The Isadore Hall controversy spun out of control today, driving the secretive Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) swirling into the muck.
Everything fell apart March 14. That’s when Central Valley’s popular KMJ radio host Ray Appleton brought Senator Andy Vidak on his show.
Vidak explained how Hall had intimidated and threatened witnesses who were going to speak out in the Senate the next day against his ALRB appointment.
Then, in a surprise to listeners, a witness to Hall’s February 28 threats called into Appleton’s program, and told the public what he had seen and heard.
Among the revelations was that Hall became unhinged by Pick Justice’s video about Hall being unqualified for his $142,000-a-year part-time ALRB job.
The witness said he saw and heard Hall’s threats against those he thought were going to criticize him. Hall, the witness said, told the growers that “he was going to get those MF’ers back.”
Ray Appleton in his own words: ‘ugly, stinky stuff’
A podcast of the full episode of Ray Appleton‘s March 14 program is now online. His introductory remarks about Isadore Hall, start at 3:01 on the recording. Here are some highlights:
“This isn’t Isadore Hall’s first foray into thuggery.”
- “These incidents are very very prevalent in the political history of one Isadore Hall.”
- “This is so one-sided, so corrupt, the ALRB is so in bed with the UFW… and there’s no attempt to cover this up any more.”
- “Laws are being broken right before our eyes. Ethics are being blown right to Hell.”
- “‘Nobody cares and you can’t get us, because we’re the government and you’re not.'”
- “This is all ugly, stinky stuff.”
- “This is the guy that made news by keeping a candy bowl full of condoms on his desk. And his comments as an openly gay public servant about how he preferred them – young – left a lot of people seething with anger.”
- “He made threats. He made threats. He launched into an obscenity-laced tirade against some young farmers recently.”
- “[Senator Vidak] approached the Senate President Pro Tem, Kevin De Leon, to investigate this certified creepo, Isadore Hall. What are the chances, huh? Hell gonna freeze over, I ask? Of course.”
- “He really is king of thuggery. I mean, he’s a certified creepy, creepy guy.”
- “It’s ugly. It’s ugly.”
Points from Ray Appleton’s March 14 show
Senator Vidak also appeared on the show, making more news urging Hall to quit. Some of the other points in the show:
- Isadore Hall has not sought to explain his side, and has not denied the allegations.
- Senator Vidak called on Hall to resign.
- Hall threatened “to use his position to ‘get’ several of these farmers who opposed his confirmation,” Appleton said.
- Isadore Hall issued “very, very heavy threats” against farmers, and Senator Vidak “knows the names” of those who Hall threatened.
- “UFW could not convince the Gerawan workers to join them … So former Senator Isadore Hall marched with UFW” to force them to join.
- “Most of the farmworkers have no interest in organizing” because “they don’t want to lose 3% of their pay,” said Appleton, which is why Hall supports forcing them to join the UFW.
- Appleton also tipped his hat to journalist Katy Grimes, who has been on the ALRB corruption story for years, and who broke the news about exactly what Hall said in his vile tirade. (That story became the #1 Isadore Hall story on Google News.)
Industry opposition to Hall was typically weak
Appleton called out fruit industry leaders for being weaklings in the face of Hall’s threats. After Hall abused them, they were too intimidated to come forward, he said.
The radio host singled out George Radanovich, President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, who testified against Hall before the Senate Rules Committee the following day.
Appleton, who called Radanovich a friend, said that he “delivered kind of a tepid statement barely opposing Hall’s confirmation.”
He argued that had Radanovich had the guts to tell the Senate what he had just witnessed the night before, the California Fresh Fruit Association could have sunk Hall’s candidacy on the spot.
Pick Justice video – not industry – caused Isadore Hall to go ‘off the hinges’
A witness who did have the courage to speak out said that it was a Pick Justice video – not anybody from industry – that caused Isadore Hall to become unhinged at the Hyatt in Sacramento.
The caller, identified as Chris, said he saw Hall’s tirade at the hotel bar after it had begun, and heard Hall threaten and try to intimidate the growers.
What “set him off,” the witness said, was a video of Hall, which Hall blamed on Gerawan Farming or other employers.
In fact, we at Pick Justice made the video, and we’re made up of Gerawan workers and other farm workers.
Hall knows who we are because we tried to contact him, he blocked us on Twitter, and we testified against him the next day at his Senate hearing.
The Pick Justice video “set him off,” the witness said on the radio, causing Hall to go “off the hinges.”
Witness says there was no doubt Hall was making threats
“It was very explicit from the way he was speaking to the growers,” the witness told Appleton. “He definitely was making some threats.”
The witness said he would go to Senator Vidak with his testimony. Vidak said he would work to protect the witnesses against retaliation from Hall or the state government before any would reveal their names.
No denials from Isadore Hall
Hall and the ALRB have avoided public comment about the allegations.
Hall made no explanation and no denial. ALRB responded with its usual secrecy. Hall did not respond to Senator Vitak’s letter. He did not take calls from reporters.
Instead, he went into reactive mode, blocking anyone from seeing his Twitter account unless he personally approved their access.