Monday, September 3, 2012


What is the deal with our national political conventions and sex? With apologies to "Grease," they go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong!

Remember the scandal at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta involving a videotape of actor Rob Lowe having sex in hotel room with two women, one of whom was 16? Lowe, who insisted he did not know the girl was underage, was campaigning at the time for presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.

Fast forward to this past week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, where Lisa Ann, star of the political porn film “Who's Nailin' Paylin?” brought her Sarah Palin look-alike act to The Dollhouse strip club

The real Palin wasn't asked to speak at the convention, but Ann, who takes Tina Fey's imitation to a, uh, whole new level, told GQ magazine that political conventions mean really big business for strip clubs.

Not only did Tampa’s strip clubs reportedly get a boost from the convention, so did a national adult "dating" website (they apparently don't like to be called escort sites)., which bills itself as the world’s largest "sugar daddy" dating website, saw a nearly 26 percent increase in its website traffic originating from Tampa this past week.

“While overall traffic from Florida fell this past week because of Hurricane Isaac, we saw a significant increase in traffic on our website from Tampa,” says Brandon Wade, Founder & CEO of "This suggests that a number of politicians in the Republican Party had more than just politics on their mind while they were at the convention.”

Speaking of sex and politics, the Democrats' confab starts today in Charlotte, North Carolina, and with former President Bill Clinton scheduled to pay a visit, anything is likely to happen. 

Charlotte already has a prostitute problem. Local law enforcement reportedly conducted a four-month investigation earlier this year that nabbed more than two dozen people using hotel rooms for drugs, prostitution and guns.

All this reminds me of a story I uncovered during the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego. Just a few blocks from the San Diego Convention Center, the site of that year's convention where presidential nominee Bob Dole and others touted "family values," stood a place called Pleasureland Adult Book and Video Center. 

But you didn't hear anyone at the convention complaining about the shop - because its landlord was convention chair Jack Ford.

Ford, middle son of President Gerald Ford and executive director of the convention host committee that year, owned the lot with business partner George Gorton, a onetime Nixon aide. 

They bought the building in 1980, when San Diego downtown's area was virtually nothing but strip clubs, porn theaters and dive bars. 

For a time, they collected rent from a man named Reuben Sturman, who was described later by the Department of Justice as the top world distributor of hardcore pornography, with alleged mafia ties.

In 1984, San Diego City Councilman Uvaldo Martinez stumped outside the shop and promised to shut it down if re-elected. Later he was embarrassed when local media reported that the Pleasureland building was owned by Martinez's political consultants, Ford and Gorton, whose offices were upstairs from the shop.

Beverly Schroeder, senior planner of San Diego's Centre City Development Corporation, said at the time that an adult business couldn't move into that area. She noted that 11 "adult" stores had been evicted in the last decade.

When asked how Pleasureland was able to avoid eviction, she said it had nothing to do with Ford and Gorton's relationship with then-San Diego Mayor Susan Golding (Gorton was Golding's ex-boyfriend and managed most of her political campaigns, and Gorton, Ford and Golding ran a newspaper in the late 1970s).

"The city doesn't feel compelled to intervene into Pleasureland's business," Schroeder said at the time, adding that Ford "could probably get (Pleasureland) out if he could find a tenant to pay higher rent." 

All Ford would say back then was, "It is my personal preference that the tenant in question was not in our building."

James Lambert, who directed a San Diego anti-porn group Enough is Enough, called the notion of Republicans stewarding Pleasureland "totally hypocritical," and said he planned to somehow get a message to former President Ford during the convention. "I just want to tell him what his son is up to," he said. 


  1. As an exasperated client remarked at a meeting with his team of San Diego lobbyist in the late nineties, "Is everybody in this goddamn town related?"

  2. Ha! Not QUITE sure what that means, Fred, but it's funny.

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