In this issue: We cover the fallout from the closure of the Echo Park Lake encampment and protests. A crashed into a home near the top of Alvarado. And 20 certified candidates are running in next week's neighborhood council election.
Also, check out the Echo Park Guide to support neighborhood businesses.
Now, read on!
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Echo Park Scene
News & Notes
The LAPD said 182 demonstrators were arrested last week during protests over the closure of the once sprawling homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake, The Eastsider reported. The two final residents of the encampment who had refused to leave were also arrested for erecting a tent in a city park. Both men -- identified by the advocacy group Ground Game L.A. as Ayman Ahmed and David Busch-Lilly -- also failed to accept offers of housing in other locations, officials said. Ground Game L.A. told the LA Times that Ahmed and Busch-Lilly have since been released from custody. "I think a lot of people probably who were protesting didn't know that there were only two people last night even left in the park," Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters.
“There will be no living at the lake,” City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. O’Farrell, who spearheaded the closure of the park on March 24, said another park encampment would not be an option, but that the city would continue its efforts to find housing solutions for the homeless population. He noted that the population of people living at the lake full-time was consistently down to 58, until it suddenly spiked to 209 just before the park closure. He also said police were involved with the park clearance because of “incendiary threats” on social media from various activist groups.
“A public park on the edge of downtown Los Angeles never should have been allowed to become an encampment,” said Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez. He was criticizing city leaders not so much for the shutdown of the park last week, but for the two years in which the lakeside tent city was allowed to grow. “As friction [at the park] mounted, city officials underreacted,” Lopez said, “allowing the situation to fester while trying to please all sides, only to then swoop in with a heavy hand.”
L.A. City Council members Mike Bonin (who represents the Westside) and Nithya Raman of Silver Lake have asked the LAPD to spell out how much it cost the department to send officers to assist with the closure of Echo Park Lake last week and deal with protesters, says the LA Times.
A vehicle drove into a hillside home in the 1900 block of Alvarado Street last Thursday night, The Eastsider said. One person was taken to a trauma center. Video shows people removing wreckage as they tried to reach the vehicle that had rammed deep into a bungalow at Alvarado and Duane streets.
Firefighters knocked down a garage fire in Angelino Heights on Sunday night that spread to nearby vegetation, The Eastsider reported. It took about 15 minutes to extinguish the blaze, which began at about 8:30 pm behind a home in the 1000 block of West Kensington Road. There were no reports of injuries from the fire, which was visible from the nearby hills. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The effort is still ongoing to subdivide the property on 610 Belmont Ave into five small lots - but the project won't be moving forward anytime soon. The city has granted a six-year extension for recording of the final map. The tract map was conditionally approved on January 29, 2016. But an appeal was partly granted on January 27, 2017, and modified conditions were approval were adopted. Developers requested a time extension last October.
Elections for the Echo Park Neighborhood Council are coming up. Election Day is April 6, but you would have had to apply for and received a ballot by mail to vote in the election. Here's a list of the 20 certified candidates and their statements.
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Crimes this week included arson in the 1500 block of Lake Shore, grand theft at Beaudry and Sunset, and assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer near Lemoyne and Park Avenue, at the northern edge of the Park, the day after police had fenced off the park and begun taking down the tents from the encampment, according to CrimeMapping.com.
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