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The state Senate on Thursday confirmed former state Sen. Isadore Hall III for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board despite opposition from Republicans.
Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Hall, a 45-year-old Democrat from Compton, to the position in January, drawing objections from agricultural leaders who noted he had supported the United Farm Workers in labor disputes with growers.
Republicans also want an investigation into allegations that Hall threatened farming leaders who opposed his selection.
Hall's appointment to the job, which pays $142,095 a year, was approved by a 25-13 party-line vote.
Hall lost a bid for a congressional seat in last November's election to fellow Democrat Nanette Barragán.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) described Hall as “intelligent as well as thoughtful and fair-minded."
De León defended his decision not to launch a probe of Hall's alleged threats against farming leaders, which were said to be made at a hotel bar. “It’s not our practice to review or investigate bar room conversations," De Leon said.
Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Fresno) said he was disappointed de León decided against an investigation, calling Hall “ill-suited to a judicial position.”
Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) agreed that Hall is not qualified for the job and said the appointment meets the definition of “cronyism."
However, Democratic Sen. Ben Hueso of San Diego said Hall has integrity and will be a fair member of the board. He said some attacks against Hall, who is African American, are “racially motivated.”