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November 23, 2015

Dave Pounder, Porn Star & Pariah in Palm Beach County

PALM BEACH CTY., Fla.—Adult industry veterans will remember Dave Pounder, the lanky bald-headed actor whose porn career spanned about 10 years beginning in 2001, and appears to have ended in 2011, though he did appear in a 2013 release from Forbidden Fruits, production date unknown. The point is, Dave Pounder has apparently retired from porn, in part in order to make way for his real self, Dave Mech, who advertises himself as the "Happy Fun Math Tutor"—with good reason. According to the lawsuit he filed against the Palm Beach County School Board, Mech has a master's degree in mathematics from Arizona State University, is currently in the doctoral program at Florida Atlantic University, and besides the fact that he's taught math at Palm Beach State College, he's also certified to teach secondary school match in Florida. In other words, if a parent wanted a good math tutor for his/her school-age son or daughter, he/she could do a lot worse than Dave Mech. Even the School Board of Palm Beach County seemed to understand this when they approved Mech to place advertising banners on school fences at the Omni Middle School, Spanish River Community High School, and Boca Raton Community Middle School in 2010. In fact, school board officials "encouraged Mech to apply" for the fence banner program, with one school board representative stating that, "[h]e apparently is a very good tutor." Of course, that was before some parent wrote to the board, outing Dave Mech as Dave Pounder, porn star—and suddenly, he wasn't such a very good tutor anymore. But sadly, "former porn star" is not a class of citizens immune from governmental discrimination—and discriminate, they did: They took down the banners (two of which are pictured here) from the school fences in 2013 even though Mech had paid over $1,750 to create them and have them posted on school property. Apparently, the main point sticking in the school board's craw was the fact that Mech's mailing address and phone number were also the mailing address and phone number of Dave Pounder Productions—which no one who applied to Mech for math tutoring would have any reason to know or to find out! But this being Flori-duh, the school board stripped Mech of his advertisements, and he promptly sued to get his ads put back. He lost at the district court level, which ruled that what the school board did was okay because it didn't remove the ads based on their content—but when Mech appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on First Amendment grounds, a three-judge appeals panel ruled that free speech had nothing to do with the school board's action because Mech's banners were considered to be "government speech." Why? The 18-page appeals court decision cites such cases as Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, which "restricts government regulation of private speech; it does not regulate government speech," and Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that what appears on government-issued license plates is government speech, and therefore, the government could ban the image of the confederate flag from appearing on Texas license plates. The appeals panel spends a good ten pages supporting its view that Mech's banner ads are government speech by noting that each banner must contain verbiage specifically thanking the particular school on whose fence it's posted, and that there are rules as to what can and can't (and what must) appear in the ad. And the ruling that Mech's ads are "government speech" precludes Mech from raising another Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which ruled that all government censorship of public speech must be presumed to be content-based unless the government can prove otherwise. However, if Mech does appeal to the Supreme Court, Reed will likely figure prominently in his argument. Or perhaps Mech can simply change the school board rules—if he runs once again for the board as he did last year, but was defeated in a close race. (h/t to Howard Bashman for the info)

 
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