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The Dude Keeping Venice Skatepark Clean Needs Some Help

Skate legends Simon Sac Reynolds and Jesse Martinez at Venice Skatepark (Photo by SteveWillard via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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For years, one dude has worked tirelessly to keep the Venice Skatepark clean for free. But after someone stole his truck recently—which he used to keep the park pristine—friends are asking for help and a paycheck for the dedicated skater.

Former pro skateboarder Jesse Martinez arrives everyday before dawn to clean the 16,000-square-foot city park, where the smooth concrete is vandalized by graffiti almost nightly. And while a half-dozen other volunteers sometimes help the 50-year-old Martinez, according to The Argonaut, he's volunteered himself to the majority of the cleanup since the park opened in 2009.

Martinez has never been paid for the work he's done, and while L.A. City Department of Recreation and Parks has expressed interest in hiring him, his application has apparently been stuck in limbo for months. Representatives from the department have explained that, for some reason, there is "a criminal background check hold" on his paperwork. Martinez suspects that the hold up may be due to the gang-related pasts of certain family members, but emphasizes that skating helped him maintain his distance from that world.

And while obviously Martinez is supremely committed to keeping the park clean for younger skaters, he's also struggling financially and his passion project has taken a toll on his career and family life.

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To make matters worse, the theft of his truck a few weeks ago left him without his main means of transporting the power washer and other equipment he uses to clean the park.

That's when friend and fellow Venice skateboarder David Fowler launched a GoFundMe campaign to help support Martinez's efforts and to help maintain the park. The fundraiser aims to raise $30,000 for supplies and to pay for Martinez's work.

Martinez tells The Argonaut, “Just let me clean. I don’t want to do anything else. I do it so Dogtown lives on. I want to see pros produced out of here so when I’m dead and gone some kid is here 50 years from now going, ‘I’m a Dogtown boy and I live in Venice.’”