(Editor’s note: I sent the following note on April 20 to Vora PONG Nimnual, who said he was USAPA Ambassador for Pacific Palisades: I’m running the Park Advisory Board story tonight based on what occurred at the meeting–but I will give you an opportunity to reply and print your letter Sunday night, which is the next time I print. Pong responded on Monday and his letter is below.)
First of all, I just wanted to thank you in advance for taking the time off from your busy schedule to read this very lengthy but important email. All I’m asking of you is to be fair and impartial. These are ALL facts and I can back them all up with the actual email, receipt, and other paperwork if you’d like me to.
Key to abbreviations:
- City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Park = RAP
- LA Pay Tennis = LAPT
- Palisades Pickleball Club = PPC
- Palisades Recreation Center = PRC
- Palisades Tennis Center = PTC
- Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Tennis Courts = VNSO
- Westchester Tennis Courts = WTC
I will answer you questions, in bold, that you have posted in the CTN article you posted on 04-20-23 https://www.circlingthenews.com/park-advisory-board-discusses-off-leash-dogs-pickleball-playground-and-restrooms/,
1. I was told pickleball people had a reservation, but not a permit. Is that correct? That is correct. For Saturday and Sunday open play, several of our players including me have to reserve several spots of two hours each which is the maximum number of hours a family can reserve. See a copy of 1 of the 5 receipts below, with my personal info crossed out, and pay attention to the line item which listed Pickleball as the purpose for this reservation. Therefore, the person at LAPT who is in charge of accepting reservations and payment from us is well aware that Pickleball is being played during this and will be played in all of the reservations that we make in the future. Also, the following RAP website will show that Pickleball is being played at several tennis centers. https://www.laparks.org/pickleball
2 . was told that people play for free but must pay $5 to help pay for the tape to line the pickleball courts. – That is also correct but what you had failed to mention is that the $5 is a donation and totally voluntary. Please also keep in mind that with the $5 donation, you get to stay and play Pickleball for 5 hours. In addition, we are not using the existing tennis net or any gears from PRC to play pickleball with because we weren’t given any. I personally purchased all of the pickleball gears below myself throughout the year. Here are all of the items, beside tape, that I have to bring everytime we play:
- 8x Rally Portable Light Pickleball Net = 8 x $130 = $1,040
- 20+ Pickleball loaner paddles at the average price of $50 each = 20 x $50 = $1,000 (Sometimes these break, get lost, or even stolen. These are what is left after a year.)
- 100 Bulk Packs of outdoor Pickleball balls = $200
- 30x rolls of painter tape = $53
3. If there are 50 people and they each pay $5, that’s $250 where does that go–or is the tape that expensive? – First of all, since the $5 donation is totally voluntary, not everyone of the 50 players will pay. See the copy of the sign in sheet below from 04/15/23 which has only 32 players, few of them were married couples, who signed up and paid while there were more than 50 players that day as you said. Therefore, I collected $160 that day, NOT $250.This is a very informal sign-up sheet and I don’t go around taking rolls to see who has paid and who has not. It costs me around $2, a little more than a roll, to tape 1 pickleball court. Therefore, with eight pickleball courts to tape, it costs me $16 to tape them each time and each time we have to take the tape out and throw them away afterward to make the court ready for tennis. It also takes me around an hour when I used to tape all 8 pickleball courts by myself but these days I have several helpers so it now takes us only 15 minutes. But again, please remember that it’s not just tape that I am providing as I’ve mentioned above in #2.
4. Are there any fees that pickleball players pay to the City to use park facilities? (Other than the $12 needed to reserve a tennis court.). – No, not that I am aware of.However, please keep in mind that it’s $12 per hour per tennis court. Therefore, everytime we play on Saturday we usually reserve 2 tennis courts #7 & #8 for 5 hours each from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. That’s a total of 10 hrs x $12 which equals $120 just for court reservation alone each time we play plus $16 for tape which comes out to a total of $136 each time we set up and play on Saturday which leaves me, $160 donation minus $136 cost, a measly $24 for everything else that I bring.
5. In your article, you quoted RAP “pickleball cannot be played permanently anywhere in this park because of noise and the location to residences.” – Here was the email communication with PRC from July 2022. Jasmine, of course, is the current senior facility director while Anthony is in charge of LAPT, a division of RAP located in Griffith Park. Also, Jimmy Kim who is the current General Manage of RAP said that PRC was supposed to be next in line after VNSO & WTC for pickleball court lines. Both VNSO & WTC now have pickleball/tennis hybrid court lines. WTC charges $7 for 3 hours open Pickleball play https://com/ while VNSO charges $12 for 2 hours https://www.places2play.org/place?id=11085. Therefore, my question is if what the Palisades Pickleball group is doing is against the rule then why are we still allowed to reserve the courts, pay for the reservation, and continue to play? I think it is because Pickleball is being played at other locations run by RAP. That’s why.
According to this RAP’s official report in June 2022, one of the tennis court at PRC was supposed to be convert into hybrid tennis/pickleball courts after WTC
I’m not trying to get anyone that either works at PRC or RAP in trouble here. I just want them to be fair, do their jobs, and keep their promises. The people of the Pacific Palisades need some form of physical and outdoor activities like Pickleball that are friendly to senior citizens, of which the park’s program is sorely lacking.
The last thing I wanted to say is that we are not all about pickleball here, we are a community. Strangers have become friends, friends & family have become closer. On any given day of the week, if there is an organizer like me, you will find 50+ pickleball players on these two tennis courts, which are more than the number of tennis players on the six remaining courts combined. Indoor gym at PRC has lines for basketball, volleyball, badminton/pickleball so all of these sports can be played by sharing the same gym. Why can’t the outdoor tennis court also have a line for pickleball so that both sports can be played. We need to be able to share whatever public limited resource we have that our tax money is paying for.
Vora PONG Nimnual
USAPA Ambassador – Pacific Palisades
Culver City, CA 90230
Pong has worked tirelessly for a couple of years now building and nurturing our Palisades Pickleball community. I want to emphasize how much I value his hard work.
Thank you for publishing his accurate explanation of what exactly is going on.
When one makes an online reservation for one of the tennis courts there is a query that asks for the purpose of the reservation. The reservation process is quite automated. In other words, I wouldn’t assume a person checks the response, so to conclude that the City was aware that people were going to play pickleball is not necessarily true.
The rules for the tennis court usage on the City website continue to make clear that tennis courts are for tennis: no more than 4 people on the court; equipment limited to tennis balls and rackets; no lessons. There are a some designated parks where pickleball can be played. To my knowledge Pacific Palisades is not listed as one of them.
Marking up tennis courts for pickleball is not compatible with playing tennis. Tennis is all about quick call regarding lines. Having been on a court that had been chalked and taped for pickleball made playing tennis very, very difficult.
Playing tennis in a court near pickleball players is also very, very difficult. There are so many noisy players in addition to the noise of the balls hitting the rackets. Tennis players have pretty much abandoned trying to play next to pickleball players.
It seems that advocates for pickleball minimize the impact of using tennis court for pickleball. Perhaps they should direct their efforts toward finding other places in the park to play. We typically have 4 courts available to the public for tennis. Any pickleball play in practice removes two courts for tennis.
If the gym is free that seems like a great solution because the noise would be contained. If the concession is willing to accommodate pickleball players that’s great too. Advocates for pickleball could also pursue building pickleball courts in Palisades Recreation Center.