Since the end of June, a small store in Ocean Beach, Cali. has been garnering national attention with a bumper sticker. Shop owner Ken Anderson created a sticker reading, “Welcome to Ocean Beach, Please Don’t Feed Our Bums,” basing the phrase on the National Forest Service stickers of the past that advised park visitors not to feed bears.
The stickers have generated protest in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach, and have sparked discussion across the country as people weigh in on the subject of supporting panhandlers.
In 2005, Denver passed an anti-panhandling law prohibiting panhandling in the downtown Denver Business Improvement District, and limiting panhandling elsewhere in the city. Communities across the country have been grappling with the question of whether to allow citizens to panhandle, on the one hand, or to give people money or food on the other. Several cities have passed anti-panhandling laws. Denver’s law includes a provision that prohibits giving people food on the 16th street mall, a crime that is punishable by a fine.