Hello all and welcome to the new year. Well if you noticed a film production company attempted to close the Venice Polar Bear Skateplaza to film a commercial. VSA members were quick to react and lobby for keeping the skateplaza open during Sprite's film shoot. VSA advocated on behalf of skaters rights to skate at the skateplaza and succeeded in having the plaza remain open during the shoot. This is an example of VSA's direct advocacy for skateboarders. I want to speak to you directly, and for you to see the irony and hypocrisy of many of these companies that market to youth and use skateboarding as a medium to reach a target audience. Sprite for example made no effort to help out the VSA cause nor any skaters, what I specifically mean donation or youth jobs even though Sprite's hired production company contacted VSA and VSA directed them in the right direction to acquire a film permit and informed the production company as to the role VSA contributes to the skate plaza. The production company did not consider any of the skaters that use the park attempting to close the park for an entire day regardless of the actual need space for the filming. So in essence the production company attempted to take away a day of skateboarding to make a commercial using skateboarding to sell hawk their non-nutritional product.
Furthermore If you have not noticed the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks dept. does absolutely no work maintaining, regulating or providing any programing for the patrons of the Venice Skate Plaza, the VSA does all of this free no charge to the city. We do it because we love skateboarding and our community park, we do it because it is the right thing to do. we do it so youth will have a proper example, we do it gladly. The VSA board of members understands that The City of L.A is cash strapped, yet this is no excuse to continually sell out skateboarders.Especially when the film permit receits do not even benifit the skatepark, the receits go into the general fund. It is adding insult to injury in that government continually requests citizens to take responsibility in their respective neighborhoods yet when citizens do act and volunteer we are taken advantage of.
The VSA also understands the mayors position on keeping film in L.A. However this should not and cannot come at the cost of loosing our ability to recreate at public facilities. For example when the VSA held a skateboard contest which we paid a fee to RAP just like any other agency, three quarters of the plaza remained open to all skaters all day. For these reasons and others we must remain deligent to protect our rights to recreate. Your tax dollars built the beautiful park, lets protect this great asset. In service, VSA