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L.A. Councilman Richard Alarcon Says City Won't Pull Porn Permits Because It's Afraid Of Lawsuits

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Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 1:01 PM

click to enlarge Did Rollergirl have her city permits in order? - BOOGIE NIGHTS
  • Boogie Nights
  • Did Rollergirl have her city permits in order?
At a time when some of the larger porn producers in Los Angeles have shut down production as a result of an HIV-positive test for an actor, the city of L.A. says it will continue to issue permits for adult filming.

Why?

Councilman Richard Alarcon, who chairs the jobs and economic development committee that oversees such permits, says taxpayers would run into lawsuits if City Hall pulled its approval of adult-video smut. Really? We're forced to, er, swallow this $4-billion-a-year enterprise?

Alarcon told the council Friday:

"I don't think there's a majority or even close to a majority (on the council) that are even interested in this subject ... To pull the permits for all the businesses ... could cause some severe legal challenges that could cost the taxpayers money.''

"As much as many of us are appalled by that activity, they are completely willing and capable of defending themselves with the highest paid lawyers to fight for their civil rights and, to date, they have been able to fend off these kinds of challenges."

Wow. From a council willing to shut down a vast majority of the state-legal pot dispensaries in town, this comes off as a real crock.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has called on L.A. to stop sanctioning Valley porn until the producers agree to start mandating condom use.

It has used this latest report of HIV as an example of what can happen when this industry goes without the kind of regulations that cover the transmission of diseases in other industries.

Ironic: The city has no balls when it comes to this industry. We're wondering who's contributing what to whom (and who's, er, catching).

We talked to Film LA, the organization authorized by the city to facilitate film permits, about how easy it is to get City Hall's okay to start filming prostitution.

Adult shoots are no different than Hollywood ones, except that there are conditions placed on them: They can't be seen or heard by the public, says Film LA spokesman Todd Lindgren.

Pay a $625 application fee, meet the rules required of all films, and you're, uh, in. Film LA processes about 40 adult film permits a month.

And if a production company has their own certified sound state -- the larger ones do -- no per-shoot permits are needed, Lindgren said.

Film LA doesn't set the policy in terms of who gets permits and who doesn't: That's up to the City Council. The permits are enforced by the Los Angeles Police Department's Contract Services Section.

Alarcon's spokeswoman said Monday "the council member is not available" to speak about the matter. Lt. Ray Garvin of Contract Services got back to us but referred us to the LAPD's omniscient Media Relations section.

What's interesting here is that a lot of porn goes under the radar, and the LAPD couldn't possibly have enough man power to peep into every basement to determine if unpermitted shoots are happening.

That's an argument that many in the porn industry make when confronted with the stance that they should just worth with condoms: Production will go underground and stray even further from the voluntary STD-testing system that apparently caught the latest case.

"We don't how much guerrilla filmmaking is going on," Lindgren says.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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