Groups Protest OB Store Selling 'Anti-Bum' Stickers
Boycott Planned If The Black Continues To Sell 'Please Don't Feed Our Bums' Stickers
6:35 AM, Jun 21, 2010
The controversy over a sticker being sold at an Ocean Beach store prompted weekend protests and talks of boycotting the establishment.Over the weekend, Greg Sullivan, who is homeless, held a sign outside The Black in Ocean Beach that spoke out against the shop's decision to sell stickers that read "Please don't feed our bums."However, Sullivan was met by several counter-protesters, including a young boy who threw a water balloon at him."I think this young homeless man who stood here Sunday was very brave and he's bringing to light the attitude that we're uncovering, and people responded to him in a negative way," said Frank Gormlie, editor of the OB Rag newspaper.On Monday, Gormlie told 10News, "This sticker is an anti-homeless sticker. It's a sticker that carries a message of hate and intolerance.Gormlie confronted The Black's co-owner Kurt Dornbush and said, "You're selling bigotry. You're selling hatred. You're making money off that."Dornbush told Gormlie, "It doesn't say 'I hate bums.'"Dornbush told 10News he had no idea the stickers would cause a stir. He said he was tired of watching aggressive panhandlers scaring customers away."It doesn't look good for the community," Dornbush added."Would you consider taking them off the shelves if we had a petition with hundreds of names?" Gormlie asked Dornbush.Dornbush replied, "Possibly, yeah."Dornbush said an employee came up with the sticker, and although he told Gormlie he would think about getting rid of the stickers, he told 10News he has received a lot of positive comments from other merchants.At The Electric Chair Salon, Valerie Deleon displays a sticker and said, "I agree with it. I don't like getting harassed by people every day, and it's a problem. I believe that OB has more transients than any other beach."Deleon also said she's harassed daily by aggressive homeless men who she says demand money and added, "If you say no, they'll get upset and yell at you and just sit outside your business and beg for money."Longtime Ocean Beach resident Genie Phillips said the stickers are a joke that got out of hand and have now turned into an embarrassment for the people who live there."You don't hit someone when they're down, you give them a hand," she said. "And you don't laugh at someone's misfortune."10News spoke to several transients who said they are not hurting anyone and are choosing to ignore the stickers."If you want the crime rate to go up then don't feed people that's what I know," said Meako, a homeless person originally from Seattle.Gormlie told 10News if the stickers don't come off the shelves he will organize a protest at the store Wednesday at 4 p.m.The Black sells the sticker for $2.50 and will continue to sell them while supplies last.More than 1,000 stickers have been sold in less than a week, according to the store.