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LA County Board of Supervisors approve ballot measure granting them power to remove elected sheriff

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to put a measure on the November ballot that would grant them the authority to remove a publicly elected sheriff.

If Los Angeles County voters approve the measure on Nov. 8, the board would have the power to remove a sheriff “for cause” on a four-fifths vote of the five-member nel.

Tuesday’s vote was 4-1, with LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger casting the dissenting vote. She said giving the board the authority to remove an elected sheriff “unequivocally takes away power from the public.”

“It’s a move that has the potential to disenfranchise voters. It also overlooks the fact that a recall process already exists to remove elected officials who fail to perform their duties,” Barger said. “I’ve firmly and consistently voiced my vote to not support his charter amendment.”

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Barger said the choice would ultimately be left up to LA County voters on Election Day in November.

“I’m hopeful they will show up to voice their collective will,” she said.

Tuesday’s vote follows years of clashes between the Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The sheriff has repeatedly accused the board of defunding his agency at the expense of public safety and has rebuffed subpoenas to appear before the county’s Civilian Oversight Commission.

Villanueva is seeking a second term in office amid allegations he has not done enough to address deputy gangs and covered up a jail incident in which a deputy allegedly knelt on an inmate.

Villanueva has previously called out the board for the proposed measure, saying it would “allow board members to intimidate sheriffs from carrying out their official duties to investigate crime.”

“This motion is a recipe for public corruption, particularly when ’cause’ remains so broad and undefined,” he said in a statement. “Allowing political appointees with an agenda to determine ’cause’ is fundamentally flawed.”

Acesparks’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

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