On Tuesday, October 16, 2007, Florida SEA, (Florida Sunshine Entertainment Association) and the Florida State ACE (Association of Club Executives) Chapter held a meeting in Branden, Florida just outside Tampa. The meeting was well attended by over thirty representatives of adult entertainment establishments from across the State of Florida. Angelina Spencer, the Executive Director of the group could not be there as she was fighting the good fight in the battle against the statewide statute that was just passed in the State of Ohio. Angelina has been living up in Ohio for the last several months to fight that statute’s passage and its devastating effect on adult entertainment in the State of Ohio.
The meeting was moderated by Jamie Benjamin, from Benjamin & Aaronson, P.A. and Luke Lirot, a First Amendment lawyer from Clearwater, Florida. Also in attendance were Brandon Samuels and Macy John. Brandon is one of the owners of the Scarletts chain of clubs and Macy works for his management companies. Brandon has generously donated Macy’s time and energy to administrating a contact and e-mail distribution system that Brandon designed.
The problem was that the club owners and other adult business owners in Florida were not organized into a system where they could instantaneously communicate with each other and to the entire group. Brandon volunteered to establish a system where anyone in the adult entertainment industry who is a member of Florida SEA can instantaneously communicate with all other members. The administration can instantaneously communicate upcoming meetings and other vital information that must be noticed to the entire membership on a moments notice. This system is vital to the continued organization of the group.
The most important topic discussed at the meeting was how to continue to organize and raise money to fight any and all upcoming statewide and local legislation that would negatively effect adult entertainment. Benjamin warned the group, that Rhonda Storm who is now a member of the State House of Representatives is a sworn enemy of adult entertainment and her history as a former Hillsboro County Commissioner included a commitment to battle against adult entertainment. Last year was Storm’s first session in the Legislature where she introduced ridiculous and hateful legislation against adult entertainment as a freshman representative.
This year, it is not if, but when she will introduce more of the same in order to try and hurt adult entertainment. It is vital to insure the continued existence of your businesses to organize and step forward to fund lobbying efforts and campaign contribution efforts so that the adult entertainment industry through Florida SEA can become a recognizable force in the Florida Legislature.
The adult entertainment industry cannot be left behind. Other industries do it well. The Teamsters Union, the Steel Workers, the trade organizations from the plumbers, the computer manufacturers, the touch screen voting machines, the insurance industry, the organizations of doctors, nursing organizations, auto workers organizations, car dealership organizations, and you name it have formulated political action committees and trade organizations that participate in the political process by hiring lobbyists and giving money to candidates.
WHY DO THEY DO THIS? So they can be heard on their issues by the people who make the laws in both state and local governments. The more political clout organizations have, the more access they have to these politicians who are the ones that pass laws that can hurt… or help various industries. The adult entertainment industry cannot be left behind.
In the next few weeks each of you will be contacted by a representative from Florida SEA. I beg you to please become active members in the organization. If you do not, your business is in jeopardy of going out of business because of tough new laws passed by legislators like Rhonda Storm.
The next Florida SEA meeting will be in early December at a location to be announced. We will keep you up to date as to when that meeting will be. You must attend and support your industry if you wish to continue to survive.