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El Paso County Commissioner Ed Jones last week became the first black chairman of the board in El Paso County's history.

In recent months, Jones has also emerged as a defender of his old pal Leonard Carlo, who, for the past five months, has been battling the state Liquor Enforcement Division.

Carlo is the very expressive bar owner who owns Leonard's Bar II at 2112 E. Platte Ave. He doesn't serve minors and he doesn't serve cheap draft beer. But he is known for his fondness for the word 'fuck.'

Especially since last Aug. 31, when liquor investigators Roger D. Green and Kurt J. VandenBoogaard entered Leonard's II and seized 29 signs that were hung in Carlo's bar -- 14 of which included Leonard's favorite expletive. In his subsequent report detailing the search and seizure, VandenBoogaard noted, 'Besides the word fuck,' these signs contained graphic references about female genitalia, oral sexual acts on the anus, female genitalia and street-level references to fellatio.

'Additionally, 15 small signs, mostly handwritten, were seized from a wall that also contained some of the aforementioned profanity and racial comments that disparage minorities.'

But Commissioner Jones doesn't mind the signs that were found in Carlo's 21-and-older-only bar. Nor do the numerous patrons, neighbors and Colorado Springs residents who have come to Carlo's defense since Big Brother seized the signs.

According to the state's investigation, Commissioner Jones has known Carlo for 30 years and was actually at the bar when the bust was going down.

'[Jones] stated that he felt like people go there for friendship and conversation, not to read the signs that are posted on the walls,' Green noted.

After the raid, Carlo had his bald head tattooed in protest, with the message 'Fuck U. Leave me the Fuck Alone.' With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, he has since sued the state.

An interesting player in the state's role pursuing the charges against Carlo is former state Rep. Renny Fagan, one of only two Democrats who have represented El Paso County in recent memory. Fagan left the statehouse in 1992 and subsequently became former Gov. Roy Romer's head of the Department of Revenue, which oversees the Liquor Enforcement Division. Now he is a deputy in the Colorado attorney general's office and is boss to the lawyer pursuing the charges against Carlo.

In a related case, Fagan defended his role in liquor enforcement as the keeper of the morality of the state of Colorado, arguing that 'to some extent, citizens look to the government as one means of enforcing social norms for both discourse and decency.'

Speaking of censorship, King Soopers stores across Colorado have bowed down to the New York group Morality in the Media, which has been pressuring supermarket chains to remove or cover magazines with 'lurid sexual content' located in checkout aisles.

In Colorado Springs, King Soopers stores have begun covering up the covers of Cosmopolitan magazines displayed in the checkout area, effectively hiding the sometimes racy headlines and cover shots of busty models behind sheets of white plastic. In a Jan. 11 Denver Post article, King Soopers exec Dave Savage defended the move, saying 'many times the cover was not fit for the checkout area.'

But in light of plenty of other racy magazine covers, it's unclear why Cosmo (a women's mag) was targeted. What about this month's GQ magazine (designed for men)?

Given that this month's Cosmo features Cameron Diaz wearing what Post reporter David Olinger described as looking like a 'slip,' will his own publication be the next target? After all, the newspaper regularly features pages of near-nude models posing for lingerie advertisements.

-- degette@csindy.com[p]

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