Sadly, the skateboard ramp at the United Methodist Church on Lincoln at Victoria has been closed. Simone Wilson has an interesting article over at the LA Weekly about the shuttering.
Christian Hosoi at the Venice skate ramp.
From the LA Weekly:
Basically, the United Methodist Church wants to exist in a little fairytale land (good luck, on Lincoln) where nobody’s homeless and kids won’t be kids. As long as all that restless inner-city mischief isn’t happening on their premises — where it could, many feel, better be contained by a controlled environment — it’s of no concern to the reverend.
Here’s how (reverend ) Ogbonnaya sees it: The kids come onto church property; they do drugs and cuss and flip him off; they leave behind trash, empty 40s, porn mags and all sorts of unmentionables. You know, kid stuff.
So why should the reverend — who holds a PHD in theology, who is trying to make the United Methodist Church in Venice back into a safe, desirable place to worship — tolerate that kind of treatment? Especially when he’s paying $1,000-something per month for ramp insurance.
Wilson has chosen the catchy headline “Jesus Hates Skater Kids: ‘Lincoln Ramp’ Half Pipe in Venice Torn Down by Fun-Killers at United Methodist Church”. I think that if she interviewed neighbors around the church or spoke with the LAPD she would find that the church had an illegal homeless encampment underneath the building, live aboard RV’s in the parking lot and numerous other “problems” that were annoying the neighbors.
While Wilson seems to put much of the blame on the new Reverend Ogbonnaya, I think that a lot of pressure from neighbors to “be neighborly” were likely what caused recent changes at the church. The neighbors around the church don’t see the “trash, empty 40s, porn mags and all sorts of unmentionables” as just “kid stuff”.
Personally, I thought the skate ramp was awesome and a nice addition to Venice .. then again I don’t live next to the church.