The good, the bad and the ugly of LA County election results

It was a classic case of big hat, no cattle for soon-to-be-former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who swashbuckled into office four years ago on a progressive and reform platform he didn’t believe in and made more enemies than Eli Wallach’s villainous character in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

Turns out voters didn’t want a capricious cowboy heading up law enforcement in the biggest county in the nation, and they said so, in thunder, on Tuesday at the ballot box, where at last count Villanueva is losing to former Long Beach police Chief Robert Luna by a 57% to 43% margin.

Picking fights with all your elected peers, illegally declining to respond to subpoenas, denying the real problem of deputy gangs in his department instead of fixing the crisis, causing the Board of Supervisors to put on the ballot a (successful) measure allowing the board to remove a renegade sheriff precisely because of the emergency he has caused — well, Angelenos can now say good riddance to Villanueva. Luna, who has actual top-cop experience — Villanueva had retired from the Sheriff’s Department as a disgruntled lieutenant — brings a no-drama demeanor to the job, and we congratulate him on his important victory.

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Some other key races are too close to call. While vote-by-mail balloting has many advantages, we are going to have to get used to not always having overnight results until California figures out how to more efficiently count ballots while maintaining accuracy. And the good turnout shows democracy is thriving, contrary to the fearmongering of the president.

The Rick Caruso-Karen Bass race to be mayor of the city of Los Angeles remains a nail-biter. Also a dead heat is the Bob Hertzberg-Lindsey Horvarth contest for the county Board of Supervisors. Hydee Feldstein Soto, who we strongly backed, will make an excellent new L.A. city attorney.

Young newcomer Kenneth Mejia shellacked veteran politico Paul Koretz for city controller in L.A., right now at 60% to 40%, and along with some other likely L.A. City Council races, he’ll be part of a far-left youth movement in Los Angeles city politics. But the 64%-36% vote against the poorly drafted Measure SP for parks shows Angelenos do not want to open their wallets when there’s no good plan on how to spend their money.

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