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L.A. County voters offer mixed views on porn condom measure

[This post has been corrected; see note below.]

Los Angeles County voters have been mixed on a county measure that would require pornographic movie performers to wear condoms during filming.

Walking out of USC's Catholic Center, two friends discussed -- and disagreed on -- Measure B.

"I voted yes," said Reed Foster, a 21-year-old USC junior studying political science. "We can't have our porn stars setting bad examples."

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His friend, 19-year-old business major Alex Kablanian, disagreed.

"It's like NFL athletes," Kablanian said. "You get paid a lot of money to do things that are dangerous for your body."

On one side of the measure is the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has been crusading to protect porn stars from HIV. It has cast the issue as one that protects worker safety -- like requiring construction workers to wear hard hats -- and keeps the public safe from outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases.

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For the last three weeks, a 70-foot, 18-wheel truck with a "Yes on B" slogan has been driving through Los Angeles County, stopping to hand out voter information and more than 1 million free condoms.

"It is a health and safety issue," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS foundation and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative.

The AIDS group has poured $350,000 into the campaign to pass Measure B, paying for TV and newspaper ads, billboards and mailers. In addition, the campaign has spent more than $1 million to gather voter signatures so the initiative would qualify for the ballot.

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Opposing Measure B is a lucrative adult film industry said to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales while providing jobs to thousands.

The cost of the law would be paid for by porn producers, who would have to purchase a public health permit, much like tattoo parlors. Violators would be subject to fines and misdemeanor criminal charges. If the measure passes, some producers suggest, the business could simply move outside the county.

Alan Mehdiani, a 27-year-old accountant with clients in the adult entertainment industry, echoes these concerns. Business would be driven out of the Valley or underground, where the health concerns would be more alarming, he said.

Fred Rahimi, 64, who voted at Nestle Avenue Elementary School in Tarzana, questioned how the measure would be enforced.

“It’s wasting money, in my opinion,” he said.

[For the record, 4:13 p.m., Nov. 6: An earlier version of this post said the condom proposal is a state measure; it is a county measure.]

ALSO:

L.A. votes on election day: Reader photos

Ladera Heights voter: 'This year seems more important'

27% of voters in L.A. County cast ballots by noon; lower than '08

-- Marisa Gerber at USC, Andrew Khouri in Tarzana and Rong-Gong Lin II

 
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