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No offense intended

I am writing to clear the air regarding a guest performer's act in Peaks & Pasties' one-year anniversary show at the Bijou Bar and Grill on April 25. I want to apologize for any offense that anyone felt during Chris Mandelli's skit ("Not funny, sexy or cool," Letters, April 30). In an extensive conversation, Chris said that his skit was not intended to express any themes or feelings of racism. He said his skit came directly from the 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, and his costume was a direct representation of the apes portrayed by humans in the movie.

We are a low-budget stage show that cannot afford extravagant costuming or makeup, and our performers do their best to entertain the audience and portray a character. The situation seemed to escalate quickly, and I apologize for my rash actions and harsh tone. I was responding to what seemed to be an attack on a dancer in my burlesque troupe (not Chris Mandelli), and to comments that felt to me just as "racist" as the accusations made against Chris.

Black, white, brown or whatever your skin color may be, we are all human beings first and deserve equal respect and opportunity. Peaks & Pasties are huge advocates for diversity, and show our support for everyone regardless of skin color, sexual preference, religious background, etc. Our mission is to include and celebrate women and men of all races, shapes and sizes from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. This is expressed from the very first class, rehearsal or show that the performer is part of, and it is an expectation that is to be carried out by each of our members.

As Colorado Springs' first and only burlesque and boylesque variety show, we invite talented performers from all over Colorado to entertain our audiences.

— Lindzey Martucci

aka Lola Spitfire

Colorado Springs

None taken

Regarding "Not funny, sexy or cool" about the burlesque show at Bijou Bar, I was also in attendance for that event and have a different take.

I was in attendance the entire night. The show was amazing, as Lola Spitfire and her group put on outstanding shows (this wasn't my first). When this particular performance came on, I, too, thought it was a little odd. But this is really all about the performing arts. The "monkey" is clearly a reference to Planet of the Apes, in which a civilization of monkeys enslaves the human race. Anyone can take a look at this movie and call it racist, but why? This was clearly a mocking of the movie and I personally found it rather amusing. I did hear "boos" but I did not hear any outcries of racism.

Afterward, I went onto the patio and noticed one of the burlesque girls being verbally attacked by several members of the Pride Center, who were downright rude. I heard one say, "Everyone knows that when a white man dresses like a monkey, it is clearly derogatory and racist toward black people." I clearly did not take offense to the performance. However, to hear a member of the Pride Center make such a racist statement, I am honestly taken aback. As a Latino and member of the gay community, to know these people are working to support the gay community frightens me.

In your editor's note, Ryan Acker says the door is open for dialogue. I hope he will also take the time to work with his people to make sure they do not portray the center in such a negative light.

— David Everett

Colorado Springs

Parental duty

Sounds like you're asking taxpayers to subsidize the retirement of Cynthia Barram's parents ("Missing the bus," News, April 30). The fact that they have retirement funds puts them in a better situation than many, especially in these difficult days.

Yes, it's sad the bus route that once provided access for Cynthia has been cut, but such are the times. We have all been asked to do more with less, and those who have the resources should step up and take care of their own.

If Cynthia's parents have the resources, then use them for her and let others with greater need receive the limited resources available. It's time for us all to step up and pitch in!

— Michael Clark

Manitou Springs

Wheels coming off

Business thrives on good customer relationships. Whatever the service or product, the customer values honesty, integrity, familiar faces and smiles.

As a transit coach operator I am watching a dramatic change in the workplace as operators and supervisors are getting laid off. In 15 years of service, my co-workers knew their jobs and did them with diligence. There are always a few sour apples, but oldsters have developed relationships with passengers. As new operators learn the ropes, they see what works.

Daily passengers give their drivers a smile, a nod and short quips of news and weather and family, a quick hug or friendly pat on the shoulder. It becomes routine. Our routes change every three months and regular passengers keep track of their drivers, finding out what routes they will be on or if they will remain.

Routes are cut, and times change. Longtime drivers are no longer where they have been for years; passengers ask the new driver or search out their favorite driver. My heart goes out to the elderly and challenged; they depend on the familiar driver who knows their needs and even where they get off.

Passengers have been concerned with changes, such as veteran drivers not having two days off in a row. Those who use the system know where the waste is; could we tighten our belts in a better way? The little people have no say. They must accept what is decided by those who never use the system.

— Toni N. Francis

Lake George

Top-heavy transit

I just finished reading your article on missing the bus and feel it is time for the truth. Metro Transit is saying the cuts are due to budget shortfalls, which may be partially true. Metro Transit, the city and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority have all wasted so much money.

Wasted it on what? Legal fees to rid themselves of what is called the 13(c) agreement (a federal mandate protecting transit workers), trying to abolish the bus operators union (ATU Local 19), trying to replace experienced operators with lower-paid, less-experienced operators, and getting rid of operators in the city-backed retirement plan — all at the citizens' expense.

I know this because I am one of the latest bus operators to be laid off, after 4 1/2 years of service. I am sure I will replaced by a low-paid, inexperienced operator.

Metro Transit is currently very management-heavy and operator-light.

I am disgusted with our Colorado Springs city leaders, who allow incompetence to continue managing Metro Transit. I believe transit will get worse, not any better, as long as the current management is in place.

I voted for the PPRTA in the November 2004 election, but I now feel this was a huge mistake and wish I could take my vote back.

— Jim Gosse

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The above letter was updated (to correct a factual error) on Thursday, May 7.

Down on Democrats

Now that our new democratically elected president has taken us by leaps and bounds towards socialism, one of Barack Obama's ardent followers complained a cartoonist was too harsh and mean-spirited in comparing Obama's liberalism bent and communism.

Obama needs to get a life and come into reality. The government under Obama has taken over car companies, put the U.S. on the road toward bankruptcy and is preparing to bring terrorists here while giving them all the rights of American citizens.

The cartoonist was being kind. Democrats control our federal government. They can no longer hide under the cloak of deceit and dark of night.

We have the same issue in Colorado. Gov. Bill Ritter is beholden to every liberal organization. Firefighters can now unionize. Teachers unions control and continue to decimate the education system. Greenies use every ploy to keep the state from producing cheaper clean coal and gas. Fires abound because of allowing trees and brush to become tinderboxes. Now Ritter and his buddies are passing a law to stop Colorado from selling government land to the military.

How short-sighted can anyone be? Colorado depends upon industry, tourism and the military as the legs of our economic footstool. Making the Army feel unwelcome is a recipe for disaster. Fort Carson is a great asset to Colorado Springs. To have Ritter and his gang kiss off the military is an insult and affront to all that is decent and honorable.

Colorado and our country only need to survive a few more years before some of this morass can be dismantled.

— Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

 

Where's the help?

Our company, MWBD Traffic Control LLC, works in the construction field as a woman-owned small business trying to survive in Colorado. The federal government says we are a woman-owned small business, but Colorado doesn't.

This state has a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program that forces prime contractors to hire people within DBE. We have been trying to get this certification for three years through the state. We, I thought, were a minority, but we are Caucasian women and I guess that's the wrong minority.

This prejudiced program is putting our company into bankruptcy. How fair is this? These are federal monies to help Americans and we are Americans. We've had construction work in Colorado because of out-of-state contractors that possibly didn't understand how the program works. We are an excellent company in what we do. CDOT has honored us for work we've done on safety. Can anyone advise us as to what to do? Please e-mail to mwbdtc@msn.com.

— Terryl Keith

Florissant

Hidden epidemic

What makes the swine flu epidemic so frightening is that it spreads invisibly. You can't see the virus, so you can't fully protect yourself. The only way is to stay behind closed doors and never encounter anyone face-to-face.

Sadly, that's exactly where another epidemic spreads: sexual addiction.

Philip Markoff, the alleged craigslist killer, fed his "virus" behind closed doors. With no human contact, his addiction demanded immediate fulfillment. Markoff even used the term "sex addict" in his e-mail address. He knows what he is.

So do thousands of others who start out just "playing around" with Internet sex and eventually are caught up in something they "can't not come back to." Sex addiction carries a deeper weight of shame than any other, and addicts don't know where to turn.

When will we as a society see this hidden epidemic for what it is? When will we take seriously the fact it is not simply an excuse for unacceptable behavior but a true disorder that requires — and responds to — treatment?

Sex is good. Sex is very good. But we humans are very good at taking things that are very good and using them in ways that are dangerous and destructive.

I'm not advocating a ban on Internet porn. It's impossible, impractical and would only increase the mystique. I'm advocating simple things like posters in public restroom stalls explaining how to detect if someone you know has a sex addiction and where to find help, sites like sexhelp.com. That would be a good start.

— Rev. Diane Martin

Colorado Springs

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