L.A. Weighs AHF's $100K Offer to Help Fund Health Commission

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday adopted a motion to seek legal assistance in determining if it can accept $100,000 from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to fund the Los Angeles City Health Commission, a panel that would oversee delivery of health services and have considerable influence over public health policy in the municipality.

The proposed donation is significant because the AHF was the primary driver in getting the measure passed to launch such a commission, which, once it is properly funded, would be composed of 15 members appointed by the members of the City Council.

The AHF also was the driving force for Measure B, the Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act that was passed by voters in the county after it was approved by Los Angeles City Council in a different form

Just today, the AHF said it would seek a court order compelling the county’s performance over Measure B to set fees and enforcement within 30 days for adult productions if it is not put into play. Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition’s CEO, called the move a “desperate act” by the AHF’s president, Michael Weinstein.

Hollywood, Calif.-based AHF recently proposed a new California initiative that, if enacted, would make condoms mandatory on the porn set, require adult filmmakers to be licensed and subject them to additional record-keeping requirements. The AHF initiative said that it seeks a Jan. 1, 2018, startup of the condom regulations if voters approve the proposed measure.

The Los Angeles City Health Commission was voted unanimously last year in response to a ballot initiative spearheaded by five health and policy advocates affiliated with the AHF. The measure, which would have likely appeared on the November 2014 election ballot, would have allowed voters to weigh in on creating such a commission.

Instead, City Council members unanimously adopted the measure outright as written and submitted to voters for signature. Since Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declined to sign or veto the measure, it became law.

Michael Weinstein, president of the AHF, has previously said that city residents are often short-changed in health services provided by the county and that a City Health Commission might provide a new level of accountability and oversight.

On Tuesday, AHF attorney Bradley Hertz approached the City Council as a speaker, telling them that after “several productive hearings” in sub-committees that the AHF would make a $100,000 donation to move forward the 15-member commission and its proposed goals.

Some, however, are concerned that the independence of the commission could be at stake with funding coming from an outside source, such as the AHF.