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Tat tale
With so many things going wrong in the world, I have a minor but annoying complaint with the way this city and this nation work. Almost every person I know has arms full of tattoos or multiple piercings, yet most large chains of places I can apply to for employment demand that I cover my tattoos, remove my piercings and cut my hair or shave.

In a nation with so many people like me, it's clear the only reason they think they can force us to change is because we allow them to. Besides, how is it not argued that body modifications are part of the First Amendment?

Granted, there are some things no one needs to see in the checkout line, but I believe it's my own right what goes on my body, and they should, by law, accept any reasonable differences in our appearances unless they in some way keep us from performing our job duties to their fullest extent. It's my body. I'll do what I want with it.
Jeff Chapman

Colorado Springs

That blows
Now I remember why I'd been boycotting Springs Spree since Flash Cadillac was deemed "too loud" and removed from the event. We took my grandson to Memorial Park for the "spree," but we won't make that mistake again.

The following is one reason why I'll never go back (although there are many): I bought a ticket from the folks running the blowup thingies. The sign said one $3 ticket was good for three minutes. Our grandson chose to go through the large maze first to see how fast he could go. It took him about 45 seconds. Guess what? He was not allowed to go through again. The ticket was for one time through. Needless to say, very few kids were playing on these. Can you say rip-off?

We did enjoy the karate exhibition. The best part for me was picking up your paper and learning about Mose T. ("The outsiders," cover story, June 19). It will be hard to wait for two years.
Liz Hook

Colorado Springs

Ban the Band-Aid
There's good reason President George H.W. Bush signed a bill expanding a moratorium Congress imposed removing 736,000 acres off the California coast from oil and gas exploration. If we had been truly visionary, we would've used these years to aggressively pursue alternative energies and to work toward oil independence ... not just from foreign oils. We made no such moves, as our oil demands only increased.

With the crisis now more immediate, felt by nearly everyone at pumps and supermarkets, we can't afford to continue our short-sightedness of continued dependence knowing that drilling would do little to offset the problem and much to harm the fragile environment.

Enough! No to Bush and McCain's proposal to lift the ban. It's time to think differently.
Mary Crade

Woodland Park

Who's the best?
Come on, Ralph Routon, you can do better than that ("New answer to a familiar question," End Zone, June 19). I know the rigors of a weekly column can leave one straining for ideas and words for fill. But to state that Tiger Woods is the best athlete ever ... what are you talking about? Are your opinions driven by current events only?

OK, Woods is a very good, maybe the best, golfer. Your previous selection, Michael Jordan, was an outstanding, astounding athlete. But my ultimate point is, you're comparing apples and oranges: the best gymnast, best golfer, best diver, best whatever-is-a-category.

Used to be, Jim Thorpe was considered the best all-around athlete. But after considerable reflection on athletics, and in my experience, which is considerable, each and every athletic venture requires an intelligence of its own. Sport categories, or the different disciplines track and field, gymnastics, boxing, basketball, etc. are all separate "animals" or creatures.

There is no best overall athlete, only best athletes in the individual sports. Each requires social/psychological predispositions and physical abilities. They don't always match up. For instance, a personality perfectly adapted for vertiginous activities may not have the physical characteristics to correlate those psychological dynamics (a 6-foot-2, 200-pound guy won't do very well on the balance beam or rings). And individual sports are different from team sports, duh!

Hey, buddy! Wake up! The same holds true of the various academic disciplines: philosophy, science, political science, religious studies.
Marshall Griffith

Colorado Springs

Landlord rights
The courts have imposed many rules and regulations upon landlords as to treatment of their rental property and renters' rights. A lease agreement spells out what the renter and landlord are responsible for. Who is responsible for enforcing these leases?

Do renters have the right to destroy property and then claim the landlord isn't maintaining the property? True example: The landlord has not received rent for three months, needs a court order to evict the renter, the renter is finally evicted and has destroyed the rental unit. Cost for repairs and lost rental income: $15,000, and the deposit was $500. Finally, the landlord has made repairs, found another renter, checked references (which may be bogus) and obtained another $500 deposit. This renter moves out, leaves $5,000 in repairs and cleaning fees, etc. We have pictures to show criminal mischief imposed by tenants.

The county keeps a record of so-called slum landlords who do not maintain their property in a safe and healthy manner. But not all landlords are slum landlords. What about the soldier who wants to return to the house he cannot sell before he ships out to Iraq, so he puts it up for rent, only to return to his house vandalized by the renter and repair costs in the thousands? Who protects him? Or the elderly couple who, when their children left home, moved into a smaller house and retained their first home as a rental to use for retirement?

There should be some mechanism in place for landlords where they can maintain a list of risky renters, as there is a list of slum landlords.
Luba de Lemeny, Sharlene Sullivan

Colorado Springs

Smoke and mirrors
Hey, Ralph Routon, at least write in your article ("The ramrod of Cripple Creek," Between the Lines, June 19) an alternative view stating the casinos in Las Vegas are hurting just as bad revenue-wise as the ones in our state, and they have been nonsmoking places longer.

The hurt is country-wide, and your article comes across as saying the main reason Cripple Creek casinos are hurting is because you can't smoke there. I'm sure that's a small part of it, but Colorado is a healthy state with many more nonsmokers than smokers, but casinos make it sound like this is North Carolina or Mississippi and every other person is a smoker.

The revenue loss couldn't possibly have anything to do with the price of gas and everything else that's increased as a result? No, you and Mayor Dan Baader are right; it's just the smoking ban. Go ahead and let them light up cancer sticks, and that way they can have a small nicotine buzz as business continues to decline. I'm sure that will make them feel better.

This is one article you've written that didn't have a different opinion to it or make any sense. The only conclusion I can come to is that you must be a smoker.

Michael Ortiz

Colorado Springs (Editor's note: I've never smoked in my life.)

May's morale
During the first years of my legal career, Dan May was my chief at the District Attorney's office, my supervisor and, eventually, my friend.

I am sure that, after John Newsome's blatant hypocrisy, much of this election will center on integrity. While Dan May operates with a very high level of integrity, my intent is to focus on another of Dan's characteristics: leadership.

It is important to understand what distinguishes a normal DA's office from a great one: morale. The DA must maintain high morale in order to retain talented prosecutors and staff.

Can this be done with doughnut Fridays? A pancake breakfast? How about a pay raise or an extra day off? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Morale resists any quick fix, and May knows this.

Here's what May taught me about morale and leadership:

True, sustainable morale is achieved by (a) leading an office with an investment in and a respect for all of your employees, from your star prosecutor to the night-time cleaning crew; (b) leading an office with wisdom that instills in the prosecutors a sense of justice and discretion that differentiates between true criminals and normal people, and a requirement that your prosecutors (and your resources) are directed accordingly; and (c) leading an office in a manner that sets aside personal agendas and selfish motives and instead focuses on the people and the safety of the community which that office serves.

I can tell you, without reservation, this is the kind of leader Dan May has been in his career and will be for the people of El Paso and Teller counties. Put Dan May in office and see for yourself.
Christopher P. Carrington

Denver

Not out-FOXed
The consistently inappropriate FOX News network is on a big attack, trying to portray Sen. Barack Obama as foreign, suspicious and Muslim-raised, hinting at a connection with terrorists.

How is this even close to fair or good journalistic reporting? Then came the repetitious remarks about the "terrorist fist jab" with Michelle, followed up with the racist and sexist slam referring to her as "Obama's baby mama." FOX News has always sided with the extreme right, but now the highly unprofessional insults are falling further, to the level of rude and crude immaturity.

The reporters' apologies are insincere. Their racist, sexist and sensationalized reporting is not only slanted and salacious, but slanderous. In obvious competition with the Enquirer and Star rags, I see a huge lawsuit in FOX's future.
Sharlene White

Santa Fe, N.M.

Blaming Bruce
For years, the city and county have mismanaged our tax money. So let's go ahead and blame TABOR, as Larimore Nicholl did ("The anti-Midas," Letters, June 19). It's as simple as that!

No one takes the blame, and the city gives big bonuses to people with already undeserved high incomes. All of a sudden, after years of big spending, let's blame TABOR again.

The Air Force Academy and Fort Carson are allocated lots of federal money every year, and if they do not use it all, it will be cut the following year.

So what do they do? Waste money, such as the Academy redoing the grass in the median every year for graduation and parent visits.

Do not blame TABOR or Doug Bruce.
Elfriede Little

Colorado Springs

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