The state Senate today approved Gov. George Deukmejian's appointment of Jyrl Ann James-Massengale as the first chairwoman of California's powerful farm labor board, despite concerns about her background as an attorney for a Los Angeles law firm that has represented growers.
The vote was 29 to 1, but several senators, including President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles), abstained during the vote in the 40-member upper house. James-Massengale, 31, a Democrat, was appointed to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board last year by the Republican governor. She is the first woman and the first black ever named to the board.