Indian-American Councilwoman Nithya Raman Faces Recall Bid

Voters in South California launched a bid to remove Raman from office, calling her inexperienced and unresponsive.

Nithya Raman, a Californian councilwoman, is likely to face a recall.

Nithya Raman, an Indian-American councilwoman at the Los Angeles City Council, may face a possible recall. She is one among the four administrators facing recall in the state of California.

Raman has been in office for just six months.

A campaign committee formed in May served Raman a recall notice last week. She has 21 days to respond after which a 120-day period of gathering signatures for the vote would begin. There is a need for 27,000 signatures from the District to put the issue to vote, the LA Times explained.

Raman represents the 4th District and is a member of the Democratic party. In November last year, she defeated David Ryu to become the first woman to represent the district and made history by defeating an incumbent, for the first time in 17 years.

She is a Kerala-born and a US-raised activist with an interest in Urban Planning. She secured a masters in the subject from MIT after her undergraduate studies in Political Theory at Harvard. She had returned to India where she founded the research firm Transparent Chennai working for better sanitation of the city.

Before joining politics, she started a non-profit working in the sphere of homelessness. Homelessness was the central issue that she brought up in her election campaign.

‘Righteous’ and ‘Reckless’

In May, an editorial by Allison Cohen accused the councilwoman for failing to address the issues of her constituents. She wrote, "I have lived in the Los Angeles City Council district 4 for the most part since 1994, and I believe she is not the right representative for our area, at this time."

“Raman seems a nice person, based on my limited interaction with her. However, she is not cut out to lead 2,50,000 constituents from the San Fernando Valley to Silver Lake at a time as precarious as this.”
Allison Cohen in the op-ed

She wrote that Raman believes she alone can solve the problem of the city's homelessness and that she is unable to focus on her constituency because of the buzz around homelessness. She also is said to have left zoom meetings to attend to her children, the American Kahani reported.

According to the report, a campaign committee formed last month, headed by Los Feliz Ledger publisher Allison Cohen, claimed Raman is “inexperienced,” “righteous,” “reckless” and “ruinous”.

Twitter has swayed both ways. There are motivated accounts like @RecallRaman to campaign for her recall. Accounts like that of Sunset Square Hollywood, @cd4losangeles and @cherylholland have also been instrumental in sharing messages of those to recall the councilwoman.

‘Reject the Recall’

“Councilmember Raman is focused on the broad progressive agenda that got so many voters in the district excited about her campaign: effectively moving people from the streets into housing, protecting tenants, supporting small businesses, fighting climate change, and improving our city’s response and engagement on the needs of all of CD 4’s constituents.”
District liaison Armida Reyes in a statement issued on behalf of Raman to American Kahani

Administrators like Culver City mayor Dr Daniel Lee and labour organisers Hugo Sato-Martinez and Victor Narro came out in support of Nithya Raman. Lee said, "I haven't agreed with every single vote but this is yet another BS recall." All three of them talked about how this is being led by reactionaries" and might be "to chill the enthusiasm" of younger candidates.

Nithya Raman has also garnered support from her constituents who want "no more recalls". One resident of Sherman Oaks Suju Vijayan told American Kahani that she was "impressed" with the councilwoman's work and that she should be given more time in office to prove herself.

American Kahani quoted a voter who does not agree with Raman's policies but believes that isn't a reason for recall. He noted that “recalls were designed as a remedy to remove elected officials from office due to criminal behaviour or simply not showing up for work, not to remove someone from office simply because you don’t like their policies and want a second bite at the electoral apple before the next scheduled election.”

He said Raman is doing exactly what she said during her campaign.

(With inputs from LA Times, American Kahani)

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