LONG BEACH, Calif.—It's already a cluster-fuck of loose talk and even looser legal opinions. Measure B, that is, the poorly crafted ballot measure that all voters in Los Angeles County voted on even though a significant percentage of them apparently live in cities not covered by the proposed law ... or maybe they do. Who the fuck knows? City officials from Pasadena in the north to Long Beach in the south are currently scrambling to figure out what the measure means to them, and coming to different conclusions in the process.
It really is not a pretty picture. The law itself is outrageous in many ways, but it is language that was contained on the ballot that seems to contradict earlier legal advice from the county.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram in an article published last week, "An analysis made by Los Angeles County Counsel John F. Krattli in July found that the initiative's provisions will not be enforceable by the county in cities with independent health departments because those jurisdictions enforce state health laws and their own municipal health codes, not county health laws."
A County spokesperson reiterated that position last week, asserting, "It's at the discretion of the City Council and voters of Long Beach as to what sort of rules they want to put in place for their public health."
But Long Beach officials didn't like that answer, and pointed to impartial analysis contained on the ballot, also written by Kratti, that "stated the measure is applicable throughout the county 'to the extent provided by state law.'"
As far as Long Beach Assistant City Attorney Michael Mais was concerned, the language on the ballot wins out. "Our position is that if it didn't apply to the city of Long Beach or other entities that might be similarly situated, I would have thought they would specify that in the impartial analysis," he said.
That view is not the same as that of city officials in Pasadena, another city with an independent health department. At first, Pasadena said that it, too, was covered under Measure B, but after closer scrutiny reversed course last Thursday, when spokesperson William Boyer stated, "Pasadena does allow permitted adult entertainment filming as it can't restrict it under the First Amendment."
Long Beach officials are still struggling with the issue, however. According to an article today on gazettes.com, "City officials said they don’t expect to be left out of Measure B and that they will be scheduling talks with county officials to make sure they are included in the conversation."
Tom Modica, director of government affairs, commented, “The statement of Measure B is to create an enforcement mechanism with the County Health inspecting. We believe this applies countywide and should be administered countywide.”
He added that Long Beach residents voted 53 percent in favor Measure B, and made the argument that "there are certain things we do as a health department, but there are plenty of services L.A. County provides that we do not."
It's not like there has been a lot of official filming in the area. “In the last 10 years," he said, "we know of one commercial film permit for adult entertainment."
It looks like Long Beach wants to keep it that way.