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November 2015

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Club Bulletin November 2015 51 www.theEDexpo.com "who doesn't like us." Levy noted that he is "always respectful, not confrontational with committee chairs." He points out the bill's possible unintended negative consequences along with the unconstitutionality of certain provisions. He also speaks with leadership in the two legislative chambers. "Be prepared, polite and well dressed," Levy suggested. "Start a dialogue, find out what interests them. Levy suggested our biggest problem is the Religious Right. "They're taking our house down, brick by brick. They vote, they contribute, they're motivated." Daniel Aaronson Although Daniel Aaronson is a First Amendment attorney and litigator who would profit more by litigating these types of legislation, he agreed with everything Levy said. They've worked together in the three states and share a strategy. Aaronson noted that in the Florida legislature's last session, a proposed bill mandated a $10 per customer pole tax, along with customer registration. "It would have put most Florida clubs out of business and destroyed the state's industry," noted Aaronson. Aaronson, who represents Florida SEA, the state's adult club association as an attorney, on his own, spoke with the bill's sponsor, who he'd previously met at political functions. She told him the bill was in response to human trafficking. He explained the industry's proactivity on trafficking and provided material proving the point. SEA's lobbyist also met with other legislators to share SEA's anti-trafficking message. "Before we knew it, we were told the bill was withdrawn," explained Aaronson. "That is getting politically involved." How did Aaronson get to the point of having access to the bill's author? Over four or five years, he'd attended numerous political functions and made contributions. "By doing that, I get to shake hands with and get to know people and be known. Most important, I get access. Not the promise they'll do anything but the ability to talk to somebody you need to talk to, when you need it." After a political event he attended, Aaronson ended up giving the gubernatorial candidate (Charlie Crist) and his wife a last-minute ride to the airport. When they asked what he did, Aaronson explained he represents the adult entertainment industry. "During a 40-minute conversation, I was able to humanize the industry to them; we became business people to them, rather than those who stereotypically rape and pillage," explained Aaronson. "I can't tell you what he would have done for the industry if elected, but I can tell you he knew more about the industry from that ride than he probably would have learned in any other manner. And that only happened because I got involved in the political process." Aaronson explained that, on the state level, politics resembles a small high school. On the local level, more like a small grade school. "I can't promise politicians will vote your way when you host fundraisers and contribute, but they will answer your call and listen to what you have to say," Aaronson added. "And they'd rather go with you than against you unless it's political suicide." Aaronson explained that it's easier to be instrumental on the local level where a minuscule amount of money will swing an election, compared to a state or national race. Despite your own personal politics, support the political party likely to win the local race. "It is much easier to stop legislation in committee, before it becomes the snowball rolling down the hill or at the bottom of the hill," noted Aaronson. "As an insider, you'll know when legislation is about to start. Once it's highly publicized and gotten grass roots support, it's too late; nobody can stop it. Just being a state chapter member or supporting a lobbyist isn't enough. Get involved individually. You never know when you'll shake hands with somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody. And when you do, you have the ability to effectuate change for your benefit." One comment from the audience resonated loudly with the guests in attendance. Harry Mohney, founder of the Deja Vu club chain and one of the industry's most revered figures, offered this suggestion: "We're still acting more reactive than proactive. Proactive is when you control the legislature, not react to the legislature. Why not control the legislature by creating voters. We're the most powerful people in the world. We have money. We create jobs. We influence millions of people every week who come into our clubs, who work in our clubs. Don't you see that elections are sometimes won or lost by a few hundred votes? Especially local elections. We create signage supporting certain individuals, the certain legislation we're interested in. It all depends on how we present ourselves. This candidate protects religious freedom, the First Amendment, etc. It can't be about protecting your own rights, you support protecting everyone's rights. How many of you can call the mayor in your town right now, city councilman? We have influence, we can register voters. These politicians will kiss your ass for these votes. If you don't come out of your hole and fight, you'll be buried in your own hole. Join your associations, get involved. Larry Kaplan is the Legal Correspondent for Exotic Dancer Club Bulletin, Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association and a consultant in the sales and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult stores. Contact Larry Kaplan at 313- 815-3311 or e-mail kaplanclubsales@gmail.com. Attorney Bradley J. Shafer is the principal of the Shafer & Associates, P.C. law firm, based in Michigan. He has been involved in First Amendment matters and litigation involving gentlemen's clubs for 25-plus years. Contact Brad Shafer at (517) 886-6560 or email brad@bradshaferlaw.com. Attorney Daniel Aaronson is a partner in the Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger and Patanzo P.A. law firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He is advisory attorney for several state adult club associations and a regular panelist at the annual Gentlemen's Club Expo. The firms phone number is (954) 779-1700. Contact Daniel Aaronson at 954-779-1700 or email danaaron@bellsouth.net. Harry Mohney

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