Sometimes as an attorney I get to do interesting things, well at least interesting to me. Before porn, I was involved in politics in my home state of New Jersey as well in Washington D.C. during college. I ran for elected-office as well as ran campaigns for other politicians and worked with former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey before heading off to law school ( Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Mcgreevey ).
On October 8th, I was invited to a private “meet and greet” with Congressman Howard Berman and Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (photo on right) ( Please see: http://www.howardberman.com/ and http://www.bobforassembly.com/ ). Berman is running for re-election against another sitting Congressman, Brad Sherman, due to redistricting in the San Fernando Valley. Both are running for election in the 30th Congressional District and both are democrats ( Please see: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California%27s_30th_congressional_district_elections,_2012 ). The new “30th Congressional District” contains most of the San Fernando Valley.
Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield is the sitting democratic in the 40th Assembly district however his district has also been redrawn and is now the 45th Assembly District which also contains most of the San Fernando Valley. His opponent is Republican Chris Kolski ( Please see: http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/06/05/ca/state/race/caasm45/ ).
For all intents and purposes, Congressman Berman (photo below) and Assemblyman Blumenfield are the industry’s representatives in Congress and the California State Assembly.
October 8th was also the day that the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party both took positions against Ballot Measure B. However, the Democratic Party as yet to make a decision as to Ballot Measure B. Neither Berman or Blumenfield have yet to take an official position on Ballot Measure B though both represent most of the businesses and the talent of the adult entertainment industry located in the San Fernando Valley.
At the meet and greet, I was able to have in-depth conversations with both Berman and Blumenfield as well as their staffers. All understood the impact that Ballot Measure B would have on the industry and the lives of their constituents. Everyone was well aware of the potential loss of business and tax revenue for the San Fernando Valley that Ballot Measure B could inflict if passed.
What was more interesting was their positions as to whether worker safety laws should be the subject of a county wide ballot measure. Prior to being elected to Congress, Howard Berman was an attorney that specialized in Labor and Workers Compensation law. He understood the complexity of establishing safety laws in a workplace. As a state Assemblyman, Blumenfield was also well versed on worker safety issues.
I should probably also note at this point, that Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander was the ONLY City Council Member to vote against the Los Angeles City “Safer Sex in Adult Film Ordinance” that now requires condoms in adult films in the city of Los Angeles ( Please see: http://cd12.lacity.org/index.htm and http://laist.com/2012/01/17/condoms_in_porn_ordinance_passed_into_law.php ). Councilman Englander, who also represents the San Fernando Valley, was the only Council Member with the political and personal fortitude to stand up and protect his constituents’ interests.
As an industry we need to reach out to our representatives, local, state and national. We are a legal industry. We are an industry that is under attack and we need the support those that we elect. Whether it is “Condoms in Porn” or even the Stop Online Piracy Act, which Berman was a co-sponsor of, the industry needs to have their seat at the political round-table ( Please see: http://www.wilshireandwashington.com/2012/02/a-divide-on-sopa-in-berman-sherman-race-.html ). Without question the Valley’s largest employer is the adult entertainment industry. Employing an estimated 5,000-10,000 people annually there is no larger single employer. Between family and friends of those in adult, it can be estimated that there are 15,000 to 45,000 voters in the San Fernando Valley that have some connection to the industry. It is time that the people in adult entertainment be recognized as voting block. Blumenfield won his last election by 20,000 votes. Howard Berman won his last election by 60,000 votes. And is currently trailing Brad Sherman, his opponent, in the polls 45% to 32%. And Mitch Englander won his seat on the City Council with little more than a 6,200 vote victory gap.
If you are not registered to vote do so now. You even can do it online ( Please see: https://rtv.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/ ). Remember, if you have moved since you were last registered to vote, you have to re-register again with your new address.
And on November 6th get out and vote against Ballot Measure B !