SIMI VALLEY, Calif.—Simi Valley mayor, pro tem judge and former mortician Bob Huber is not the only public servant from the Los Angeles suburb who wants porn producers to stay away from his beloved town. On Monday, the city council indicated its support for a planned ordinance that would make condoms mandatory for porn shoots in the Ventura County city that is a stone’s throw from Chatsworth and Canoga Park, where many adult studios are currently located. The ordinance is expected to be introduced at the council's Feb. 13 meeting.
Huber jumped on the mandatory condom bandwagon immediately following the recent vote by the Los Angeles city council passing an ordinance that ties the issuance of filming permits in the city to the use of condoms on adult sets. Mayor Villaraigosa signed the ordinance into law in late January. Voicing his concern to the media that porn producers would make the easy move into Simi Valley, Mayor Huber said at the time the industry wasn't wanted in the “family friendly” city, and added his intention to see an ordinance introduced that would also make Simi Valley a condom-only municipality.
Well, here’s a news flash for Mayor Huber: many of the people who work in the industry have lived (and worked) in Simi Valley for years! Not only have members of the industry lived in the upscale community for as many years as he has been involved professionally there, but more than a few shoots have taken place there over the years. All of it has brought much needed money into the city, not only to local businesses but also to the very same public servants who Monday voiced their moral outrage at the thought of porn in Simi Valley.
Yes, that's right: the city fathers have damned the very same families they want to protect from… well, themselves. Put another way, the same pornographers they don’t want shooting legal content in their neck of the woods are the very same people who they have no trouble taking money from to pay their own salaries and the salaries of their local police and other municipal services.
Indeed, the entire hoo-haw makes one wonder whether the city can afford to lose homeowners who work in adult entertainment. If city after city shuts their doors to adult production by forcing the condom issue, then companies will be forced to move out of Southern California altogether, whether they want to or not. If Simi Valley leaders are so adamant about this new ordinance, does that mean they don’t care whether those homeowners stay or leave? If so, that must mean the city’s housing situation is pretty healthy.
Only, it isn't. In fact, it is still struggling to keep from slipping further underwater. According to a Jan. 19 Ventura County Star article about a new home development in the city, “City Economic Development Director Brian Gabler said Los Arboles at Greenbriar is the first new detached-home development in the city in four years, adding that since fiscal year 2007-08, the city has issued only 11 single-family detached-home permits scattered around various neighborhoods.”
The article also states, “Home prices in Ventura County continued to sink in December, hitting a low last seen nearly nine years ago,” and added, “While foreclosures in Simi Valley have come down from their 2008 highs, they're still significantly higher than in 2006, before the housing crash... For example, there were 45 foreclosures in the city in August, down from 67 in August 2008 but 11 times more than the four in August 2006.”
Eleven permits in four years and home prices at a nine-year low, and yet the mayor and city council want adult producers and the many businesses that support them to leave the area? Homeowners in Simi Valley should consider what is being suggested here very seriously. The people the mayor wants to run out of the area may very well be the same people keeping the value of all Simi Valley homes from plummeting further than they already have. Maybe, instead of such overt hostility, the city should consider providing incentives to adult producers to live and work in the city. Maybe home prices will go up if they do! Maybe more jobs will actually come to the lovely community of Simi Valley!
Here’s something else for the mayor and city council to consider in the run-up to this vote. People in the adult entertainment industry are no different than any of the other people who live in your community. Hard-working and decent, they raise families just like everyone else does, hoping to make a better life for their children. They also tend to be somewhat conservative when it comes to the economy and civic life, and often take a very libertarian stance, politically and socially. They give generously to charities and actively take part in local government for the same reasons you got involved: to better the community in which you live.
In other words, they are your perfect neighbor. You might try treating them as such.