Supervisor Mike Antonovich has vowed to try to save the Los Angeles County Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, an anti-smut group that faces elimination in a scheduled vote today.
The Board of Supervisors may dissolve the 53-year-old commission as part of the county's cost-cutting measures, even though the group has received no public funding for the past several years.
Even so, the county's Audit Committee last week recommended the commission be disbanded because of its infrequent and poorly attended meetings and because it had not accomplished much.
The commission's members, who are appointed by the supervisors and serve on a voluntary basis, assert, however, that they are a stronghold against moral decay in a county that serves as the center of the nation's pornographic film industry.
"People watch us in other states," Commissioner Hazel Geisbauer of Palmdale said. "It really doesn't look good for the porno capital of the world to get rid of this commission."
For several years, the county has been trying to pare the number of its commissions and committees--now numbering more than 180. Most, like the 15-member obscenity and pornography commission, receive no funds from the county, but cost some money in staff time.
Antonovich, known for his conservative views, has challenged the possible dissolution of the commission, and aides said Monday he will attempt to convince other supervisors that the group is worthwhile.
"This is a vital commission, a countervailing force to obscene and pornographic stuff," said aide Lori Howard. "They are the eyes and ears of the county for legislation we should be watching."
In recent years, the commission has worked to remove newspaper machines featuring nude women, attempted to close down a North Hollywood bondage parlor and lobbied local, state and federal governments on anti-pornographic legislation.
The commission, which is supposed to meet monthly, held its last meeting three months ago, members said, in part because only 11 of 15 seats are filled and quorums have proven difficult to gather.
Assistant Auditor Michael Galindo said a recently completed county study found no evidence that the commission's efforts had been successful.
"They have not produced any identifiable action, and there was none we could come up with," he said. It wasn't clear, he said, that any of the legislation they lobbied for "has been passed or not passed based on their efforts."
So far, the auditor's department has reviewed about a dozen county commissions. The obscenity and pornography commission is the second recommended for dissolution.
The first group was the Hate Crimes Task Force, whose efforts the auditor's department found were duplicated by the county's Human Relations Commission.