By Rosa Trieu
For L.A. County voters who haven’t made a decision about how to vote on Measure B, which would require adult performers to wear a condom on film sets, there is still time to gain perspective.
On one hand, there is that alarming study the Los Angeles Times recently reported about L.A. porn stars having more STDs than legal Nevada prostitutes. The study found that of the 168 adult film performers in Los Angeles County, 28 percent, or 47 of them, tested positive for either gonorrhea or chlamydia or both diseases. The report was published by the L.A. County Department of Health and Johns Hopkins University and released to reporters by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the primary backer of Measure B.
Despite research findings and the health industry’s concerns, though, the porn industry insists the measure would be an infringement on first amendment rights, a waste of county funds and an offense that adult entertainers say would drive them and the business they bring out of California.
L.A. Porn Tours, founded and owned by Benjamin Free, took 30 volunteer adult performers to speak their minds about Measure B. The guided tour kicked off with a press conference before it took patrons around porn studios from Canoga Park to Hollywood on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The following interviews were with adult entertainers and a talent agent in the industry at the press conference.
VIDEO: Trinity St. Clair says the porn industry is a family that looks out for itself and is already self-regulated.
VIDEO: Lucky Starr says voting no on Measure B would let not only performers, but keep thousands of other people’s jobs in the state of California.
VIDEO: Former producer, director and performer, as well as current owner of adult talent agency Ideal Image Models, Tee Reel, talks about Measure B.
SLIDESHOW: L.A. Porn Tours
If passed, Measure B would require adult film producers to obtain a public health permit and pay a fee for that permit in order to offset the cost of enforcement. Violation of the law would call for a fine and criminal misdemeanor charges. This would affect the multi-billion dollar industry in San Fernando Valley, the largest in the world. Read a more detailed summary of the measure here.
Californians have 2 more days to take part in the “Foie Gras Frenzy” before the delicacy is banned.
As the ban nears, chefs across the state are celebrating foie gras with pop-up parties and menus honoring the controversial food. The traditional French delicacy has seen a resurgence in popularity as it receives increased attention from chefs and the media.
Highly regarded as one of the best public university school systems, the University of California schools are threatened with heavy cuts to education if Governor Brown’s proposed tax increases are not approved by the California legislature this year.
Helena first tried meth when she was just fifteen years old. Today, she lives the life of a full-blown addict who is living couch-to-couch in Santa Rosa— and is in and out of prison due to her constant use of illegal substances.
By her own account, Helena’s encounters with the law include “three possession charges, three paraphernalia charges, two DUI’s, suspicion of drug trafficking for being caught with a pound of marijuana.” However, Helena, who preferred not to have her last name revealed for privacy reasons, said confidenly, “I currently do not have any strikes at the moment.”
The state’s current budget crisis has undermined the Three Strikes Law for some offenders like Helena, who find judges willing to take strikes off their records, due to a lack in funding for jails, prisons and state-funded rehabilitation centers.
It costs more than $47,000 to keep an inmate in jail every year, making California state judges more reluctant to send criminals behind bars; therefore, drug offenders are sent back on the street without the benefit of rehabilitation or jail.
Helena, just 32, has the face of someone much older. With boils on her face, a pale skin tone and an emaciated frame, she says she is an addict.
Her parents decided to completely cut her off. She remains homeless, living in day-to-day uncertainty over where she will be able to sleep.
After being released from jail, Helena slept at other addicts’ homes, or with male acquaintances who offered her both meth and a roof over her head for the night in exchange for sexual favors.
“I pled guilty to my second strike and had a deal made with the judge to stay in jail for a longer amount of time to eliminate more serious charges,” Helena said.
(to read the whole story click here)
“Hellawood,” an art exhibition and pop-up shop dedicated to surfing as a creative medium and a lifestyle, rolled out Friday night for a month-long run in Hollywood, spotlights independent artists and designers from the United States and Australia who, wherever they are, keep one foot on a beach.
“Hellawood” fits nicely in the Urban Outfitters storefront there, a seemingly natural habitat for the surfing culture’s art, which has quietly resisted traditional art spaces. It has proven problematic for surfing, an entire society and value system in its own right, to be moved to the echelon of high art, the kind sequestered in buildings known by acronyms ending in “OCA.”
Professional surfer Danny Fuller uses night-long camera exposures to capture his large scale light-swept landscapes. Titled by time (3:28 a.m., 3:48 a.m.), the photographs are no less intense for their austere vastness. The whimsical surf scenes of art photographers Vanessa Atlan and Kassia Meadeor have an Instagram-like color tint, as if burnished and forged into timelessness by the bright glare of summer sun.
In the face of massive funding cuts, Cal State University schools have announced they will freeze Spring 2013 enrollment at most of their 23 campuses, potentially denying more than 10,000 students entry to the school system. The schools also plan to waitlist all Fall 2013 acceptances pending voter approval of a tax increase.
Eight of the CSU campuses will accept a few hundred transfer students from community colleges, but the thousands of students would be turned away in an effort to bridge a $750 million budget shortfall.
Should voters turn down Gov. Jerry Brown’s propsed tax increase in November of this year, another $200 million will need to be cut.
"The idea again is that we’re trying to reduce our enrollment to better match the funding available based on massive budget cuts we’ve received in the last several years," Michael Uhlenkamp, a CSU spokesman, told ABC 30.
Both Cal State and the University of California system have been forced to grapple with the severe budget cuts coming from Sacramento. Last Fall, CSU schools voted to raise tuition 9.1 percent, up to $5,970 for Fall 2012 and triple the cost from a decade ago.
The move resulted in massive student protests and clashes with university police.
As a predominantly Democratic state, California seems like a secured win for President Obama in the upcoming election. A recent poll conducted by USC Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times found that Obama is leading each Republican candidate by a fair margin. Nevertheless, the poll also found some sore spots in the president’s campaign.
“The greatest value of the poll is not so much to predict outcomes but rather to get a sense of the trends in voter behavior,” Unruh said in a phone interview. “We can get a sense of what’s most important to Californians.”
And what do voters care about most?
“They are very dissatisfied with the way he is handling the issue of gasoline prices,” Schnur said, adding that this will be Obama’s biggest hurdle in California.
“They think he’s doing a good job on issues relating to jobs and taxes [and] they tend to be a little more amiss on issues relating to immigration and the federal deficit. But neither one of those topics causes him significant problems,” said Schnur.
Interestingly, the president’s health care proposal, nicknamed “Obamacare” by his opponents, didn’t ignite a huge response from his supporters. However, his supporters did look favorably on his efforts regarding women’s health.
“It’s pretty clear that the recent debate over contraception has been a real benefit to him among California voters,” said Schnur.
Needless to say, health care has been a significant part of Obama’s reelection efforts, according to California’s campaign press secretary, Mary Nemick. “We are actively discussing healthcare reform across the country,” she said in an email.
Because California is so strongly Democratic, the state’s campaign has been less focused on addressing Californians’ concerns- like gasoline- and more targeted toward recruiting volunteers.
Based on the poll and strong volunteer support within California, it would seem that Obama is fairly secure as California’s chosen candidate. Even so, a lot can happen in the months leading up to election.
“Real world events change voters’ opinions,” Schnur warned. “If the Supreme Court rules one way or the other on the health care package, that’s going to affect the poll. If gasoline prices go higher or lower, that’s going to affect the poll. If the economy gets better or worse, that’s going to affect what voters think. There’s no question that real world events over the next several months are going to impact what people think.”
Horsetail Fall flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. It’s a small waterfall that many people don’t notice, but it has gained popularity as more and more people have noticed it can glow orange during sunset in mid to late February.
The most popular place to see Horsetail Fall seemingly afire is El Capitan picnic area, west of Yosemite Lodge and east of El Capitan. The “firefall” effect generally happens during the second half of February. A clear sky is necessary for the waterfall to glow orange.
Interested in visiting Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park? Click here to learn more.
Photo: Bethany Gediman - National Park Service
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