David Ryu and Nithya Raman

Incumbent councilman David Ryu and challenger Nithya Raman.

Incumbent Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu late this afternoon conceded the Council District 4 election to challenger Nithya Raman of Silver Lake.

"I congratulate my opponent on her victory," Ryu says in a statement. "Having won on a wave of reform five years ago, I know how difficult it is to implement change in City Hall. I wish her success in continuing our shared goal of reform in local government and in serving our city."

Raman later praised her opponent on Twitter and thanked her supporters.

"We ran a campaign on policy, civic education, and constituent engagement," she said in a Tweet thread. "The crises facing Los Angeles are vast but hopefully not insurmountable. We are excited to build off of the policies we campaigned on, and get to work."

Ryu, the first Korean American to serve on the City Council, was defeated after his first term -- a rare loss for an incumbent councilmember.  The 4th Council District includes Los Feliz, Griffith Park and a portion of Silver Lake.

The announcement came shortly after the today's update to the election results showed Raman with 52.46% of the vote and Ryu with 47.54%. Raman's lead over Ryu grew about 600 votes today compared to Thursday's numbers.

There are still more than 600,000 ballots to be counted across the county, according to the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder/County Clerk's office, but it was unclear how many are from the council district.

Ryu arrived on the council as a progressive outsider, pushing through a ban on political contributions from developers who have business before the city, and creating - by his estimate - nearly 600 units of homeless housing.

But facing Raman - who was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders - Ryu now found himself out-flanked on the left. After he and Raman signed pledges not to accept any political donations from police unions, the L.A. Times noted that Ryu “is clearly running a different campaign than five years ago or even five months ago, when L.A.'s police union shelled out nearly $45,000 in independent spending to support him.”

Raman came in with an activist background. She has a history of putting together organizations: Transparent Chennai, which worked with residents in the slums of India, and SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in Los Angeles. She is also Co-Chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee, and was the first executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, which advocated for equity and safety for women in the entertainment industry.

Council President Nury Martinez congratulated Raman on her victory this afternoon.

"I'm excited to have a third woman of color join this council, and I know she is going to bring her knowledge, energy and passion to hit the ground running," Martinez said. "I look forward to working with her."

In the March primary, Ryu outspent Raman by more than 3 to 1. But Raman nonetheless forced a runoff. Ryu only managed to get just under 45% of the vote - with Raman coming in second at 41%.

In recent interviews with The Eastsider, both Ryu and Raman favored using alternative to police for certain kind of service calls, such as homeless encampments and mental health crises.

In the area of homelessness, Raman discussed some new approaches to the problem, while Ryu emphasized his experience at setting up supportive housing for the homeless.

In the area of City Hall corruption, both candidates talked about public campaign financing. Raman pointed out that the city's ethics commission needs funding, while Ryu touted his successful efforts on campaign contribution reform.

A Note From The Publisher

Community News Matters: Support The Eastsider Fall Fundraiser

Thank you to all the readers who helped us get through the past six months by donating and becoming Eastsider sponsors. Your generosity, along with a grant from Facebook, allowed us to continue bringing you breaking news, features and extensive coronavirus coverage. 

But we still need your help. To continue producing this website, we will need to rely much more heavily than in the past on support from readers like you. For that reason, The Eastsider has launched a fall fundraiser.

Please consider giving so that we can keep the Eastsider appearing on your phone, laptop and desktop computer. We’re determined to keep you informed and connected to your community.

Please make your contribution by filling out the form below or click or tap here.


Jesús Sanchez, Publisher

  • The Eastsider

Talk is Cheap, Gathering News is Not

Join the readers whose monthly sponsorships defray the costs of gathering news and storytelling. That includes covering a variety of bills — from web hosting to bookkeeping — as well as payments to writers and photographers who have been generous with their time and talent. Only $5.99 a month!

Load comments