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I am on the road quite a bit now. Texas Tech, last week; West Point, on Thursday and Friday; the Hoover Institution in Silicon Valley late next week.
In anticipating the latter trip, I thought back to the year that the Rahe family spent in that neck of the woods and felt a wave of nostalgia. Where else would one stumble across the Church of Self-Realization? Where else is lunacy the norm? Where else does one find the great issues of the day debated?
You may think I jest. So I will offer you an example: the weighty question whether actors who perform in porn films should be required to wear condoms. Yes, that question is on the ballot; and, according to The Mercury News, the polling data suggests that a ban may be passed. There is already such a law in Los Angeles County, and it has caused the multibillion dollar porn industry to do its filming across the border in nearby places such as Oxnard. If Proposition 60 passes, who knows what will happen? The industry may move to Reno or Las Vegas or to, ahem, beautiful downtown Hillsdale.
Behind the proposition stand Michael Weinstein and his AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as well as the American Sexual Health Association, the California Academy of Preventive Medicine, and the California State Association of Occupational Health Nurses. These folks think it a matter of public health. Against it you will find a phalanx of organizations including the state’s Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the Libertarians and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. Also opposed are the Free Speech Coalition, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and LGBT-rights groups such as Equality California and the Transgender Law Center. These folks think it a matter of civil liberty. Others worry that it will cost California millions of dollars in tax revenue.
As far as I can tell, however, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has weighed in. The next presidential debate would be a lot more interesting than the snoozer last night if this question was raised by the moderator. After all, it is a national issue. As The Mercury News observes,
[F]ederal regulations through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration already require condom use for X-rated actors in the same way health workers must use gloves and other protection when dealing with bodily fluids and other potential biohazards. OSHA has fined companies for filming without the proper protection, usually in response to a complaint from Weinstein’s organization. Cal-OSHA recently fined one producer $34,400, another $78,000.
I will not be called on to vote for or against Proposition 60. But Peter Robinson and Rob Long live in California, and they need your advice. So step up to the plate. What should be determinative: tax revenues, public health, or civil liberties?