Editorial: Councilmember Nithya Raman’s reelection is a win for a more affordable, humane Los Angeles

 Councilmember Nithya Raman smiles as she speaks to an outdoor crowd at night.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman speaks to the crowd as she hosts an election night event on March 5.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

After a bruising primary battle, Councilmember Nithya Raman has won outright her bid for a second term in Council District 4, an unwieldy stretch of the city from Silver Lake to the western San Fernando Valley. Her win is a reassuring sign of support for the progressive ideas about solving the homelessness and housing crises that Raman has championed and that the city and her district, in particular, desperately need.

To win, Raman fought off her chief rival, Deputy City Atty. Ethan Weaver, who tried to tap into residents’ frustrations with an easy-to-sell — if misleading — message about homelessness getting worse on her watch. Homelessness numbers went up across the city and county; they went down in her district. Weaver was buoyed by a huge outlay of $1.35 million in contributions and independent expenditures on his behalf from donors including police and firefighter unions and landlords — the groups most upset by Raman’s decisions in office to push for tenant protections, vote against police raises that the city can’t afford and refuse to criminalize homelessness.

Her win is a heartening sign that powerful interests can’t just dump a ton of money in a race and always prevail.


Rental subsidies, eviction defense and help finding new housing are prevention efforts that could help vulnerable people from falling into homelessness.

Feb. 11, 2024

And Raman did it in a district that was significantly redrawn since she won the first time. During her term, she lost 40% of her original district — more than any other council member — through redistricting, the fraught and too-political process of reshaping districts. No wonder her supporters and critics alike expected her to have to fight for reelection in a runoff.

This race was also seen as a bellwether for how the small but outspoken progressive coalition on the City Council is faring. So far, Raman is holding up her part of it.

Mayor Karen Bass announced Executive Directive 1 as a signature policy to speed up affordable housing. But limiting it to multi-family neighborhoods is shortsighted.

Feb. 1, 2024

Being one of 15 City Council members in Los Angeles is an extraordinarily challenging job. It’s difficult to steward a district of 260,000 people and impossible to please everyone, particularly when there are such divergent opinions in communities over how to make the streets safer, build affordable housing and address the homeless crisis in a thoughtful, humane way. Some of the community members most upset with Raman have said she doesn’t listen to them. She listens. She just doesn’t always do what they want.

We expect Raman, in her second term, to work hard to hear out her constituents, consider their concerns and work with them. But we also want her to be just as courageous as she was in her first term in doing what is best for the people who live in the city, particularly the ones whose voices are rarely heard.