opinion

LA City Council Approves Condom Ordinance in 9-1 Vote

Diane Duke

The LA City Council voted this morning, in open session, to approve a mandatory condom ordinancethat would require adult productions to comply with condom usage on any adult set requiring a film permit in the Los Angeles City limits. The ordinance was approved 9-1.

The action was considered procedural after last week the city council green-lighted formation of a committee to decide on enforcement procedures for the ordinance. Reportedly, this committee will be made up of personnel from the City Attorney’s office, LAPD and personnel department, as well as state regulatory officials.

“The Council’s decision is yet another example of government overreach and intrusion. The regulations imposed are without any input from the stakeholders most impacted—adult performers and producers,” Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke said. “Mandatory condom regulation will not increase performer safety, it will diminish the successful standards and protocols already in place and compromise performer health. Government regulation of sexual behavior between consenting adults is, and has always been, a bad idea. The government has no business in our bedrooms—real or fantasy.”

The only member of the City Council to vote against the ordinance was Councilman Mitchell Englander, who represents the San Fernando Valley. Clearly, Englander realizes the negative financial impact on the area that may potentially result from today’s unnecessary move toward governmental regulation – especially at a time when the state recently introduced broad funding cuts to many services, and when state regulatory agency Cal/OSHA is reportedly under-staffed and under-funded.

Two other city council members, Bill Rosendahl and Paul Koretz, spearheaded the condom ordinance, in what they termed as an effort to save taxpayer money.

In December, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) condom ballot petition produced the required number of signatures to make mandatory condoms an issue for Los Angeles voters in June’s citywide elections. In order to save the expense of bringing the issue to the ballot, as well as any litigation that would follow, the City Council moved to enact the ordinance.

Both Rosendahl and Koretz have accepted donations from AHF President Michael Weinstein.

The Los Angeles City Attorney had filed a complaint in December against AHF’s ballot initiative, citing earlier court decisions ruling that Cal/OSHA could not pass regulatory enforcement responsibilities on to local agencies, including the Film LA permitting agency. The City Attorney speculated at that time, if passed, the ballot initiative also would be challenged on constitutional grounds.

AHF and its President Michael Weinstein have waged a relentless campaign against the adult industry since 2009 under the guise of “protecting” performers and the public health. AHF’s efforts were a major factor in the closure of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) clinic, which upheld successful performer testing protocols since the industry moved to self-regulate in 1998. The organization also has filed numerous complaints against adult businesses including Hustler, Vivid and industry talent agencies.

Weinstein’s grandstanding on the condom issue is groundless – using provocative language like “epidemic” and quoting statistics that have proven to be inaccurate – Weinstein has politicized the issue of mandatory condom use while alienating the industry he claims to protect. He also has suggested that the City Council add an $85 fee to film permits for adult productions, in order to fund enforcement.

Currently, Film LA reports that only five percent of total film permits are used for adult productions.

Strangely enough, the City Council actions coincide with major adult industry trade shows scheduled for the month of January. The announcement of last week’s vote to approve the motion to form an enforcement committee came during the XBIZ LA Show, held in West Hollywood. AHF protested at the XBIZ Awards ceremony on January 10, where Hustler founder Larry Flynt and FSC’s Diane Duke were honored, among many other industry leaders and performers.

This morning’s city council vote was taken while many industry members are in Las Vegas for the Adult Entertainment Expo.

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