Panel Needs More Time to Craft L.A. Condom Policies

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — The panel that has been charged with crafting policies to implement Los Angeles' porn-condom ordinance will meet one more time next week.

On Friday, the Adult Film Industry Working Group convened for what was supposed to be the last time before they release findings in a report to City Council over how to enforce Los Angeles City Ordinance No. 181989, called the "Safer Sex in the Adult Industry Act."

But Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana on Friday said the panel needs more time and will meet sometime next week so that they can release findings to City Council at least by May 23, in accordance with a 120-day rule over 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 "Safer Sex" ordinance currently isn't being enforced in the city, but later this month the ordinance likely will be put in effect, dramatically changing the wheels of porn production in the region.   

At Friday's City Hall meeting, the 11 working group members heard public comments less than three minutes each 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.

The meeting lasted one half hour.

Leal, whose company was cited just last night by LAPD's vice squad for filming without a permit, told the panel about the bust, and asked how them how they could reasonably create an ordinance that would regulate sex between couples — "even married couples ... how could you regulate that?" he asked.

Fattorosi told the panel that any such ordinance would be "impossible to regulate."

"It will be an insurmountable task to identify the real producers for an industry that is worldwide," he said.

Duke, meanwhile, said that the ordinance is a "different type of censorship" that is filled with constitutional issues.

Gelbard echoed Duke's take on the ordinance, saying the statute is unconstitutional, that it is content-based regulation of speech and will never survive strict scrutiny, a standard of judicial review for a challenged policy where the court presumes the policy to be invalid unless the government can demonstrate a compelling interest to justify the policy.

The delay in crafting the enforcement leg of the ordinance was openly criticized by McGrath, the only AIDS Healthcare Foundation rep in the audience, which numbered about a dozen. McGrath also complained to the panel about creating a "permissive fees" structure for adult entertainment film permits.