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Massage Today
May 18, 2010

Leader of Police Chiefs' Group Takes Center Stage in Fight Over CA Law That Targets Massage Therapists

CPCA President Manheimer Lobbies Hard But Remains Silent on Questions Surrounding New Data

By Christie Bondurant

If there were prizes given out for making outrageous claims and inflating figures while lobbying for legislation, California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) President Susan Manheimer might be a hands-down favorite for a gold medal.

In lobbying for Assembly Bill 1822 (introduced in February 2010), the CPCA President has made some serious accusations regarding the California Massage Therapy Council's (CAMTC) ability at screening out illegal operators. And as the anti-prostitution bill that targets massage therapists gets closer to potentially becoming law, Manheimer's claims have become even more outrageous, according to the CAMTC.

In a Feb. 21, 2010 letter proposing AB 1822 sent to Assembly Member Sandré Swanson (the bill's author), Manheimer claims that her association conducted a sample survey of CAMTC applicants and found that 89 percent were prostitutes or of questionable background. She writes, "We recently did a random/regional sample of CAMTC applicants and found that 57% were known prostitutes, 32% were of unknown legitimacy and required further inquiry, and only 11% were legitimate operators."

In that same letter she claims that the CAMTC is "overwhelmed" with about 12,000 applications they are unable to process with their "minimal staff resources."

After various requests made by Massage Today to see any evidence that supports the CPCA data, President Manheimer has remained silent. In fact, even after the bill's author questioned the data, Manheimer refuses to address inquires surrounding her data.

In an interview with Massage Today, Swanson stated: "I would question it (the data)... In terms of the legitimate massage therapists that I'm familiar with they have pride in their profession. They have years of training and they ought to be respected."

Apparently after Swanson's public statement that he does not support Manheimer's data, she contacted another assembly member with new claims against the CAMTC.

New Claims From Manheimer

According to the CAMTC, Chief Manheimer recently contacted Assembly Member Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), head of the state assembly's Democratic caucus, stating that there are more than 35,000 applications that CAMTC has not processed. This is a remarkable jump from the 12,000 figure stated in her February letter to Swanson.

"We have no idea where she got that number," said Ahmos Netanel, CAMTC executive director. According to the CAMTC, as of May 10, they have processed all applications that they have received.

Massage Today has contacted Chief Manheimer regarding this new figure of 35,000 applications. She has not responded.

In a May 10 letter sent to Assembly Member Hill addressing Manheimer's new claim, CAMTC Chair Beverly May writes, "Your office was evidently told that there are more than 35,000 applications that CAMTC has not been able to process. That is absolutely not true. The number doesn't even make sense. In fact, in the short time that SB 731 (California's current law that established the CAMTC) has been allowed to work, we have processed 15,889 applications..."

In addition to Manheimer's claims, CPCA lobbyist John Lovell stated in an interview with Massage Today that from the data compiled so far, they were able to determine "several hundred certificants with past convictions." When asked to see this data, Lovell stated that the data is incomplete and that not all police departments in the state have submitted their information.

Also in the letter to Assembly Member Hill, May states: "Unfortunately, the kind of hyperbole associated with AB 1822 began with the suggestion by a lobbyist that a study had been done stating a high number of applications had been approved by CAMTC that should have been denied. In truth, there is no study. Even more, because of the success and efficacy of a statewide entity agreed upon by this Legislature and implemented just nine months ago, there have been 3,265 applications that CAMTC has not approved, which had been previously approved by local government."

Massage Today has written a formal request to Manheimer asking for a copy of the data. However, since we have not received a response, Massage Today has sent a second letter requesting to see the data under the California Public Records Act.

AB 1822 passed the Business, Professionals and Consumer Protection Committee on April 20 and is now before Assembly Appropriations Committee. To become law, the bill requires a two-thirds vote by both houses of the legislature and generally, must be signed by the governor.

Editor's note: To vote NO on AB 1822, go to:

For a list of the Appropriations Committees' phone numbers and emails, go to:

To contact Assembly Member Sandré Swanson's capitol office call (916) 319-2016 or email him at , or contact his legislative consultant Opio Dupree at .

Massage Today will continue to follow this story and provide updates as available. For other Massage Today articles on this issue, read:

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