Ryu defeats Ramsay in Council District 4 race

David Ryu captured more than 53% of the vote | Courtesy Ryu for Council

David Ryu captured more than 53% of the vote | Courtesy Ryu for Council

David Ryu will become Los Angeles’ first Korean-American City Council member after he defeated Carolyn Ramsay in the race to represent Council District 4, which sprawls from Los Feliz and Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks. Ryu will replace Tom LaBonge, a Silver Lake resident who is termed out after 14 years in office.

With all precincts reporting, Ryu, a health care development executive, captured 53.85% of the more than 20,000 votes cast, according to unofficial results from the City Clerk.

District 4 includes Los Feliz and the northwest corner of Silver Lake. In this part of the district, Ramsay, who has served as one of LaBonge’s top deputies, was the top vote-getter across Los Feliz and the portion of Silver Lake northwest of the reservoirs, according to an L.A. Times voting map.  However, Ryu  garnered a slim majority of the votes  in the area northeast of the reservoirs.

Ramsay had been backed by many of the city’s top political leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti,  and had won endorsements from the L.A. Times and Daily News.

While Ryu will become the first Korean American elected to the City Council, he downplayed that at his election night gathering, according to the L.A. Times.  Said Ryu:

“And today, it’s historic not because I’m Asian American. It’s historic because we are finally telling City Hall that we do not like business as usual.”



  1. It is pretty cool that Ryu snuck up on the establishment and got this victory. I wonder how he will govern his principality? Things are going to be frosty, I imagine, between his office and nearly every other group in City Hall.

    • The first thing to watch is whether Ryu can resist the usual thing that happens: the real estate developer scum begin to transform the councilmember into their puppet. One of the most shocking examples is Mitch O’Farrell. There was a candidate with insider experience as a deputy to Eric Garcetti who had distinguished himself as someone who was able to work closely with community people, who seemed to have an ability to genuinely care about issues the community cared about. The moment he was elected, he stopped listening and working with community people and began cow towing with real estate developers. Within a month after taking office, it was Mitch O’Farrell who was Garcetti’s corrupt little puppet to call upon the City Council to vote to approve the disasterous Millennium skyscrapers on the earthquake fault project. It was a HUGE mistake and even worse, since then, O’Farrell has refused to admit he was wrong to do so. When the Court overturned the City’s approval of Millennium, the first thing out of O’Farrell’s mouth was continued defense of the Millennium developer. At City Hall, something like the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers occurs. By outward appearance they seem to be the same, but inside they have been infected with a “bug” of sleazy practices of taking real estate developer money and screwing the community for their puppetmasters.

      If Ryu TRULY wants to change City Hall then he should kick the developer/City Hall business-as-usual crowd and immediately start a campaign to amend the Charter. We need to double the size of Council to reduce their individual power. We need to open up City Hall to transparency with a sunshine law – our City Council releases tons of irrelevant documents in order to hide the relevant few. Ryu could be a hero if he championed a sunshine law similar to that of San Francisco or San Jose. And Ryu could help bring the City government closer to the people by leading a campaign to require that our City Council meetings only occur at night, like Santa Monica, Pasadena, Glendale, and almost every other City. If you like the way that Santa Monica, Pasadena or Glendale look, its because the Council meets at night when the community has time to come face-to-face with their elected officials and balance out the power of the real estate developer scum that have seized the power at our City Hall.

      And if he gets the usual FROSTY TREATMENT where the City Hall politicians threaten to vote against everything he does, then Ryu ought to build a coalition to recall one or more City Councilmembers — starting with Herb Wesson — the creep who gerrymandered Koreatown into two districts to weaken Asian-American voter strength in Los Angeles.

      There is extreme frustration with City Hall in the communities. People are motivated for a leader to build coalitions to change our City Hall. Ryu could lead that change, or he could become an immediate, weak and mealy-mouthed puppet like Mitch O’Farrell. Joining the ranks of the prostitutes for developers is the easy way — like dancing on a cruise ship. Leadership is hard fought and means stepping on some toes at City Hall in order to build a new political coalition of communities united against the daylight hour corruption of Los Angeles City Hall.

      • Good analysis, Maggie. However, on Mitch, that was always a scare to me about him, that he was a top deputy to Garcetti. You cannot be in such a position without actually believing in and supporting your boss. And Garcetti is everything you hate about O’Farrell. Garcetti never saw an overdevelopment, or even a massive overdevelopment, he isn’t in favor of – and worse, that he won’t push to make even bigger! And Mitch has proved to be the same. I noticed in Garcetti’s campaign reports that the overwhelming majority of contributors were developers or the associates, such as their lawyers – but the LA Times never told the public that, only spoke about unions (including construction unions).

        Both Garcetti and O’Farrell are 110% — no, make that 1,100% — sold out to developers. As that has always been a problem in LA, I have never seen it so extreme as with those two. That have put it on steroids!

        What you thought all those years when Mitch was a deputy to Garcetti was simply because Mitch was lying all those years, telling you what you wanted to hear, making up lies about the problem being somewhere else, someone else, when really the problem always was in Garcetti’s office. And now it is in Mitch’s. And Garcetti has taken it to the mayor’s office.

        I recognized the major problem about Garcetti being more of a shill for developers than any politician who has preceded him in Los Angeles — and lying — early on. It is the same with Mitch, the lying continues. He was Garcetti’s liar. And we are now learning from lawsuits and other actions that the extent of deception and lying by Garcetti was and is far beyond anything anyone could ever imagine, not only lying to neighborhoods that nothing can be done to stop a particular overdevelopment, but even while doing so going behind their backs to push the developer to build even more — the Target project is one example of that! As dirty politics as this city has always had, Garcetti has taken to that new heights, to extremes no one ever would have thought possible.

        It seems the voters yesterday might have realized that Ramsey would have the same priorities of LaBonge, and they didn’t want that.

        But regarding O’Farrell and Garcetti, we REALLY need to not simply wait for the next election to oust these lying pigs, but we need to mount a recall election. Yes, that would be easier against Mitch — let’s get it going. But we need to get rid of Garcetti too, and fast! There will be nothing we favor left if we leave them in office.

        • “There will be nothing we favor left if we leave them in office.”

          Based on what I’ve read (lots of words, not much substance or support for the espoused position), this may not be a bad thing.

      • Well, I don’t share your general sentiment about “overdevelopment” (although Millennium was a bit much), but you bring up some great ideas… expanding the size of the City Council to better represent actual neighborhoods, greater transparency at City Hall, and moving Council meetings to evening hours are all excellent proposals.

  2. While Carolyn Ramsey seemed nice enough, I suspect that one of the things that propelled Ryu into office was the terrifying thought that if voters elected Ramsey, she would hire Tom LaBonge to serve on her staff. That would be a return of that bloviating bag of hot air who would still have a platform from which to spew his embarrassing BS. Tom is a glad-handing phony who made nasty good old white boy back room deals that harmed our City. Please do not let the door hit your behind on the way out Tom.

    • I don’t think I am alone when I say that I disagreed with LaBonge on just about every policy decision he took but I loved to hear him get up and work a room, ask people which high school they went to, and talk about his football days. He should be the honorary mayor or something. Someone to greet dignitaries when they visit city hall or maybe host a reality TV show that follows him throughout his post-officeholder days.: hiking Griffith Park, cleaning gutters in a rain storm, fighting brush fires, taking pictures during parades.

      • Good God. The only place LaBonge’s inane schtick should be seen today is isomewhere he can do no further harm to the City. Tom LaBonge for Honorary Mayor of the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant sludge fields in Kern County!

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 *