Friday, May 18, 2012

Porn Panic 2012 Continues: From Inevitable Tsunami To Spring Shower: LA Condom Mandate Committee Asks For 90 Day Extension Due To "Complexities"

You know, Clones, momentum is a strange thing. One day you have it like you think you will move the world on your little finger; the next morning, it slips though your hands.

I'm sure that before this morning, the folks over at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation were feeling mighty good about themselves, since they had browbeaten the LA City Council into passing their condom mandate law, and were just theeeees close to getting the hammer they needed to smash the LA porn industry into submission.

Problem was, reality got in the way of their mission...and now they will have to defer their celebration for an indefinite spell. At least, for 90 more days.

Today was supposed to be the day that the advisory committee setting the rules for enforcing the condom mandate law would issue their final report regarding the details of how they were going to enforce said law. The report was a prerequisite of the 120-day grace period between the passage of the law in January and the supposed enforcement of the law, which was scheduled to take hold on June 1st.

Unfortunately, like I said, reality got in the way.  Well, that, and the heavyweights of the porn industry finally getting together to fight the law.

First, the news that the final meeting of the "Adult Film Industry Working Group" was canned and delayed until further notice, via XBiz.com:


L.A. Porn-Condom Panel Postpones Meeting

 LOS ANGELES — The Adult Film Industry Working Group's fourth and final meeting slated for this week has been postponed.

The panel has been charged with crafting policies to implement Los Angeles' porn-condom ordinance and planned to schedule a final meeting sometime this week before they release findings in a report to City Council.

But Los Angeles city analyst Eva Bitar told XBIZ that the meeting has been postponed for this week and that no new date has been set for next week.

City officials last week said they were hoping to release findings to City Council by May 23 in accordance with a 120-day rule when ordinances must be enacted after approved by City Council and the mayor.

The porn-condom ordinance was passed by City Council in January while a ballot-initiative effort by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was in full swing; council members decided for the ordinance after weighing legal and ballot-initiative costs.

The ordinance currently isn't being enforced in the city, but later this month the ordinance could be put in effect.   

At the last meeting on Friday at City Hall, the 11 working group members heard public comments from Immoral Productions' Dan Leal, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke and adult industry attorneys Michael Fattorosi and Allan Gelbard, as well as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Mark Roy McGrath.
Now, keep in mind that this process was supposed to be completed TODAY, with a final report sent to the full LA City Council by May 23rd -- that would be this coming MONDAY, Clones -- so that they could rubberstamp their final approval and officially begin the process of blowing the LA porn industry to bits....errrrrrrrrrrrr, improving protection for porn performers.

It's looking more and more like that's just not going to happen now, so what the "Working Group" will send to the Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday will not be "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!!" but rather "Give us a bit more time, and we will get this done.  Maybe. Probably. Hopefully." Again, from XBiz:

 L.A. Condom Panel Asks for 90 Days, Cites 'Complexities'
 LOS ANGELES — The city administrative officer has asked for a 90-day extension to report back to City Council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa over rules implementing the new condom ordinance targeting adult performers.


The request, made in a memo obtained by XBIZ, cited "complexities of this issue" and asks the City Council and mayor to give the Adult Film Industry Working Group additional time needed to complete the report.


The request effectively puts enforcement of the ordinance, which makes condoms mandatory for performers at on-location adult film productions within city limits, on hold until at least late summer.


The Adult Film Industry Working Group has met three times already to craft policies to implement the ordinance; the panel, composing of city, county and state officials, had planned to schedule a final meeting sometime this week before reporting to City Council, but that meeting ended up postponed.


The panel had been pressured to create a master plan for the ordinance within 120 days of the law being passed by City Council and signed by the mayor. The condom ordinance was passed by City Council in mid January after threats of litigations from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which was successful in getting a ballot initiative pushed through.


In recent weeks the Adult Film Industry Working Group panel has heard from a contingent of vocal adult entertainment industry officials who say the ordinance is faulty and unneeded.


Two weeks ago, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke and FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas met separately with the city administrative officer, Miguel Santana, and his staff to discuss specific complications inherent to the ordinance's  implementation and enforcement.


And last week's meeting at City Hall produced a strong turnout for the adult entertainment biz and included public comments from Immoral Productions' Dan Leal, Duke and adult industry attorneys Michael Fattorosi and Allan Gelbard.


Gelbard, who spelled out problematic legal consequences associated with the ordinance at the meeting, told XBIZ today that the 90-day extension may give the panel more time to logically think things through.


"Perhaps, if they take a more thorough look at the constitutional issues involved in attempting enforcement, they will realize what a mistake passing this ordinance truly was," Gelbard said.


"I would hope the working group advises the city that the chance of this ordinance surviving a legal challenge is all but nonexistent, and that the city — in this time of fiscal uncertainty — can ill afford the cost of defending this clearly unconstitutional statute in court, not to mention the significant additional financial exposure of having to pay an attorneys fees award when it is finally struck down."


Fattorossi told XBIZ that because of the industry's comments and analysis at the meetings, the working group is now well aware of problems that enforcement of the law will place on the city's services.


"The act is unconstitutional and it is encouraging to see the city finally recognizing how it is fatally flawed," he said. "It was apparent from my attendance at the meetings that the members of the working group had not considered how far reaching and overly broad the act is.


"I have a feeling they may need even more than 90 days."
XBiz has also posted a copy of the Working Group's official request for an extension, you can read it here. (Warning, PDF document requiring Adobe Reader)

This coming Wednesday's LA City Council meeting just got a lot more interesting.

I'm sure that Mike Weinstein and Brian Chase are going to be mad enough to be spitting bricks and chewing nails (and I don't mean fingernails), and they are going to have some real choice words to the council. And, I'm doubly sure that they will also have their Request For Proposal paperwork in their hands, screaming that if the LA City Council won't do its duty and choke the XXX industry to death with their condoms and dental dams, then perhaps they should simply outsource the job to those who will...namely, AHF and their allies. How that will fly in the wake of the expected wave of budget cutting due to the state of California being too broke and in debt, we'll just have to see.

Considering that AHF has already agreed to foot the bill for any and all legal costs for defending the law, you can probably understand their zeal.

This isn't to say that LA porn purveyors should declare victory and get out by any means.....there's still Cal-OSHA and their proposed "barrier protection" regulations that not only could supersede any actions by the LA City Council, but could be imposed statewide. Not to mention, nationwide, since the federal branch of OSHA has their own interest in this. (Those are the ones, remember, that would impose "barrier protections" -- meaning condoms for men and dental dams for women, and possibly even gloves, goggles, and other personal protection devices -- for any act of penetrative sex (oral, anal, or vaginal).) Plus, one should never underestimate the ability of AHF to simply throw tons of money to bribe their favored politicians into compliance.

This battle is far from over, and will be a marathon fight to the finish. Even past 90 days.

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