CANOGA PARK, Calif. — The Free Speech Coalition on Wednesday denounced an ultimatum levied at Los Angeles County officials by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation demanding they begin setting permit fees for adult films and start enforcing Measure B.
In a letter sent to Los Angeles County Counsel yesterday, the AHF said it would seek a court order compelling the county’s performance to set fees and enforcement within 30 days for adult productions if the Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act is not put into play.
The AHF’s letter said that Los Angeles County has a “ministerial, non-discretionary duty to develop and implement” a fee for adult productions after the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals issued a ruling last month upholding the constitutionality of Measure B, an ordinance passed by voters that requires actors in adult films to wear condoms.
The appeals court ruled last month that the ordinance did not infringe on either the performers’ or producers’ free speech rights.
Today, Diane Duke, who leads the adult industry trade group FSC as CEO, called the move to compel the county to enforce Measure B a “desperate act” by the AHF’s president, Michael Weinstein.
“The courts found the implementation of Measure B unconstitutional,” Duke told XBIZ. “Weinstein's witch hunt aimed at the adult entertainment industry is wasting millions of dollars that could be used in actually serving the L.A. community.
“AHF has no clinics in the most affected areas of L.A. — like Compton,” she said. “Sadly, this appears to be a desperate act of man, using the deep pockets of his nonprofit, in an attempt to stay relevant.”
In the letter sent to county officials, the AHF emphasized that parts of Measure B found to be valid by the 9th Circuit is the requirement of condom use during the filming of certain acts, as well as the development and imposition of a revenue-neutral permit fee.
“The district court’s ruling enjoined the imposition of the previously set fee of $2,000-$2,500 because there was no evidence presented by the county that it was ‘revenue-neutral,’ meaning that the amount of the fee did no more than cover the anticipated cost of enforcing the measure, and was not designed to impose a ‘tax’ on speech,” the AHF’s letter said.
The AHF noted that because the 9thCircuit cited there is no evidence that Measure B’s current fees are revenue-neutral, there is no reason that its duties cannot be performed without fees, or performed at least until the fees’ defect is cured.
“Because the county constitutionally may impose a revenue neutral fee, and because Measure B obliges upon the county a mandatory, ministerial obligation to develop and implement a fee, the county is required to undertake to develop and implement a revenue neutral permit fee,” the AHF said in the letter.
“It is respectfully requested that this fee be developed and implemented within 30 days of the date of this letter. If not, there will be no choice but to seek a writ of mandate compelling the performance of this ministerial duty.”