Nithya Raman is an urban planner and member of the Los Angeles City Council representing District 4. She has worked on homelessness for many years, co-founding the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition and serving as vice chair of the city council’s Housing Committee. Before sitting on a panel for the Zócalo/KCRW event “Do We Even Need a City Council?,” Raman sat down in our green room to talk about Keralan delicacies, Friends, and Rihanna.
If you could have one superpower, which would you choose?
I do want to fly.
What’s one of your favorite places to go in District 4?
What is something you miss about India?
The street food.
Where is a place to go in L.A. for decent Indian food?
Tough one. The best South Indian food is in Pasadena, near CalTech: Annapurna Grill. A wonderful Keralan place is Mayura, in Culver City on Venice Boulevard. You can get appam and stew there, a Kerala delicacy—it’s a fermented batter, and the stew has coconut milk and vegetables, anise and cloves.
Who’s somebody that has inspired you?
From my homelessness work, Mollie Lowery. She started LAMP [now The People Concern], which works in Skid Row, and she started Housing Works in Hollywood. She really believed that you work with people, and you do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get them housed.
What are you watching these days?
Reruns of Friends. And Bosch.
What Friends character do you think is most like you?
Are you more likely to stream the new Taylor Swift or Rihanna?
Where can we find you on a typical Sunday?
Sherman Oaks Little League with my son. And a district block party.
What do you think Angelenos should know about their city council?
Honestly, they should know about their city council. I feel like most Angelenos don’t know [what city council is]. That would be step one.