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Seeing pink

Last week's cover story on Mary Kay caught my attention. As a Mary Kay independent beauty consultant, I was interested to read the author's point of view on my company.

Your author, Grace Hood, although an excellent writer, unfortunately conveyed the impression of being biased upon going into her research. Ms. Hood's reaction to the events she attended portrayed a tone of sarcasm that left a bad taste in my mouth. I think it is important to consider this truth; in every business realm maintained through representation, the sales force is made up of individuals that collaboratively represent the company.

For every wayward consultant or director that appears disingenuous, there are handfuls that are completely sincere in their interactions with customers and potential business associates. One individual does not make Mary Kay.

I would like to encourage anyone who wants to know the truth about Mary Kay to pick up her biography. I believe you will find that the heart of this woman is about enriching women's lives. She would agree with me that every woman who comes into contact with this company deserves honesty and sincerity in all transactions, business or otherwise.

Julia Wurst

Colorado Springs

No gifts allowed

It's important that Indy readers understand that I never have and never will accept gifts from lobbyists. The March 16 article "Under the Influence" was valuable, but it left readers with the perception I had accepted $11,000 from lobbyists. This is not the case.

In March of 2005 I started receiving completed surveys from my constituents. I later learned the mailing with a survey attached was sent out by a nonprofit called Research and Democracy, which has no connection to me or my campaign. Although it was not required by law, I felt an obligation to report the $11,000 on my Honoraria report.I was trying to do the right thing, but now the Independent has construed the money to look like a gift.

I was gratified to see that the Indy staff did expose a serious problem in how Colorado laws are drafted. The undue influence of lobbyists on the formulation of Colorado laws is a very big concern. We need a remedy. I will continue to work to pass legislation to ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators.

Rep. Michael Merrifield

House District 18

Manitou Springs

Homo-Fobe High

I asked my high school-aged son to read and then later describe his feelings about Cara DeGette's March 23 column on Air Academy High School's "Diversity Club." Upon reading it he reflected deeply, and then in a word expressed his feelings: "appalling."

That might sum it up for a high school student, but my feelings were more incensed.

It is quite evident by the actions of the district's leadership, regardless of their attemptsof spinning codespeak, that homosexuality seemingly doesn't exist in that high school. But then again, that too is false. If twice as many students participate in an unofficial gay-straight gathering than ina sanctioned, er, homogenized diversity club, somewhere or somehow homosexuality must exist at Air Academy High School it's just that administrators apparently want to keep it in the closet.

Colorado Springs high school students should take note of this seemingly under-the-radar, systematic-authoritarian bias that is being applied toward their gay and/or gay-tolerant students. In my view, this bias is little different than the type of institutional discrimination perpetrated upon innocent black Americans in the Deep South of my youth. The discrimination was carried out in schools as well as in other public and private venues, all with adjunct impunity in government power. Sometimes that bigotry resulted in hate crimes, like beatings or even lynching.

Hate is a learned behavior; this we scientifically know. In 2001, 158 hate crimes were reported in Colorado because of anti-gay prejudice. Of this, 42 men and 31 women, along with 25 organizations, reported violent attacks because of gay bias.

Just maybe a high school diversity club could be the catalyst to acknowledging that gay issues exist, including hate. But that might be asking too much when the government-sanctioned leadership possesses a learned cultural hate toward homosexuality, and has divined means to clandestinely carry out this discrimination.

Meanwhile, I am going to personally change the Air Academy High School mascot name in our home from the Kadets to the Homo-Fobes. It might catch on, embarrassing the community and its governing officials so much that it might save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for legal fees in trying to defend bias and discrimination.

Robert Nemanich

Colorado Springs

What cost, freedom?

Since the passing of the smoking ban in Colorado, I have done a lot of research that both smokers and nonsmokers should know.

People should realize what a violation of rights for the business owner it is. These bar and restaurant owners own or lease private property. Many have spent years building their business, and for the state to tell them that they cannot allow smoking in their establishments is crazy.

Why don't we let the business owners decide whether to allow smoking in their establishments? After all, they know their clientele better than anyone.

The rumor that there will be no economic repercussions when this ban goes into effect is a total lie.I urge everyone to do an online search where bans have already happened. There are thousands of small bars and restaurants going out of business, costing millions of dollars in jobs, wages and profits.

Studies show that smokers spend more money going out than nonsmokers. Who pays more in taxes?Smokers pay a ridiculous tax rate on tobacco products.What people don't realize is that many of the nonsmokers in this area are not bothered by our choice to smoke.If they do not want to be around the smoke, they don't have to be.

If there are not enough nonsmoking bars and clubs, then by all means, open one up. Don't take away our rights as property owners, taxpayers and American citizens. If we allow this ban to take effect, what freedoms will be next?

Carrie Lance

via the Internet

Follow the ashtray

While it remains to be seen how many bars, restaurants and other service industries will lose business due to the smoking ban, there are many jobs that will definitely be lost. To begin with, the ashtray industry will lose business. Since the demand for ashtrays-by-the-dozen will be gone so will the jobs of those who make them.

Next, there will be no reason for bars, etc. to have matches imprinted with their name. So the match manufactures have to lay people off. Without the need for artwork for ashtrays and matchbook covers, the artists that create the logos seen on these items will no longer have a clientele.

Regardless of how you feel about smoking, the workers that deliver cigarettes to the bars, etc. will be out of work. Then there are those who design and manufacture the display racks that are gone. The same fate awaits the people who make and service cigarette machines.

When these delivery and service positions are gone so is the fleet of vehicles. This means the mechanics that kept them running are gone. More jobs lost.

With unemployment already a problem, it is irresponsible to destroy so many jobs at this time. Remember this the next time a politician tells you they want to create jobs.

Oh, and by the way, this ban has nothing to do with protecting your health and everything to do with controlling your behavior. Your vice may be next.

Kurt Haug

Colorado Springs

Send "em packing

Here is the deal about the Westboro Baptist Church: I am sick and tired of these cruel, hateful, unbelievably biased people. I am a pagan by birth and will remain that way "til the day I die; nothing will change that. The fact of the matter is that these people force their children to do despicable things to the flag and say horrible things about our fellow citizens, like "God hates fags" or "Thank God for dead soldiers."

I am sick and bloody well tired of these hateful acts and I feel that two things need to happen: Child Protective Services needs to step in and take these kids; and these Westboro freaks need to be sent packing back to Kansas or to another country. They don't belong here.

Yes, the Constitution gives them the right to speak, but it doesn't give them the right to judge and disrupt.

Remember, their own bible says, "Judge not, lest you be judged."

Jason Teeters

Colorado Springs

Life and death

I find it noteworthy that Republican congressional candidates Jeff Crank, John Anderson, Doug Lamborn and Duncan Bremer claim to be staunch pro-lifers, or so they said when they appeared at a forum two weeks ago sponsored by Colorado Springs Right to Life. They all stated that they believe "life is sacred from the moment of conception," and vowed to vote to outlaw abortion altogether.

It is astounding to me that the contradictory nature of their belief systems has never been put before them for an explanation.

Ask these candidates if they support the death penalty, and they almost unanimously concur. If they believe life is sacred from the moment of conception, how can they support taking an adult life? Is it of a lesser degree of value than an unborn life?

Here is what they are really saying: "Life is sacred, but those criminals deserve to die."

Even our own district attorney, John Newsome, who campaigned on a zealous pro-life platform, will be possibly seeking the death penalty for the man who shot and killed our Colorado Springs police officer. How does he justify and resolve this glaring conflict in his own mind?

The answer is simple. Tell the people what they want to hear if you want to get elected, no matter how you really feel. Just give them what they want. Gun advocates vote, so state you're pro-firearm and love to hunt, whether it's true or not. Ultra-conservative community? Say you're pro-life.

The hypocrisy of this campaign behavior boggles the mind and has done nothing to elevate my trust for these people, who really aren't telling us the whole truth.

Leslie C. May

Colorado Springs

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