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First, I was quoted as saying, "Why would anyone work somewhere that they lose part of their tips for credit cards or for busboys when there's so much work available out there?" I did not make that remark. As an advocate for the industry, I would not be derogatory to our workers.

Second, Ms. Wagner stated that tipped employees make $2.02 per hour. That is incorrect. Tipped employees may be paid a minimum of $2.13 per hour if they make at least $3.02 per hour in tips ($2.13 plus $3.02 equals $5.15 minimum wage). Paying tipped employees less than $2.13 per hour is illegal according to state and federal law.

Third, Ms. Wagner quoted an official of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment as saying, "Since busboys in Colorado don't normally get tips from customers, the restaurant can't take money from waiters' tips to give to the busboys." That is incorrect. Federal and state laws allow for tip-pooling arrangements that include bussers. The new Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 22, expected to go into effect August 1, will also allow tip-pooling among employees "who customarily receive tips," including bussers.

Ms. Wagner attempted to make sense of an extremely complicated issue that involves laws, regulations and customs developed over time. Restaurant-industry staff and employees try very hard to distribute tips left by customers in a manner that is fair to customers and employees alike. Lawmakers and regulators recognize that.

I urge your readers to remember the old adage "If the service is good, tip your server. If the service is bad, tip off the manager." And eat out often.

Peter M. Meersman
President, Colorado Restaurant Association

Kyle Wagner replies: To clear up confusion once and for all--or at least until the rules change August 1--busboys can receive tips (although they don't get them often in this town), which means that restaurants can engage in tip-pooling. And to further clarify the situation, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment last week decided to drop the words "from customers" from the official description of who hands out those tips. My apologies for the minimum-wage error.

A Brush With Fame
I'm pleased to see that you commissioned art from Jordin Isip, whose work is frequently seen elsewhere, notably in Time magazine, for your June 4 cover. Filipino-Americans regarded his grandfather Maning, a painter, the pillar of their community in New York during the 1930s and 1940s. Jordin's dad, also an artist, is my contemporary; my childhood is partly chronicled in his family's home movies. Maning's paintings played a big part in my becoming an artist.

Alfredo de la Rosa
Boulder

If He Had a Million
I wish Bill Gallo would stick to writing movie reviews instead of sports reports, because he is obviously living in the pre-Neanderthal age. This is the future and the state of pro sports in society today.

There are people in this world who actually believe that pro athletes are worth every million they can get...and I am one of them. The obscene and abusive treatments heaped on athletes by the fans and the media legitimizes jocks as our whores for Sunday-afternoon leisure. They risk life and limb for amounts of money they can never take with them--to heaven, that is.

Roberto Alomar an altar boy compared to Latrell Sprewell? Get real. I can forgive a guy for choking me, but I would annihilate a son of a bitch for spitting in my face.

Welcome to the 21st century, Bill.
Steven Saulsbury
Denver

Boa Scouts
I enjoyed reading Linda Gruno's June 4 "Snake Charmers," about the jump-blues group Boa and the Constrictors. It's about time blues groups got more exposure in Westword. However, there are some background flaws. First, Wynonie Harris was a male vocalist, in a similar manner as Roy Milton. I suggest your staff obtain a copy of Blues Who's Who (Sheldon Harris, Da Capo Press) when researching blues artists from the past.

Also, the development of jump blues in the 1940s to rhythm and blues in the 1950s was based on economics rather than the notion that "the world was ready to party." Prior to World War II, swing musicians worked in large orchestras commonly referred to as "big bands" or worked in medium-sized groups developing the swing idiom in the Midwest, Oklahoma, Texas and the Gulf Coast region. With the arrival of war, the economy changed. Entertainment establishments could not afford to pay the fees for large bands. At the same time, African-American swing-music fans and musicians from Texas and Oklahoma migrated to California for wartime employment. In order for these musicians to keep playing, they formed smaller groups and rearranged their swing material to fit the scaled-down outfits. The smaller jump-band trend continued after the war and into the 1950s (partially due to the recording ban imposed by the musicians' union), eventually becoming rhythm and blues when Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Etta James and Jackie Brenston were making their hits. When white America's country and hillbilly music merged with black America's blues and rhythm and blues, we got rock and roll.

Mr. Boa, please don't knock other forms of blues music as "back-porch, real-deep-down, dog-painful, my-baby-left-me stuff." I'm glad you guys are doing the blues, but remember, jump blues is only one of several styles of blues expression. Blues music already has a bad rap that says it's nothing but twelve bars and three chords full of sadness. Blues is about real feelings from real people, whether these feelings are good or bad. It's good taste and believability that makes a blues group worth its salt, no matter what style they choose to express it in. Also, the blues in all forms contribute to the cornerstone of American music, from jazz to country to rock.

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