No Calls Over AHF Robo-call Campaign, Gatto Spokesman Says
LOS ANGELES — So far, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's robo-call campaign against Assemblyman Mike Gatto is impotent.
Gatto spokesman Justin Hager told XBIZ Friday afternoon that staffers in the assemblyman's offices in Burbank and Sacramento haven't received any calls from constituents on the matter of AB640.
On Thursday, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said his group would be blitzing the constituents of Assemblyman Mike Gatto with 100,000 telephone robo-calls in the cities and communities of Atwater Village, Burbank, Glendale, Hollywood, La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Los Feliz, Montrose and Silver Lake.
He accused Gatto of "single-handedly blocking" AB 640, calling him "pornographers' best friend in Sacramento" at a press conference.
The pre-recorded calls urging for Gatto to "free AB 640 from his hold" are voiced by Derrick Burts, a former adult film performer infected with HIV while working in the industry in 2010, and Rebekka Armstrong, an HIV-positive Playboy Bunny who has advocated for condoms in porn since 2004.
Gatto, who chairs the Assembly appropriations committee, held back a previous bill with similar language in the spring, citing concerns about costs of potential litigation over the law's constitutionality.
But Gatto denied that he was blocking the current bill, which is now being held in the state Senate. He did, however, express concerns about letting the bill go out before the end of the current legislative term.
AB 640, a so-called gut-and-amend bill, was previously legislation related to tobacco products, but its sponsor, Assemblyman Isadore Hall, recast it for adult productions just recently.
The hope for Hall and the AHF would be for the bill to be approved without any discussion in committee, but that would be going against the custom and practice of the Legislature. Next Friday is the last day for each house to pass bills.
Gatto accused the AHF of "scorched earth" political tactics over the robo calls, telling the Los Angeles Times that the bill is currently out of his control because it is sitting in the California Senate.