Echo Park group honors officer who swept away swap meet vendors

The Echo Park Improvement Assn. tonight awarded Sgt. Joel Miller (left) a certificate of appreciation for his work in shutting down the Sunday swap meet at Echo Park Lake.  City officials had been unable for more than year to shut down the swap meet.  However, Miller and other officers from the Rampart Division were able to use other laws to stop the peddlers from selling, bringing the swap meet to a halt in early August. Miller said there were many other officers who also needed to be recognized. “These guys gave up a lot of weekends with their families to address the issue. They are the ones you need to thank.”

Photo from Echo Park resident


  1. Wish I could have been at the meeting. Congrats & a Heart Felt thanks goes to all the officers involved. Thank you from the bottom of our Echo Park Hearts!

  2. Thanks for the post and the photo! There were a few officers at the meeting and we were so happy to have them.

  3. I also would like to thank the LAPD for their service. But can anyone tell me why the Council Office, and the neighborhood City Attorney were also thanked for ending the illegal vendor problem. If it were left to them we would still be having the problem.

  4. am i the only one that thinks this is strange?

  5. What harm, exactly, were these vendors doing? The article is really vague.

  6. I find it actually offensive to thank the council office and the city attorney’s office, who clearly did NOTHING to address this. Garcetti routinely seems to drop the ball on anything other than the superficial.

    The question never should have been whether it could be addressed — of course it could. The question should only have been whether to address it. That city attorney definitely is not up to his or her pay grade, considering the lousy advice given! Neither is Garcetti — and it is offensive that he was thanked. Because of that inadequate city attorney, the police had to do his or her work themselves, which they finally did.

    The police initiative to do the city attorney’s work themselves is good. I will admit, though, that like the above poster, I do find the awarding of the certificate a bit strange, a bit overdoing it.

  7. They are thanked by doing their job and retiring at 50 with 90 percent pay. Most city workers give up their weekends to keep Los Angeles moving. They should receive an award once Echo Park goes back to 1950’s crime levels.

  8. LAPD’s initiative is not strange. LAPD has always been more than willing to clear out latinos from public spaces. Remember McArthur Park? The adulation on the other hand is a little strange. It reminds me of white women in Thousand Oaks waving the flag and saluting police helicopters during Rodney King.

  9. Congratulations to all the LAPD Officers (both Rampart and Northeast) for consistently working hard day in and day out in a professional and respectful manner to address the concerns of the community and for keeping our neighborhoods safe.

    Thank you to EPIA and their leadership for taking the time to recognize them in a public meeting.


  10. I keep holding my breath, I can’t believe this was actually achieved – thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Keep up the good work.

  11. I liked to get recognized for doing my job well, and my job never even puts me in harm’s way or has me be accountable to a group of people from whom we only hear about dissatisfaction, so I have no problems thanking the police for something the community was asking to be addressed. Despite their pay, they have one of the most thankless jobs on the planet – and the good cops are forced to pay for the sins of the not-so-good ones.

  12. Jose:

    Thanks for your political pandering. We are rewarding the officers for doing their job (and, with a hefty price tag as another commentator noted).

  13. I too appreciate the efforts of the officers!!

    I live close to the park. When the swap meet first started, I thought it was great. People need to earn a living somehow, and times are tough. But over time, the number of sellers grew and grew…and grew! I’ve been avoiding the park on Sundays for months because I couldn’t walk (or go running) — too many blankets with people selling stuff (mostly used clothes & cheap trinkets) in the way. The park is there to be used like a park, not a store. And visitors couldn’t park on the perimeter of the park either…heck, nearby residents had to go three or four blocks away from their homes to find a parking spot on Sundays!

    In addition, while I support freedom of religion, the evangelists who preached to the droves of people selling and buying stuff got to be a little much — we could hear them literally a mile away SCREAMING through their bullhorns.

    So thanks again, LAPD and EPIA, from another grateful Echo Park resident.

  14. Hey Dude. What harm were they doing? Hundreds of vendors and patrons transformed a public park into a swap meet, with a quickly growing criminal element (people extorting vendors for ‘rent’ for spaces they ‘reserved’ overnight). Soon enough, this would’ve been run by the gangs like the vendors around MacArthur Park are.

    Now I can walk and jog freely around the path, or lounge on the grassy areas with my family… activities that are appropriate for public parks, in other words…as opposed to the swap meet people setting up shop to make $$$ and to hog publicly-funded open space.

  15. Hooray for the death of the swap meet!
    Many thanks to the police who tackled this blight!
    Pooh pooh to the City Attorney and Garcetti’s office for sheer incompetence.

  16. i have a feeling you posted this with a sense of sarcasm. and if you did not, this blog sucks. in either case please clarify. This blog seems to be aligning itself against condo-developers and efforts to

    A message to the people making comments, please rethink your praise for these officers who are making it their duties to enforce gentrification in Echo Park. Echo Park is primarily a low-income Latino neighborhood, please don’t celebrate the very real effects of white hipsters in this neighborhood destroying jobs, rental-lease prices and other ways of life.

    What is their only organic fed white certified capitalism allowed in Echo Park? Move back to the OC.

  17. thank you. so thankful we have the infrastructure we do. was happy to drive by the other day and see a beautiful park.

  18. @ steven u got many good points on the gentrification bs that’s going on. True many ignorant racist rednecks are hiding behind the whole immigration law issue as their facade. To make others believe racism is ok.

  19. I submit that most posting congrats are vestiges of the old heartless white crowd. I wish they’d clear out you instead.

  20. long time resident

    since this is all nothing but opinion, i’ll post mine (which is as relevant as the rest). the flea market issue is not a race issue. i actually feel like if the vendors were white hipsters, the whole thing would have been shut down a lot quicker. since it was primarily hispanic/latino/chicano, they had to tread lightly for fear of seeming culturally insensitive. the fact that the park is no longer a filthy swap meet means that everyone gets to enjoy it (not just white people).

    BTW, the comment about white hipsters taking away jobs is ridiculous. there are 10 times more businesses in Echo Park right now then ever. new business means more jobs. every neighborhood changes, not just Echo Park. If you go to Watts, the African American families who have lived there for decades complain about the Latino’s who are now the majority. It’s just the way it is. You can’t hate people for wanting to make the most of where they live.

  21. I wonder if the swap meet would have been an issue 10 years ago when Echo Park was just Echo Park.

  22. Steven Rodriguez: so, are you saying that low-income Latinos don’t like using a clean, safe park? That the low-income Latinos of Echo Park actually prefer having their wonderful park – which, legally, is not supposed to be used for commercial puposes – overrun with vendors and plagued with the dubious capitialist exchanges, like “selling” space in a public park, which are often a part of such gray-market endeavors? (And let’s not forget the litter that was another byproduct of this so-called swap meet.) This blog serves an extremely useful function, but the knee-jerk and often predictably reductive responses it sometimes attracts – “hipsters” bad! (are Latino hipsters bad?) police bad! (well, except when you need their protection) gentrification evil! (tell that to the Latino homeowners of Echo Park) white people go home! (gee, isn’t that kind of racist?) – are pathetic.

  23. I am all for it! Echo Park is a ever growing place. It was 10 years ago, and it still is today. Unfortunately I have lived here longer then that. It’s nice to think that the police along with our council district people would have responded with the same amount of carefulness that they did if all the vendors were white/black, To keep most of the people here from staking claims to racial profiling. Why should we tread lightly for anyone. It’s 2010. It’s time to put on your Big Girl Panties, Big Boy Undies, suck up those tears, and put a smile on.

  24. I don’t understand why the flea market had to be shut down. It seems like a lot of families in the community enjoyed it.. it was a neighborhood yard sale. People would get rid of their old stuff and others were finding great deals on items they needed. Not only that. But it was a way for families to come together n hang out. I don’t believe these policeman should be honored and awarded for taking away the flee market.. the only reason. I could imagine people against this is because of the trash left behind. But the city does have workers that come n clean up every park in the city after every weekend. Can someone clue me in as to why you guys are so happy the flee markets gone?.. hmmm maybe race does have something to do with this…

  25. I for one enjoyed the swap meet. It was cool to pick around through the stuff. Occasionally there was some good stuff in there. At least it was nice to have people around, some hustle and bustle.

    For the people that were complaining about the noise, that came from a couple crazy ass religious people, not the vendors.

    And for the people complaining about the potential of attracting a “criminal element”, you should walk around the park ANY day near dusk or ALL DAY on the weekends. The same chollos are still sitting there with the same 40s and the same leering old men are still making all the women feel vaguely uncomfortable.

    I for one would stopping those things before stopping plump Salvadorians from selling croquet sets.

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