For more than 40 years, both Charles Fleck and my partners here at Club Cleveland have been strong advocates, philanthropists, leaders, and partners within the gay community. Mr. Resnick's insinuation that Earl Pike of the AIDS Taskforce is somehow strong-arming both Club Cleveland and Flex Bathhouse is preposterous. I have known Earl Pike for many years, and I consider him an honorable man.
Resnick implied that somehow Pike was the Don Corleone of the AIDS Taskforce, running rampant and getting funds under the radar. Pike is merely doing his job as director of an agency that has been underfunded for almost a decade. The memorandum of understanding that the City and the Taskforce asked both Flex and Club Cleveland to sign was no big deal, since both clubs have had these safe-sex procedures and policies in effect for decades. To insinuate that Pike made us purchase supplies is false. Both Club Cleveland and Flex have always used their own money to provide condoms and other items to keep their patrons safe.
The fact that Resnick maligned two great leaders in our community, Sue Doerfer and Earl Pike, is despicable, and to insinuate that two competitors who have existed side by side for years somehow are plotting against each other is another lie.
David Peifer, Co-Owner & Manager
A less offensive sex offense: When I first saw the News 5 story on the Flex bathhouse, I was appalled at its viewpoint, but not surprised. The straight community has never understood the complexities of gay culture. But when I found out that the leader of the AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland was behind the report, I was outraged.
If Mr. Pike is so quick to run to the media in an attack on a gay business, gays everywhere should be very wary of his intentions. Is he really trying to help fight this epidemic? Does he have an anti-gay agenda? Or is he just out to make some quick cash via strong-arm tactics?
For lack of anything legitimate to smear Flex, News 5 resorted to focusing on the fact a sex offender was working at the club. Now I have to ask a question of News 5, the public, and Pike: Just what kind of job would you recommend for a convicted sex offender? Perhaps a grade-school janitor? Scout troop leader? Catholic priest? I think that working on a construction crew building a gay bathhouse is not the worst place such a person could be.
Until this story in Scene, I had no idea that the "minor" this man "molested" was only four months from being legal. I know, legal is legal -- but then most states allow heterosexuals to have sex legally far earlier than gays. This man is now branded forever as a sexual predator. And this was supposed to be the big chink in Flex's armor?
So glad Pike stepped in to keep the community safe. With friends like Pike, who needs the right wing?
Smoke 'em and vote 'em: I just had to quit smoking (again), after a heart attack in September. But I wanted to stand up and cheer after reading your article ["Smoking for Kids," October 4].
It would serve the fucking assholes right if all the smokers quit and left them having to find their tax dollars from, God forbid, the people who actually patronize the arts. Maybe smokers should start buying their cigs over the internet and see if they can't avoid paying anyone's fucking taxes. God bless you, Kotz.
The Clipboard of Liberalism
A word from the stripper lobby: I was approached by a pitiable soul loitering outside Lakewood Library a day or so before "Revenge of the fundies" appeared in First Punch [October 4]. She asked me to sign this douchey petition that had to do with closing strip joints at an earlier hour to reduce criminal activity.
Her first gaffe was staking out one of the most liberal gathering places on the West Side. I told her that the entire premise of her campaign was ridiculous because, if we suppress one vice, people will always replace it with another. Worse yet, if people are deprived of some relatively benign activity, they might go and do something more harmful than what they started off doing (especially if they're in a titty bar, cock-blocked mid-bronski, and sent out sticky and pissed off).
Apparently, the activist didn't succeed in front of the library because, as I continued running errands, I saw that she had relocated to Lakewood Plaza across the street, in front of the DrugMart. I don't think she lasted very long there either. Maybe someone dropped a house on her, or she was seeking an evidently much-needed -- but curfew-driven -- cheap thrill.
"Man on Fire," in the October 4 issue of Scene, identified Jeff Rotsky as the former co-head coach at South High School. Rotsky was the program coordinator. The story also claimed that a grievance was filed in connection with Rotsky's hiring. No grievance was filed.