Veronica Jarquin likes to visit MacArthur Park every few days and let her 3-year-old run free on the playground.
On a recent morning, a man was smoking weed by the slide so they had to skip it and turn back home.
“It’s OK,” she told her daughter in a warm tone. “We’ll try again tomorrow.”
In the six years Jarquin, 33, has lived a few blocks from the park, she’s learned to tolerate the troubles that have long plagued this place. She holds her breath when the grass reeks of urine. She keeps her distance when police are making an arrest. She never goes near the yelling homeless men or their tents on Wilshire Boulevard.