You may have heard of a new documentary called “Made In Venice.” Jesse Martinez is the man behind this project. Jesse has been a be driving force within skateboarding for decades. Through his actions, along with a number of extraordinarily passionate people, the Venice skatepark came into reality. It has not been an easy journey. This films shows the power of focus and perseverance. I had a chance to catch up with Jesse a little while back. If you’re wondering what to get yourself (or someone else) for the holidays, this is a great gift. It’s an important piece of history. We’ve known each other for a number years. We talked the day after the Venice skatepark marked its 8th year anniversary. Jesse says the day was a double-edge sword for him. “For the last three years I’ve been fighting for a contract with the City of Los Angeles. Sadly, it’s been a complete failure. On one hand I’m skating with Eric Dressen, Christian Hosoi and Pat Ngoho. We’re all together young and old skaters – it’s generational.” But, as Jesse explains, “I’ve spent thousands of dollars to keep the park clean and safe for children.”A number of key players in the saga of Venice. I wondered what the City’s problem was. What was so contentious about a public skatepark that had already been built? “Honestly, it’s gotten way too personal” says Jesse. “It goes all the way back to the 1980’s until now. They wanted to put an ice skating rink there. We stopped it. They have tried to work with me, but there is so much resentment.” As example of just how seemingly out of touch the City of Los Angeles is, the sanitation department showed up on 8th anniversary of the park right in the middle of the day when there dozens of skaters having fun. What was so urgent? Power washing the park. Jesse explains that the fault is not with the front line workers. “They have told me to my face they appreciate everything I do.” The problems seem to rest with management. We’ll have more on Jesse and this film in our next issue.