LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) - Obama vs Romney! Sherman vs Berman! Yeah, yeah, those are all important but lost in all that hype and hoopla is Measure B.
Los Angeles County voters will get to determine Tuesday if porn actors should be required to wear condoms on the set.
Measure B, short for the "Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act," hasn't been advertised much. You won't see TV commercials for the pro - or anti - group for that matter.
If the measure passes, producers will be required to apply for a permit from the LA County Department of Health to shoot a XXX scene. A fee for the permit would pay for random inspections to assure that performers used condoms.
Civil fines (amount unspecified) could be levied against all who don't comply. The measure also makes it possible for lawmakers to impose misdemeanor charges against violators.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation helped get the measure on the county ballot, saying the rule would help safeguard the public. The Foundation's website recently cited an LA Times report that said LA porn actors have, on average, more STD's than Nevada prostitutes.
Condoms are rarely used in straight pornographic films. The vast majority of gay porn actors wear condoms.
"Pornographers should not be exempt from the basic safety rules that protect everyone else." That is language included on the county's ballot guide and signed by AHF President Michael Weinstein and a pair of doctors. "Public health should not be sacrificed on the false claim that this is a free speech issue; this is a public health and safety issue."
Backers of the measure also argue porn actors often lack health insurance, so taxpayers may end up footing the healthcare bill.
On the contrary, opponents say the measure impinges on basic freedoms. "Safe sex practices are a good idea. However, they shouldn't be forced on adult film actors," according to language in the voter guide authored by county Libertarian Party chair Nancy Zardeneta and four others. "Our individual rights have been fading fast since the Patriot Act. Do-gooders such as New York Mayor Bloomberg seek to create a nanny state where our behavior is increasingly regulated for our own good." (Bloomberg wants to limit how much soda New Yorkers can buy in a single serving.)
Some opponents of Measure B, namely the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, also suggest the measure will drive adult film production out of Los Angeles County (the rubbers hit the road literally?), costing thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues.
California is one of only two states where adult film production is legal - New Hampshire, the "Live Free or Die" state, being the other.
Porn legend Nina Hartley joined a cadre of adult performers Sunday at Deja Vu in Hollywood. She blasted the measure. "It's a bad idea. It's bad for public health. It's bad policy. It's bad politics. And it's unconstitutional."