Questions raised about police sweep of Echo Park Lake vendors

The Thursday night meeting of the Echo Park Improvement Assn. began with some residents praising the LAPD for sweeping out swap meet vendors from Echo Park Lake, with peddlers being warned and ticketed for soliciting on public property.  But there was at least one person who wasn’t ready to join in the praise just yet – Deputy City Attorney Andre Quintero.

Despite working on the swap meet issue for more than year, Quintero was as surprised as many other Echo Park residents to hear that officers had cleared the park of vendors last Sunday. It was only last month that Quintero and a representative from Councilman Eric Garcetti’s office told members of the improvement association that the city could not force the vendors to leave the park until a related lawsuit is settled.  But police last Sunday said they were enforcing a portion of the municipal code that was not suspended by the lawsuit.  That was all news to Quintero, who said the LAPD had not advised him about their action. In fact, Quintero said that he was not sure whether the law that officers were citing could be applied to the park.  He said he would check into the matter. So, will the LAPD be back at Echo Park Lake on Sunday to issue more warnings and tickets? Stay tuned.


  1. “So, will the LAPD be back at Echo Park Lake on Sunday to issue more warnings and tickets?”

    Warnings and tickets? The LAPD should come back on Sunday with some classic baton work. These scofflaws need to be cleared from our public space so that civilized people can once again stroll in peace in the neighborhoods and parks that our hardworking ancestors created. If the carrot won’t do the work, then the stick must.

  2. The police should definitely be there every Sunday and throw them out, they are a blight on the park.

  3. @Harcourt- seriously? Indeed, police brutality against non-violent residents is the answer to everything. If LAPD is finding loopholes in lawsuits to kick these people out of the park, they need to hold out for a minute.

    And these vendors…mostly Mexican….why, again, are they not included included in your idea of “civilized people”? You sound like a bigot. These people aren’t hurting anyone. Frankly, you can find some gems down at the lake’s ‘illegal’ swapmeet. I think it gives the neighborhood more character.

  4. can they come sweep out the homeless camp in front of my apartment while they’re at it? (oh, for the record, i’m white and so are the homeless guys, so i don’t think anyone needs to start throwing “bigot” around)

  5. Bertha needs to relax, big time. I’m sure M. Harcourt was exagerating a bit, but there’s no reason for them to be there, it’s a “blight on the park” as Steven said. The park isn’t there for these bullshit make shift stores. I want to walk through with my family and dog and not have to step over a freakin’ mini-mart. Hell there’s several places throughout the neighborhood where people seem to feel it’s their right to set up a god damn flea market on the side walk. The city should be fining these people up the waazoo.

  6. We all agree that M. Harcourt is an idiot. Even if he is exasperated, suggesting that physical force by the police is an appropriate solution for the swap-meet is stupid and wrong. We all agree about that.

    But, come on, stop saying this is about gentrification. I’ve been in the neighbhorhood off and on for twenty years, and the Lake has never before hosted that one big giant swap-meet. Itinerant vendors, on the other hand, are the norm in the neighborhood, and I have tolerance for that. I like the itinerant vendors. I do. I don’t care if they are permitted or not. But, I don’t have a tolerance for shutting down the park for the sole exclusive use of one giant swap-meet. That is where I draw the line.

    And, I am Chicana. And, I love my people. So call me names, whatever. While some people may be motivated by racial animus (and generic anti-immigrant hysteria), not me. And, frankly, neither are most people who are complaining about this issue. This swap-meet does not have a historical precedent in this area. It sprung up a year ago and got out of control (way out of control) about six months ago. So, stop saying it is about gentrification. It is about the economic downtown. I am sympathetic to that. But somebody needs to find a more suitable venue for this activity. The park is not well suited for that. That is all.

  7. Vendors should be asked to leave. Anyone who is trying to sell spaces to vendors should be arrested. Or maybe Deputy Quintero thinks it’s OK for people to sell access to a public park?

  8. Boyle Heights have the problem before, ‘we” the community clean it out. just report it to the police. The police needs and have re-inforce the city codes and laws. Now we have a Farmers Market. and the iligal vendors? looking for a new places and……….good luck…..

  9. Transfer this City Attorney. They should get somebody assigned who is interested in upholding the law, and not just there to placate people.
    That also goes for the crack staff of Garcetti.

  10. This whole situation is RIDICULOUS!
    I think it’s very fishy that when the police department takes it into their own hands to solve this blight, and succeeds, the City Attorney now is chiming in on the possible lawlessness of it.
    Reeks of political posturing or embarrassment because he didn’t approve the police department plans FIRST.
    Well, he should be mortified-this illegal junk sale has gone on way too long, with no helpful input from him.
    “Our hands are tied!” Ha!
    Garcetti and Quintero are completely impotent leaders-they should be ashamed of their complete and total mis-handling of this issue.
    Bravo, bravo! to the Rampart Police who used their ingenuity to solve this problem with no help from our community elected officials.

  11. I feel these people will be back but rest assured when an officer is spotted in the park it will again cause vendors to literally pick up their wares and move away from the park. BTW did I forget to inform everyone that some of the vendors did go back to the park after LAPD left. Not many, but a few. I watched the officers last week and they were respectful and did not chase the vendors away but explained why they were giving citations. Another point to ponder–most of the vendors are organized, it is like they are all wearing an earpiece and know what the vendor on the other side of he lake is doing–bad news travels fast along the Echo Park Trail. If by chance you go to the park on a Sunday, please notice that the vendors are diversified with representatives from many different ethnic clans.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *