LOS ANGELES — Citing the potential for deficits in county healthcare programs, a broad-based coalition of business organizations, entertainment companies, community activists and healthcare advocates today announced the launch of a campaign aimed at defeating Measure B, the so-called “Safer Sex” initiative on the Los Angeles County ballot this Nov. 6.
“Measure B is a waste of taxpayer dollars, does nothing to promote better healthcare and threatens to add increased costs to the county by creating another underfunded government program,” James Lee, spokesman for the No on Government Waste Committee said.
He added, “Measure B will result in deficits threatening community clinics and healthcare services to the poor and minority communities of Los Angeles County.”
Organizers said that Measure B, funded and placed on the ballot by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), would require the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to license and permit adult movie productions in unincorporated areas of the county and require performers to wear condoms and create an unworkable system of on-set inspections and enforcement by county personnel. The measure hopes to fund the program through permitting fees, but makes no allowance should funds prove insufficient to maintain the program.
“The adult entertainment industry has the most aggressive and comprehensive testing and reporting program in the country. It’s an industry that acts swiftly and responsibly in shutting down production nationwide at even a hint of a positive test result,” Lee said. “What this is really about is creating another government bureaucracy regardless of what it means for county healthcare services and drive production-related jobs out of an area with stagnant job growth.”
The group citied figures from Los Angeles County that estimates the initial start-up costs for the inspection and permitting program would come to more than $300,000 per year in administration, salary and benefits for county inspectors, but with Film LA, Inc., the film-permitting arm for Los Angeles County, estimating less than 480 permits issued for all adult film shoots, the program could start losing money from its launch.
Measure B also stipulates standards for conduct on sets during filming that could require actors and film crew to wear gloves, goggles and lab coats.
“The people of Los Angeles County can think of a lot better uses for the time of first responders, county health inspectors and other government personnel than hanging around an adult film shoot checking for condom usage,” Lee said. “Measure B is seriously flawed and is going to cost taxpayers money and cost them critical health services.”
In support of its campaign the Committee offered the following information about the adult entertainment industry:
- In Los Angeles County from June 30, 2008 to June 30, 2011, there were 6,447 new cases of HIV reported according to the California Dept. of Public Health, but only two were adult performers who did not contract it on-set.
- There have been no documented cases of HIV transmission on an adult entertainment set since 2004
- The industry sets testing standards far in excess of virtually any other industry such as local hospitals, pharmaceutical firms or food service. It is also the only industry that orders industry-wide shutdowns of production whenever a threat to performers exists.
- The industry employs over ten thousand workers in production-related jobs such as make-up, lighting, carpenters, transportation, food service, payroll processing, web design, etc. All of which would be in jeopardy should Measure B pass.
- The industry contributes over a billion dollars in local economic impact and tax revenues to local cities and the county that would also be in jeopardy.
The group said it would be launching an online program to provide information to interested voters.