AHF: L.A. County Porn Measure Moving Forward
LOS ANGELES -- The AIDS Healthcare Foundation says it has collected more than half of the 232,153 signatures it needs to put a measure to require adult film actors to wear condoms while filming in Los Angeles County on the November ballot.
AHF officials will hold a news conference Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to announce its progress. The presser will be held in front of the county's health department building on Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot measure campaign, said after less than two months of signature gathering -- and over three months prior to our legal deadline in June -- the group has passed the halfway point for signature gathering from voters in the county of Los Angeles in support of the ballot petition
"This measure is modeled after the county's similar health permitting process for tattoo and massage parlors and bathhouses," he said.
Weinstein said he has been stymied by the county Board of Supervisors' reaction to the campaign.
"It's been very strange to us ... that the county has so steadfastly refused to take action," he said. "One thing we've demonstrated: We have the wherewithal to put this on the ballot and most people believe we have the wherewithal to enact it at the ballot box."
AHF's ballot measure would require adult film producers to obtain a permit from the county Department of Public Health, pay a fee and would require condoms to be used during adult filming.
The measure includes a provision that would require signs in view of performers -- in 36-point type -- saying that "the use of condoms is required for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films to protect performers from sexually transmitted infections."
Applicants for porn film permits would be required to undergo training on safety-on-the-set matters and be required to successfully obtain certification.
The county could conduct random spot checks of porn sites, just like how the county does surprise health inspections of restaurants, lunch wagons and food carts.
Health inspectors would be able to suspend or revoke the permit for violating the ordinance, and violators would be subject to $500 civil fines and criminal misdemeanor charges that could levy six-month sentences and $1,000 fines. Each act would be punishable as separate offenses.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a similar ordinance for the city last month.
Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, told XBIZ that the AHF's drive to target porn in the county and elsewhere is a waste of contributors' funds as well as taxpayers' dollars (AHF is organized as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)).
"Do the math, is this a good use of AHF's donor dollars or the dollars AHF gets from California state contracts for that matter? Duke asked.
"AHF is using paid signature gatherers to get this initiative on the ballot so all that 120,000 signatures means is that AHF has spent — and this is a conservative estimate — $600,000 thus far. AHF will likely spend $1.5 million to get this on the ballot.
"In L.A. County, between June 30, 2008 and June 30 2011 — 6,447 new cases of HIV were reported. Of the 6,447, two were adult entertainment performers. Both of those performers contracted HIV off-set and no transmission of HIV occurred during that time period on set."