Los Angeles City Council

Raman Leads Incumbent Ryu in LA Council Race, Ridley-Thomas Wins in District 10

Two seats on the Los Angeles City Council were being contested in Tuesday's election.

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What to Know

  • In the Council District 4 race, Nithya Raman faces incumbent David Ryu.
  • Ryu touts accomplishments that include bringing A Bridge Home transitional housing projects to his district.
  • Raman said she would work to help reduce the city's homeless population by protecting tenants and lowering rents.

Challenger Nithya Raman held a narrow lead Wednesday night in her effort to oust incumbent David Ryu from the Los Angeles City Council's District 4 seat.

With initial vote counting from Tuesday's election complete -- but an unknown number of ballots still remaining to be tallied -- Raman had 52.4% of the vote, with more than 5,400 votes separating the pair.

"This is a moment of hope," Raman said in a prepared statement.

"While we are still waiting on the full results, there is absolutely no doubt that progress won in Los Angeles last night. The incredible victories by the movements for radical, carceral, environmental and housing justice will reverberate throughout our city for years to come."

Raman is a homeless advocate and former executive director of Time's Up Entertainment, a nonprofit that works against sexual harassment and abuse in the workforce.

Ryu has championed himself as a reformist on the council and pushed for more transparency in government. He touted his efforts to bring A Bridge Home transitional housing projects to his district. He also said he wants to prioritize the city's budget, which has been hampered by COVID-19, to continue to deliver the most critical city services.

"This job, and my entire life, have been about serving the people of this city," Ryu said during an online election-night briefing. "No matter what happens in this election, I promise you that I will never stop serving my city and I will never stop fighting for what is right. This campaign has never been about me. It has been about us, and the city that we can build together."

Ryu tried to get a rent cancellation ordinance passed earlier this year due to the pandemic, but it failed to get enough support after City Attorney's Office representatives questioned whether the city had the authority to completely halt rent payments.

LA Councilman David Ryu overcame the odds to become the first Korean American to win a seat. Ted Chen reports for the 2016 Asian Pacific Heritage Month Special.

Raman has been working with nonprofit organizations, and said she would work to help reduce the city's homeless population by protecting tenants and lowering rents.

On policing, Raman said she wants to remove armed officers from situations in which they aren't needed, while maintaining the ability to protect people against violence.

That stance is similar to Ryu's, though the two have clashed over whose proposal would be better.

Both candidates secured high-profile endorsements. Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Raman and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed Ryu.

Raman ran a star-studded campaign, appearing on her social media platforms with endorsements from celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Adam Scott and hosting events with comedian Hannibal Buress.

In the primary, Ryu was forced into the runoff with Raman, as he finished with 44.7% of the vote to Raman's 41.1% in the district that includes the Hollywood Hills and South San Fernando Valley.

In the District 10 City Council race, county Supervisor Mark RidleyThomas defeated Grace Yoo, an attorney and community advocate.

Council President Nury Martinez congratulated Mark Ridley-Thomas via social media Tuesday night.

"At such a critical time, Councilmember-Elect (Ridley-Thomas) brings experience and results in his return to the Los Angeles City Council," Martinez said on Twitter. "Mark, Council District 10 will be well-served by you."

Ridley-Thomas will replace Councilman Herb Wesson, who ran for RidleyThomas' county seat but lost to Sen. Holly Mitchell.

During the campaign, Ridley-Thomas touted his sponsorship of Measure H, the county ballot measure expected to generate more than $3.5 billion over 10 years to build supportive housing to combat homelessness. He is also a cochair on Gov. Gavin Newsom's Council of Regional Homeless Advisors.

Ridley-Thomas said he wants to transform public transportation, the criminal justice system and enhance renewable energy opportunities. He served on the City Council from 1991 to 2002, so he can only serve for another four years, per the city's term limits.

The district includes much of central and South Los Angeles, including communities such as Koreatown, Mid City, Leimert Park, Arlington Heights, West Adams and Little Ethiopia.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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