Despite disapproval from the porn industry, the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Daily News, the L.A. county initiative that would mandate condoms in porn was winning tonight.
According to early L.A. County Registrar-Recorder figures measure B was winning 63 percent in favor to 36 percent against.
That's with …
… 391,759 votes counted.
Measure B was spearheaded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation which has, for years, tried to get the adult business to play safe.
The organization cites California workplace safety officials who say condoms are indeed the law in the state; they just don't have the resources to enforce the rule.
The initiative, then, sought to institutionalize condoms through massage-parlor-like permitting for adult production throughout most of the county (Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon, which have their own health departments, are exempt).
The city of Los Angeles has a similar rule — for on-location shoots that properly seek permits — but has yet to figure out how to enforce it.
The industry has argued that consumers won't buy condom porn and that enforcement would push the multi-billion-dollar business underground and out of Los Angeles' “Porn Valley.”
AIDS Healthcare has cited a 2004 HIV scare and summer's syphilis scare as evidence that the industry's monthly STD testing protocol for performers doesn't work.
The most successful argument against measure B seems to be the one that claims it would empower bigger government without the means for enforcement.
But AHF says it's about more than that: It's about human life.
[Update at 11:58 p.m.]: The initiative continued to win tonight with 33 percent of precincts reporting. Voting was about 60 percent in favor and 39 percent opposed.
Political consultant James Lee of the No on Measure B campaign told the Weekly there was still hope however, especially considering the slow pace of the L.A. county count. He indicated many votes in whiter, more liberal parts of L.A., including the Westside, had yet to be tallied and could end up favoring the no side.
[Update at 12:47 p.m. Wednesday]: It won 55 percent to 45 percent. Actually it was closer (55.85 percent) to 56. While the AIDS Healthcare Foundation held a news conference this afternoon to celebrate, the industry lobbying group known as the Free Speech Coalition said it would challenge the measure in court.
Diane Duke, CEO of the FSC:
… We believe in the calm, serious deliberations of the legal system we will find that Measure B is in fact unconstitutional.
The industry sent a letter to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors indicating its threat. In it, Duke says:
We believe that the law is not only unconstitutional on the grounds of forced expression, but also falls within the jurisdiction of the state of California rather than local government. Therefore, we will file suit and challenge this intolerable law in court.