Nithya Raman for LA City Council District 4
“I have focused on those issues that I believe are central to the future of Los Angeles today. I am trained as an urban planner, and through most of my career, I have worked on urban poverty. In India, I worked with slum-dwellers and residents of informal settlements who were fighting for basic services like running water and toilets, and for land rights. In Los Angeles, I have done a lot of work on homelessness, briefly at City Hall, and later in my own community.
“I believe in the principles of collective ownership and governance for the good of the many. I believe in a generous social safety net. I believe in strong unions, and the ability for workers to manage themselves. And I believe in achieving those goals through a fair, transparent democratic process with strong regulatory limits on the influence of money.
“I believe that an economic system that defends the right for a small number of individuals to accumulate limitless wealth, but provides no corresponding defense for the rights of the most vulnerable, has led directly to the myriad intersecting crises facing our city and our world. Homelessness is an illustrative example: we guarantee the right of landlords to raise rents and evict tenants in most cases, but no such guarantee exists when it comes to providing people with the basic human right of housing.”
— Excerpted from Nithya’s written candidate endorsement questionnaire
Nithya received DSA-LA’s endorsement on December 18, 2019.
In the March 3 primary election, no candidate received a clear majority of the vote, sending the two highest vote-earners to a runoff in the November 3 general election. Nithya and incumbent Ryu were separated by fewer than 3,000 votes in the primary, with Nithya earning 41% of the vote to Ryu’s 44%. This is the first time in recent memory that a primary challenger has forced an incumbent LA City Councilor to a runoff election.
Member Statements in Favor of Endorsing Nithya
“Nithya Raman is running in my district, CD4, and she feels like the perfect candidate at a very necessary time. David Ryu is trash, and co-opted the “get money out of city council” language to somehow be known as the anti-corruption candidate… He’s accepted money from lobbying interests in Morocco and Qatar, which are for surely not in CD4, and he then coincidentally got married in Morocco last month! I’m sure you folks know that David Ryu sucks. I’d love to see DSA-LA endorse Nithya Raman because she can win this race, and after Loraine’s tough loss, it would be great to actually get a W. I’ve been to Nithya’s house several times, and the campaign is full of DSA-adjacent people from all walks of life and all callings throughout this city…her housing, climate and public transportation platforms are genuinely inspiring and, in my opinion, align with what DSA-LA has been canvassing for in various campaigns since I joined in 2017. Her grassroots campaign has taken interest in/volunteered for some of our NOlympics “Homes Not Hotels” canvasses, and in turn I’ve seen a few different DSA folks at Saturday Nithya canvasses! I think this is a no-brainer and I wanted to voice my opinion right quick.”
“Nithya hired people from DSA-LA’s climate justice committee for her campaign. She came to our committee to discuss her environmental platform. We were impressed with how much her platform reflects our own priorities: realism about the urgency of the climate crisis, a commitment to energy democracy and public ownership of utilities, a just transition for workers as we move off fossil fuels and onto renewables quickly, mandatory setbacks for existing oil infrastructure, investment in public transit and green spaces, sensible water use and more.
“Nithya spoke passionately about her work with leftist groups in India, anti-harassment work in Hollywood, and her current efforts to address the housing crisis. She has a clear critique of LA’s housing problems and how they intersect with climate issues.
“It’s worth our time to put Nithya on City Council. It looks like her 2 main opponents are vying for a similar slice of the electorate, giving Nithya a realistic shot at winning. She sought our endorsement early on because she knew her political goals align with ours. Her campaign is an opportunity to educate voters about the real antagonists behind our crises, from climate to housing. And our membership numbers within her district give us some obligation to invest in this race. “