Bum Fight? (See local travel blog’s take on current controversy)

by on June 15, 2010 · 13 comments

in Culture


How google maps sees Newport and Cable.

by Jeannette De Wyze /Travels in San Diego / June 14th, 2010

Given how much San Diego has changed in the 36 years I’ve lived here, it warms my heart when I run across something that seems timeless. Case in point: the current flap roiling Ocean Beach, which I’ve been following in the always-entertaining OB Rag blog. At issue is a $2.50 sticker that’s been sold for about three weeks at The Black, the community’s venerable head shop/novelty store. Displaying the silhouetted imaged of a Depression-era hobo and his dog, the sticker recalls California state park messages not to feed the bears. Only it instead directs OB visitors not to “feed our bums.”

Forty years ago, “it was the Black’s customers – the hippies, the young people and street people of yesteryear – who were being harassed. Now, in a dramatic, ironic, and retrograde turnabout, The Black is selling anti-homeless stickers,” fulminated longtime activist and OB Rag blog co-founder Frank Gormlie last Thursday. The next day Gormlie was calling for a community boycott, and Saturday, he shared his conversation with one of the store’s managers, Ken Anderson, in which Anderson defended the stickers as satire. (”People are taking this way too serious.”)

The debate in the blogs Comments section has been er…. lively, to say the least, including such discussion points as whether bums are synonymous with homeless people. Now Gormlie’s hinting he may mount a petition drive in an attempt to banish this sign of intolerance from the streets of Ocean Beach (where the stickers have reportedly been showing up on municipal signs.) To cover its bases, the Rag is also offering a $20 prize to “whoever rips off the most stickers.”

Jeannette De Wyze has worked as a journalist in San Diego since 1974. In 2007 she diversified, founding San Diego Insider Tours, a vehicle for showing visitors the special things that make San Diego unique. In June of 2008, she created Travels in San Diego as a way of sharing interesting things about the city and county.

In her spare time, she and her husband Steve raise puppies to be companions for folks with disabilities.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie June 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

One might say this looks like mutual back-scratching – De Wyze quotes me and I quote her quoting me. It just means that San Diego is a small place.


Fed up June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I work on Newport and I am also a member of the VFW. Anyone that spends enough time, or even lives in OB knows the difference between the homeless and the scumbags. On a daily basis I clean up trash, fecal matter,vomit, drug paraphanalia and empty liquor and beer containers.
I support the stickers.
I also support running them outta town with pitchforks and torches.
I am as tolerant as the next guy, to each their own. But in not combating this problem you have to wonder if we are perpetuating it. This is not shocking to witness. We are sitting on our asses and not doing anything about the oil spill, why should we care about legions of street trolls over-running our sleepy little beach town? What need to happen is a little community strength and solidarity. We are choosing sides regarding the stickers, yet the problem at hand persists and continues to grow as the summer weather arrives. Have you ever seen a gaggle of drunken street trash harass young teenage girls in bikinis? I have, and when I confronted all 6 of them by myself those that weren’t walking by ignoring it were only stopping to stare. Nobody helped me and I was driven away by disease infested street trolls and their rabid, emaciated dogs.
Yeah, the stickers are way rad and on point.
Send those oogle street urchins back to Portland!!!


Editordude June 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm

We allowed this comment to be posted to show the level of hatred and intensity of the wrath of members of this community, and the magnitude of the divisiveness in OB over the homeless issue. Fed Up says he’s as tolerant as the next guy right after declaring: “I support the stickers. I also support running them outta town with pitchforks and torches.” And then: “Yeah, the stickers are way rad and on point.
Send those oogle street urchins back to Portland!!!”

We have vowed to not allow this blog be a platform for hate, but this near call for vigilantism against the homeless has to be heard – to show the rest of us how tolerant OB has become.


DBB June 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm

It is admirable that you provide a forum for both the pro and con sides of this debate to be heard. But to be fair, you selectively cite two quotes from Fed Up and proceed to editorialize their opinion as being a “near call for vigilantism against the homeless.”

But you fail to mention FedUp’s disclaimer of “Anyone that spends enough time, or even lives in OB knows the difference between the homeless and the scumbags.” It is Editordude’s lack of context that wrongfully makes FedUp’s comments seem to be a sweeping generalization of all homeless people, when they clearly are not.


Fed Up June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

editor dude!!
face it! you “allowed” this comment to be posted so you can shriek the words that give you a free range grain fed chubby: Hate Speech.

Before we go further, Background on me:
I have been helping homeless vagabonds clean wounds and avoid infections for the past decade and a half in every big west coast city absolutely free much to the disdain of my bosses. MOST OF THE PEOPLE THAT I HELP ARE YOUNG RUNAWAYS.
I have also volunteered at needle exchanges in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Eugene and Seattle.

Why can’t we be fed up? why can’t we find a solution without everyone gathering at People’s and whispering to eachother?

>We allowed this comment to be posted to show the level of hatred and intensity of >the wrath of members of this community, and the magnitude of the divisiveness in >OB over the homeless issue.

let’s call a spade a spade! am i mistaken when i say that in order to be a member of a community you must reside in a bonafide domicile?
I think you are clearly lost and see not the difference between a homeless person and a rootless vagabond drifter, soiling himself in our cozy little beach town.

If we could figure out a legal means of containing and consequently eliminating the current infestation, would it still be considered vigilantism? I think not!!
Members of community watch programs and others who use legal means of bringing people to justice are not considered vigilantes. For example, in 1979 Curtis Sliwa founded the Guardian Angels in New York City, a recognized crime fighting organization that now has chapters in many other cities.
I realize the futile endeavor of trying to clean up Ocean Beach. How about we figure out a way to keep it from getting worse?
What is going to perpetuate a broader sense of community?
Name calling in an Online Forum, or deciding what is best for our comunity and having the integrity to put the plan in motion? I am thankful that my comments were so disregarded by editordude. In that, he is motivating me to be a part of the solution. Tomorrow I will go to the black and buy my stickers.
Throughout the next couple weeks I will approach locals and business owners in hopes of sticking together and reminding our smelly, greasy, vagabond drifter hobos that if they wanna be guests in our community, they need to behave decently or they will have to relocate to Midway and Rosecrans.
DBB, thanks for your comment


Frank Gormlie June 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm

FedUp, are pitchforks next? Will you be marching on the homeless? Okay, you’ve helped homeless in the past, but today you sound like a vigilante ready to physically remove homeless people all the way to Miday and Rosecrans? Look, we all know we have a homeless problem. And you’re right, homelessness has to be dealt with. But stop blaming the homeless – whether you think you or anyone else thinks they can pick out the “good” homeless from the “bad” homeless. Don’t be so crass.

I’ll call a spade a spade, FedUp, you sound like a vigilante.
No, you are wrong, dude. You don’t have to live in a house to be a member of this community. What about the transgressions of our other “guests” – the drunks who piss and puke as they stagger back to their cars after a night on OB?


Kenloc June 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Let’s come up with a new sticker.”Don’t pee on O.B.” or ” Pee at the bar,not on my car” or “Do your urination at the Lifeguard station.” “don’t deficate where we congrgate” “please pick up after your dog,and yourself if applicable” Perhaps if we can get folks to be a little less disgusting we could all get along.


Frank Gormlie June 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Perhaps along with our offer of a free T-shirt for the most torn off current stickers, we could sponsor a contest for the best saying for a new sticker. Kenloc, are those your suggestions?


Kenloc June 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Consider my post your first entry)


Kenloc June 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Hold your pee, pick up your poo.A clean O.B. begins with you.


Kenloc June 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Maybe we can get the local bars to put signs by their exits. “Don’t pee on O.B. Go before you Go.” I see peeps leaving bars peeing all over the place, right after they left a place with a restroom.


momentum858 June 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Critical mass then hard bounce to change


Fed Up June 15, 2010 at 7:20 pm


As the feller used to say


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