Keeper Of Dogtown

You might say 50-year-old Jesse Martinez is a man on a mission. Virtually every day for the past six years he's gotten up before dawn and driven to the Venice skate park plaza on his own time, and usually using some of his own money and definitely his own elbow grease to clean the skate park.

And I'm talking about painting over graffiti, picking up trash, and using a blower to get the sand off the concrete to keep the skaters safe. Jesse grew up in Venice , has a love for skateboarding, and remembers skating there on makeshift ramps and pipes before the city's Rec and Parks department put the skate park in in 2009.

He feels a sense of pride in maintaining it , and keeping it beautiful and safe, quite a contrast to much of run down graffiti covered Venice. One complication though is that the old truck he used to get his supplies there and drive back and forth was stolen, leaving Jesse in a bit of a jam.

However, one of his many friends from Venice, a realtor and fellow skateboarder named David Fowler has started a go fund me campaign on the Internet to raise money to replace the truck and buy supplies for ongoing maintenance and cleaning. (www.gofundme/Venice-Skatepark ) As of today they're raised more than 11,000 dollars. Jesse is thankful for that and proud of hiswork but isn't really looking for recognition.

Again, he says he does it because he loves skateboarding and loves Venice. He'd also love to turn this volunteer work into a full-time paying job for the city of Los Angeles , has appliced, but apparently there's some "issues" in his background and are holding up his application but I'm betting the story is going to have a happy ending. If you're a skateboarder you can check out this great facility on the sand near the end of Windward Ave. You won't be alone.

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