Money Matters - Simplified

Officials: Bikini coffee banner legal

Aurora, Colo. -- Officials in a Colorado city said a controversial coffee shop banner featuring a bikini-clad barista appears to conform to local laws.

Aurora City Councilwoman Molly Markert, whose district includes the Perky Cups coffee shop, said she found the 10-foot-by-20-foot banner distasteful, but she had the city's neighborhoods services division investigate and they found the advertisement conforms to city codes, The Aurora Sentinel reported Wednesday.

"It's degrading to women," she said of the banner. However, she said, "those things aren't things the city can legislate."

Robert Rogers, the city attorney who looked into the banner, said the content is protected by the First Amendment.

Jason Bernal, the owner of Perky Cups, said he disagrees with the assertion that the banner, which he put up outside the business Saturday, is offensive for featuring a woman in a bikini.

"If that's true they will need to shut down Utah Park because there is a pool there and there are women in bikinis there all the time," he said.

However, he said the banner will likely come down in the near future because of criticism from locals.

"I would love to leave it up forever, but I'm getting beat up," he said. "I want to be a good neighbor, so probably it won't last too long."

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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