The Black Refuses to Remove Hate Sticker Against OB Homeless

by on June 12, 2010 · 56 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, Popular

anti-homeless sticker br 03I just got off the phone with Ken Anderson, one of the co-managers of The Black.  He has worked on Newport Ave for 18 years and has seen everything. He once was threatened over a cigarette.

He is the one who ordered the new, controversial anti-homeless stickers that say “Welcome to Ocean Beach. Please don’t feed our bums,” with a graphic of a 1930’s hobo and dog.  The Black has been selling them for about 3 weeks now and offers the hate-message for $2.50.

I asked Ken if he would consider removing the sticker from his shelves.  He said:

People are taking this way too serious. I know it’s politically incorrect, but it’s a satire, a play on the ‘don’t feed the bears’ signs.

It’s a response to harassment by street kids. I’ve lived in OB for 18 years and never seen it this bad.

I asked him if he thought the perceived influx of homeless had anything to do with the worst economy since the Great Depression.  He replied:

This has nothing to do with the economy.  It’s a movement of slough. There’s a refusal to work. I’ve had kids come in here and call me a sell-out because I work 40 hours a week.

Ken said no, he would not consider taking the stickers down. Even in the face of a community boycott.

I’m not concerned a boycott. In all of our 42 years, we’ve never been in the red.  Everything in  retail has a shelf life. The stickers have a shelve life. I’m actually waiting for the sticker to run its course.

Finally, I asked Ken if he would consider removing them if he was presented with a petition with, say a 100 names.  He said maybe.

BOTTOM LINE: The Black will continue to keep selling the anti-homeless sticker and making a small profit off others attitude against the tumbleweeds, the travelers, the homeless, the hobos and the bums.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason craig June 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Wow! We really are gonna keep this going arent we? Its a sticker! It doesnt carry a message of hate. It carries a humorous play on words. Get over it!


Wayne Roche June 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm

…and if the sticker was in regards to religion or race, would you say the same thing?


story June 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Is it???


Shane Finneran June 13, 2010 at 7:56 am

Whatever your opinion on this issue, you gotta give it up to The OB Rag for providing a setting for this dialogue. Jason, if you’re tired of the issue, click your way elsewhere. Meanwhile the rest of us can talk it over, learn from each others’ perspectives, and maybe even bring about a little change.


Jon June 13, 2010 at 9:00 am

Super bump!^


Kenloc June 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Word Shane


Danny Morales June 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I’ll get over my compassion and get over my passion for social/economic justice when you haters get over the priveledged attitude that so many of our unfortunate working class died for…VIVA LA REVOLUTION!


RB June 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I don’t consider a bum and being homeless as the same thing.
You can beg, drink, be irresponsible and choose not to work like a bum without being homeless. And you can work and be responsible and still be homeless.
Bum infers lazy and irresponsible behavior while homeless only means not having the funds for shelter.


Kenloc June 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm

here here!


bodysurferbob June 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

i think the guy in the sticker looks like charlie chaplin in the movie ‘the tramp.’ didn’t he play ‘the little tramp’ in a number of movies? why do you think he played such what on the surface appeared to be a dirty bum? er, i’m sorry tramp, er, derelict. uh, homeless guy with a job, i mean jobless guy with a home, i mean dirty, rotten scoundrel… you guys are playing semantic games.


Kenloc June 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

if my Aunt had balls?She’d be my Uncle.) seriously guys,It’s a sticker sold by a counterculture type store playing on what our community has unfortunately become known for.It used to be tolerance.Now it’s a bastion for homeless peeps from everywhere.


Ernie McCray June 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Sad to say the least.


Citizen Cane June 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I imagine that Cyrano would say, “Really Dude, but why waste your opportunity…there are so many finer stickers you might have made….

Please don’t feed the tourists, or
Please go surf somewhere else, or
My child was expelled from OB Elementary, or
Please don’t vote for the Tea Baggers….

As for the OB Rag….you might consider a quick link to a charity up where you have the classified links. A prominent placement. Maybe something that changes, like “Charity of the Month.”


Michael Carnahan June 12, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I’m a Zonie. We come to OB every year. There must be some hateful, oops, ironic sticker about us.

Great idea about the charity link. $2.50 per person instead of buying a sticker.


Molly June 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Citizen – you don’t see the diff between the down on the bums sticker and the others you mentioned – except for the surf one?

You don’t see the whole class attitude coming out? You don’t see the dissing of an entire group of humans because they’re down and out or crazed or too drunk or drugged to deal with their condition. Perhaps if you were homeless you’d be drunk or drugged up too, you know, to forget your awful situation.

This community is torn up, and this blog has this same discussion every other month – and that’s good. It’s good we can explain to our fellow residents and citizens how IT’S NOT COOL TO DISS OTHER HUMAN BEINGS WHO DON’T HAVE AS MUCH AS YOU DO. It’s called CLASS PREJUDICE.

It’s time to find some compassion in your heart, some compassion for those who are not as well off as you. That’s the Christian attitude. Feed the poor. Clothe the poor.

Who would Jesus feed? Would Jesus feed OUR BUMS?


jim grant June 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

If I am not mistaken The Black has been selling items like this for 40 years !!! It might not make some happy …but thats life….Nobody bitched at the other shirts, stickers, buttons and other short lived novelty items over the past 4 decades !!
Homeless and bums are two different things….If bums acted 1/2 way decent this would not be happening….A few brought it upon the rest !! Self Police my tumbleweed urban dwelling friends !!!


momentum858 June 13, 2010 at 8:27 am

The Black is in business to make money and right now the sticker is hot. Short term the more publicity the more sticker sales, long term some currently offended customers may take their money elsewhere and the cost of a lost customer is by FAR much more than $2+ profit from sticker. Regardless of what the Black thinks sticker represents to them if lifelong customers stop going to your store that equals lost revenue in long term. If I was the owner I would drop the sticker immediately!!!


JPinSD June 13, 2010 at 9:45 am

Just bought a couple yesterday. Thanks OBrag for putting the word out or I never would have known about them. When the lady was ringing them up, she commented that the stickers should have their own key on the register….nice.


Molly June 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm

JPinSd – nice going. I’m glad you’re “JPinSD” and not JPinOB.


JPinSD June 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Well, I have been living in OB for the last 8 years….


obkat4ever June 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Hey Jason!

Do you also think it is funny that in Arizona white people are demanding that a mural that has children of different color be repainted, but only the faces that are white can stay, the brown, yellow, black children they want painted white. By the way, how old are you? You must be pretty young if you think this is just a sticker and humerous.


Kenloc June 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Perhaps The Black will go under due to this and they will put something much cooler in that location like a Jamba Juice or Foot Locker or a Mcdonalds…….


Jason craig June 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Wow! Those stickers are selling like candy! Ive seen them everywhere.


Frank Gormlie June 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm

And don’t forget boys and girls, the person who rips the most of these stickers off and sends them to us gets a free T-shirt, valued at $20! There’s already several people in the lead.


obbuzzcut June 19, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hey Frank, what happened to freedom of speech? How would you feel if the government didn’t like your rhetoric and took down this website?


Frank Gormlie June 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

The issue of freedom of speech (and freedom of press), my friend, is an issue between the people and the government. Are you saying that a boycott of The Black violates their freedom of speech?


Kenloc June 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Instead of a boycott of the black,take up a collection,buy all the stickers and toss em in a fire.problem solved


Kenloc June 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm

or turn em in for a free tshirt)


Editordude June 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Sure, we’ll trade all the stickers for a T-shirt.


Editordude June 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Someone just contacted us and is starting a petition to have the stickers removed from the Black. Supposedly, the co-manager said he would consider taking them off the shelves if he received a petition asking him to do so with a 100 names.


BillRayDrums June 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

As the supplier of the picture of said sticker which seems to have sparked this controversy….rather than ban the Black how about we reach out to the “travelers” and teach them about a concept called “Quid Pro Quo”.

If you’re going to live amongst the hollows and bushes of OB at least contribute something in return….the guy who was sweeping Newport? I wouldn’t hesitate to give him a few bucks and chat; His name’s Donnie (spelling?) and he’s trying to raise cash to go see his boy in Ohio who is 7, if I recall correctly. The street musicians? Yep I’ll give them money too (it’s tough being a musician, I know this very well)…

…or someone should at least tell them it’s bad form to be begging for $$$ while their girlfriend is yakking on her cell phone.

Wanna live the creative carefree life? Do something….anything and find a way to make a buck from it. Don’t tell me it’s impossible because of this or that. In some of those kids all I see is laziness and a strong sense of entitlement. Personally I can’t support that.

And again I say that we should be stewards of our region, not wardens. :D


OBT June 13, 2010 at 6:46 pm

This is silly. It really is similar to “OB: Where the Debris Meets the Sea”. Tongue in cheek and pretty funny. Stop being such uppity politico freaks. I am OK with the sticker. A little sarcasm never hurt, it’s the American way.

Whenever I help the homeless in the East Village they are always super nice and appreciative. However, I come home and the kids with dogs/cellphones/drug problems are really hit or miss. Some are cool and others are aggressive or just rude. Most seem to be in it as a self-defining social thing. And THAT is maddening.

What if the sticker was sold and the money went to charity? Ohh, the irony. Maybe it could help that lady who the cops were hassling about feeding the bums. Personally, I’d like to have a sticker about all the RV creatures and gave them gas cards so they could go someplace else. It is the worst when they post up in front of your house.

Another funny one may be a union play : “Fraternal Order of the Urban Outdoorsmen; OB Local 238” with appropriate graphics. Jeez, long post. Sorry.


tim ludwig June 19, 2010 at 6:39 am

you are so right..


tim June 19, 2010 at 6:43 am

its only a sticker


Frank Gormlie June 19, 2010 at 8:24 am

The old signs in the South that said “Whites Only ” were only signs.


Ryan September 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Now that is just foolish….


Sarah June 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

I admit that I found the sticker amusing when I first saw it. Of course, part of the amusement was ’cause I knew that the next couple of weeks on the Rag would be lively and thought provoking. (My feelings about the demographics of Newport Ave and the seawall are pretty well known. I stand firmly on the side of confusion. )

You all don’t know know what it’s like to have to deal with the intrusion, the disrespect and the sheer rudeness of these people! I’ve had a couple of recent horrible experiences. I live very close to the OB Pier and have to put up with these people all the time! This is something that we, as a community MUST stand up to.

A few Sundays ago I was sitting in my living room reading quietly when I heard a ruckus outside my window, in my front yard. I looked out and saw a strange couple doing something with my patio furniture. I went to my front door and steeped around to my patio and watched them for a second. One of them (the middle-aged woman) was holding a two-foot pot plant while crouching in the shrubbery. She was gazing at the pier. The man, a tall, stockily built man with salt and pepper hair was moving my furniture around and then proceeded to take pictures of the woman pretending to pull up a pot plant out of my garden.

The woman had the grace to blush when I asked her how she’d feel if I staged a photo shoot in her front yard without asking. The man looked at me with disdain.

We now have a sign on the patio geared specifically towards these pesty, middle-aged, properly-housed (is that the opposite of homeless?) people brandishing cameras. Maybe we should print up stickers — “Residents and guests only. The homeless respect our privacy, perhaps you can take a lesson”.

The following weekend another one of these people, these grown-up, employed, homed people called me a bitch when I caught her and her other group of well-fed buddies poking around the side of my house.

That’s what’s wrong with this country. These people have such a sense of entitlement!


Sarah June 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

ugh… steeped = stepped


DBB June 14, 2010 at 12:21 pm

“Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose! Do you hear me, Lebowski?”


Frank Gormlie June 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Great line from the movie “The Big Lebowski” with Jeff Bridges, the cult film that is one of my faves. Thanks for sharing. This line was made by one of the movies characters – the greedy millionaire who is the opposite of Bridges’ character – they have a run in due to a potential lethal mix-up in identities. Bridges’ character, the Dude, is full of wisdom and truth, but is being disparaged by the millionaire as a bum because the Dude just doesn’t fit in with capitalism. And neither do the rest of us.


psd June 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

It’s okay, everything went great. He said I could take any rug I wanted…


Frank Gormlie June 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Aha! Another great line from the Big Lebowski. This line was stated by Jeff Bridges’ character, the Dude, as he was leaving the mean millionaire’s mansion to the millionaire’s gofer (can’t recall his name, he’s famous now), and then the Dude bends down and takes a rug off the floor and walks out with it.


aGGona June 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm


The Black sells items stating “F*ck You, You F*ckin F*ck”
Where’s the crying about how “mean” that is?

They have the right to sell whatever they want.. You have the right to buy or not.

Call me a big meanie, but I am NOT a fan of being accosted in an aggressive manner,
when I am walking down the street with my child. I work DAMN hard, and I resent
being felt as though I am a mean person for not giving these damn kids my money.

It gets old & tiring. And I AM referring to the kids…
You made the the choice to be “homefree”
but I also have the choice to not feed you,
or bum you a quarter for a “nug” or a beer..

/end rant


OB Joe June 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Aggona – you’ re mixing apples and oranges, at least, or maybe apples with pineapples. There’s a big difference between the sticker in question with your weird example of something similar and there’s no outcry over it, so this whole thing must be unfair! Sounds like you have a job. Lucky you! Many don’t. Is that a good example how to show your child your generosity?


Kenloc June 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm

what ever happened to the old Will Work for Food sign?Must not be cool to work for something anymore.


aGGona June 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm

“Is that a good example how to show your child your generosity?”

Really? Do I need to retort…. probably not.
She and our family are all up on our generosity.
But, I’ll be damned that I teach her to give a man a fish….

Regardless, being shakin’ down is scary, especially when you are less
than a block from her elementary school… Asking a mother & her daughter
for money is bullshit.

As I Said.. /IMHO


Danny Morales June 16, 2010 at 4:05 am

“Gettin the shakedown from the cops is even scarier…but what do you know outside of your whitebread world, pilgrim?”- Oki Boat


Christine June 18, 2010 at 8:11 am

No one outside the neighborhood businesses will understand what problems the homeless bring to businesses. Aside from loitering, there is public urination (particularly at night when they think no one is around) which brings a foul order, along with themselves reeking of odor because of no concern for their own hygiene and health (beware of the spread of hepatitis from the homeless population), and then there’s theft (generally to support a drug habit), and in some cases harassment or violence against another homeless person or against any person in the community. One thing that hasn’t been addressed is there are far more people with mental illness who are homeless (including young people) and I would bet the number of people who actually choose to be homeless and are not mentally ill and/or drug addicts are very few. It’s truly heartbreaking to see a young person with mental illness coupled with drug abuse out on the street because our government doesn’t have any oversight with the mentally ill to stay medicated…. all because of the past state run mental hospital abuse to the mentally ill. Mass killings will continue at colleges and high schools when no oversight is done with our mentally ill citizens.


Judith June 19, 2010 at 8:09 am

‘taint funny. it’s hate speech, right up there with the “I (club) winos bumperstickers from some years back.
that’s what it comes down to.
as for “who would Jesus feed,” I don;t even come from a Christian background, but I know the answer…”that which you do to the least of my brethren, you also do unto me.”
some street punks act like jerks, yes. I do sympathize with those who prefer a more, wel, sanitary existence.

but the sun shines and the rain falls on the deserving and the undeserving, and promoting hate against some of the more difficult is not going to solve anything.


Melissa June 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm

There seem to be several different issues here.

I am offended by the sticker, but support The Black’s right to sell it. People also have the right to buy it, not buy it, or boycott. They do not have the right to post it on anything except their own property.

If people choose to be homeless, fine. Individually, we deal with our life choices and the consequences. If it is not a choice and they are willing to provide a product, service or entertainment (making them a contributor in our society), then I am willing to give them a little cash or a meal when I can. People wanting, or needing to hang out at the beach have so many ways to create helpful endeavors. Without contribution, there is not entitlment.

Urinating anywhere but in a bathroom is not healthy for anyone, including the urinator. Intruding on private property is called Trespassing. Along with violence and theft, these acts are against the law, and are a matter for the San Diego Police Department. In my younger days, I viewed the SDPD as overbearing and inflexible. They did not fit in to my ‘US out of OB’ attitude. As a mother of four, I have grown appreciative of the work they do protecting and serving when the situation calls.

I personally am sickened that the culture in OB has taken to passing judgment on others. I see that some of the people who arrived in OB by thumbing their way to the end of the 8 (literally or figuratively) 20-50 years ago worked hard and are now property owners. Good for them, but do not forget what it is like to be young, down and out, on drugs, rebellious, or just plain confused. Not all, but some of these people are/or will become good, contributing members of OB. Some are in serious trouble. Some are simply loafers who will always be that way. Blindly, lumping them all together as “bums” reduces or eliminates the opportunity for some folks (old/young, unfortunate/lazy, whatever…) to grow.

The debate about the stickers is fantastic. It is a great representation of the right. The discussion about those who do not act as we prefer is also great. I look forward to seeing solutions come out of the uproar. If you have time to stand outside The Black and protest a sticker, perhaps you have time to join the OB Town Council and put in work towards helping the community.

If you just arrived in OB, please excuse our mess. Homeowners, renters and homeless alike, we are under construction of conscience and working to build a better tomorrow for us all. …as are all areas of the world.

By the way, I may be wrong about everything. Thank you OB Rag for the forum.


Sarah June 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Dear Melissa,

I am adopting part of your closing line as my motto for the day.

“By they way, I may be wrong about everything”



Ryan September 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

We may disagree about the sticker…and its meaning. However, you delivered the message in a very thought provoking way. Thanks for your kind demeanor and for your constructive criticism of both sides! Much Respect!!



Melissa June 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Oops…left out the second ‘e’ in Entitlement. I am also not sure that ‘urinator’ is a word.


Dawn Shears November 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

You know what? F*ck you, The Black! I bought my first bong from you. The homeless and the strange people have made OB what it is (Space Man, anyone??)

the Yuppie Capitalists have taken over and The Black has gone “mainstream.”

It’s a sad day in Ocean Beach.


bob May 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm

If we truly believe in our constitution then the sighn is an expression of their 1st amendment right. I would also like to say what can we do to get these people fed and gainfully employed.

Rev Robert Schuler

Peace and blessings


Frank Gormlie May 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

And you call yourself a “Reverend”? Have you heard about the Great Recession?


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