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Maybe California isn’t the example of the good life as much as it used to be, but there are lessons from voters in Tuesday’s elections there for those of us in the normal states — and particularly crime-ridden cities like New Orleans.

Competence matters, ideological extremes aren’t aging well, and party labels might not be as powerful as the politicos think.

In San Francisco, the ultraliberal district attorney was recalled, as voters rebelled against crime and disorders in the streets. In Los Angeles, a billionaire former Republican won a runoff slot for mayor with a pledge to crack down on crime and the tent cities that disfigure the streets.

A veteran of city government in Los Angeles put the voters’ judgments into a nutshell for The New York Times: “This is about competence,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, who is now director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“People want solutions,” he said. “They don’t give a damn about left or right. It’s the common-sense problem-solving they seem to be missing. Government is supposed to take care of the basics and the public believes the government hasn’t been doing that.”

Maybe these are lessons that will resonate farther than the Left Coast.