chris Moore June 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I heard Frank actually lives in Kenya.

Or Indonesia… I can never keep it straight.

avatar jettyboy June 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Lets straighten this out once and for all; Frank was born in Kenya, raised by wolves in Indonesia, has no birth certificate, moved to Hawaii, ( although they will deny it) all while living in OB since escaping from a RNC re-education camp back in the 1940’s. Any questions?

avatar Frank Gormlie June 19, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Jettyboy was close. Actually I was raised by wild cats.

avatar Chris Moore June 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm

That explains a lot ;)

avatar Kenneth Anderson June 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

I want it to be known that the somewhat tasteless sticker that I’ve been carrying at the Black is not intended as a message of irrational blind hate directed toward the homeless in O.B. It is merely bad satire, based on state parks signage, it is also an expression of reasonable intolerance toward the traveling street kids who are too aggressive as panhandlers, who litter and piss on our streets and alleys, and who sometimes resort to theft to feed their habits. I love this place, I’ve lived here for over eighteen years, and it bums(oops!) me out when people come here and not only refuse to reciprocate the love we have for our community, but demonstrate a lack of respect that is contemptuous. As for Frank and the O.B. Rag, I have much respect. I’ve spoken to Frank in regard to this issue, and though we didn’t reach an agreement, one thing that we have in common is a love for Ocean Beach, and I hope Frank continues to fight the good fight to help preserve this special place. Peace, and may the gods look after old O.B.

avatar Jason June 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

There is a fine line between intolerance and standing up for what is right. If there is anything intolerant about it, it is intolerance to violence or violent threats (acts of terror) made by people who are misguided. Furthermore, is there anything wrong with wanting homeless people to start taking some responsibility for themselves and not having to rely on others for their survival? Homeless people need to be treated like humans, and I think it is being respectful to get them thinking about getting some real assistance for their lives. If you were really concerned about their well-being, you would be advocating for their personal growth by showing them how to take personal responsibility. The sticker is just a little motivation to help them think about things like that, and to get the violent people out of town.

avatar Debbie June 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Jason, I ask the same question…”is there anything wrong with wanting homeless people to start taking some responsibility for themselves and not having to rely on others for their survival?”

I don’t have blind hate towards the homeless but I don’t have any respect for those who think they should be fed, clothed and given medical treatment when they have all the means (like a brain, 2 hands and 2 legs) to get a job. Many people do jobs they don’t like to do because they have to take care of themselves and/or family. It’s called responsibility.

If people want to live outside and sleep under the stars, hang under the cool shade of a tree then I say you have to get a job, rent an apartment and do your thing in your own backyard not in public places where “working class” taxpayer dollars are spent unless you are contributing. Each of us did not choose to come into this world but now that we are here we all should be the best we can be. As for me, I am happy to help someone in need but only if they are willing to help themself and it’s not too much to expect people to contribute their fair share to society.

Helena, instead of “looking for places to get hot showers, church feeds, etc.” they should spent time looking to get a job! Helena you said: “To some, working a job you dislike to scrap together some money to live inside (which for many people is the only alternative to the great outdoors) is denigrating oneself, siphoning off one’s will to that another, and certainly losing self respect.” Really??? Would you tell your children it’s ok to be a dirty begger and live outside? HMMMMMMMM

Personal responsibility takes alot of work. It’s easy to drop out but it that really what we want for our young people? Not me! As Ken Anderson stated, violence from anyone is intolerable. There’s no reason to co-exist with violent human beings, people that piss on our street, steal, litter or act aggressive.

I welcome the traveling artist, musician, poet, etc. to OB. These talents are appreciated and I am happy to put a few dollars in your cup but for those that are in OB to take and not give, please move on.

avatar Greg Sullivan June 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm

What Debbie is doing here in her post is narrowing the focus of this particular issue to “personal responsibility.” This little trick should be familiar to most people by now as it was W’s and the Republicans’ favorite scam for 8 long years and now has become the scam of choice for Obama as well.

But what this narrow focus on personal responsibility does is effectively exclude or marginalize the ideas of soicial responsibility and social justice.

For instance, is it soically responsible or just to tag one segment of society as bums who should not be fed?–and while doing so make profit from it? What does that say about the value of human beings?

That’s the greater issue here.

If you start looking at and asking those kinds of questions–and not just narrowly focusing on Debbbie’s personal responsibility–you begin to see how corporatized our society has become. How the “pragmatism” of profit as well as human value based on financial worth has replaced a moral definition of human worth.

avatar Debbie June 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Sorry my narrow mindedness about being responsible for one’s self bothers you. Sir, you do not know me so do not attempt to bundle me with anyone. I will and have helped many who could not help themselves. But I do not believe because one chooses a life style of “living outside”, that I have tolerate their begging or lifestyle in my community. My point in this discussion is that it truly bothers me that those the choose a life of no responsibility feel that I or anyone else should give them something. If you feel differently, great! Give them directions to your home to use your potty, allow them to bathe, feed them and give a few bucks to go see a movie :-) PEACE

avatar Helena Devi June 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

First of all, a key issue for a large subset of the homeless population is mental illness – systemically, these people are forcibly institutionalized if caught acting out and detained and medicated without their decision. I don’t know about OB in particular with this, but I have met multiple people in the Bay Area that this has happened to. Anecdotal descriptions are insufficient, of course, but I think it’s a well-known fact that there is a much higher rate of schizophrenia – just to take one – in the homeless population than the housed. If a family abandons someone experiencing schizophrenia or if the individual decides to reduce their family’s burden and leave, is that not exercising personal responsibility?!

There are people who live outdoors (in OB) and are patrons of local restaurants, artists, vendors, etc. There are individuals who make their way with a craft. Debby, you say that you “welcome the traveling artist, musician, poet, etc.” – is that even if they don’t have a job that is generating income? Is that even if they are living outside?

As for this statement: “instead of “looking for places to get hot showers, church feeds, etc.” they should spent time looking to get a job!” Do you feel it’s possible to get a job after being on the streets for a while, not being clean, not fed, and unkempt, especially in this kind of economy? I’m saying that if they/we were harassed less, it’d be easier to get all of that set up, get oneself taken care of, and get oneself working if that is in fact the goal. For some of the aforementioned artists (myself) it isn’t worth it. I got to college full time – psychology and premed – and I’ve steadily contributed to the OB economy over the span of six years. Sometimes I have a job. Sometimes I’m in school. Sometimes I sleep on the beach. But I always respect those around me, respect my environment, pick up other people’s garbage. And there are people like that! There are LOTS of people like that! And there are also lots of angry kids who could perhaps become like that if they got the love they never got anywhere else.

Would I tell my children it’s okay to be “a dirty beggar” and live outside (interesting juxtaposition, but the way – I hope you don’t mean to equate the two)? I would teach my children to be self-sufficient, as my parents taught me. I live outside in the summer, but don’t ask for money and decline when it is offered. I have enough and don’t need to take. If someone wants to trade me something special for something special, that’s different. So my children would not need to be beggars, and hopefully I manage to teach them the many benefits of personal hygiene. As far as living outside, I hope to give them what I’m only figuring out now: how the hell do you actually do it?! How do you not burn to a crisp, freeze to death, not get harassed by bugs and rodents, get food, etc. To me, the ability to live outside of an example of self-sufficiency, not dependence on others. It’s something I’d want to teach them early on and I think I’d start it as camping and backpacking.

The aggressive kids need a good nonprofit therapist and a safe rehabilitative environment. Have they done anything for us that means we owe it to them? I’d probably say: hell no! But they are people, and if we can make a move to help them, it solves our problem and theirs.

avatar Debbie June 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

I believe anything is possible. With will and determination, the roaming non-schizophrenic people can support themselves if that is their desire. If they can sleep outside and fight off the outside elements, they can surely take responsibility for themselves but they have to leave their current life and friends behind. You can’t live outside and be self-sufficient when you have to rely on others for food, clothes and medical treatment. I didn’t say it was easy but it is possible. With a friend and mentor such as yourself I am confident that you can and will help someone who wants help. As for me, I have employed and housed homeless, some of which are very self sufficient now and some of which would rather take and take than earn their way. Good luck.

avatar Tracie June 19, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Dude! If you are going report about an event going on in the local community, please get yourself an editor to proofread your article. While I was reading, the logic of your words did not bother me as much as the incorrect use of grammer. It was driving me insane. I am more likely to not take your opinion seriously, especially since writing is your profession. Please take some time to watch what you write, because your writing makes it that much easier for me to make fun of you, which ulitimately disregards any validity in your stance.

avatar mehdi June 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm

it should be “welcome to ocean beach…dont feed the zonies”

avatar Amy Urtiaga June 20, 2010 at 7:16 am

Once again I(we) are not talking about the homeless. We are talking about the traveling kids.They have choosen to live on the street.I have seen this profile starting back in the 90’s in New Orleans, Austin, Washington etc. They are not the new hippies .They do not want to conform to rules regs of society, and they have found a way to do so.I wish I could shirk my responsiblities. Don’t tell me they are victims of the economy because we all are.

Real Ob Loc

avatar Jason June 20, 2010 at 7:36 am


Maybe the best way to be socially responsible is to take care of each other by helping them to learn to take some initiative and some responsibility to help themselves. Obviously they have immediate needs for food, water, and shelter. Those should not be ignored, but to solve the real problem, which is not knowing how to function in a healthy way in our society, they need help and guidance. Clearly, there is no group capable or willing to go around and offer real help for these people. If there were, you would hardly see any homeless people around. I think it is socially irresponsible to call “personal responsibility” a “trick”. Imagine a world with out personal responsibility. No one would have any motivation to do anything. There would be no businesses, no cars, no volunteers, no America, nothing. After all it is personal responsibility that has led you to have a successful blog. I think the real “trick” is to blame personal responsibility for hindering social responsibility and social justice. I think personal responsibility leads to social responsibility and social justice.

Lets spend our energy on helping the homeless in a real, long lasting, life changing way. Help them to take personal responsibility to contribute to society in a healthy manner. Boycotting a business seems like energy wasted and misdirected. How about giving a t-shirt to the person who helps the most homeless people get a job and get a roof over his/her head.

Lets also spend energy to get the violent drifters out of the community. I vote for a free t-shirt to the person who can do that. Once those things are accomplished, I think you will see the stickers go away and not be sold any more.

avatar Greg Sullivan June 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

“I think personal responsibility leads to social responsibility and social justice. ”

That’s the saddest and most revealing part of all of this–so many people have been duped into believing the quote above.

If that quote were true, and its been hammered into people’s brains for the last 30+ years–then things would be getting better in our society, not steadily worse.

Have you ever wondered why those in our society–especially those in power–keep emphasizing this falsity? Here’s a clue–they do so because it serves their interests. Neverthless, people such as yourself keep advocating it–even as things keep getting worse and worse.

The truth is, when you focus narrowly on personal responsibility, you are limiting yourself to only one half of your full identity as a human being. What you’re left with is an exaggerated sense of your self-interests that inevitably leads to a resentment of the Other.

To have a complete identity as a human you also need a sense of social responsibility. Here, because the concern is not mere self-interest, but the interests of all, there are no Others. Human worth is based on equality. Not how much money you earn or what job you have or how much everyone looks up to you.

Tagging one segment of society–the Other–as bums not to be fed–is not treating people equally as human beings. It is the lowering the definition of human worth. It is fitting human worth to the corporate definition of human value based on profit, power and position.

And obviously, none of those things have anything to do with justice, freedom and equality. And that’s what makes this situation sad.

avatar Patty Jones June 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Greg, thanks for visiting and commenting. It’s great to hear from someone who is homeless. Come back any time.

avatar Kenloc June 20, 2010 at 9:44 am

2dats ago I saw a guy diggin through the Hodads dumpster. I went and got him 2 slices of Pomas pizza we had.(the best pizza in ob imo)his name was Adam.he said he was starving and he was very grateful and polite. Afew minutes later I saw a girl next to Adam.He gave her 1 of the slices.Amazingly generous.I went out and gave them some carne asada burritos my wife was makin on the grill,sodas and some dry goods for later.her name was Hope.She was also very grateful and polite. 2 hours later I was going to my car and found a girl peeing behind my trashcans.I asked why she did that. She said she really had to go.I pointed out that tower 2 has restrooms and is 1/2 block away.I told her it sux that she felt the need to pee on my house and leave it for me to clean.She offered to clean it,but the hose is a pain to get of storage and set up and run to the back so I told her I’d do it later cuz I was in a hurry.She told me to go f@# myself,began kicking all the trashcans and exlaimed “It’s not my fault I’m F@#$@# homeless!” (it isn’t?) I told her you can be homeless and still respect other people and she again told me to go f@#$@# myself. So there you have it. The homeless debate in a nutshell.Some are kind people.some are asshole. some have mental issues. Folks with mental issues that are getting drunk and high and walkin the streets are not good. And yes,when i got back from my errands i got the hose out and hosed down someone elses piss…..again. I try to do what i can for these folks but it gets old.

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