Start the Presses: Inside story on a political hit piece

October 05, 2013|By Dan Evans,
(AIDS Healthcare…)

On my desk sits a pink-and-black political mailer that screams that Assemblyman Mike Gatto is "Porn's Best Friend." Inside is a nearly 1,000-word piece, taken word-for-word, and without permission, from the Glendale News-Press. Perhaps you've received a copy.

The mailer, in politician-speak, is a hit piece, and a massive copyright violation besides. The people that put this out, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, should be ashamed of themselves. Supporting AIDS research and helping those suffering from HIV and AIDS — things the foundation does — are worthy. How it prosecutes — or persecutes — its causes should be examined, as should the head of its president, Michael Weinstein.

There are plenty of worthy causes out there, Michael, and ripping off our content and putting the News-Press in a bad light is a sure way to lose friends. And in your case, donations, when people read this and hopefully decide to support more reputable organizations.


Some background: A few weeks back, Ron Kaye wrote a column — an opinion piece — sharply critical of Gatto's actions in regard to a bill that would have required condoms in all adult filming statewide, a bill strongly supported by the AIDS foundation. (Los Angeles County voters recently approved a similar measure for porn shoots locally.)

In short, Kaye felt Gatto used parliamentary measures and excuses to kill the bill. Gatto claimed it was the state Senate that killed the bill, not him. Fine.

We covered this on the news side in only the briefest manner. As far as I know, no group has pulled a porn permit in Burbank, Glendale, Montrose or La Cañada in the history of film, making the issue somewhat moot locally.

However, because our area has but one assemblyman, and that happens to be Gatto, I gave Kaye the go-ahead to vent his spleen. Often, I hear from Gatto's people if they dislike something we do. I heard nary a peep.

Then came this mailer, and the fecal matter hit the whirling device.

On Tuesday, I left a pointed voicemail for Weinstein, demanding he explain himself. Instead, I got a call from the foundation's lawyer, Tom Myers. For his part, he was unfailingly professional, and said he understood my concerns. When he asked what I might want, I responded directly and simply:

Put out another mailer, sent to the same households that received the first one, stating the AIDS Healthcare Foundation did not have permission to use the piece and apologizing for doing so.

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