Just Cause You Pay Rent Here Doesnt Mean Youre a Local

venice beach breakwater locals

This photo is 31 years old now, 1989 – 2020. What’s written on that wall is as relevant today than it was back then, and even more so. For us it was a statement against people with attitudes of entitlement moving into our neighborhood and doing all that they could to ruin what made it unique in the first place. 

     Please keep in mind that this isn’t about people moving into an area that they aren’t originally from. I have many friends that moved to Venice over the years who didn’t grow up here and became a part of the community because they flowed with us, they meshed with us, and most importantly, they didn’t move in with attitudes of entitlement. They appreciated what Venice has to offer in it’s bohemian, gritty scenery, as well as its diversity. I also have friends that grew up here that don’t live here anymore, but will always be from here because it’s always their home in their heart. 

     This isn’t about economic class either. I have learned over the decades that an attitude of entitlement can be found in every economic class, whether it be the Middle Class, the Poor, or the Wealthy. Venice has had every economic class live here for decades now. It’s always been a place where the famous and unknown hung out side by side on an even playing field. Simply put, people get judged by their attitude and character more than their economic class around here. It makes no difference if you live in a bachelor pad, two bedroom apartment, or a multi million dollar home, if you’re a shitty person we’ll definitely let you know. 

     My friend Bri (RIP) and I, put this up in protest of what we saw going on in our neighborhood when we were 19 years old. It seemed juvenile at the time to a lot of people. But one has to admit that it still rings true 31 years later. That wall was knocked down many years ago, but the statement remains. So maybe it’s grown up a little and has taken on a more mature meaning. I understand that you can’t stop progress, but I also understand that it’s asinine to strip the very foundation away from an area that gave it its character to begin with in the first place. That statement started off as a way to piss people off, but as time went on it’s become a way to make people think and take a good long look at themselves in the mirror, and ask themselves, “Are they taking about me?”. If you even have to ask yourself that it means yes, yes they are. 

Graffiti Art by : Brian Zarate Dahlheimer (RIP), Photo & Story by Josh “Bagel” Klassman